Sunday, March 28, 2010

DNG Converted to B&W

More files from the shoot. These are all DNG files converted to black and white using Photoshop. I always like to shoot RAW, as I think the JPEGs are a bit soft and lacking detail.

JPEG B&W Setting on the M8.2

This is the converted B&W DNG file which I tweaked in Photoshop.

This is the JPEG B&W setting file. What do you think about this picture? I used some Photoshop.

I took a few pictures of Ozzy using the JPEG B&W setting on the M8.2. Then I also converted the same DNG files to black and white in Photoshop. Which picture do you like better?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Low Light and ISO 1250

My favorite shot tonight. It just cracks me up.

I love Ozzy's expression in this shot.

I added some color to Ozzy's toys for the heck of it.

This one is less noisy.

I think this is the noisiest shot.

I took a quick few photos of my dog Ozzy tonight in low lighting. (I would have taken pictures earlier if I didn't leave the camera in the "on" position for the last week. LOL! So, after I charged the battery, I decided to try a few high ISO shots in crummy low light The light doesn't get any crummier than downstairs where I live. Hahahaha!)

It was totally dark outside, and the lights were on indoors. It's very dark downstairs, and the lighting is hideous. Add to that the ugly color of my rug, and you get some nasty color photos. I changed them to black and white to avoid looking at the rug. (Previous owner's choice of rug, not mine.)

The camera was set at various shutter speeds and mostly wide open at f/2.0, but the constant was ISO 1250. Things get pretty noisy at around ISO 1250 on the Leica M8.2. I can't imagine how ugly they get at 2500; probably as ugly as my rug! I doubt ISO 2500 is useable. Depending on the various lights, I still think that ISO 1250 is a doable range. Not the best, but acceptable. These pictures were noisy though, and if it's a matter of getting that nightclub shot or whatever, the M8.2 will get a capture. It will look better than the Canon G9 or Canon SD800 that I usually use for night shots while out and about. It's no Nikon D700 in the low-light arena, but I don't have a Summilux on the camera, just a Summicron, and this isn't a M9. I still think it's pretty good considering. Yes, the M9 would do much better, and I wish I had one to try out for say, 10 years! LOL! I know the M8.2 doesn't do better than my cheap Nikon D80 at that ISO, depending on the lens. Considering the cost of the camera, one would think it could shoot low light without an issue. That's not the case, and the sweet spot for this camera is ISO 640. After that things start to noticeably degrade when you blow up the file.

I don't know if this is a big issue with people wanting to shoot low light. Gosh, what did we do when we only shot film? Ha! We pushed the film or used that grainy 3200 ISO stuff. Film grain and sensor noise are two different things though. Film grain is much more pleasing to look at than noise from a digital camera. Well, I bet I could have brought the ISO down a bit and hand-held for a less noisy shot, but I specifically wanted to see how much noise this camera produces. Didn't you? I don't know. What do you think? Is it passable? (I truly wish you could see how terrible the lights are, and how ugly this rug is down here.) I want to experiment more with low light shooting with this camera and I do believe I can get better pictures depending on lights, and scenes. This is kind of disappointing though. I was expecting a much better low light file.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Leica Is Confused

Here's a little story for you. I bought a used, though never registered Leica M8.2 from Ken Hansen, (a dealer out of NYC). I then wanted to register the camera. I found paperwork in the box about getting registered and then receiving 2 free IR filters. (This deal is due to Leica's botching of their M8 and M8.2 sensor; it not being able to render a true black in the files produced by these cameras. The remedy is to give two IR filters to offset all the angry customers. Yeah, I know. What if you have more than two lenses?)

The camera was then registered by doing as the paperwork said, which was to send certain required copies of paperwork to Germany. I emailed Leica to ask about filter sizes, as I didn't know what they'd be sending. Yes, I mentioned that the camera was used though never registered. As soon as I sent that email on its way, I found a link on Leica's website (not easily), which led me to the free IR filter order page. With some email help from another Leica customer service person, I figured out which filters to order for my lenses. (I had no clue!) This customer service rep was helpful and we emailed back and forth until I knew exactly the size filters I needed.

About 1-2 weeks go by when I receive an email from Leica stating they wouldn't honor the "two free filters" for me due to my camera being used. (This was a response to my original email.) Needless to say, I was quite pissed off. I called Stan Tamarkin, where I just purchased a 90mm Summicron E55 lens used, and told him about my dilemma, that I needed to purchase an IR filter from him. Stan said that's ridiculous. "It's like being almost pregnant. You either are or you aren't. If the camera hasn't been registered, then Leica should send the filters, because they hadn't for that particular camera." It's almost as if they were getting away with not fulfilling their obligation to make good on the screwed up M8, M8.2 sensor.

If I never sent that original email asking about the filters, I wouldn't be in this predicament, as the camera was never registered. Had I just ordered the filters following registration, (without sending that email) Leica would have just sent the filters, which was the proper thing to do. (Remember, this camera had not been registered so no one received any filters for this camera).

After buying an IR filter from Tamarkin for the 90mm lens, (expensive) I went on with my life figuring Leica is a richer company for screwing its customer. It's my fault for being honest and admitting the camera was used. If I didn't do that, for all Leica knew, the camera was sitting on a shelf waiting to be purchased. No one registered it! Leica didn't give 2 filters for this camera! (Should I start lying and cheating instead of being honest? LOL!)

Well, today I received a package. In it were two brand new Leica IR filters. Apparently, Leica employees don't speak to one another and I got my filters, (as I should have anyway! Shame on the person who refused me my filters!) I think Leica's customer service should really look at this incident and change their ridiculous policy of refusing a customer IR filters just because the camera is used. If the camera wasn't registered, Leica was obligated to send the filters for that camera. Period. Now, if the previous owner registered and received his two filters, then Leica needs to keep track of this, to prevent sending filters out more than once to those cameras registered. My camera wasn't registered, so if they kept accurate records, they'd see that particular serial numbered camera didn't have the IR filter order fulfilled.

I guess being honest is a good thing. It worked out in the end. I got my filters.

M8.2 Indoors

Ozzy licking the spatula. Rice Pudding. Yum!

Just hold up a piece of carrot and Ozzy will stare wherever you want!

Ozzy sits very still in case some food falls. This makes it easier to focus.

Ozzy waiting for scraps.

Diane giving me the glare.

Diane chopping away at cauliflower.

Focus on the faucet.

Diane chopping vegetables.

I tried taking a few pictures indoors in natural light. The lighting outside was terrible due to rain storms. It was late afternoon and darker inside than normal. Still, I was able to use ISO 320 with various apertures and shutter speeds. I'm sure if I shot at ISO 640 I would have had less blurry shots due to faster shutter speeds, but I wanted to see if I could nail a few shots and keep the noise down. I'm getting better at focusing though some objects are harder to focus on than others. No fancy pictures here, just a few pictures in the kitchen.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Leica Out & About

A small shop in Thornes Market had the most exquisite handbags that looked like pieces of art!

An old Royal Typewriter in a shop window.

A shop called 25 Central in Thornes Market.

My sister at the restaurant. The light from the window made it harder for me to get the right exposure. I tweaked this in Photoshop.

My sister and I went to Northampton, Massachusetts today to have lunch and do some window shopping. I took the Leica with me, of course. I carried it in my North Face backpack, which has an area to hold a laptop computer. (I don't really have a camera bag for this camera yet. I have to find something small enough, but able to carry my wallet and a few personal items too.) I placed the camera in the backpack for safe keeping but mostly carried the camera around my neck. I had a jacket on that concealed the camera a bit, which made me feel better. I'm a little nervous about carrying around such an expensive camera. I know I'll get over it after a while but I never like to flaunt any equipment on the streets. There weren't too many outdoor scenes I thought interesting enough to photograph today, and the lighting was too harsh. Instead, I photographed indoors at Thornes Market. I am still slow about focusing the camera, but like I said before, I'm getting a feel for it. I have a few okay shots to show. Nothing fancy. I converted some to black and white. I even colored some parts of the photos because I liked the effect. I think all of the photographs were shot at ISO 320. I varied the shutter speed and aperture. At one point I set the camera to Aperture Priority to see how it handled. The only bad thing is that the EXIF data won't show what Aperture the camera was set at for some odd reason, and that's even with the lens being 6-bit coded! Does anyone know why that is? (I wonder if Leica fixed that issue with the M9 model?)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Leica Highlights

I love the look on Ozzy's face here.

This is my second favorite shot. I converted to black and white, and brought out some of the detail in the file. Poor Ozzy just wants to sleep!

This is my favorite shot of Ozzy. I converted to black and white and sharpened it. That's it. It's shot at ISO 160 and 1/60 of a second. (I'm not sure of the aperture, but I think it was F/8).

Ozzy found a lovely spot to catch the morning light. I wanted to see how the M8.2 captured this difficult scene. It's probably due to me not knowing enough about photography that made this difficult to do. I had a hard time not blowing out the highlights in this extreme lighting situation using any digital camera. The sunlight coming into the house this morning was so intense, that no amount of shutter, aperture, or ISO juggling seemed to produce a happy medium photograph. The highlights kept getting blown out. I suppose there is a way for me to remedy this, but I don't know what it is, so I shot anyway to see what I'd get.

The Leica camera is getting easier for me to focus. My only problem is when I switch from one camera brand to the next, I have to stop and think what I need to do. This is especially important on the Leica "manual everything" camera. LOL! I've been using my Nikon manually for everything except the AF, so transitioning is easier this way. Now that the weather is getting nicer, I'll be able to grab some free time and shoot using this awesome camera. I want to shoot some portraits soon. It's my favorite type of photography these days besides photographing street shots in Northampton, Massachusetts.

I was rather envious of those people who were pre-ordering their M9s from B&H Photo. I originally wanted the M9 and settled on the M8.2 because I heard the wait was going to be ridiculous. Plus, having never tried a Leica, I wasn't sure I wanted to spend that kind of cash and find out I hated the rangefinder system. (I actually like it quite a bit. It's different from the D-SLR cameras, but it's a nice change) Now that I have the M8.2 in my hands, with two wonderful lenses, I don't want to give it up to have my credit card charged and still be waiting for the M9 to show at my door step. B&H Photo is charging the credit cards immediately though the product isn't ready to ship yet. I know they only want serious buyers, but I think that's taking it a bit too far. It's not unreasonable for me to want the product within 5 days of being charged, is it? That's seven thousand dollars! Anyway, I'm hanging on and waiting for my phone call from another dealer to tell me my order is definitely in, and do I want the M9 or shall I pass? It's a question I will answer when asked. Right now, I'm enjoying the M8.2 and happy I have 4K still in my pocket. ;)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Leica 90mm Summicron 2.0 E55 Lens

My favorite one of the bunch. I was standing pretty far away for this shot. Amazing.

Okay. Ozzy is asleep. This is just wrong. LOL!

Ozzy is completely bored.

They came out like this. Not too bad, but still needing the IR Filter for the M8.2.

SEE WHAT HAPPENS when you don't use the IR filter on the M8.2? Okay, well this was a joke. The picture really didn't come out like this!

I bought a used "near mint" Leica 90mm Summicron E55 6-bit coded lens from Stan's Tamarkin Camera today. I received it sans the IR filter, because I'm waiting for Leica to send me two free filters from Germany. I took a few shots anyway of my dog Ozzy. Yes, it did show the purple color instead of the blacks due to the lens not having the IR filter. I converted the files to black and white, which made them look better. Who wants a purple dog? LOL!

I'm hoping to use this for portraits, though it won't be a true 90mm. It will be a 117mm lens. A tad longer on the M8.2, but still useable. The lens has a heft to it. It's solid. The focusing is a bit hard to do, but I managed. Once I get the frame lines right, I will see better results.

I'm very happy to be able to use this as a portrait lens. I can't wait to try it out with the IR filter.

Meanwhile, here are a few samples of my dog Ozzy looking quite bored with the whole thing. At least he isn't purple! LOL!

As for the results being better than my Nikon D80 with a 50mm F/1.8 lens? I don't see much difference given the high ISO. That is, until I look at a close-up. The files from the Leica hold a bit less noise at ISO 640 here. But, my captures aren't as good as with the Nikon, because I'm not used to the rangefinder camera or this lens. Once I get better at using this type of system, I'd be curious to see which camera produces better results.

I think if either the 90mm or 35mm lenses are used correctly, the images will prove sharper than the images produced by my Nikon lens. The Leica lenses are that good. It's my fault if the Leica files come out blurry due to my poor focusing skills right now. (I'm a newbie!) Once I nail the focus, the pictures will be intense, I'm sure.

I'm having fun using this system though. It's a complete polar opposite to the usual D-SLR AF cameras.