Leica M8 Review
Here you can see a generated GretagMacbeth ColorChecker chart, place your mouse over any of the labels below it to see the color reproduction in that mode. Select a camera/setting combination from the 'Compared to' drop-down to comparative boxes inside each patch.
As you can see from the sample set below the M8's color response could be described as conservative, if you prefer a bit more punch you can always use the higher settings. I preferred the green response using ECI RGB however it turned the yellow patch slightly green.
|Leica M8||Compare to:|
|sRGB||Adobe RGB||ECI RGB||Saturation-1|
Artificial light White Balance
The M8's automatic white balance performed pretty poorly. In incandescent light we got the 'golden glow' of too much red and not enough blue (although the preset was closer) and in fluorescent light we couldn't get the balance anywhere near with auto or the preset. Our advice therefore would be to take a manual preset under artificial light if you have to shoot JPEG or better still, just shoot RAW.
|Incandescent - Auto WB
Red: 5.6%, Blue: -11.1%, Average
|Incandescent - Incandescent preset WB
Red: -3.6%, Blue: 0.6%, Good
|Fluorescent - Auto WB
Red: -8.9%, Blue: -7.3%, Average
|Fluorescent - Fluorescent preset WB
Red: -9.0%, Blue: 2.0%, Average
Long Exposure noise reduction / Night shots
Typically we do one shot with dark frame subtraction noise reduction on and one with it off, unfortunately the M8 doesn't allow you to disable this feature and for long exposures always takes a dark frame immediately after the main shot. With this in mind we instead did a 30 and 60 second exposure to see how effective this noise reduction was, in short very effective giving good results even up to 60 seconds. The M8 has a very usable Bulb mode, press the shutter release to open the shutter, softly tap it again to close.
|30 seconds||60 seconds|
|ISO 160, 30 sec, F11||ISO 160, 60 sec, F16|
Infrared / Ultraviolet pollution
Fairly early in our testing of the M8 (October 2006) we noticed the by now fairly well publicized IR/UV sensitivity issue. My first exposure to this was a shot of my son in his purple buggy, except in real life the buggy wasn't purple it was dark gray. At first I had no idea what I was seeing just that the M8 had a color cast issue (with man-made fabrics) in certain light, after a while it became obvious that this was being caused by Infrared light (as it was strongest in bright daylight or direct incandescent light).
Essentially the M8's sensor (because of the thinness of the glass layer over the sensor) is more sensitivity to IR/UV light than most other cameras, Leica's solution to this (publicized here) was to provide screw-on UV/IR lens filters for M series lenses, two free with every M8. Despite the slightly clunky solution this approach does actually work and once in place you pretty much forget about the 'issue'.
To demonstrate the difference between the M8 with and without this filter and also versus other cameras we created a simple test scene lit by 800W tungsten lamps (which of course produce lots of Infrared). Sufficient to say that if you value color you will want to use a filter.
|Leica M8, no UV/IR filter||Leica M8, with UV/IR filter|
|Canon EOS 5D||Fujifilm S5 Pro|
Note: Don't worry too much about the overall white balance of these samples, they were taken with each cameras "incandescent" white balance preset, we're really just interested in the difference between the color of the man-made fabric and the 'true black' of the lens bodies and Gretag chart.
Real world samples
In both of the samples below you can see a dark magenta color cast on fabrics which were in actual fact black. These shots were taken with an early pre-production M8 with no IR/UV filter.
Lens falloff / corner vignetting
As mentioned in the introduction to this review Leica has implemented several different systems to reduce the effect of lens falloff / corner vignetting on wide angle lenses. In addition to offset microlenses and a smaller than full-frame sensor Leica has a six-bit lens coding system which is used to identify the lens and apply some software based vignetting correction (in JPEG mode at least). Falloff / vignetting mostly affects wide angle lenses, as you can see below with lens detection turned off there is approximately 25% falloff using the Elmarit-M 21 mm at F2.8, switching lens detection on reduces this to 12%.
|Lens detection off||Lens detection on|
Overall Image Quality / Specifics
In everyday use the M8 often delivers images which make you go 'wow', not for any specific technical reason but simply because the combination of super high quality, fast large aperture prime lenses and the creative control manual focus forces upon you often deliver images which are simply more interesting than you would have taken with an SLR. I took lots of examples of shots with very crisp yet shallow depth of field and lovely soft bokeh background. Color was on the whole good, if a little conservative with a certain requirement to check white balance before taking too many shots, dynamic range and tone response were as good as any pro level SLR (except for the Fujifilm S5 Pro) and noise at higher sensitivities was also nothing to concern us.
JPEG engine quality
My biggest disappointment was with the M8's own JPEG engine which really didn't deliver the optimum image quality from the data captured. The difference between in-camera JPEG and developed RAW is a measure of the quality of the camera's JPEG engine, small differences always exist but on a camera at this level we simply expected much better results than we got. We would of course expect many M8 owners to shoot RAW, however that's no excuse for poor JPEG's.
The main issues here are; 45 degree jagged artifacts on high contrast angled detail (such as the numbers and fingers of the watch below), visible moire on areas of detail (also shows up as blue / yellow fringing on the edges of highlights), blurring of detail above around 2200 LPH (a software based anti-alias filter?) and the slightly 'video camera' appearance of clipped highlights (no soft roll-off).
|JPEG||RAW (converted using Adobe Camera RAW)|
|Red Eyed Tree Frog by Tallgrass|
from Flash Photography
|Cold Ride by DaveN01|
|Bear by matteroner|
from -Super Furry- (dogs in Full Colours Only)
|IN4A3812 by Rahto|
from A big year - birds 2019
|Boy On Golden Beach by Buzz Lightyear|
from gold challenge
Previously, images were limited to being displayed at 2048px on the longest side. Now, images are shown at up to 6144px on the longest side.
Despite all of their incredible advantages, there are some situations in which a drone simply can't get the job done. Here are the limitations to consider if you're thinking about getting into drone photography.
Ricoh teamed up with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to develop a specialized Theta camera capable of withstanding the harsh conditions of space. The resulting images and videos have now been published.
Comparing these three compact camera lenses head-to-head-to-head reveals the Sony to be more consistently sharp – at the cost of a lot of aperture offered by the Canons.
The small camera uses microbial fuel cells to power the camera, which in turn keeps an eye on the plants and animals around it.
Luna Display comes in the shape of a hardware dongle and a Mac app and is compatible with older macOS versions.
The CS2740 monitor is a successor to Eizo's ColorEdge CS2730 that increases the resolution, adds new connectivity options and now offers 10-bit input. Pricing information isn't yet available, but Eizo says it will officially launch on October 24.
ON1 software has today released the latest version of its Raw processing and image editing and organization application Photo RAW.
The Natural History Museum has announced the winners of its 55th annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
According to a report from Bloomberg, beta testers of Adobe's Photoshop CC for iPad have noticed a number of major features missing or incomplete.
The lens is currently available to pre-order for $449 and is set for retail availability on November 8, 2019.
Datacolor is offering the 64-bit update as a free software update to ensure the Spyder5 calibration sensor works with Apple's latest desktop operating system macOS Catalina.
Instagram is rolling out a number of new privacy-centric features that will make it easier to see and edit what third-party applications have access to your Instagram data.
We've got our hands on the Olympus E-M5 III and it is is, on the outside, a refinement of its predecessor. But we'll go a bit deeper and talk about what's also changed on the inside in our hands-on slideshow.
We spent 48 hours exploring the deserts of southern Utah with the E-M5 III, Olympus smallest, lightest 20MP camera. Click through to read about our experience shooting with the camera and to see what kind of photos it's capable of taking.
We recently joined Olympus in Moab, Utah for some preliminary shooting with the OM-D E-M5 III. See how the photos look in our extensive sample gallery.
Olympus has announced the OM-D E-M5 Mark III - a more compact camera than its predecessor, which incorporates a lot of technology found previously in the higher-end E-M1 Mark II.
The PEN E-PL10 remains largely unchanged from its predecessor aside from the redesigned display and a few software additions.
DPReview Science Editor Rishi Sanyal had an opportunity to sit down with Marc Levoy and Isaac Reynolds of Google to dive deep into the most important camera updates on the new Pixel 4.
Chinese company Zhiyun, the world's leading gimbal manufacturer, announced the WEEBILL-S earlier this week.
United Kingdom photo retailer Jessops is reportedly looking for administrators to help sort out rising costs and falling revenue.
Google has confirmed it's ending its free 'original quality' image backups with its Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL smartphones. This marks the first time the popular perk isn't offered since the launch of the original Pixel smartphone.
In a story shared on 35mmc, photographer Steve Boykin tells how he stumbled upon a Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R lens he had lost four months prior during a trek in the wilderness and discovered it still works fine.
Sandmarc's new filter series combines the characteristics of polarizing and neutral density (ND) filters into one single filter.
Our testing of the Canon G7 X III continues, which means we've brought along on plenty of day trips and adventures to get a feel for its performance in a number of situations. Take a look at some of the resulting images.
Shimoda Designs has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund its new 'ultra-aggressive' lineup of camera bags that includes three backpacks, two rollers and a handful of new and improved accessories.
Meike has added yet another mount option to its 85mm F2.8 manual macro lens, which was previously available for Canon RF, Canon EF, Sony E/FE and Nikon F mounts.
Camrote version 1.2.0 adds new zoom and time-lapse capabilities to select Sony camera systems.
Google has officially unveiled the Pixel 4, with the addition of a telephoto camera headlining the camera updates. Other improvements include real-time HDR preview in live view, added brightness and exposure controls, and an updated portrait mode with better depth mapping.