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Author Topic: Leica M9 Serious contender?  (Read 14707 times)

Edalongthepacific

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Leica M9 Serious contender?
« on: January 01, 2010, 09:02:52 pm »

I read in Digital PhotoPro about the Leica M9. It seems that this camera uses software rather than a "detail-blurring" filter over the sensor to resolve moire issues. The photos from the M9 I have seen look very good. If this is truly an advancement in technology, why hasn't the camera received more publicity regarding this new (?) technology?
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Jonathan Wienke

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« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2010, 09:07:19 pm »

Mostly because it is mathematically impossible to eliminate moire via software vs an AA filter. There are various software tricks you can use to reduce the appearance of moire, but you can't eliminate it.
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ErikKaffehr

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« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2010, 03:07:26 am »

Hi,

It seems to me, based on previous discussions on this forums, that Jonathan is absolutely right. There is no way to remove aliasing artifacts in postprocessing. It seems also that these artifacts are seldom visible in real life pictures, except for some very fine detail. The AA-filter does reduce edge contrast but not really resolution. The loss of edge contrast can probably regained with sharpening, AA-filtered images require a lot of sharpening. Large amount and small radius.

Best regards
Erik

Quote from: Jonathan Wienke
Mostly because it is mathematically impossible to eliminate moire via software vs an AA filter. There are various software tricks you can use to reduce the appearance of moire, but you can't eliminate it.
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Wayne Fox

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« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2010, 04:01:28 am »

Quote from: Edalongthepacific
I read in Digital PhotoPro about the Leica M9. It seems that this camera uses software rather than a "detail-blurring" filter over the sensor to resolve moire issues. The photos from the M9 I have seen look very good. If this is truly an advancement in technology, why hasn't the camera received more publicity regarding this new (?) technology?

Nothing new about it.
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Plekto

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« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2010, 05:05:30 am »

That said, some technologies like the one Fuji came up with do manage to limit it greatly.  The tradeoff is usually lower absolute resolution(tiny details won't resolve as well, but the overall picture looks cleaner and there's almost no negative effects from the sensor pattern itself, so the resulting prints look nearly as clean.

I just wish they would hurry up and develop these alternative sensors faster.  Even jumping to ~12MP would be enough, because that would allow for 35mm equivalency.  6-8 isn't quite cutting it.
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250swb

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« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2010, 08:00:52 am »

I don't think for one second there is any software inside the M9 that reduces moire patterns. Lets face it, there is so little software in it that we'd have heard about anything new or advanced before now. What the article may be confusing is the software to reduce vignetting with lenses wider than 24mm.

But what Leica have been brave enough to do is realise that moire only affects a very small percentage of photographs, so they left out the AA filter altogether. It was briefly a hot topic of discussion on Leica forums until it was found to be difficult to find or create an example of it outside of a lab. On a couple of occasions alledged examples of real world moire have been posted that are in fact monitor and image resolution conflicts as would happen with any camera.

Steve

bjanes

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« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2010, 08:20:59 am »

Quote from: Edalongthepacific
I read in Digital PhotoPro about the Leica M9. It seems that this camera uses software rather than a "detail-blurring" filter over the sensor to resolve moire issues. The photos from the M9 I have seen look very good. If this is truly an advancement in technology, why hasn't the camera received more publicity regarding this new (?) technology?
I think that Leica does not use a blur filter by necessity rather than by choice. The typical short back focal distance of 27.80 mm on the Leica cameras posed big problems for Leica designers (see Erwin Puts). This limits the filters that can be placed in front of the sensor. In the original M8 digital camera, there was not even room for an infrared filter, which caused problems in color reproduction. The solution was to add an IR filter on the lens.

Mr Puts does report on a program which reduces the Moire, but does slightly reduce resolution. The conventional wisdom is that Moire can not be removed in software without degrading the image, but sometimes the conventional wisdom is incorrect. Time will tell.

Moire is usually not apparent in landscapes and most other types of photography in nature, but there will still be aliasing. Some perceive the aliasing as added sharpness but others think that it is an ugly artifact. The controversy on the use of blur filters continues.
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Jeremy Payne

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« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2010, 10:00:40 am »

Quote from: 250swb
But what Leica have been brave enough to do is realise that moire only affects a very small percentage of photographs, so they left out the AA filter altogether. It was briefly a hot topic of discussion on Leica forums until it was found to be difficult to find or create an example of it outside of a lab. On a couple of occasions alledged examples of real world moire have been posted that are in fact monitor and image resolution conflicts as would happen with any camera.

What evidence do you have of this conscious design decision?  Seems a huge leap of faith on your part.  

I'm willing to bet it had a lot more to do with engineering than bravery.


 
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ErikKaffehr

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« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2010, 12:08:59 pm »

Hi,

The program that Mr. Puts mentions uses a "neural network" approach. In the image processed by "SharpRawPro" there is a lot of artifacing but it's all monochrome.

http://www.imx.nl/photo/leica/camera/page1...les/testsrp.jpg

Regarding the question in general, it seems obvious that photographers object mostly to color moiré and that problem seldom shows up in real life subjects, except probably fashion and architecture.

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: bjanes
I think that Leica does not use a blur filter by necessity rather than by choice. The typical short back focal distance of 27.80 mm on the Leica cameras posed big problems for Leica designers (see Erwin Puts). This limits the filters that can be placed in front of the sensor. In the original M8 digital camera, there was not even room for an infrared filter, which caused problems in color reproduction. The solution was to add an IR filter on the lens.

Mr Puts does report on a program which reduces the Moire, but does slightly reduce resolution. The conventional wisdom is that Moire can not be removed in software without degrading the image, but sometimes the conventional wisdom is incorrect. Time will tell.

Moire is usually not apparent in landscapes and most other types of photography in nature, but there will still be aliasing. Some perceive the aliasing as added sharpness but others think that it is an ugly artifact. The controversy on the use of blur filters continues.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2010, 12:09:38 pm by ErikKaffehr »
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Graeme Nattress

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« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2010, 12:24:35 pm »

Chroma moire is pretty easy enough to remove. Luma moire is practically impossible to remove without simultaneously removing real detail or disturbing the image with artifacts.
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JeffKohn

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« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2010, 03:36:05 pm »

It's not just about moire. I honestly find it amazing that more photographers don't find color aliasing objectionable. To me nothing ruins the film-like appearance of an image more than color aliasing. And unlike moire, color aliasing does show up in in a variety of real-world shots, especially along highlight edges.

As long as we're using Bayer-filtered sensors, I'd rather have a well-designed AA filter.
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Jeremy Payne

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« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2010, 03:47:04 pm »

Quote from: JeffKohn
As long as we're using Bayer-filtered sensors, I'd rather have a well-designed AA filter.

+1.  
« Last Edit: January 02, 2010, 03:47:55 pm by Jeremy Payne »
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ErikKaffehr

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« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2010, 04:47:43 pm »

Hi,

My opinion may be that AA-filters are OK and needed. The best solution in my view is probably to increase resolution a bit past the diffraction limit, but that may degrade DR (Dynamic Range). My guess is that this discussion on AA filtering or not is a bit overblown. I don't think that DSLR makers put a quite expensive bit of optical filters in their cameras just to reduce image quality.

On the other hand, some cameras like the M9 and all MFDBs lack AA-filtering and are appreciated for that. My guess is that in both cases it may be a question of better lens quality (in relation to pixel pitch).

In my view the M9 is just a very different camera:

- small
- simple
- using very high quality prime lenses
- using a hopefully exact rangefinder

Lloyd Chambers has some interesting writing on the Leica which I'd suggest everyone prepared to spend like ten grand on a M9 should read.

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: Jeremy Payne
+1.
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joofa

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« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2010, 10:16:40 pm »

Quote from: Jonathan Wienke
Mostly because it is mathematically impossible to eliminate moire via software vs an AA filter. There are various software tricks you can use to reduce the appearance of moire, but you can't eliminate it.

Jonathan, it is a commonly held belief that aliasing can never be eliminated under any circumstances. Unfortunately, it is one of those "safe" signal processing approaches taken in may textbooks under "default" conditions. I am just making a general remark here and not implying anything to do with Leica and or any other camera. Under certain conditions it is possible to get rid of aliasing even when it has contaminated the data. Please contact me offline and I shall provide you some information and pointers on this topic.
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Joofa
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telyt

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« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2010, 09:13:06 am »

AA filter or not?  Where's the 'beating a dead horse' icon when you need one.

Might as well argue about UV filters or (yawn) Nikon vs. Canon.
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Jonathan Wienke

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« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2010, 01:27:21 pm »

Quote from: joofa
Jonathan, it is a commonly held belief that aliasing can never be eliminated under any circumstances. Unfortunately, it is one of those "safe" signal processing approaches taken in may textbooks under "default" conditions. I am just making a general remark here and not implying anything to do with Leica and or any other camera. Under certain conditions it is possible to get rid of aliasing even when it has contaminated the data. Please contact me offline and I shall provide you some information and pointers on this topic.

I'm aware of several techniques to remove or reduce chroma aliasing, but any technique used to eliminate luminance aliasing will reduce real image detail. In order to filter out something, you have to be able to identify it and reliably distinguish it from from what you want to keep. Chroma aliasing can be identified and distinguished by a repeating RGB color cycle at the sampling frequency, but any criteria used to define luminance aliasing will inevitably erroneously define true signal as aliasing in some circumstances. If you want to discuss this in more detail offline, feel free to send me a PM, but I'm highly skeptical that there is any "magic bullet" that can eliminate aliasing in general in the absence of an AA filter.
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joofa

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« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2010, 02:11:58 pm »

Quote from: Jonathan Wienke
I'm aware of several techniques to remove or reduce chroma aliasing, but any technique used to eliminate luminance aliasing will reduce real image detail. In order to filter out something, you have to be able to identify it and reliably distinguish it from from what you want to keep. Chroma aliasing can be identified and distinguished by a repeating RGB color cycle at the sampling frequency, but any criteria used to define luminance aliasing will inevitably erroneously define true signal as aliasing in some circumstances. If you want to discuss this in more detail offline, feel free to send me a PM, but I'm highly skeptical that there is any "magic bullet" that can eliminate aliasing in general in the absence of an AA filter.

Jonathan, I mean complete elimination of aliasing under certain conditions. No original signal detail is reduced. However, as I said it only happens if certain sampling conditions are satisfied.
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Joofa
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Jonathan Wienke

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« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2010, 03:02:54 pm »

What might those conditions be, and how likely are those conditions to be met in real-world digital image capture?
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telyt

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« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2010, 04:18:55 pm »

Quote from: Jonathan Wienke
What might those conditions be, and how likely are those conditions to be met in real-world digital image capture?

Do I need to post my 100% crops from the DMR again?

As I see it the preference for AA or no-AA is a matter of personal choice, there's no 'right' or 'wrong', there are advantages and disadvantages either way.
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Jeremy Payne

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« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2010, 05:30:22 pm »

Quote from: telyt
Do I need to post my 100% crops from the DMR again?

Nope ... but you might want to read the thread again ...
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