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Thread: m9 D3x comparism

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    Member markowich's Avatar
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    m9 D3x comparism

    i just posted this over at the leica forum, but maybe folks here are interested too. so here it is:

    i did some low iso comparisms between D3x and M9 today, both at their respective base isos.. nikon 85 f1.4 and leica summicrom 90mm. NX 2 for NEFs and lightroom (GRRRRRRR!!!!!) for DNGs. out of the box the leica DNGs looked better, or rather more acute. this advantage faded when some moderate sharpening was applied to the nikon files and in the end i came to the impression that the D3x files have a clear resolution advantage (24mpx compared to 18mpx). it was an evenly illuminated scene, so i have no DR comparism to offer.
    anyway, i shall keep the m9 but tomorrow i shall cancel my S2 preorder. in all honesty, i am disappointed by the conservative leica approach (yes, i did know it when i bought the M9). but the direct comparism to the D3x (and most likely also to the 5Dmark2) is kind of frustrating. it is like comparing a TGV trip to a vienna streetcar. and yes, sometimes streetcar trips are fun....but you arrive faster on the TGV.
    peter

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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    Quote Originally Posted by markowich View Post
    i just posted this over at the leica forum, but maybe folks here are interested too.
    care to share the images?

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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    These are such different cameras to me to make a comparison between a rangefinder and an dslr is pointless. It is about a different way of seeing of how you are percieved by a person you are photographing. The weight on your shoulder. how the world looks at f1.4, nikon makes no wides currently that go that fast, I could go on but you get the point. It is a vastly different tool. One more thing in different light thee ccd wil be better or sometimes worse then the cmos. I am a pro I own a few cameras . But for me personally nothing comes close to a good rangefinder. David
    www.davidseelig.com

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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    care to share the images?
    i am not going to post meaningless jpgs, you will find them on reichman's and reid's sites tomorrow anyway. if you want NEFS and DNGs please email me.
    p

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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    Quote Originally Posted by dseelig View Post
    These are such different cameras to me to make a comparison between a rangefinder and an dslr is pointless. It is about a different way of seeing of how you are percieved by a person you are photographing. The weight on your shoulder. how the world looks at f1.4, nikon makes no wides currently that go that fast, I could go on but you get the point. It is a vastly different tool. One more thing in different light thee ccd wil be better or sometimes worse then the cmos. I am a pro I own a few cameras . But for me personally nothing comes close to a good rangefinder. David
    www.davidseelig.com
    the final print does not carry the label 'DSLR' or 'rangefinder' or nikon or leica or hasselblad or phase. it is what it is. it is there where the final judgement happens.
    peter

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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    Well people will never believe it until they see it that a 21MP CMOS with AA or 24 CMOS with AA after some light sharpening will out resolve the m9. Still people will claim no AA Filter is SOOO much better, but that is a different topic. I will buy an M9 not because it has no AA filter, but because it is fun to work with.

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    Oxide Blu
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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher View Post

    I will buy an M9 ... because it is fun to work with.

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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    Not really sure where this one size should fit all attitude has come from but it seems pretty prevalent these days. Who cares if the D3X out resolves the M9. Then don't buy an M9! Personally I don't want to carry around a camera the size of a brick and lenses the size of softballs and small melons (and yes, I own a D3 - not X - and do use it and love it).

    Anyway, the M9 files look good and my dealer and local rep are working on getting me one next week before a trip. Bottom line is that it is full frame. I'm not too chuffed what the mp is or the noise factor etc (though appears to be much lower than M8).

    The images that are paying for this camera were taken during the 80's/90's on Tri-X and 3200 through Nikon lenses. So, yes, it is about the final print, but there's a lot of different ways a final print can look. If anything I'm concerned about the M9 being "too clean."

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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    Quote Originally Posted by dseelig View Post
    These are such different cameras to me to make a comparison between a rangefinder and an dslr is pointless. [...] David
    www.davidseelig.com
    This is true, unless one is making buying decisions based on the quality of the images a given camera can produce and is willing to put aside the question of style. In that case this kind of comparison is decidedly pointful.

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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    These comparisons will always come forth and they are very valid to a point yes i agree Apples to Oranges but I also see that X amount of dollars buys me this compared to that and than the usage of one of them is higher. So yes cross comparisons of different brands and types is a normal and at some point in these comparisons you have to make a Apple or Orange choice on what works for you as well.

    I know these comparisons to some degree upset people but in a sense they are of value and they should be made even though it is a apple to orange difference . Hope that made some sense been a long day and I am out of espresso
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    These comparisons will always come forth and they are very valid to a point yes i agree Apples to Oranges but I also see that X amount of dollars buys me this compared to that and than the usage of one of them is higher. So yes cross comparisons of different brands and types is a normal and at some point in these comparisons you have to make a Apple or Orange choice on what works for you as well.

    I know these comparisons to some degree upset people but in a sense they are of value and they should be made even though it is a apple to orange difference . Hope that made some sense been a long day and I am out of espresso
    It's of value to me for one Guy. If the M9 is anything even close to a D3X, I'll be one happy snapper ... and my poor shoulder will be even happier.

    Seriously, I know for a fact that I hunt differently with a M than I do with a DSLR. I like the choice.

    BTW, I seriously doubt the difference between 18.5 meg and 24.5 meg is significant.

    I keep harping on this, but I'll say it again ... it takes more than a few hours (or even days) to dig into any new camera, especially one with a completely new sensor. Heck, I'm still "investigating" the D3X, and getting a lot more out of it than the first few weeks I was shooting it.



    I'll be using these two cameras side-by-side in real world conditions, and super variable lighting. The M8 already holds it's own against the big dogs when shooting in ISO 640 lighting and printing to 11"X14" ... so I have high hopes for the M9 ... so does my busted back and arthritic bones.

    -Marc

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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    Thanks for posting your comparison impressions, which I find interesting.
    We also have to keep in mind lenses. How much IQ comes from the lens and how much from the sensor?
    The 85 Nikon is a very good prime as is the Leica 90cron (did you use the asph?)
    Now how would it look like if we had a Nikon 50mm and the Leica 50asph on the cameras and use them wide open?
    How would it look like with 21,24 or 28 primes?

    Your conclusion sounds like the d3x and the M9 sensors should be pretty close, with maybe a slight resolution advantage for the d3x. If this is the case I guess I will be pretty happy with the M9.

    I am also convinced that the difference between stronger and weaker AA-filter is not visible for each subject, but only sometimes specially in fine textures where generating artificial sharpness (SW-sharpnening) doesnt allways work that well.

    Besides detail there is the question of tonality and color reproduction.
    Many people (including me) claim they can see some difference between MF and DSLR-sensors. So I would assume that it should be valid for the S2 as well. I would be very interested to see more comparisons and to hear your findings.

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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    Thanks for posting your comparison impressions, which I find interesting.
    We also have to keep in mind lenses. How much IQ comes from the lens and how much from the sensor?
    The 85 Nikon is a very good prime as is the Leica 90cron (did you use the asph?)
    Now how would it look like if we had a Nikon 50mm and the Leica 50asph on the cameras and use them wide open?
    How would it look like with 21,24 or 28 primes?

    Your conclusion sounds like the d3x and the M9 sensors should be pretty close, with maybe a slight resolution advantage for the d3x. If this is the case I guess I will be pretty happy with the M9.

    I am also convinced that the difference between stronger and weaker AA-filter is not visible for each subject, but only sometimes specially in fine textures where generating artificial sharpness (SW-sharpnening) doesnt allways work that well.

    Besides detail there is the question of tonality and color reproduction.
    Many people (including me) claim they can see some difference between MF and DSLR-sensors. So I would assume that it should be valid for the S2 as well. I would be very interested to see more comparisons and to hear your findings.
    i basically agree with all you say. in fact, i bought the M9 because i expect some sort of MFDB tonality from it in a small and portable package. my testing is by far not at a point yet where i can confirm or deny this...so far all i know is that -under the described test set up (90mm aspherical btw) - the d3x still outresolves (slightly) the m9, inspite AA filter. also, i know that the d3x has a 1,5 to 2 step advantage. in particular i am not happy with the los of detail in medium-high iso M9 files. and let me reiterate, at base iso the m9 files are very nice, inspite of LR. a funny note: apparently the manual was written a while ago. it still says that a SN for C1 is included...then they retract from it on an add on page. i wish leica would still get along with phase.
    some other weird stuff: even with FW 1.002 i only get sRGB. what is this????
    am i doing something wrong?
    peter

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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    You're getting sRGB in RAW? In LR you choose which colour space you want to output into, a RAW file has no colour space, only the jpgs.
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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    You're getting sRGB in RAW? In LR you choose which colour space you want to output into, a RAW file has no colour space, only the jpgs.
    ben, yes of course. that comment of mine referred to jpg.

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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    It is an interesting comparison, but I think your conclusions are interesting as well. You stated that the M9 files look better out of the box than the D3x files (which have 6 more megapixels), and that leads you to conclude that Leica is being conservative and therefore you are not interested in their camera which has 37mp? Or did I miss something?

    I do think Thomas's point on the lenses is very important though. I shoot both Leica and Nikon (with a D3), as well as medium format digital. In any of these systems, the lenses are the key to the image. It does not matter how many megapixels you have if your lenses are soft in the corners at most apertures, suffer from complex aberrations, color fringing and distortion. While their cameras are outstanding and they make some good lenses, I think Nikon is decades behind Leica in all but a few of their lens designs. At least that is the impression I get comparing my Nikon lenses to my Leica ones. A lot of this may be their decision to spend most of their time and resources on zoom lenses, constantly seeking wider zoom ranges and more extreme angles of view. It could also be that they have spent the past decade focusing their lens design on APS sized cameras, more or less ignoring full frame designs. None of this really matters to me...I just want lenses that are sharp from corner to corner, have minimal aberrations, and good lens speed. It seems to me at these megapixel ranges, the image quality is something like 80% lens, 20% sensor, at least in the area below ISO 800.
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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    Quote Originally Posted by markowich View Post
    i just posted this over at the leica forum, but maybe folks here are interested too. so here it is:

    i did some low iso comparisms between D3x and M9 today, both at their respective base isos.. nikon 85 f1.4 and leica summicrom 90mm. NX 2 for NEFs and lightroom (GRRRRRRR!!!!!) for DNGs. out of the box the leica DNGs looked better, or rather more acute. this advantage faded when some moderate sharpening was applied to the nikon files and in the end i came to the impression that the D3x files have a clear resolution advantage (24mpx compared to 18mpx). it was an evenly illuminated scene, so i have no DR comparism to offer.
    anyway, i shall keep the m9 but tomorrow i shall cancel my S2 preorder. in all honesty, i am disappointed by the conservative leica approach (yes, i did know it when i bought the M9). but the direct comparism to the D3x (and most likely also to the 5Dmark2) is kind of frustrating. it is like comparing a TGV trip to a vienna streetcar. and yes, sometimes streetcar trips are fun....but you arrive faster on the TGV.
    peter


    who cares ?


    If you can't compelling pictures with either camera, or indeed any decent 10mp+ DSLR then look for another hobby/job !
    It's about form, colour, shape, ideas and LIFE .... do you think that Caravaggio, Duchamp or Man Ray sat there wondering about how much resolution they had ?

    Beyond internet experts and gear junkies who are obsessed with sensor technology and don't actually have one creative bone in their body, these differences are TOTALLY irrelevant and in terms of where pictures end up (hanging inside frames, inside magazines, on people's LCD screen and inside their photo albums etc..)

    NO ONE will notice the difference let alone CARE ! The only caveat there would be if you are creating posters and billboards in which case you'll be using MFDB.

    There is only one camera that is tiny, super lightweight, able to marry up with M glass and that connects you up to the photographic creative process so directly and that is the M9.. so ANY comparisons are meaningless. The M9 doesn't have a competitor, only the M8.

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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    Quote Originally Posted by markowich View Post
    i did some low iso comparisms between D3x and M9 today, both at their respective base isos.. . this advantage faded when some moderate sharpening was applied
    To make the comparison apples to apples you really need to apply some low radius sharpening to the Leica files - something like .6 or .7 and 80 0r 90 in LR.

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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    Each camera has its own use. I prefer M8 for street photos, and hope that the improved high ISO performance (if any) will make it even better for me.

    I also take a lot of documentary photos in ancient churches, mosques, in other words in confined and sacred areas. They will never let me take a photo with D3x while praying session is on. With an M8 it's no problem at all. No one notices me, or they just ignore.


    So I still have to comment that, comparing apples and oranges is not appropriate. Each instrument may have a preferred use. (I have also the Canon 5DII/500D for that purpose. Mostly for high ISO, or bird shots etc). Things that can never be done with an M8/9. Each camera may be superior in certain areas. For example, D3x and 5DII surely may give better resolution with a comparible lens. A comparison must include different aspects for that purpose.

    I hope Guy has not returned from his Espresso trip yet.

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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    Quote Originally Posted by markowich View Post
    i just posted this over at the leica forum, but maybe folks here are interested too. so here it is:

    i did some low iso comparisms between D3x and M9 today, both at their respective base isos.. nikon 85 f1.4 and leica summicrom 90mm. NX 2 for NEFs and lightroom (GRRRRRRR!!!!!) for DNGs. out of the box the leica DNGs looked better, or rather more acute. this advantage faded when some moderate sharpening was applied to the nikon files and in the end i came to the impression that the D3x files have a clear resolution advantage (24mpx compared to 18mpx). it was an evenly illuminated scene, so i have no DR comparism to offer.
    anyway, i shall keep the m9 but tomorrow i shall cancel my S2 preorder. in all honesty, i am disappointed by the conservative leica approach (yes, i did know it when i bought the M9). but the direct comparism to the D3x (and most likely also to the 5Dmark2) is kind of frustrating. it is like comparing a TGV trip to a vienna streetcar. and yes, sometimes streetcar trips are fun....but you arrive faster on the TGV.
    peter
    Strange, one could have know that Leica uses the CCD in stead of the CMOS based sensor; the CCD does not perform as well under low light but overall has is known for its better image quality and higher resolution. Anyone who wants better performance under higher isos should clearly choose for Nikon or Canon because they use the CMOS
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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Campbell View Post
    To make the comparison apples to apples you really need to apply some low radius sharpening to the Leica files - something like .6 or .7 and 80 0r 90 in LR.
    thanks. i did that, also M9 files need sharpening. the conclusion is still the same though.
    peter

  22. #22
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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post

    I do think Thomas's point on the lenses is very important though. I shoot both Leica and Nikon (with a D3), as well as medium format digital. In any of these systems, the lenses are the key to the image.

    I'm not sure I can agree with you. In the old days, when photography was chemical based, you could pop the same film into any camera -- then the lens mattered and mattered a hell of a lot, in some cases. But with digital I think it is more about the lens/sensor/in-camera firmware combination. The sensor and firmware is not the same from camera to camera, and I think they matter a whole lot, too, perhaps as much as the lens.

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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    Quote Originally Posted by Oxide Blu View Post
    I'm not sure I can agree with you. In the old days, when photography was chemical based, you could pop the same film into any camera -- then the lens mattered and mattered a hell of a lot, in some cases. But with digital I think it is more about the lens/sensor/in-camera firmware combination. The sensor and firmware is not the same from camera to camera, and I think they matter a whole lot, too, perhaps as much as the lens.
    The lens makes the image - the camera's job is to capture that image with as much fidelity as possible. Both these cameras likely do a stunning job in that respect, while being completely different beasts in other regards.

    The better the cameras become, the less valid is the argument that the camera matters. We might even down the road reach the point where more or less all cameras are good enough image capturers and it's all up to the lens.
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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars Vinberg View Post

    The lens makes the image - the camera's job is to capture that image with as much fidelity as possible. ...

    So, in other words, the sensor and supporting hard/software, e.g. the camera, "makes" the image. Perhaps when a sensor can capture the resolution and dynamic range of a modern lens we can consider a competing argument.

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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    Quote Originally Posted by Oxide Blu View Post
    So, in other words, the sensor and supporting hard/software, e.g. the camera, "makes" the image. Perhaps when a sensor can capture the resolution and dynamic range of a modern lens we can consider a competing argument.
    Well, yes you could say that, I would say the lens forms the image and the camera captures it.

    ...or when the sensor/software is good enough that remaining level of deterioration is practically irrelevant. Which brings up the question - how good is good enough?
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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    This is not completely apples and oranges ....if you are looking at the IQ possible from the two systems. The Nikon D3X represents the "state of the market" from a DSLR and in essence ..."whats possible". IMHO its the best standard to compare the M9 against. (or is it a consensus that the subjective judgment about performance should be left to "artists"). The sensor performance is just one measure of the cameras capabilities..but its an important one and for me the most limiting feature of the M cameras.

    Even for street photography..where the form and handling of the M set the standard....you can build a kit around a D700 and zeiss primes or even converted Leica R lenses. A D3X with a Nikon AF lens is one thing (not particularly effective for street unless you are really really good.) I worked hard this winter to use a D700 and the zeiss/leica kit in Florida and its damn effective for street. The biggest advantage is a very clean ISO performance up to 1600....about 2EV better than my M8s. A zeiss 28/2 or a leica 80/1.4 summilux on a D700 body works .

    Nikon will come out with a D700X or a D800 or a 15MP high Iso camera for 50% of the M9 price within the next year. So a smaller form than a D3X will be available. Put the best glass on it and you can produce a great file .

    It will not handle like an M or have the small form needed for every situation..and no way will it inspire me like using the M s does......but if I want to understand the capabilities of the tools I can pick from .......then the D3x looks like a good standard for comparison.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    I should have disclosed that I have 3 M8.2 s and 2 M9 s on order. This is my go to system but when the light gives out and my Noctilux shooting with ISO 640 starts to underexpose..then I wish I had a D3x sensor in my M.

    And if its work ....I am using the D3/D700 combination.

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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    Roger, if I may ask a delicate question -- why so many? Why 3 M8.2's and 2 M9's? Do they fail that often? How do 4 backups help?

    I know that when I do an important shoot, I always have another camera, but it is not always the same type. So for example, if I am doing a wedding with a Hasselblad on film, I will also bring the D3 and shoot with it as well. I am just curious what the reasoning is, because if I were to have the same outlay, I would think that a better decision would be to get 1 M9 and 1 D3x -- they are more complementary, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. To backup the M9, I would either hang on to one of the M8's, or use a film camera.

    This is by no means a criticism, I am just trying to figure out what your rationale is...
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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    Stuart That wasn t meant to be a good thing having so many bodies.(more reflection of the extent I am going to get things right). I use 2 M bodies at the same time.. a wide angle on one and normal or short tele on the other. Working on the street you just can t change lenses fast enough . So two bodies is my normal kit .

    I picked up an extra M8 when the prices came down as a backup. Its come in handy when something needed to be calibrated... I stopped worrying about the 4-6 weeks average turnaround on a repair or even that I had to send it in.

    I will sell the two M8.2 s once I get the M9 s ..so I will have 2 M9s and a backup M8.

    I have found the M8s very reliable and believe that most of the problems early on came from the newness of digital to Leica. You shouldn t need a backup unless its for a commercial shoot. But the M8s need some CLA service from time to time....so you need an alternative in some manner.




    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    Roger, if I may ask a delicate question -- why so many? Why 3 M8.2's and 2 M9's? Do they fail that often? How do 4 backups help?

    I know that when I do an important shoot, I always have another camera, but it is not always the same type. So for example, if I am doing a wedding with a Hasselblad on film, I will also bring the D3 and shoot with it as well. I am just curious what the reasoning is, because if I were to have the same outlay, I would think that a better decision would be to get 1 M9 and 1 D3x -- they are more complementary, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. To backup the M9, I would either hang on to one of the M8's, or use a film camera.

    This is by no means a criticism, I am just trying to figure out what your rationale is...

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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    Hi All,

    Quick question with some relevancy to this thread (and I certainly have also investigate this as I use both D3 and M8)... but wanted to hear other opinions. Since some are comparing D3x & M9 with similar but not identical resolutions, especially for output to print, what have the comparisons been for those who compared a Nikon D3 (not D3x) and M8 files at base ISO, since they both have similar reolutions too. I ask because under critial examinations and high standards of print, D3 easily prints to 24x36 with most (but not all) subjects (with mild upscaling), whereas most quote something like 10x14 or maybe 13x19 as a break point for M8 files, where printed files from the M8 greater than 13x19" generally show some deterioration. If thats the case, it doesn't make much sense. Yes, I know there are other factors besides similar resolution, but these often quoted print sizes from both cameras are substatially different! Again, we're talking prints of extremely high quality with little artifacting or evidence of pixelation. Any thoughts?

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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    Roger -- thanks for clarifying. I think that makes sense. I thought you meant that you had 3 M8.2's and 2 M9's on order, meaning you were buying 5 cameras at once...it did not make sense to me! But as you describe it, I understand.

    D&A -- I think the only way to answer this question would be to take similar images on both cameras and then print the results. This is not a very common situation (the M8 and D3 are used so differently, at least for me), so I don't usually shoot the same thing with them both at the same time. I have not printed larger than 11x17 with the D3 yet (I mostly use it for day to day work or night shooting), but I have printed 17x22 from the M8 and it shows no problems at all. I get the impression that at base ISO, the resolution is very similar, and the enlargability would be more dependent on your lens and the subject matter rather than on the cameras. I imagine something similar will be the case with the D3x and M9.
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
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    Re: m9 D3x comparism

    I have printed and sold several 17 X 22 (25) paper sized prints with a M8.2. I have on one occasion printed a landscape 22 X 30. It up sized with GF plug in. I think the M9 will just make them better.
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