Thursday, July 29, 2010

ISO Noise in 3 Cameras

I used a Leica D-Lux 4 at ISO 400, the Leica M8.2 at ISO 640 (no ISO 800), and the Nikon D90 at ISO 800. Which is which? Which do you like better and why? The answer is below. Before you guess, click on each individual picture then hit the Back button to view the next. Then scroll down to the bottom for the answer.



Answers below

#1 Nikon D90 ISO 800
#2 Leica D-Lux 4 ISO 400. (Even at this ISO it's noisier than the other two.)
#3 Leica M8.2 ISO 640 (There is no ISO 800, so this is as close as I could get.) Good luck with higher ISO than ISO 640. You will notice a degrading in the file, and it isn't pleasing. I wonder if Leica will fix this in the M10? I know the M9 is good to 1250, still not good enough considering the cost of the camera and how D-SLRs can shoot such low light for much cheaper a price.)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Leica D-Lux 4 Pictures of Ozzy Indoors

Using the Leica D-Lux 4 indoors at ISO 400, I noticed that the files is useable, but if blown up, is a bit noisy. It's not as noisy as my Canon G9 or Canon SD800, but the smaller cameras just have a tough time keeping the quality like the Nikon D90 and Leica M8.2 do. Still, the D-Lux is a blast to use. I love the wide-angle lens, and though it can't zoom long, I don't care. I love the different size ratios, especially the square format, which I've mentioned before. the D-Lux is a great all around, carry everywhere type of camera. The best ISO to keep it at is ISO 80, which I'm sure most photographers know this already. Comparing it to the Leica M8.2 files, I notice the loss in quality right away. Of course there would be loss, but it's quite a noticeable loss. The difference in price between the cameras is also noticeable. LOL! Let's face it. Most people won't spend that kind of cash on a camera. Only obsessive fanatics like me would do that. I'm sure that the few people who read this blog are sick of seeing my dog Ozzy all the time, so I will make every effort to venture out of my usual 365 day project of my dog, and photograph other subjects. I know that Panasonic came out with an improved version of this camera, and that Leica won't be far behind. I'm so happy I got this camera when I did. It can't be found anywhere these days. It's a little gem. I wonder how much improved the new D-Lux will be?

All shot at ISO 400
There is a bit of noise in this yawning shot.

Even though his face is a bit of a blur, I love the expression and had to keep this shot. Chronicling my dog on a daily basis, there's bound to be quite a few extra shots of him. I have the 365 day project, but the extras are sometimes just as good, if not better than the ones chosen for the project. One of these days, Ozzy will have his own book. I can feel it in my bones. He is becoming more known on the various blogs I show my work, and he has quite the following. Some people wait each day to see what the next picture of Ozzy will be. I've had people state that it's cheered them up at work too. That makes me happy.
Ozzy went to the Vet today for his yearly check-up and shots. Many shots later, and a diagnosis that Ozzy needs knee surgery, made both of us tired. Time for a nap.

Leica M8.2: Dog Photos

Ozzy has been my main subject while using the Leica M8.2. I use a 35mm Summicron lens but have a 50mm Summicron (older) lens that i'd like to try. With the 1.3 crop factor, the 50mm lens will be a 65mm lens. I may be able to fill the frame with that lens. Ozzy is a small dog and the 35mm lens isn't enough to fill the frame. I can only get so close with it. The longer the focal length, the closer I can get. Still, these pictures are pretty close. All I need is to get a more interesting background an incorporate Ozzy into the scene.

The Leica M8.2 really shines with street, landscape and travel photography. (Not necessarily in that order. I would say landscape is the best subject for this camera.) I'm not an expert, just someone plugging along learning the rangefinder way of doing photography. I plan on taking the rangefinder out for one day and just using it on buildings and landscape. I would like to use a tripod though, as I would yield sharper results.
Ozzy in a zen state of mind
Using the Leica M8.2 indoors isn't too bad as I had enough light to keep the ISO low to avoid too much noise in the files.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Leica M8.2: Focus

Every time I use the leica M8.2 camera and try to focus on my dog, I get this look from Ozzy! LOL! I seriously suck at the focus part of this camera. I'm over 40 and my eyes are just not the same as they were back when I could focus a friggin' Olympus XA camera. We all know how hard those cameras were to line up the focus! Geez!

Ozzy on Bed

I tried both the Nikon D90 and the Leica M8.2 today. I liked the picture I took with the Leica better. I just got lucky. I'm trying to warm up to photographing dogs with this camera. Even though it is tougher to use than an AF Nikon camera. I do use the Nikon on all manual, except the focus. So, here is today's photo of Ozzy taken with the Leica M8.2. Could have easily been taken with a Canon G9, the canon Sd800, the Nikon D90 or a plastic Holga. LOL! Honestly, I'm not a pro, so the fact that I get sharp photos with this camera amazes me due to how my eyesight has been these last few years. Any camera would be okay to use I'm finding these days. There is no magic camera. Well, there is one, but it's a film camera. LOL! In the digital world, the files are flatter looking to me. Some digital cameras are better than others, but if I'm not blowing this picture up past 16X20 or 20X24, who cares? If I can get a decent 11X14 or 8X10 with it, then that's good for me. I will use any after market program to eek out a bit more quality in the file too! trust that! It's called a digital darkroom, people! Wink. Wink. So, focusing is a breeze if you have your eyesight, and not so fun if you don't. I come from the days of all manual cameras and film, so I live with it. Most people don't complain as much as I do about focusing a Leica. I'm a big baby, I guess. I hate getting old.

At this point in my life, I would even embrace an improved Leica X1 camera. It has AF! I love AF on a camera. Everything else can be manual. I need AF nowadays! Leica, come out with a X2 and I'll be all over that camera. Even if the IQ wouldn't be as good as the M8, M8.2 or M9, screw it. I can't see anyway. Hahahaha!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Leica M8.2: My thoughts

I used the Leica M8.2 today for Ozzy's picture and I'm pleased with it. I also used my Nikon D90, but I actually preferred the M8.2 files over the D90 files. But that's just today. It isn't always the top choice. The D90 may be able to get closer to a subject via the type of lens I use, but the files on the Leica seem nicer at the lower ISO speeds, but not always. It's kind of a toss up. What renders nicer are the way the lenses interpret the subject. I think that's the deal breaker. Leica lenses are lovely.

I'm trying to embrace the Leica M8.2 after finally receiving a phone call from the dealer stating that my grey M9 has finally arrived. I decided to decline buying it. I just didn't have the funds, and couldn't justify the purchase right now. Plus, I heard from several sources (and friends) that the M9 is riddled with issues that most people aren't admitting to, which is the sensor failures and the focus problems. To me, the price is too high to take that risk. I think the M8.2 is the more stable Leica camera, even if it isn't full sensor. (It's also a collector's item now that they aren't being made anymore. The M8 isn't as nice as the M8.2 and thus will not have such a status. Too bad.)

So, being that I'm not a Leica fan or a hater, but kind of on the fence, I don't want to invest yet more money into this system. Yes, the M8.2 produces lovely files sometimes. Is it worth thousands more than the Nikon D90 I own? I don't think so. I really don't. I think it's a nice camera, but to have the cost of it be so much higher than other cameras with just as nice, (if not better), features is just obnoxious. Yeah, I know. Nikon has the D3s and such for thousands of dollars. I understand that. Even the D700 is $2600 for the body. It's just that their quality control is better. I've never had a worry about my Nikon camera. I've had one model fail me twice. Nikon fixed it both times for free even though it was out of warranty, it cost me nothing. Plus, their turn around time was less than a week. I'm sure others may complain about Nikon, but I have less issues especially considering the cost of the body VS the cost of a Leica digital rangefinder body. (My friend had nightmares about his M8s! Ugh!) So, I highly doubt Leica would fix a camera out of warranty for free. Leica left a bad taste in my mouth in regards to the stupid little annoyances like the M8 shutter problems. I've never experienced it with my M8.2, but it's bound to happen. To Leica's credit, they did have an update in firmware addressing this issue. Seems to me that if an expensive camera like this comes out with any issues, there is a problem in quality control.

Everyone raves about the M9, and I was about to get one. I wanted one so bad I could taste it. But then I talked to a few people who have owned a M9 and hated it. A friend told me not to waste my money, that I'd be disappointed in the low light shots. the files degrade past ISO 1250. His Nikon files blow the Leica M9 away! Weird! They didn't like how the sensor rendered colors either. My friend said they had a greenish cast, and after seeing some of the files, I couldn't believe it! Another didn't like that the sensors were faulty and the focus problems with lenses. One person told me it would cost a mint of money to replace the sensor in the event that it failed, which in the M9 apparently does. What if the camera is no longer under warranty? It would become a brick! A seven thousand dollar brick! I can't afford to pay thousands of dollars to fix this camera! I don't know if the cost of a fixing the Leica is that high as I've been told, but I shouldn't even be thinking about the lack of quality in any Leica camera. Yet, there are valid problems.

I want a M9, as I thought it would be the perfect camera for me. I don't know if that's still true. I waited since January for this phone call announcing that my M9 was in. As the months went by, and I talked to M8.2 and M9 owners, I started to get the feeling that the the expense of upgrading wouldn't be worth all that extra cash. I romanticized about what it would be like using a Leica. It's nothing like I thought it would be. I was really disgusted with the whole IR issue, having to buy filters! The low light shooting is another blemish! I shot a few pictures at ISO 1250 and they were very noisy. Even at ISO 640, you can see the noise compared to the Nikon which still holds together nicely. Kind of irritating considering the D90 cost a lot less money! I think the digital aspect of it is lacking compared to the film M cameras. I love the M6 camera. It felt great in the hands immediately. It was like playing a fine instrument. I used it, and fell in love with it. Unfortunately, film is expensive, so I don't know how long this romance will last.

Getting back to the M8.2, I like the camera, but it isn't that much lighter than the Nikon D90. It's quite a tank. It's the lenses that make this camera special. If I were to add a bigger lens to my D90, then the size just gets ridiculous. I can't imagine what it would be like to use that combo on a D300s or D700 camera. It definitely would be heavy and noticeable. The Leica wins hands down in that regard. It's so much easier to carry this camera around, and less noticeable. It's more of a quiet zen experience when using the camera in some regards if you can embrace the all manual properties of the camera. I was lucky in that I grew up with film cameras and don't mind the all manual functions. My eyes kind of mind it though, and that's my only gripe about using the camera. (That and the question of quality and expense. I mean, c'mon! So expensive! The guilt of spending that kind of cash on the body and lenses is a very real emotion. I'm not rich, and this is the first time I've ever spent that kind of money on equipment. I'm not a pro, so why do I need this? I'm chasing the Leica experience, I guess. But the experience is not so great. Too many quirks! Too much money for such quirks!)

Also, I don't know that the M9 is worth $4000 more than the M8.2 in quality. In fact, I know it isn't. The experience of spending that kind of cash can ruin the fun of owning a Leica too. I agree that Leica lenses are some of the best lenses in the world though. Everything I bought was used, which is fine with me. It does really bug me that i don't have the full frame. It doesn't bug me that I'm four grand deeper into debt. I don't shoot really wide angle enough so, that's where the D-Lux 4 fits the bill. Even that camera doesn't shoot as wide as theNikon 14mm lens I have, which I think is too much wide for me except on occasion. Not enough occasion though.

I bought my M8.2 camera used, but in mint condition. I paid about well over $3000 for it. (Thankfully I didn't pay the full $5999 for it!) So, is it worth almost $4000 more to buy into the M9 just to get the full frame? Seriously? Everyone raves about how much better the full frame is, but it just means I can enlarge my files past 20X30 instead of 20X30 or less. The ISO only gets better by one more setting from to 1250, as 2500 isn't quite usable, even though people swear it is. It isn't a usable file like the Nikon D700 is a usable file. So, is it worth $4000 to get an almost usable 2500 ISO setting as opposed to an almost usable 1250 setting? No. It isn't. Do I still want the M9? Yes. (But it would have to be able to shoot in low light at least up to ISO 3200 without degrading into a noisy mess!) Someday I'd like to get one, when Leica works out all of the bugs. If ever. What about those who angrily sold their cameras in disgust? Am I to ignore them? This would be so much easier a decision if Leica didn't stumble with each model in the quality control area. The M8 was riddled with problems. The M8.2 addressed them up to a point except for IR and noise starting at ISO 640. The M9 was bum rushed out the door due to its full frame status and other improvements, but I can't help thinking that Leica could have done better with the quality to reassure their customers that the product would have no issues. (Like the focus issues, sensor failures and it being sent from the factory with dust inside!) That's where I have a problem with Leica. If Leica's product was superior in quality, then I'd have one in my hands right now. I'd be confident that the system wouldn't fail me, that there wouldn't be these annoying quirks like plastic LCDs VS the nice Crystal LCD of the M8.2, the sensor , color and focus issues, the firmware upgrades, and whatever else crops up. Perhaps the M10 will be the better camera, once Leica works out all of the bugs at its customer's expense.

So, here I am with my M8.2, which is paid for, and my little old 35 and 50 crons. That's what I use right now for lenses. I'm not a pro. I'm a gadget junkie who wanted all her life to use a Leica because everyone said how wonderful they were. I waited years to be able to almost afford the Leica package. I like the Leica experience to an extent. The M6 is lovely. As for the digital rangefinder? It's an acquired taste, and I keep on plugging away. Some days I love the camera, or the idea of it. Other days it's a pain. JPEGS aren't the greatest out of camera, even though I shoot RAW mostly. Colors can be off if you're not careful about the white balance. Focusing takes a bit of finesse and better eye sight. I keep trying to connect with this camera, because I think I may regret selling it if I don't at least try to form a bond with it first. But the noise in when I shoot in low light is so annoying.

Sorry this is so long, but I'm just addressing things that I'm sure other people have thought about but weren't honest enough to express. I guess I'm the oddball who didn't fall in absolute love with the Leica Digital Rangefinder camera. But, I am trying to fall in love. So, there's that.LOL!

A few shots of Ozzy.

This was too funny.

Below was my choice for the 365 Ozzy picture of the day.

Leica D-Lux 4: The Daily Shoot Stuff

I took more pictures for the Daily Shoot, but I'm not doing those assignments anymore. I don't have enough time in the day, and want to focus on my own photography. It was fun while it lasted. It taught me one thing though; that the Leica D-Lux 4 is an all around fun camera to use for such projects. It's a great little travel camera too. It may not have the IQ of a M8 or M9, but it has a fun factor they don't have. Plus, it's small enough to not be annoying. I just hate carrying around heavier camera gear. I carry around my purse and a camera, so it's a total pain. I'm trying to incorporate it so that my camera goes into a bag equipped enough to carry it, plus some personal items. I do love the waist packs if they are small and not too bulky around the waist. At any rate, each Leica has it's pluses and minuses.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Leica D-Lux 4: The Daily Shoot

I'm still dabbling with The Daily Shoot. I usually use the Leica D-Lux 4 because it's quick & handy for this sort of project. I'm not sure how long I'll keep doing this project, but here are two more pictures from the assignments given from the Daily Shoot Website.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Leica M8.2 VS Nikon D90

I photographed Ozzy with the Leica M8.2 and the Nikon D90. Can you tell which pictures came from which camera? I will number the pictures below and guess as you check out each picture. Click on them to blow them up. Which files do you like better and why? Be honest about the pictures you like better.

The answers are below. Were you correct?

#1 Leica M8.2
#2 Leica M8.2
#3 Nikon D90
#4 Nikon D90
#5 Leica M8.2

Leica D-Lux 4: The Daily Shoot

More of The Daily Shoot photos using the Leica D-Lux 4 camera.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Leica M8 & M8.2 Firmware Update 2.005!

Yippee! I'm happy there is an update. Apparently it addressed the shutter issue in this camera. I've never personally had issues. I'm not going to wait and find out I have them though. LOL! I'm one of the lucky people who has a M8.2 with no issues, and no blemishes or marks. (Probably because I bought it in near-new condition!).
I thought I'd share the link to the Leica M8.2 firmware update. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Leica D-Lux 4: #ds233 The Daily Shoot

Another Daily Shoot (#ds233), with the theme being the color blue. I took a plastic cup outside in the 100 degree heat and placed it on a flower stem in the garden. I wanted a kind of surreal photo, but with the theme blue incorporated in the photograph. The flowers being a lovely orange and organic next to the bright blue plastic cup which is man-made, was an interesting concept to me. It's like the garden represents the beauty of the earth, while the cup is trash littered amongst the beautiful scenery. I then used a vintage camera frame file taken from a Flickr group that specializes in photographing the inside viewfinders of old camera frames. Too cool! They leave the dust in there to give it a cool effect. you can't really see the dust so much in this photo unless you look at the all sizes in Flickr.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Leica D-Lux 4: #ds232 The Daily Shoot

Today's daily shoot I did a quick shot at the end of the day. I almost forgot about the whole project. This Daily Shoot is about forced perspective. I had to make something appear closer than it actually was. I call it "Postage Stamp". LOL!

Leica D-Lux 4: #ds230 The Daily Shoot

I used the Leica D-Lux 4 for "The Daily Shoot". I don't know how long I'll contribute to this daily picture website, but I've done a few days and it's kind of fun. This theme is about finding a sign
in front of a vista that tells a story. LOL!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

ISO 3200 with the Leica D-Lux 4

I used the Leica D-Lux 4 at ISO 3200 to grab a shot for "The Daily Shoot", which required an assignment to make a photo of something under construction. I took a photo of a room that's being done downstairs in my basement. At this high of an ISO the noise is quite evident. Still, I can get by with it in black and white, though it's noisy as heck.

Leica D-Lux 4: 365 Days of Ozzy

For today's project picture I used the leica D-Lux 4 in dynamic b&w 1:1 ratio mode. The first picture below is my top pick. The others were in the running.

Leica M8.2: 365 Days of Ozzy

I try to incorporate different cameras into my "365 Days of Ozzy" project. It keeps me interested in doing this project and it makes me think about the different workings of the camera. The Leica M8.2 produces lovely files, but not without thinking things through step-by-step. The camera is all manual while the Leica D-Lux 4 isn't. I usually set the Leica D-Lux 4 to manual mode, but it still has the AF focusing which I'm thankful to use. The Leica M8.2 has none of those features, but produces a better IQ file. It's always a compromise. I also use the Nikon D90 a lot due to Ozzy always moving around. Using the Nikon D90 is much easier, but there's just something really gorgeous about those Leica M8.2 files. Hard to explain. I can't imagine what the M9 would produce. I've heard so many issues about these cameras going into the shop that i don't want to risk spending 7K on one. I am still on a list, but when they call, I think I'm turning them down. The M6 will produce just as good files in film, and cost me a bundle less than the M9. Plus, my Flickr friend sold hers and stuck with her M8.2! So, I have the camera that is likely to have less issues than the newer M9! How freaky is that? I've never heard issues with the M8.2 like I have with the M9 camera. That's just sad. Makes me think Leica pushed out the M9 in a rush. Yeah, it's full frame, but I'm really starting to think that it comes at a major cost.

The first picture below was my choice of the day, though the other two were close. Every time I think that I should sell this camera due to how expensive it was, I get files that make me love it all over again. It's touch and go with this camera. I love the files, but feel guilty about owning such an expensive piece of gear when I'm not a pro photographer. Whew. I could use the cash to pay for a trip I'm planning as well. I've placed an ad a few times, but pulled them. This camera tugs at me, but at the same time aggravates me. I've spent so much money on this gear, and it produces beautiful files, but I'm not a pro and my quest for the best IQ and Leica glow was an expensive one. The Nikon D90 camera may be easier to use in some regards but the files aren't as lovely.