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Thread: The M9 is a bit bi-polar for me...

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    Senior Member mjm6's Avatar
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    The M9 is a bit bi-polar for me...

    So, I just wanted to get people's feelings on this, as I find the M9 to be possibly the most frustrating and rewarding digital camera I have ever used...

    I find that I am constantly disappointed at the results when I initially look them over in Lightroom (but I know that LR is not the problem). In comparison, the images I make with the Sony a900 seem to make a much greater impact at initial inspection. I'm using Leica glass on both, (R lenses converted on the Sony), so there isn't much else to distinguish between the two except the camera body, and the way the sensors respectively render color and contrast, etc.

    However... once I get into the images and dig in more, I often feel that the M9 images come into their own in a way that the a900 images do not. I wouldn't say that they are categorically better than the a900 images, but it seems that the images show greater improvement than the a900 images, and therefore result in possibly slightly better end result images.

    Has anyone else noticed this with other camera pairs?

    I feel that it forces me to be more careful at dismissing an image without working it over a little, whereas the really good images on the a900 are pretty apparent, which makes the editing somewhat easier.

    The M9 is surely a sharper camera, even though it has fewer megapixels (no AA filter), and in some measure this could be where the real gains are made over the a900.


    ---Michael
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

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    Re: The M9 is a bit bi-polar for me...

    It would help to know if you are talking about JPEG files or .dng/RAW, but the M9 LCD isn't a great screen for assessing an image whatever file format it is so you have my sympathy there

    I have always assumed all digital images need post processing, so for me it hardly matters if it comes out of the camera fully formed according to the way Canon, Nikon, Sony, or Leica software designers specify it, I still like to make it my own.

    Steve

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    Senior Member mjm6's Avatar
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    Re: The M9 is a bit bi-polar for me...

    Steve,

    I only shoot RAW, so I agree with you that the image needn't be fully formed out of the camera. I also agree that the screen is unfortunately poor for viewing the image. I only use it to verify the histogram for the most part.

    I guess what I was getting at is the images tend to be somewhat 'blah' when initially looking in Lightroom, but once the image gets worked over somewhat, it seems to substantially improve in nature, much better than the straight files from the a900.

    And the B&W from the camera are really superior to most of what I've seen from any other camera, although the a900 is very nice for B&W as well.


    ---Michael
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

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    Re: The M9 is a bit bi-polar for me...

    Quote Originally Posted by mjm6 View Post
    I guess what I was getting at is the images tend to be somewhat 'blah' when initially looking in Lightroom,
    Hi Michael
    I have both the A900 and the M9, and I completely understand what you are saying . . . . . but I think that 'somewhat blah' simply means "with infinite possibilities"

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: The M9 is a bit bi-polar for me...

    Could this be down to the default RAW profile in LR for the a900 & m9?
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    steve

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    Re: The M9 is a bit bi-polar for me...

    Michael, I also fully appreciate that the RAW images from the M9 are very raw without PP and is quite a shock when you first view the files, but this in essence is its strength. With either C1 Pro 6.3 combined with CS5/LR3 and working in LAB space workflow, there are so many different styles that can be achieved. I find the M9 RAW now very malleable, so long as I careful with the exposures for highlights.

    In essence, there is no short cut with the M9 RAW files, as there is virtually no in camera processing, and there is so much flexibility to the feel and style of the shots.
    Charles Kalnins
    Tallai, Queensland Australia.

    http://kalnins.zenfolio.com

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    Re: The M9 is a bit bi-polar for me...

    Can't comment on the A900 (have never used one) but what I like about the M9 raw files is that they respond very well to LR3 adjustments, without spending a lot of time fine-tuning the settings. Very often, just pressing the "Auto" button produces very punchy results (often too punchy but in the right direction nevertheless). Equally, selecting the "Tone Curve - Medium Contrast Plus" setting + Clarity 17 + Vibrance 15 is often all I have to do to the files (perhaps also desaturating red a bit with portraits). This is significantly less than I have to do with files from different cameras where the Auto button normally just lightens the image, without any improvement.

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    Re: The M9 is a bit bi-polar for me...

    I have only limited experience with the A900, however the A900 (with cz24-70 and with 50/1.4 Sony) the images seem to look very good without much post.
    However I do not share the impression, that M9 files look so and so without post processing. The only tricky thing I sometimes experience with M9 files is color.

    By the way I find the standard values for the M9 in C1 seem to deliver a more punchy image than those in LR. So maybe c1 could work better for you?

    I have decided for myself that both the M9 and A900 images are so good that it desnt matter if one of those are a tad better or worse.

    What I realize that the difference in shooting "style" various between using M9 and Slr, on the SLR I like more often to use longer focal length than I would use on the M9.

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    Senior Member thrice's Avatar
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    Re: The M9 is a bit bi-polar for me...

    C1 is better, but doesn't offer as much in the way of brushes/graduated adjustments so I tend to use LR3. C1 definitely handles the M9 DNG's better. I have one shot which I think is BETTER in the jpeg produced by the camera, particularly reds. I'm sure I could get a lot closer but I think it's easier just to use the unedited JPEG

    Over-edited by me:


    Straight from camera JPEG:


    FWIW I tend to get pretty nice (if somewhat flat) results from the M9 DNG's in lightroom. You may want to try shooting DNG + JPEG and seeing if you like any of the results you're getting in JPEG and what you would change (if anything) before heading into editing.

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    Re: The M9 is a bit bi-polar for me...

    Thanks for the comments, all.

    I think this may be a result of the way I have the M9 set up, and therefore the way LR initially interprets the files. I'll have to go back and check, but I recall that I have set the camera for lower contrast so that the histogram is more realistically rendered on the screen (not showing more clipping that actually occurs, if possible).

    Because of this, I suspect that LR takes this information from the EXIF and does the same thing, which makes for a flat image. I also have a similar setting in the a900, but I suspect the effect must be less strong, resulting in more contrast in the images without any hand-work in LR.

    I need to see about developing an action set to run all the images through while importing to maybe address some of this. That might get me a lot closer before even looking at the images, saving me time along the way.

    Overall, my images end up at a place where I am very satisfied, more so than any camera I have used. Sony is a very close second in some respects (and superior in some as well). Sony could really challenge if their next FF camera were in the mid- 30's MP and didn't have an AA filter (or have a very weak one. At that resolution, the AA filter is beginning to be unimportant, and hopefully, they will do away with it.). But of course, the M10 will hopefully raise the bar again...


    ---Michael
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

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    Re: The M9 is a bit bi-polar for me...

    Quote Originally Posted by thrice View Post
    You may want to try shooting DNG + JPEG and seeing if you like any of the results you're getting in JPEG and what you would change (if anything) before heading into editing.
    An excellent idea to compare the two.

    Steve

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    Re: The M9 is a bit bi-polar for me...

    I aways shoot DNG+JPEG nowadays and very often like the colour (and B&W) in the JPEG which I can rarely exactly emulate in converting the DNG. For that reason, I sometimes take the JPEG in preference as the working file but, in doing so, I knowingly lose a lot of the potential resolution (the JPEGs are noticeably less refined than the DNG equivalent).

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    Re: The M9 is a bit bi-polar for me...

    I think LR and even Bridge makes for a poor screening tool. The previews tend to be rather blurry and lackluster (perhaps due to my preview settings, though I did mess with them). I find that actually opening up the DNGs and doing even my minimal post workflow is all that's usually needed (generally a curves, resize/crop, USM and watermark).

    I don't think I've ever shot a digital camera and expected an image to just be right out of the box. I think that's partly due to my personality - I customize cars, work on the house and fiddle with computers just the same.

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