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M10M exposure bracketing defective?

cjl

Member
I’m casting around for guidance so this echoes an inquiry I put up yesterday on the Leica Forum (apologies to any of you who follow both). I’ve been using Leica M’s since the M8 for landscape work as, early on, Leica was the only maker offering full frame IQ in a relatively light and compact package. I recently acquired an M10 Monochrom and am very impressed by its image quality. I do have one complaint, however. All the M’s I’ve used previously had reasonably convenient settings for exposure bracketing. In the M10 generation this critical function for landscape work has been relegated to the drive mode menu item. I could live with that except that it appears the camera does not remember its drive mode setting and each time I turn it off and on again (which you need to do often to conserve the reduced battery life) I find the drive mode has reverted to single exposure. Worse, even after you select exposure bracketing, there appears to be no way to combine that with the shutter delay function. So I have had to keep the shutter button mashed down manually through the three or five shot sequence (thereby ensuring camera shake even on a tripod and ruining any potential exposure blending in post).

This makes absolutely no sense, especially since adding this function would entail such a minor firmware fix, so I am wondering if I am just missing something in the manual or settings, or if my camera is somehow defective. I’ve since learned that the SL apparently also cannot combine exposure bracketing with shutter delay and am having trouble imagining why Leica would write off landscape and architecture photographers who would obviously want this capability. Any advice welcome (especially if it might be a problem only with my new camera).
 

250swb

Member
Get a spare battery and set the camera to stay on all the time, and buy a cable release so you aren't 'mashing' the shutter release button with your finger.

It is the same situation with all the digital Leica M's, but the workaround is pretty simple.
 

cjl

Member
First off, responding to my original post, Drive Mode settings on my M10M are sticky after all. I was misled by some unexpected behavior in the Fotos app, with which I had been experimenting as a work-around remote trigger. You are supposed to be able to select and trigger any of the M10M’s drive modes remotely using the app. However, at least on my M10M, no matter which drive mode you select on the app’s Settings screen, when you switch to the app Remote screen, the camera itself switches from the drive mode selected in the app back to single shot mode. (The drive mode selected in the app is clearly being communicated to the camera as the drive setting selected in the app also appears at the top of the camera’s LCD for a split second before it reverts to single shot mode.) Unless this is behavior unique to the (or my copy of the) M10M, this would appear to be a bug in the app software.

However, you can still use the app as a remote for other drive settings if you follow a particular sequence, which follows in case others have run into a similar problem:

1) start up the M10M wifi and the app;
2) activate the app’s Remote screen (no need to set any particular drive mode in the app’s setting’s screen);
3) on the M10M itself, select exposure bracketing in the drive mode menu and activate that by pressing the Menu button (the Fotos remote screen will freeze once you start pressing the camera’s physical controls);
4) switch the camera again into LV either by pressing that button or half-pressing the shutter button, which then reactivates the app’s Remote screen; and
5) trigger the bracket sequence in the app Remote screen.

If you want to take additional brackets, you need to keep the camera on and the app’s Remote screen active; if you switch to another Fotos screen, when you then return to the Remote screen the camera will reset itself to single shot mode again and you have to repeat the above sequence from step #3.

It would still be great if Leica could give us back the delayed shutter-exposure bracket function in a future camera firmware upgrade, but hopefully they will meanwhile fix this in Fotos. If others are finding their M10s are operating differently, please advise.
 

250swb

Member
I doubt your Firmware is unique to your particular camera, and to be honest I'm scratching my head why you are finding a problem or need an app to fire your camera. Sure it could be better but the way it is set up by Leica hasn't stopped people making bracketed shots in the past. Like I said, use a cable release, maybe you'll get a blister on your thumb by using it.
 

cjl

Member
I doubt your Firmware is unique to your particular camera, and to be honest I'm scratching my head why you are finding a problem or need an app to fire your camera. Sure it could be better but the way it is set up by Leica hasn't stopped people making bracketed shots in the past. Like I said, use a cable release, maybe you'll get a blister on your thumb by using it.
I looked at your flickr site and clearly we share a love for landscape photography so I’m scratching my head reading your last post, wondering why you wouldn’t want to help Leica to improve the tool they’ve made for people like us. It is pretty clear they have a firmware/software problem that shouldn’t be a big challenge to fix. FWIW, I did fish out an old cable release today and (with the exception of one camera freeze) it worked fine (no blisters, even). It’s just that we shouldn’t need the cable release at all to use this most minimalist of systems. I’ve submitted my findings to Leica, received a polite reply and hope they can remedy this soon.
 

mkerouac

Member
Cjl, I agree with you. Leica needs to modify the firmware. it is perfectly reasonable to expect the shutter delay to work with bracketing. I do not carry a remote release. I have always just used the shutter delay. The less crap cluttering up my gear bag, the better, In terms of Fotos, I very much view the App as a work in progress. My expectations are low. I'm also incredibly turned off by the $49.99 subscription price for the iPad version. Leica is top of pyramid with body and lens pricing. They should not be charging for Fotos.
 

250swb

Member
I looked at your flickr site and clearly we share a love for landscape photography so I’m scratching my head reading your last post, wondering why you wouldn’t want to help Leica to improve the tool they’ve made for people like us. It is pretty clear they have a firmware/software problem that shouldn’t be a big challenge to fix. FWIW, I did fish out an old cable release today and (with the exception of one camera freeze) it worked fine (no blisters, even). It’s just that we shouldn’t need the cable release at all to use this most minimalist of systems. I’ve submitted my findings to Leica, received a polite reply and hope they can remedy this soon.
Shutter delay firing a bracketed sequence would be a very nice backup for the times I've lost, or forgotten to bring, a cable release, that I accept. But I prefer to press the shutter when I see the light change, or when the wind stops gusting, not in five seconds when it may have changed again, even in landscape there are 'decisive moments'. Neither do I want to be looking at an app on an iPad. So I just don't see it as a problem that's very high up on a list, certainly not for Leica because this goes back years. On a practical level the necessity of bracketed exposures is of diminishing usefulness anyway for landscape work given the excellent shadow recovery possible, unless it's some sort of HDR effect you want. The clue of what Leica intended all along and that it isn't a software 'fault' is that simple low-tech threaded hole in the shutter button.
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
I personally prefer a simple remote release over any number of auto-bracket and tethered control operation features, to the extent that if Leica updates the CL to simply add a wired remote port rather than forcing me to use the self timer or FOTOs to release the shutter, I'd buy the upgrade for that single feature alone. :D

It is the single feature that I miss the most on this excellent camera!

G
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Hama make a device consisting of an adjustable strap that wraps around the camera; it has a thread for an ordinary cable release. This is from UK amazon:

I have one of those. It's very clumsy in use, and mostly useless as a result. You almost have to take it off and put it back on to manage settings and such, and it's forever sliding out of the correct position so that actuating the shutter is inconsistent. It works better on a larger, thicker bodied camera ... The short, slender body of the CL doesn't really work so well with it.

I have a design for an add-on cable release adapter now that will work much better, if I ever get around to making it. It's a properly shaped piece of steel or aluminum attached to a thin piece that fits between the camera and your favorite Arca-Swiss camera plate. To fit the CL, it has to be thin and sturdy ... Steel is probably better. The cable release will press on a spring-loaded pusher piece and contact the shutter release button over about half its diameter so that it doesn't mark or slide sideways on the release button, and so that you can feel the half-way detent for locking focus and exposure if you're so inclined.

Perhaps I'll get motivated to cobble it up. :D

G
 

Robert Campbell

Active member
I have one of those. It's very clumsy in use, and mostly useless as a result. You almost have to take it off and put it back on to manage settings and such, and it's forever sliding out of the correct position so that actuating the shutter is inconsistent. It works better on a larger, thicker bodied camera ... The short, slender body of the CL doesn't really work so well with it....
G
I had something similar years ago, though it has disappeared. A rather fiddly thing, but better than nothing, so I've no experience with it on the CL. I guess the idea is sound enough, but the implementation is a bit lacking.
 
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cjl

Member
I certainly understand use of a physical shutter release cable to choose the moment of shutter release. My only point is that given the sophistication of the Leica system and its emphasis on simplicity, we shouldn‘t need to bring along an extraneous cable — really runs counter to their aesthetic of paring to essentials. Being able to trigger the same, instantaneous shutter release via Fotos would achieve the timing objective without requiring we bring along more gear. It would be nice to see Leica devote the very minor resources necessary to fix their software/firmware, especially as it’s been several years since the M10 debut. They did eventually bring back the even more essential level display function, so hopefully it’s time for them to get around to this as well.

Shutter delay firing a bracketed sequence would be a very nice backup for the times I've lost, or forgotten to bring, a cable release, that I accept. But I prefer to press the shutter when I see the light change, or when the wind stops gusting, not in five seconds when it may have changed again, even in landscape there are 'decisive moments'. Neither do I want to be looking at an app on an iPad. So I just don't see it as a problem that's very high up on a list, certainly not for Leica because this goes back years. On a practical level the necessity of bracketed exposures is of diminishing usefulness anyway for landscape work given the excellent shadow recovery possible, unless it's some sort of HDR effect you want. The clue of what Leica intended all along and that it isn't a software 'fault' is that simple low-tech threaded hole in the shutter button.
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
It's an odd thing when I hear that a mechanical cable release is something to be considered as extraneous complexity and modifications to something as complex as a tethering app as the simple solution. :D

G
 

250swb

Member
I certainly understand use of a physical shutter release cable to choose the moment of shutter release. My only point is that given the sophistication of the Leica system and its emphasis on simplicity, we shouldn‘t need to bring along an extraneous cable — really runs counter to their aesthetic of paring to essentials. Being able to trigger the same, instantaneous shutter release via Fotos would achieve the timing objective without requiring we bring along more gear. It would be nice to see Leica devote the very minor resources necessary to fix their software/firmware, especially as it’s been several years since the M10 debut. They did eventually bring back the even more essential level display function, so hopefully it’s time for them to get around to this as well.
Once upon a time there was a book that everybody read to help them become grounded in life and put things into perspective, and how the philosophy of 'fixing things yourself' stopped you being dependent on other people (like existing in the hope that software developers would do it for you). It is called 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance', written by Robert Pirsig. The idea is that being paralysed by, for example, the lack of an auto delay when firing a sequence, it shouldn't stop you from the even simpler option of using an old tech cable release. Just as in the book 'reading the manual' avoids the helplessness of asking a specialised motorcycle mechanic to fix it for you.
 

airfrogusmc

Active member
Get a spare battery and set the camera to stay on all the time, and buy a cable release so you aren't 'mashing' the shutter release button with your finger.

It is the same situation with all the digital Leica M's, but the workaround is pretty simple.
+ 1 on cable release.
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Once upon a time there was a book that everybody read to help them become grounded in life and put things into perspective, and how the philosophy of 'fixing things yourself' stopped you being dependent on other people (like existing in the hope that software developers would do it for you). It is called 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance', written by Robert Pirsig. The idea is that being paralysed by, for example, the lack of an auto delay when firing a sequence, it shouldn't stop you from the even simpler option of using an old tech cable release. Just as in the book 'reading the manual' avoids the helplessness of asking a specialised motorcycle mechanic to fix it for you.
Right here on the bookshelf. :)

Although I'd rewrite your last sentence to say "... Just as in the book 'reading the manual' avoids the helplessness of having to ask a specialized motorcycle mechanic, in their absence, to fix a small problem for you." Pirsig's thesis in this regard wasn't that experts are unnecessary, but that you should be informed and participate in understanding how things work at least enough so as not to get stuck by something that is insignificant in scale.

I've read ZAMM so many times since it was published. It's quite the amazing book, written on several levels with several different stories intertwined. A masterpiece of good story telling and practical philosophy combine.

G
 

cjl

Member
I agree that the Fotos app isn’t a great solution - it’s just a stopgap. If simplicity of the shooting experience is really the guiding principle, then we shouldn’t need to haul around even a simple cable. The real solution is for Leica to bring back the functionality that was available in all the previous Monochrom models (and the color versions on which they were based) and enable bracketing with shutter delay. Both functions are already in there. A simple firmware upgrade would do it.
 
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