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Thread: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

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    What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    So I was captivated by Jono's Not Review of the Monochrom and particularly the wonderful galleries of photos from his recent China trip. While watching the events of the 10th unfold I was a bit intrigued by the emphasis on NIK Silver Efex and the camera...not a lot of in depth information concerning the combination in my mind at the present time.

    So I did a little work with one of the pics ( Jono's fabulous capture of the Cormorant Fisherman ) from the Leica site to see just what is possible with the neutral monochrome captures from the new camera. Please humor me as this may seem a bit tedious....

    I took the pic and after the smallest of level changes in the midtones I began applying Silver Efex Pro 2 filter settings for the different film emulsions...assuming these have varying curve, grain and dynamic settings to mimic the different films. I did nothing other than apply the different film settings to the files...flattened the layers and resized to 1200 max width.

    Here are a sampling of the more common film types from Silver Efex Pro 2 from 32 to 400. The first is Neutral...opened in SEFEX and saved without applying any other change to display any underlying change in the pic prior to applying the film types:



    Neutral








    Kodak PanX 32






    Ilford PanF 50






    Agfa APX 100






    Fuji Acros 100






    Kodak TMAX Pro 100






    Ilford FP4 125






    Kodak Plus X 125






    Kodak Tri X 400






    Kodak BW CN 400








    This series shows how Silver Efex Pro 2 handles the monochrome output of this on picture based on default settings for the film emulsion depicted.

    Forgive me for messing around with this Jono but I could not keep from trying these...the camera and files you have demonstrated are wonderful.
    Should you wish this series deleted please contact the Admin to do so...


    Bob

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    Re: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    At risk of appearing a bit brazen I have added a bit more work on the picture above using the Kodak PanX 32 ....

    Coffee Tone






    Duo Tone






    Bob
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    Re: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    i think it's fab!

    thank you for this. would love to see more emulsions too.

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    Re: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    Neat, thanks for sharing. I prefer the Ilford FP4 125 personally. I'm super excited to see just how "film like" the output from this new camera can be.

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    Re: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    the colours seem a little desaturated to me though


    Tmax pro 400 looks great to me!

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    Re: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    These look interesting and very nice in their own right, but imho none look like film.

    One very important characteristic you as losing is how BW film responds to different colors.
    Mimicking film requires color data in order to do a better imitation.

    Personally i think you will get better results from a nikon D800 As well as more flexibility in post.

    That said the new Leica is a new thing. BW digital purists are born, but don't describe it as film like. Much of films beauty is in it's defects.

    The above Panatomix X 'imitation" isn't even close to how real Panatomic X reproduces skin tones. I still have hundreds of 120 rolls....

    Here are two examples of Panatomic X





    and here is Plus-X



    And then there is the magic of Tri-x.This is tri-x developed with a water bath. See how it still has the tri-x punch, but also all the highlight and shadow detail.



    The digital Tri-x in the previous post has washed out highlights, compressed blacks and none of the wonderful grain.
    {img]http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/members/docmoore/albums/jono-sefex/3309-fisherman-ktrix400.jpg[/img]

    Look at the stones and the man's knee....

    The great thing about film is how much there is in the negative and how much furture you can go with scanning and recovery.
    The combination of physical film capture and digital post is so empowering. Notice I don't use the term analog.
    Filmlm is film and digital can only imitate it and at times better it in certain ways.

    I have found that in doing BW with digital you need access to the color channels in order to get closer to the way film has different tonal curves based on the colors of the subject. Skin has one curve while neutrals have others, hair is so so different. But the biggest difference is the relationship of the white of the eye and the skin. With film the eyes just look so much better. more form and bright, but with more tonality.

    Here is a BW conversion from a color digital file from a rather so so Canon 5d MII sensor.



    Using more from the green channel for the skin and more of the blue channel for the hair brought it closer to Plus X.



    Shooting film is like prepairing a fine meal, digital however fine it is feels in a certain sense like warming up junk food in a microwave oven. ...... The new Leica being a very fine microwave oven. Don't take this in a bad way, just a fun and cheeky analogy
    Last edited by FredBGG; 11th May 2012 at 11:42.
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    Re: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    Quote Originally Posted by dude163 View Post
    the colours seem a little desaturated to me though


    Tmax pro 400 looks great to me!
    That's funny!111

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    Re: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    Fred,

    You are correct...I was surprised that there was much difference in the film emulsion files...and posted that I viewed it as being secondary to the contrast curves and mimicked grain patterns of the filter.

    When you vary the color filter choice in Silver EFEX Pro 2 nothing happens to the file...it is indicative that there is no color to respond to in the picture. Your point that the film emulsion curves would respond better to a color file is spot on....which is why I spent time playing with these...to see just why the software was being bundled with the camera. Even the Panchromatic films had differences in response to colors...which is why I loved Pan X...followed by APX 25 and to a certain extent Acros 100 (though the latter two for landscapes not portraits.)


    Sean Reid in his review notes that the response of the native file out of the M Monochrom is not completely neutral...it darkens greens and lightens reds a bit..perhaps a holdover of infrared sensitivity (my opinion). I do think that the midtones captured by the camera are wonderful....and a bit more detailed than most other digital cameras.

    Love your pictures as they do show just how good film can be....or was depending upon ones present workflow and interests.

    Bob

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    Re: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    Well the new M9Mono will have it's devotees, but I would much rather keep my Silver Efex Pro2 plug-in and the versatlity of making the original image in colour. Whilst I love B &W some shots are really best in colour IMHO.
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com
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    Re: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    I shot Panatomic-X and developed it in Microdol for a long time. I like the smoothness and lack of grain. My Monochrome Digital camera came close. I;m happy to see one on the market again.

    This is a new camera, running preliminary firmware. I've read of peope compaining that the spectral response is different from favorite films. Easy enough to put a color correction filter over the lens to mimic response to film. Save those 81 and 82 series filters. Changing spectral response is easy.

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    Re: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    I wasn't very impressed by the files posted on the Leica page. I ran the images through my own Silver Efex 2 and found the highlights and shadows no better than my Canon's.

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    Re: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    The digital Tri-x in the previous post has washed out highlights, compressed blacks and none of the wonderful grain.
    {img]http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/members/docmoore/albums/jono-sefex/3309-fisherman-ktrix400.jpg[/img]

    Look at the stones and the man's knee....
    The truth is that this only shows the canned settings...without any attempt to adjust the curve that is inherent in the film emulsion filter...I do believe that if modified it would somewhat ameliorate the response...and grain can be set in the filter to one's preference...hard soft more or less and size can be varied.

    Here is a small correction of highlights shadows and grain in LR of the Tri-X 400...





    Not ideal...no not film but allows for a fair amount of manipulation that I did not take the time to explore in the original post.

    Bob
    Last edited by docmoore; 11th May 2012 at 12:41.

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    Re: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    Shooting film is like prepairing a fine meal, digital however fine it is feels in a certain sense like warming up junk food in a microwave oven. ...... The new Leica being a very fine microwave oven. Don't take this in a bad way, just a fun and cheeky analogy
    whilst your images are simply luscious, not everybody shoots in such perfect lighting conditions. some, like me shoot with available light (which is often very sparse).

    i love film. i love black and white. but what i often want to shoot would be pushing film to its limits, even with an f/1 lens.

    the Nikon may, indeed, be better for what i want to do... but all my glass is Leica and i don't intend to get rid of it anytime soon. i also truly enjoy shooting a rangefinder and intend to do so until my eyes decide i can't any more.

    what's true for you and what's true for me may be two very different things. and, for the record, i despise microwaves.
    my flickr
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    Re: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    My primary concern using the M9M would be blown highlights. It would be like shooting transparencies, the exposure will be critical. If there is going to be lots of post processing to create a film-like image, perhaps just keep shooting film...or shoot color and go to B&W in post, and not have to carry a bunch of filters.

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    Re: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    Quote Originally Posted by monza View Post
    My primary concern using the M9M would be blown highlights. It would be like shooting transparencies, the exposure will be critical. If there is going to be lots of post processing to create a film-like image, perhaps just keep shooting film...or shoot color and go to B&W in post, and not have to carry a bunch of filters.
    Yes exposure will be important...but with a RAW histo and a 1.5 second response to view it...not that hard to know where to place the values.
    I fondly remember returning from W Africa/Europe/S America with film that once developed showed me how far off my best attempts were at exposure.

    Shooting film only works if you have the resources and time to develop and either print or scan...cannot name all the labs that are now defunct......

    Color and to B/W in post will give one more latitude than the MM but you lose the gorgeous high iso files and slightly increased resolution of the MM.

    Nice to have the choices....

    Bob

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    Re: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    The above Panatomix X 'imitation" isn't even close to how real Panatomic X reproduces skin tones. I still have hundreds of 120 rolls....

    Here are two examples of Panatomic X

    Shooting film is like prepairing a fine meal, digital however fine it is feels in a certain sense like warming up junk food in a microwave oven. ...... The new Leica being a very fine microwave oven. Don't take this in a bad way, just a fun and cheeky analogy
    Agreed. The M9M is no "Henry".

    Thanks for posting the examples, in particular the X ones. I never had the chance to use it (I believe it was already discontinued by the time I started photography). The old Cadmium formulations did have some magic in them.

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    Re: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    I never understood the need to emulate certain film emulsions when shooting digital. It's like war reenactments where no one dies; a glorified make-believe that isn't even close to the real thing.

    If I want to "emulate" Pan F Plus, I shoot Pan F Plus. If I make a b&w version of a photo taken with a digital camera (or indeed, if I could ever afford something like the MM), I will attempt to give the photo the look that is the most favourable for the chosen motive, composition and lighting. Anything else is playing silly games, or a reenactment if you want.

    But then of course, we do play a lot of silly games on this forum, don't we? And I'm sometimes an eager participant

    Edit: After writing this, I took the time to read Fred's post. He of course expresses the whole thing in a more polite, well documented way. I fully agree
    Last edited by Jorgen Udvang; 11th May 2012 at 18:02.
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    Re: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    civil war re-enacters and microwaveable junk food.

    I'm loving the analogies...

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    Re: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    I'm sure some forum members remember the ways we used to do it: by formula. One of the very early jobs I had was with a headshot photographer in Toronto, he had his formula, specific lights, lenses, tmax 100, tmax dev. time temp etc. and then we printed on RC paper, batches of 100, the ilford processing machine actually warmed up as you got further into the batch so you had to subtract time from the enlarger exposure, tenths, so that the first of the batch matched the end of the batch. It was exhausting work. Today it would be trivial to print 100 identical 8x10's with no dust, all retouched.

    But there was "something" that he had, the tmax, the dev, the way it printed on lustre, the whites had a gleam, the skin glowed, they were dialed in. Change one part of the equation and you had to really start from scratch.

    I think the digital way of this makes us think that it is easier to dial in a look but really you have to maintain control over everything in the same way, the light, the lens, the profile, the printing, the raw conversion, and then you can do amazing work, but there are no shortcuts. There were no shortcuts in film either. You can make crappy bw negs very easily...

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    Re: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    Many professional PJ s have years of work shot on tri x . Its useful to merge new work taken with digital into gallery exhibits ,books etc. I find it interesting the merger of digital and analog processes.

    Did you notice that Leica has established a service with an outside vendor to produce traditional silver based prints from digital files .

    Very interesting thread.

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    Re: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    The users still have to pay for the prints though dont they? Unless Leica is throwing in a few free prints

    Fred those shots are great and your reply is well thought out....However , the original poster had the convenience of carrying just a small M body and lens kit and was on vacation, your shots are carefully preplanned and setup with pro models ( well they look like that to me, great stuff!!)

    The more I have thought about the M9M I think its a brilliant idea, but a flawed execution , if it was priced at 5000 instead of 8000 i'd bet that a lot of the Leica users would grab one in a heartbeat , and saying that, I think it will still sell a lot

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    Re: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    A question i dont see adressed yet, is the M9M making the same noise as M9 ?
    As i see it the greatest interest of this camera is its high iso capability but i find my M9 too loud for concerts, danse, opera and so on.
    So i keep using my M7 in those occasions when i want to stay unnoticed and do not disturb.
    What about the M9M ?

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    Re: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    Newsflash ...Leica doesn t want to sell a lot of M9M s. In less than 6 months the Solms will be producing M10 s and Portugal will be producing E1 s . Two new factories to bring up and one to close down . Leica will be constrained by capacity in every area over the new 12-18 months .

    This is about product positioning and IMO its a superb strategy . As demand falls off for the M9/M9P because the M10 is coming....the factory will produce 1500 M9M (thats my bet ) . This will supply the hard core Leica aficionado and the real B&W pursuit (with enough $$$$) . This doesn t look at all like a product that will sell in any quantity for years into the future ...but rather as a special item built in small batches .

    They look to have set the price perfectly to achieve the desired demand . If you can only make so many then set the price where it helps position the brand for the future . This will create enormous pull into the new stores . I want to go see some large gallery prints .

    Plus watch the Leica Akademie gear up for workshops and classes on classical black and white photography .

    This is what I consider one brilliant strategy .
    Roger Dunham
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    Re: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    Roger, You already said this well ahead of the M9M release. Makes perfect sense!

    What is an E1?

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    Re: What If Leica M Mono and Silver Efex....

    I agree, it's not something I can imagine selling thousand of units. On the other hand, were there an upgrade potential for M9/M9P....

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