Compared to...

Studio scene comparison (RAW)

For a (more) level playing field for comparison we also shot our studio scene in RAW mode with each camera and converted it using Adobe Camera RAW. Because Adobe Camera RAW applies different levels of sharpening to different cameras (this confirmed) we had to use the following workflow for these conversions:

  • Load RAW file into Adobe Camera RAW (Auto mode disabled)
  • Set Sharpness to 0 (all other settings default)
  • Open file to Photoshop
  • Apply a Unsharp mask: 80%, Radius 1.0, Threshold 0
  • Save as a TIFF (for cropping) and as a JPEG quality 11 for download

This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F). Camera settings as per previous pages.

Leica M8 (RAW) vs. Canon EOS 5D (RAW)

Leica M8 (RAW)
Canon EOS 5D (RAW)
2,949 KB JPEG (3936 x 2624)
3,509 KB JPEG (4368 x 2912)

Removing the differences between the camera's internal processing engines and using Adobe Camera RAW we can see that the M8 does deliver an incredible amount of detail and 'per pixel sharpness', no anti-alias filter means that there's no blurring of the image captured by the sensor and hence none of that has to be undone by excessive sharpening. The disadvantage of course is an increase in the potential visibility of moire in high contrast, high detail areas (which can be seen in some of the crops above) although frankly it's not distracting and is a trade-off I personally don't mind making. There are actually one or two of the EOS 5D crops above which look 'more detailed', in print this difference would be indistinguishable.

Seventeen megapixels anyone?

Just to see how well both camera's images interpolate to larger sizes we processed both RAW's through Adobe Camera RAW using the seventeen megapixel output option (no sharpening and then 80% unsharp mask applied, as above). A single crop of the results can be found below and you can if you wish download these images and examine them in more detail. You will see that the M8's images interpolate very well (again thanks to a sharper starting point than a camera with an anti-alias filter) although some moire is visible on black & white high contrast detail.

Leica M8 RAW -> 17 MP JPEG (Adobe Camera RAW), 100% crop
(download 17 MP JPEG: 4,257 KB)

Canon EOS 5D RAW -> 17 MP JPEG (Adobe Camera RAW), 100% crop
(download 17 MP JPEG: 4,429 KB)