New M and the "Leica Look"

Started Sep 20, 2012 | Discussions thread
love_them_all Senior Member • Posts: 2,779
Re: New M and the "Leica Look"

Totally agree. Leica film camera shooter since the early 90's here. The Leica look is very pronounced compared to Canon or Nikon at the time, especially when you are shooting with the same kind of film.

Look at the older LFI magazines you can see the sample film images. High saturation, high contrast but with good micro contrast / gradiation (especially in b&w photos), nice sharp images too. Bokeh is smooth compared to many other brands. The overall tone is different from Zeiss/Nikon/Canon/Pentax/Minolta. Every lens is different though.

But if you look at the list above, other than the micro contrast and DR (no HDR), everything is pretty much can be pp. The sensor and the software take a bigger part. And with the right algorithm you can get images very close to the M9. There are tons of examples of NEX images with Leica lenses or Canon FF cameras with Leica R lenses. The Leica signature is there, but it is hard to compare it to the images from Velvia because film is still film.

Archiver wrote:

AlrightOkUhhuhAmen wrote:

Am wondering if you all care to provide input on something I haven't seen discussed yet.

Part of the draw of the Leica M9 is the "Leica Look" the images have. Not always easy to describe, many (includng myself these days) claim to know it when they see it. Maybe it's just wishful thinking, or maybe it's justification for an expensive system, but either way, wouldn't the sensor change on the new M have an effect on this? Part of the look was the particular noise of the M9. If this changes with the new ISO handling and sensor, wouldn't this have an adverse effect for those who appreciate the classic look we're accustomed to?

This so-called "Leica Look" has been beaten to death over the years. Yes, Leica make spectacular lenses and have done so for decades. Most of them have soft and smooth bokeh, good microcontrast, excellent wide-open sharpness, and all the rest. But the look of the M9 is not 'the Leica Look', it's the M9 look. It's a combination of the Kodak CCD that was intended to look like Kodachrome, the M9's processor, and raw conversion software.

Will the new CMOS change this look? Probably, but perhaps in the way that the look of the M9 was different from the M8. Leica claim they worked hard to bring the look of the CCD to this new CMOS sensor.

The Ricoh GXR-M uses a CMOS sensor without an AA filter, and the results are extremely good, and retains each lens' rendering and characteristics. And surprisingly, the look of the GXR images, when processed with Lightroom, is not unlike the M9. I'm very hopeful for how the M's images will look compared with the M9's.

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Archiver - Loving Every Image Captured Always

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