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Thursday, 30 April 2015

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OK. I admit to being addicted to equipment. (We just pre ordered the new Canon EOS 5ds and dsr) However, I'm not quite insane enough (yet) to spring for a Leica and especially the M when my Fuji X100s can turn some pretty durned nice conversions.
AND (I can't believe I am saying this) but at "only" 1300 bucks a bargain in comparison.
Mi dos pesos.

That $3000 for a darkroom I mentioned in an earlier post is starting to look like a really cheap deal.

That versus a Seven Thousand Four Hundred Dollar digital camera and it's the body only.

Yup, this was a very predictable next move for the monochrome model. The original is basically a colorblind M9 with the same CCD and basically the same body. This, now, is the M(240)'s colorblind brother with the same new CMOS and same body. It really should make the monochrome folks happy, as that M(240)'s sensor is, while not up to today's shoot-in-the-dark-standards, excellent. It really has a look all its own, especially when mated with Leica glass. I've been working on a project at a natural history museum exclusively with the M(240) for a year. It produces exactly the look I want straight out of the camera.

One caveat: if you're accustomed to the earlier M-Monochrom and/or the M8 or M9 prepare to be shocked by the additional bulk and weight of the M(24x) models. They're like M9s that have gone on month-long luxury cruises. Ugh. But the CMOS should produce lovely B&W files.

If you want to see what the Fuji X-PRO 1 with the 27mm lens can do then visit this photographer's site: http://www.7dayspreceding.com/

If I start saving up now, I might be able to afford one of the Leica brand monochrome filters that's coming out with it!

It is disappointing that there appears to be enough demand for a B&W only camera (I'd buy one in a heartbeat) that there is now a second one, and both cost an arm and a leg.

I sincerely hope that there is also demand in the less expensive realms and that one might appear someday. For example, I'd buy a B&W only Ricoh GR or Fuji XT1.

BTW I get B&W still photography, but I don't get B&W only video. Even though I dearly love B&W photography I would only want color video from which I can then grade B&W versions, if I choose to. But B&W video removes far too much flexibility.

I really, really, really wish that Fuji would bring out a B&W censored camera. Preferably square format ;-) As much as I love the converted Fuji files there's something about the no option option that appeals to the traditionalist in me.

I'm also impressed and it has very good low light capabilities

http://www.ultrasomething.com/photography/2015/04/sensors-and-sensibility/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ULTRAsomething_photography+%28ULTRAsomething+photography%29

I would love to know who manufactured this new CMOS sensor. If its Sony maybe there will be an affordable A7M with IBIS, one can dream :)

Way out of my league but I do like the video.

$7,450 for the body and lenses ranging from 3000 to infinity...? C'mon Man!

OK, so if you want a Monochrome system with a 28mm, 50mm and 90mm lens you would need to spend:

Monochrome Body $7,450
28mm Summicron $4,045
50mm Summicron $2,100
90mm Summarit $2,350

Total: $15,945 (excluding taxes).

No thank-you Leica.

I've never really understood the Monochrome, even though I actually saw one at a John Sexton workshop a few years ago. Why give up all the incredible control a color file offers? Using colored glass filters in front of the lens went out with film! I suspect my Fuji X T-1 with a good Fuji prime, such as the 23 or 35mm f/1.4's will give the Leica, old or new, a run for its money at a small fraction of the price. The Leica costs 5.73 times that of my Fuji X T-1, not factoring the lens costs. What could one do with the extra US$6,150? One could buy a LOT of Fuji lenses, or take one heck of a vacation to use what one already has. I'm sure some folk will buy the new Monochrome and will even enjoy it. More power to them, just not for me.

Tonality of this and the old Monochrom is very similar. A lot of Monochrom users tend to abuse their files with the "Structure" (similar to clarity) slider. The new version has an ISO advantage, and the operational improvements of the M240 over the M9, but the tonality is a tie.

Ok, if you want an excellent monochrome system, take a Sigma Dp1, Dp2 and Dp3 Merrill. It will set you back about $1500,-
(and you can shoot in color too)

Ragnar has some serious chops but the rest of this conversation is way above my pay grade. I couldn't do the sales tax on one of these much less the price tag.

Mike, you still owe us an exposition on what makes for good B/W tonality and how to recognise it when we see it.
Anthony

...just an aside to Eric Brody, I'm a pro photographer, and I still use color glass filters on digital; and you can't believe how many art directors ask me: how do you get such nice skin colors? Why would I spend twenty minutes messing around with three different color channels in post, trying to replicate a color effect I can get in the three seconds it takes me to spin on a glass filter?

Except for folks who can't decide if they want to relive the film era or enter the digital era, when it comes to these Leica BW only cameras... I'm afraid that the train has left the station. It would be a different story if folks were not producing absolutely stunning BW work with cameras that also capture color images, or if there weren't really and significant advantages to being your BW post work with a color raw file. Leica is a venerable brand, for sure, but one wonders how long they can sustain themselves producing such oddball equipment.

All of my cameras are b&w only, from my Pentax MX all the way up to my Chamonix 10x8 :-)

Please, fuji, make the xpro2 look as good as this. 😊

Sure. For that price I'll keep shooting the real deal until all 35mm film manufacturers disappear.

I look at this and can't help but think that if I could afford this & the standard trio (28,50 & 90) I would rather go to the other side of the Leica website and order an S2 instead. Much more bang for all those imaginary bucks ;)

Looks good for days/ times without direct sunshine: overcast etc.
Otherwise I expect the usual lack of detail in shadows while highlights show separation, and vice versa.

That Reddotforum review is pretty much an advertisement, for both the camera and the photographer. I really forgot I was looking at a "review" and was pretty sure I was looking at somebody's photo essay.

A more balanced, and more nerdy, overview of the camera can be found here:

http://www.ultrasomething.com/photography/2015/04/sensors-and-sensibility/

It really shows the amazing low-light capabilities of the new camera.

My name is Chuck, and I'm a clarity abuser.

Very intriguing camera, but I'm not yet ready to swap my perfectly good Monochrom for the new model. It seems to have better high ISO quality (the original MM is no slouch in that regard), and promises a quieter shutter (I'll have to hear it). From Rax's post on the Leica blog, it has pretty good cold-weather resistance -- now, if I take it on a winter camping trip, I get to shove a bunch of camera batts into my sleeping bag, along with the tightly-sealed water bottles and damp clothing. I'm gonna need a bigger bag.

Forgot to mention the bigger buffer on the new Monochrom, a welcome addition.

#1 How one can accurately judge tonal range of a camera and declare it tonally stunning based on 8-bit JPG file?!

#2 Why would one want to compare apples to oranges by comparing tonal output of Fuji to tonal output of new M?! One knows result from 16MP APS-C size will not be identical to one from 24MP full frame non-Bayer sensor. If one wants to see how good (or not) new M is it should be compared to say A7R or D810. And if goal is to answer is Fuji good enough for his personal taste/requirements one, as a Fuji owner, should be able to easily answer that for himself if he hasn't already.

So now you want, but don't need, a D750, P800, AND an M246. (Me too!)

@ Anthony S- in the meantime, "good B/W tonality" is like pornography- you'll know it when you see it. May I suggest viewing original prints by Henry Wessel (not his books) if you ever get the opportunity, or those by Wynn Bullock to see what it looks like in larger format.

Really needs an ISO dial on the top

@Andy F: I would love to know who manufactured this new CMOS sensor.

It's certainly the same sensor as the Type 240: designed by CMOSIS in Belgium and fabbed by STM in France in a camera made in Germany.

http://www.cmosis.com/news/press_releases/new_leica_m_uses_cmosis_24_mp_cmos_image_sensor

The color filter array will be replaced (as it was on the original M) by their color filter that's the same for each pixel to tune the color response to be like "a" black and white film. TriXish, perhaps?

Curiously, Leica and CMOSIS don't mention this on their website though they both made a big noise about CMOSIS when the type 240 was released.

After further reading I suspect there are some other tweaks to the Monochrom sensor (that may appear in a future color Leica camera too).

Both CMOSIS and Sony sensors have the same QE so they'll have the same noise performance at mid-tone grey.

Given that Leica is touting a usable 6400 (and above?) and images show the high ISO read noise in the type 246 is clearly less than the type 240. For example, see:

http://www.ultrasomething.com/photography/2015/04/sensors-and-sensibility/

The CMOSIS sensor in the Type 240 wasn't that great with read noise. The read noise is typically above 6 electrons and rising at higher ISO (i.e. it's not ADC or kTC noise that's the limit but preamp or pixel source follower noise).

http://sensorgen.info/LeicaM-Typ-240.html

That's rather worse (a stop or so) than contemporary Sony sensors, like that in the A7 with around 3e noise that rises to 5e at low ISO (kTC noise dominates?).

http://sensorgen.info/SonyA7.html

So I suspect are some tweaks other than just a change in CFA though I suspect the base design in the same CMOSIS sensor with some improvements.

For the B&W Fuji fans your sensor is a custom Sony sensor just like the Coolpix A (or D7000 or K5 or GR or any of the other 16Mpx Sony APS-C sensors). It's plenty competitive with the Type 246 if you don't have $7000+ to spare. Heck, if you use a 28mm lens you can get one thrown in for $300 with a refurb Nikon Coolpix A.

http://sensorgen.info/NikonCoolpix-A.html

Sure will look on the seat next to me in my Ferrari!....NOT!

I've long thought that color to B/W conversion is better but the descriptions of this new Leica M have really piqued my interest.

Now l'd buy a monochrome camera on my current lens system … or on the Fuji X-series which I would like to become my current lens system.

Once again, reading TOP has lead to a severe case of GAS.

To Chuck the clarity abuser, this is Richard the reality abuser:
If you can afford the price of the new Leica, the cost of a -20 degree rated big sleeping bag is peanuts.

I'd love a Leica. I'd love to have this one if I didn't have to pay $7000 plus for it. I ain't never gonna pay that much for a digital camera, even if I had the money to spend.

However, the monochrome only idea has begun to really interest me. Not only because it forces me to think purely in black and white (which I do when specifically shooting for that, but I always know I can cheat), but also the idea that there may be an advantage to a monochrome only sensor and that advantage would be enough to make a noticeable difference.

Now since Leica ain't gonna reduce the price of that body, I can only hope that Fuji comes out with a x100 series with a new 50mm-e lens (none of that screw-on teleconverter, distortion-monster stuff) and a good monochrome only sensor, I would end my moratorium on any new camera purchases.

There are people who think that the visual acutance advantage of a monochrome sensor is significant.

A good RGB Bayer demosaicing algorithm — as may be incorporated in raw developer software running on a personal computer — can deliver impressive acutance too.

I invite people to compare the quasi monochromatic acutances of examples (a) and (e) at the bottom of page 7 of this document.

Richard, that's probably why they cut the price of the new camera by $500.

A nicotine patch for ex-film shooters.

If I had the money, I wouldn't hesitate. I love the idea of this camera.

At ParisPhoto LA today, there must have been two dozen people carrying Leicas, more than other camera brands combined! Only saw one I could confirm was film. Granted Leica had a gallery there and must have invited their customers, but the turnout was still impressive.

Interesting comment by Sandy McGuffog on his ChromaSoft blog. He's looked at the DNG of the Type 246 to see if it works with AccuRaw.

http://chromasoft.blogspot.com/2015/05/leica-m-monochrom-type-246-raw-file-dng.html

"The image data is 12-bit."

"It's a little surprising that the file is 12 bit. Actually, with a white level of 3750, true bit depth is slightly less than 12-bits. This is lower than the 14 bits of the original M Monochrom, although in practice its very unlikely that anyone will notice a difference."

I agree people worry about the difference between 12 bit and 14 bit rather too much. All it gets you is a few tone levels in the near blacks where they are close spaced.

Another hint for those that use LinearRaw DNGs in ACR or LR or comparing images found on the net with other cameras:

"A fairly frequent complaint about the original Monochrom and one that seems to again be coming up with regard to the new one is that the images appear flat. Something that I mention back when the original Monochrom came out is that there is one slight side effect of LinearRaw. When ACR or Lightroom load a normal raw, they apply a tone curve by default. However, with a LinearRaw, they don't. (AccuRaw, AccuRaw Monochrom and PhotoRaw do apply a tone curve by default, btw.) There is no law as to whether tone curves on monochrome images are required or not, but when comparing images, it's important to compare apples to apples......."

This is exactly the same way ACR and Lightroom deal with TIFFs.

For those shooting black and white all the time might take a look at his AccuRaw Monochrome.

https://sites.google.com/site/accurawmonochrome/

This might be particularly useful for XTrans Fuji users.

All demosaicers make trade offs when making an RGB image from a CFA image. The typical one for demosaicing any CFA for color images is to reduce chroma artifacts (which are more obvious) at the expense of luma artifacts (which are less obvious). His monochrome demosaicer trades off "chroma" artifacts against better luminance rendering. It also has the ability to apply "color filters" during the demosaic and to trade off resolution versus artifacts.

I recently used a Monochrome M and, though I can't afford one, I'd buy one in a heartbeat if I stumbled on the cash. The black and white image quality is lightyears ahead of what you can get with a color sensor and SilverFX.

I'd venture a guess here that only a very small percentage of the people regularly posting comments about Leica have ever used one. I have used them for many years, starting with an M3 through a gift M9 (I've always held onto the lenses no matter what happened to the bodies), and I have plenty of niggles with the cameras, but the image quality is simply splendid, and, if you love using a viewfinder they're still at the top of the class.

I used the original M Monochrome and was very happy with the files. We just printed 20 silver gelatin fiber samples for Leica of the new M246 model and the print quality is stunning. So for the purist, with deep pockets, this is an amazing camera.

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