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Author Topic: Best B&W image . the M Monochrom or the new M?  (Read 3079 times)

hasselbladfan

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Best B&W image . the M Monochrom or the new M?
« on: October 03, 2012, 08:22:54 AM »

Interesting internal challenge among Leica cameras, who is best at B&W ?

Is a B&W picture taken with the 18Mp CCD M Monochrom still better than a to-B&W converted 24Mp CMOS picture taken with the new M?

Nobody at the Photokina could aswer this question.

Michael, any insights?
« Last Edit: October 03, 2012, 08:25:02 AM by hasselbladfan »
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design_freak

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Re: Best B&W image . the M Monochrom or the new M?
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2012, 08:50:03 AM »

It is very strange... It is very simple question.
In my opinion:
Of course that Monochrom is better ( IQ, sharpnes, details, gradients )
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hasselbladfan

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Re: Best B&W image . the M Monochrom or the new M?
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2012, 09:56:32 AM »

Can you tell me more?

At the Photokina, the Leica Rep found it a very difficult question and didn't know the answer :)
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BJL

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M Monochrom or the new M? weighing the sensor advantages of each
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2012, 10:48:08 AM »

It is very strange... It is very simple question.
In my opinion:
Of course that Monochrom is better ( IQ, sharpnes, details, gradients )
That would be the safe answer if it was the same basic sensor with/without CFA on top. But the new M has a new sensor with a higher pixel count and active pixel CMOS technology with on-chip column-parallel ADC rather than a CCD, and so has the promise of higher resolution, greater dynamic range, greater sensitivity (less dark noise and more usable high ISO speeds) and so on, but with some of that resolution and sensitivity lost to the CFA.

Surely the outcome of these opposing advantages and disadvantages needs to be assessed by looking at the actual results, not just listing the advantages of one option while ignoring the advantages of the other.
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design_freak

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Re: Best B&W image . the M Monochrom or the new M?
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2012, 11:41:36 AM »

New Leica M has CMOS sensor ( bayer matrix )
http://www.licha.de/astro_article_ccd_camera_bayer_matrix.php

Leica Monochrom - BW CCD sensor - each pixel see true luminance values -
we can say that we have 4 times more pixels

http://www.reddotforum.com/content.php/231-ISO-Test-Leica-M-Monochrom-vs.-Leica-M9

It is like files from single shot and multishot

Sorry for my english ...
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Best regards,
DF

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hasselbladfan

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Re: Best B&W image . the M Monochrom or the new M?
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2012, 01:18:52 PM »

Your english is fine. :)

The red dot comparison (MM vs M9) is great. Unbelievable such a difference. Even a 24mp CMOS cannot improve this.

I guess the M Monochrom is a clear winner for B&W.
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BJL

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monochrome M outperforms the M9 of course (same "noisy" Kodak CCD)
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2012, 06:15:17 PM »

That comparison at reddotforum.com is exactly the one where the M monochrome is expected to have a clear advantage: same relatively noisy Kodak CCD sensor, just with or without Bayer CFA. I expect that Red Dot Forum will do a similar comparison with the new M, which will be interesting.

Apart form the very visible (and expected) advantage to the monochrome M of about one stop or a bit more in noise levels, what do people see in this comparison? I note that Kodak CCD's like in the M9 are several stops worse for noise levels than recent Canon and Sony CMOS sensors, so if the CMOSIS sensor of the new M is comparable to those CMOS sensors, it will reverse the advantage in noise (and any advantage in fineness of tonal gradations) to a clear advantage for the new M. On paper, the CMOSIS sensor also has a higher DR per pixel (along with 1/3rd more pixels, which enhances "visible DR"), but it is risky extrapolating from those specs to real world visible differences.

On resolution though, my prediction is that the M monochrome will beat the new M, because one third more pixels (24 vs 18) is probably not enough to overcome the resolution disadvantage caused by the CFA. However, there is nothing close to a "four times the pixels advantage" to removing the CFA, as has been explained many times in this forum and elsewhere. That 4x would be true if the camera with Bayer CFA simply down-sampled each cluster of four pixels
GR
BG
to form a single grayscale pixel, but instead there are far better methods for doing monochrome conversion.
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hasselbladfan

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Re: Best B&W image . the M Monochrom or the new M?
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2012, 03:29:22 AM »

All very useful.

The ultimate would obviously be a M Monochrom with a CMOS sensor. It is probably too soon to expect this, but I guess now that the software exists and is proven.

The higher sensitivity per (non bayer) pixel may also apply on a CMOS sensor or not?
« Last Edit: October 04, 2012, 12:30:17 PM by hasselbladfan »
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Ligament

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Re: Best B&W image . the M Monochrom or the new M?
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2012, 01:51:55 PM »

Are we considering the need to use glass filters on the Monocrhom which will impair light transmission (increasing noise) as well as accutance? Not needed with the M when doing BW conversion in Silver Efex Pro.
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FredBGG

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Re: Best B&W image . the M Monochrom or the new M?
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2012, 02:28:42 AM »

For portraits it is much nicer to start with an RGB raw file and do your color filtering to black and white in post.

This lets you control tones much better. For example green filtering for more skin details and tones... red filtering for brighter skin tones.

With a monochrom sensor you have to color filter on the lens.

In post you can even make layers with different conversions from RBG and then blend them together.

That said I'm always happier with the results I get from film. Something about the look and feel of film, especially
the possibility of shooting it in 6x8cm and 8x10.

But darn then there digital cameras are so damn convenient.
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ndevlin

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Re: Best B&W image . the M Monochrom or the new M?
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2012, 09:01:22 PM »

We don't know the answer because the M(13) is a ways from final IQ.

My guess is that the Monochrome will continue to produce 'better' B&W shots, though without the obvious advantages of the three-channel capture.

- N.
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Best B&W image . the M Monochrom or the new M?
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2012, 01:29:08 AM »

Hi,

CMOS and CCD are circuit technologies. The reason CMOS has better ISO is because of lower readout noise.

Removing CGA will transmit more light.

The main advantage with CMOS are cleaner shadows (but that is implementation dependent) and live view which would be helpful with focusing.

Best regards
Erik

All very useful.

The ultimate would obviously be a M Monochrom with a CMOS sensor. It is probably too soon to expect this, but I guess now that the software exists and is proven.

The higher sensitivity per (non bayer) pixel may also apply on a CMOS sensor or not?

Petrus

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Re: Best B&W image . the M Monochrom or the new M?
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2012, 01:46:23 AM »

In my opinion a B&W sensor is extremely limiting, as we do not have the endless possibilities of tweaking the color to grayscale conversion in post, like we do with a RGB sensor with B&W conversion in post. I rather take the tweaking possibilities LR4 for example affords to a slight increase in sharpness, with the bigger DR new CMOS sensors also give compared to the ancient Leica technology.
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