Joseph S Wisniewski

Joseph S Wisniewski

Lives in United States Detroit, MI, United States
Works as a Speech and sensor scientist
Has a website at http://www.swissarmyfork.com
Joined on Jul 12, 2002
About me:

I've been in love with photography for over 40 years.

My favorite form of photography is macro, and much of my gear is of my own design.

I've done professional photography on and off for over 20 years.
Taught 8 years at Midwest Photography Workshops.
Designed 3 scientific digital cameras and 6 lenses.

Author of mImage and (coming soon to the App Store and Google Play) ColorForEveryone.

Comments

Total: 549, showing: 341 – 360
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On Leica M-Monochrom preview (452 comments in total)
In reply to:

pedromeyer: what do you get, when you put a reborn Leica Co after going bankrupt, together with an almost defunct Kodak company making their sensors, well, the niche products that have very poor after sale service, cameras that are about two years behind the market curve in developments, etc.

In the analog era, the investment in R&D by Leica was quite limited, after all in 50 years basically nothing much was ever changed. THen came the digital era, and they were left in the dust, not understanding exactly what had hit them. Their product line, late on any measure in the development curve vs the market.

Last I heard from their own employees, was that they were so strapped for cash they could not invest in having a modicum of inventory to supply dealers in a timely manner, let alone all the developments needed in R&D.

Kodak also was a great name, even one of the early developers of digital cameras, but what they did not have was an idea of what to do with it all.

Wow, hatred wrapped in misconceptions or lies. I'll assume simple lack of information, rather than outright malice.

First, Leica didn't go bankrupt.

Second, Leica buys sensors through whoever builds their electronics. The X1 and X2 electronics were built by a company that uses Sony sensors, as is, from my best sources, the M10. The M9 and S2 electronics were designed by Phase One using Kodak sensors.

That sensor operation was sold last year to Platinum Equity, for a fair price (not a "fire sale" or liquidation of assets, like Mamiya and Leaf) is now operating as "Turesense", and their fate isn't tied to Kodak.

Direct link | Posted on May 17, 2012 at 13:41 UTC
On Leica M-Monochrom preview (452 comments in total)
In reply to:

shaocaholica: It seems like the limitations of highlight clipping for a sensor without a color filter array could be solved by something like the Fuji EXR system where there's are 2 sets of photosites where one set is highly sensitive for shadows and the other set is less sensitive for highlights. Not sure how much resolution you'd lose with this approach but it would be cool to have the extra DR.

@shaocaholica, you're exactly right, except it's not the EXR you want, it's the older sensor, the SR II. That's the one that masked every other cell with a "pinhole" aperture.

As a color sensor, it was quirky, at best, but operated as monochrome, the images were stunning. Either processed with the mImage local monochrome algorithm or filtered to monochrome 900nm IR.

I was actually working with Fuji to market "Bayer-less" versions when Fuji pulled the plug on their DSLR program. Now, that sensor is literally "gone".

@victor, no color artifacts in a monochrome SR. Surprisingly few sampling artifacts, either. The only time you were running on just the big S (or "shadow") pixels, was in deep shadows, and the only time you're running on just the small R pixels is in highlights. Most of the image gives you usable data in both the S and R pixels, so for midtones, the camera is just an "ordinary" monochrome digital.

Direct link | Posted on May 17, 2012 at 13:34 UTC
On Leica M-Monochrom preview (452 comments in total)
In reply to:

jmmgarza: What, no night pix at ISO 3,200.

I agree, that's an odd omission. Grainy, fast-lens low-light shots are a Leica trademark for decades. Theater shots, jazz musician in a smoky club, etc. etc. etc.

Ideally with fake Kodak 2475 grain. At least a pushed Tri-X look.

Direct link | Posted on May 17, 2012 at 13:19 UTC
In reply to:

Element42: I am probably not enlightened yet so excuse my beginner's question:
aside from a Leica being a great quality camera what is the point of a B&W sensor? Would I not be off eqaully well by taking color RAW shots and then use great tools like Silver Efex able to do everything I would ever want on the B&W front?
(I understand why B&W RAW is better than B&W JPG :-))

@jmmgarza. why do you keep saying that? Most of the M9m samples, and all of the dpReview ones, show a horrible lack of understanding of B&W photography and of the limits of a B&W digital camera. I haven't seen many shots from it that even aspire to "average", let alone "great".

I'm sure that's the fault of the people shooting it.

Direct link | Posted on May 17, 2012 at 13:14 UTC
In reply to:

jmmgarza: Leica lenses are great and their cameras timeless. The photos look fabulous. Some may want to whine about this... but it is the truth. Again... the photos look GREAT!

You have actually seen a "great" photo, at least once, somewhere in the world, haven't you?

So far, everything I've seen from M9m doesn't get beyond "average".

Direct link | Posted on May 17, 2012 at 13:12 UTC
In reply to:

Roland Karlsson: I will say it once again. The only really interesting point is if good photographers gets this unique camera and makes outstanding photographs. Thats it really. If this camera only is bought by rich people that cannot make images, then its no fun at all.

The big drawback of this B&W camera, compared to film, is DR. Some B&W films had unbelieving DR. For color images, huge DR is hard to utilize as the images become strange if you do too much HDR work. But for B&W, there is nothing called too much. Its total freedom when doing manipulation.

I'm not sure who's confused about what. "Dynamic range should be significantly higher than that."

Higher than what?

Dynamic range on a monochrome sensor is significantly lower than on a color filter array sensor. I have shot six different monochrome cameras (Kodak DCS-630m, Nikon D100 converted to monochrome, Nikon D90 converted to monochrome, Megavision (I forget the model, 36x48mm sensor), and two industrial cameras with Kodak and Fill Factory sensors). In all cases, dynamic range is less than you're used to with color cameras from the same eras.

Direct link | Posted on May 15, 2012 at 17:44 UTC
In reply to:

kiralymd: LEICA!
You're CHEATING on US and your OWN! Loosing photographic heritage, engineering knowledge and proud. ( M-Monochrom for $7,950?! )
Does EVERYTHING need to be: FOR SALE?!
Even if you have the (financial, engineering etc.) potential to create something truly valuable?
What is happening to our once beloved World?! There are people suffering OUT THERE! Does the word ARROGANCE ring a bell?
LEICA! GOOD LUCK FOR SELLING THESE PRODUCTS! I'M SURE YOU WILL

If you drink, don't post.

If you post, don't drink.

Remember, electricity and alcohol don't mix.

Direct link | Posted on May 15, 2012 at 14:12 UTC
In reply to:

Artistico: Now, to get the best possible photos from this, one can just take three photos, one each with a green, red and blue filter and combine into a colour photo which can then be turned into a black and white photo again with a proper channel mix. A bit of a hassle, I know, but it would make for killer landscape photos.

If I'd have been a recent lottery winner, perhaps I would have bought one of these - just for fun. The sample photos remind me of some of mine from the days when I used to own a Leica M6 with the old 50mm Summicron: A bit bland, but with plenty of potential.

I'd underexpose and push in post for a slightly more contrasty look without burnt-out highlights.

"A bit of a hassle, I know, but it would make for killer landscape photos."

You're talking about matching the resolution of a D800. Might as well just use a D800.

Direct link | Posted on May 15, 2012 at 14:11 UTC
In reply to:

Andrew Booth: Problem with shooting in b&w is that you can no longer correct for lens chromatic aberrations in post processing.

Instead of being able to re-align image planes for each colour separately - you'll just get additional blur at the periphery. Oh well.

Andrew, given only two colors for CA correction, correcting CA in post on color images is incomplete. There are secondary fringes introduced (usually orange and teal, very strange looking). You get much better correction on a monochrome image if you shoot with color filters. Oh well.

There's also the issue of longitudinal CA (LOCA, as some call it) which cannot be easily post processed, but which is totally fixed with color filters on a monochrome image. Even if you don't use color filters on a monochrome image, LOCA isn't distracting because it only affects out of focus areas.

Direct link | Posted on May 15, 2012 at 14:08 UTC
In reply to:

Andries Pretorius: What is the point of this camera. It is nice as experimental equipment in a minute niche market, but from my perspective I see very little practical value.

Seems like Leica is losing it!!

@thanda, it makes no sense, at all, for you. The Leica doesn't let you "visualize" in B&W. The viewfinder is still color, and "unphotographic" in that it doesn't show DOF and distracts you from framing accurately. (there are "pluses" to offset this, however).

If you want to visualize in B&W, get a NEX7 or an EM5. Seriously. Eyelevel monochrome electronic viewfinders are amazing.

Direct link | Posted on May 15, 2012 at 14:02 UTC
In reply to:

REDred Photo: It's interesting to me that we now consider any camera with fewer features to be "crippled and downgraded." We all seem to be in search of that ONE magic camera that does everything with 30+mp and incredibly sharp lenses, infinite battery life, stellar signal to noise ratio at ISO 50K, plus everything else you ever dreamed of having in a camera... and we want it to fit in a pocket and cost under $3k.

This simply doesn't exist. As such, cameras must be made to focus on doing some of these things, or even one of these things, really well. To say that a camera that is designed to do something entirely different is "crippled and downgraded" because it lacks some of the features of another less expensive camera is missing the point. This is a camera designed for a very specific purpose.

I'd say this camera really is "crippled and downgraded". While it is true that "This is a camera designed for a very specific purpose", it largely fails at that purpose.

An 18mp monochrome sensor has resolution pretty much equal to a 36mp color sensor. Well, the competition has been shipping a 36mp color sensor camera for three months.

A monochrome sensor has about 2 stops more sensitivity than a color sensor. But Leica's supplier is so outdated that the competing color sensors have gained a solid 4 stop advantage.

Until Leica gets hold of a sensor that isn't "crippled and downgraded" by industry standards, that's all they're going to deliver.

Yes, it can do things with color filters you can't do on a color camera through post processing, yet, but is that enough to offset the lack of dynamic range that goes along with monochrome digital, if you can't get the resolution and low light advantages you'd expect on a monochrome camera?

Direct link | Posted on May 15, 2012 at 13:55 UTC
In reply to:

UKoenig: The Leica M9 Monochrom is a minimalistic approach and a piece of art for itself. I could only imagine a heightening in leaving off any sort of LCD.

Only takes two inches of gaffer's tape to cover an LCD.

Permacell makes a the best gaffer's tape.

Direct link | Posted on May 15, 2012 at 13:44 UTC
In reply to:

Roland Karlsson: I will say it once again. The only really interesting point is if good photographers gets this unique camera and makes outstanding photographs. Thats it really. If this camera only is bought by rich people that cannot make images, then its no fun at all.

The big drawback of this B&W camera, compared to film, is DR. Some B&W films had unbelieving DR. For color images, huge DR is hard to utilize as the images become strange if you do too much HDR work. But for B&W, there is nothing called too much. Its total freedom when doing manipulation.

Roland, read my replies to Element 42, about five posts above this one. This camera is not "unique". Here's the three words that are the key: "given equal technology".

Given equal technology, a monochrome camera will have twice the resolution of a color one, as well as about 2 stops more low light ability. The technology chasm between Leica's supplier and the D800 means that Nikon has a camera which can do a B&W conversion with resolution to match the Leica and better low light ability.

So, throwing away two undisputed advantages of a monochrome camera given equal technology, you're left with...

Better ability to utilize color filters. There's a look you get from an R29 (or, to a lesser extent, an R25) or Wratten 47 filter you can't get from post processing color. Go ahead and try. ;)

A disadvantage in dynamic range. Most scenes yield about 2 stops more dynamic range in a monochrome converted color image than in one shot with a monochrome sensor.

So, it's sort of a wash...

Direct link | Posted on May 15, 2012 at 13:43 UTC
In reply to:

Element42: I am probably not enlightened yet so excuse my beginner's question:
aside from a Leica being a great quality camera what is the point of a B&W sensor? Would I not be off eqaully well by taking color RAW shots and then use great tools like Silver Efex able to do everything I would ever want on the B&W front?
(I understand why B&W RAW is better than B&W JPG :-))

There is, however, about a 2 stop dynamic range advantage to the color sensor conversions. I've explained why this is, in other threads.

Direct link | Posted on May 15, 2012 at 13:34 UTC
In reply to:

Element42: I am probably not enlightened yet so excuse my beginner's question:
aside from a Leica being a great quality camera what is the point of a B&W sensor? Would I not be off eqaully well by taking color RAW shots and then use great tools like Silver Efex able to do everything I would ever want on the B&W front?
(I understand why B&W RAW is better than B&W JPG :-))

There's two other issues that would have mattered, had Leica released this camera two years ago, but are pretty much eclipsed by the technology gap (chasm, more like) between Leica's sensor supplier Truesense (formerly Kodak) and, well, everybody else (Aptina, Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Sony, etc).

The resolution issue. You can expect an 18mp monochrome sensor to pretty much match a 36mp color sensor. This would have been quite a selling point, had they released it when the only color sensors that high res were in clunky, awkward medium format backs, but is a lot less relevant in the shadow of the D800.

There's also the issue of sensitivity. The monochrome sensors are a stop or two faster than color ones. Again, not much of an advantage when you're chained to obsolete sensor tech.

Direct link | Posted on May 15, 2012 at 13:33 UTC
In reply to:

Element42: I am probably not enlightened yet so excuse my beginner's question:
aside from a Leica being a great quality camera what is the point of a B&W sensor? Would I not be off eqaully well by taking color RAW shots and then use great tools like Silver Efex able to do everything I would ever want on the B&W front?
(I understand why B&W RAW is better than B&W JPG :-))

The more important issue is control. Doing a B&W conversion of a color image gives you two filter curves, the break between red and green and the break between green and blue. They're pretty shallow curves. With a monochrome sensor, you can use whatever filter you want, there are 2 common steep red breaks (R29 and R25), orange, 2 yellow, 2 green, 2 blue, violet.

So, there's more of that lovely "metallic" sheen in a portrait taken with a Wratten 47 blue-violet filter than you can ever get in a conversion from color. Deeper, darker skies, and more pop to vegetation and clouds when you shoot with the R29 than you get with color conversion.

Direct link | Posted on May 15, 2012 at 13:31 UTC
In reply to:

Kodachrome200: I honestly dont know why anyone defends leica. there two latest inventions are an $8000 dollar camera body that can only take black and white pictures with lacklustre technology and 50mm f/2 prime lens that also cost $8000. You can buy them both for the cost the finest camera in the world and a selection of the finest lenses that would make most pros jealous and most any other photographic tools you could want and you could still probably throw in a reliable used car. Of course then you wouldnt have a camera that only took black and white pictures and 1 50mm prime lens.

the absolutely maddening thing is a bunch of people are gonna respond with how crappy traditional dslrs are and how it is absolutely worth it to forgo that dreamlist of gear in order to have this

"there two latest inventions are..."

Says the man who uses a Kodak product for his name. While some may argue that Kodak sort of wrote the book on invention, they never really finished it. The first ten chapters were great, but they sort of got stuck in chapter 11.

Direct link | Posted on May 14, 2012 at 16:28 UTC
In reply to:

Joseph S Wisniewski: The amazing thing isn't the number of people posting rude and ignorant comments. That happens with any piece of equipment that actually requires a bit of thought to appreciate.

The thing I find the most curious is that so many of these people are unfamiliar to me. It seems that the bulk of the really crude comments come from people who haven't ever posted positive, useful, and noteworthy things to the forums. So, what about this camera draws such people?

Agreed. I'd love to see a little more Volkswagen in Leica.

Unfortunately, it's going to take them a while to recover from that "boutique branding" thing they did, and that's assuming that they even want to recover. I see at least some improvement from the "Hermes days". That's got to be the lowest they can go, so everything must be "up" from there.

I hope.

In any case, I'm not really referring to the people who love Leica, but are disappointed or confused by the current direction. I was talking about the people who posted with raw hatred and bigotry.

Have a look at the Francis Carver post (if it hasn't been deleted by the time you read this) for an example of what I mean.

Direct link | Posted on May 14, 2012 at 05:37 UTC

The amazing thing isn't the number of people posting rude and ignorant comments. That happens with any piece of equipment that actually requires a bit of thought to appreciate.

The thing I find the most curious is that so many of these people are unfamiliar to me. It seems that the bulk of the really crude comments come from people who haven't ever posted positive, useful, and noteworthy things to the forums. So, what about this camera draws such people?

Direct link | Posted on May 14, 2012 at 00:39 UTC as 14th comment | 3 replies
In reply to:

Der Steppenwolf: Ehm Leica, 1935 just called and wants this piece of overpriced junk back...

We're arranging the shipping container to send the "piece of junk back" right now.

How much do you way, and how tall and wide are you?

Direct link | Posted on May 14, 2012 at 00:36 UTC
Total: 549, showing: 341 – 360
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