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Thread: D800E vs Mono

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    D800E vs Mono

    Diglloyd has just published a comparison of the new Mono and the 35/1.4 asph fle verse the D800E and the Zeiss 35/1.4 . Even just reviewing the free examples on his blog its easy to see that the D800E files have a little more detail (viewing on a screen).

    But the real question .....isn t this apples and oranges ? In his example ..he uses a nice landscape with an old mill building . This view could be certainly be photographed by either system and from what I could see both systems beat anything I have ever seen smaller than MF .

    However the practical application of the two systems seem quite different . The lure of the MONO is high ISO performance ....I think of it as having Pan X rated at 1600-3200. Smooth even tonal distribution . The missing element in the Leica M system for a street shooter or any available light applications . Superb IQ in a range that exceeds any M solution ever.

    The D800E (I have one ) and the 35/1.4 Zeiss is heavy . Its a big lens that has a very slow focusing throw . Manual focusing lenses using the viewfinder sucks on a D800E (of course live view is a solution when the photograph can be taken with care) .

    For learning purposes ..its great to have benchmarks of performance ...but are these two really alternatives ?

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    Re: D800E vs Mono

    For what it's worth, there is no way I'm switching back to a DSLR without a reason - the reason I'm enthralled with Leica at the moment is that it gets me DSLR quality without the weight and the bulk. Granted the Leica isn't my choice for shooting sports, but for everything else (portraits, landscapes, street, etc), my Leica suits me just fine

    I'm tired of chasing image quality. These days, I'd rather be chasing quality images.
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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: D800E vs Mono

    Quote Originally Posted by ghoonk View Post
    For what it's worth, there is no way I'm switching back to a DSLR without a reason - the reason I'm enthralled with Leica at the moment is that it gets me DSLR quality without the weight and the bulk. Granted the Leica isn't my choice for shooting sports, but for everything else (portraits, landscapes, street, etc), my Leica suits me just fine

    I'm tired of chasing image quality. These days, I'd rather be chasing quality images.
    Agree 100% ..yet most tests stress ...viewing detail at 100% and very few discuss if the form of the camera ,how you view the subject etc are suitable .

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    Senior Member Hosermage's Avatar
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    Re: D800E vs Mono

    I don't think anyone would choose cameras base on one single dimension comparisons, unless that's ALL you're going for and nothing else matter, in which case, you probably wouldn't choose any of the two and go for MF
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    Re: D800E vs Mono

    Too late. I already have MF A H4D-40, to be exact. That's for work that call for tilt shift and long exposures - 4 minutes with AE

    If the M9P and MM could AE up to 256s, I'd leave my H4D behind
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    Re: D800E vs Mono

    A MM is best for high ISO? Really? It's certainly better than the M9. It's good at high ISO but from what I've seen it doesn't seem any better than the D800E when converted to monochrome, especially if you're fiddling around with coloured filters on the MM. I'd say the real strength of the MM is that it's a Leica M rangefinder, pure and simple.
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    Member borge's Avatar
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    Re: D800E vs Mono

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    A MM is best for high ISO? Really? It's certainly better than the M9. It's good at high ISO but from what I've seen it doesn't seem any better than the D800E when converted to monochrome, especially if you're fiddling around with coloured filters on the MM. I'd say the real strength of the MM is that it's a Leica M rangefinder, pure and simple.
    Well the D800/E (and mostly every new CMOS camera including the M240) only supports native ISO of up to 6400. Anything above that is achieved by push/pull techniques in the firmware which significantly reduces the image quality and adds a whole lot of more noise.

    The MM supports native ISO of up to 10000 without resorting to these software manipulation techniques as far as I am aware of.
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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: D800E vs Mono

    See we are still stuck on a technical evaluation of IQ . How do most photographers use high ISO (not all but most) ...generally for low available light photography? This is normally associated with street,travel,reportage,some wedding,event ..type of work . This type of work routinely requires ISO1600-3200 with an expectation of excellent quality . Beyond that we can quibble about whats good enough for the specific requirement . No doubt its fun to shoot at 6400-10K but that is an exception for most work .

    Available light photography also puts a premium on the ability to focus quickly and accurately with fast lenses (typically f1.4) .

    And finally form can be important ...discrete just makes it easier to capture the moment .

    So if we are speaking of black and white work ...I would pick the mono over the d800e anyday .

    While I don t have a MONO ..I have a D800E and an M9 . After 3 days of testing the D800E in NYC with the 21ZF and 50/1.4R lenses my conclusion was that the D800E is pretty darn hard to focus with manual lenses even with focus assist . It was fine if I could be deliberate but even in good light its a slow process.

    Likewise on a tripod for deliberate work like landscape,seascapes ,architecture ..I would take a D800E anyday simply because of the great display and live view . Generally I would be using the native ISO if at all possible .

    Both cameras are simply great for specific applications ..but IQ differences shouldn t be a deciding factor . (as implied by the test report ).

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    Senior Member dude163's Avatar
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    Re: D800E vs Mono

    I dont have a D800 , but chasing kids around or going for long walks in the wild carrying a M body and 1 lens is so much easier than a backpack and a huge DSLR kit . Thats one of the reasons I like my M8 , light small discreet

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: D800E vs Mono

    Should have mentioned that AF may be a deciding factor and the D800E of course can use AF with fast lenses ....so that may swing your vote to the DSLR .

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    Re: D800E vs Mono

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    But the real question .....isn t this apples and oranges?
    Yes, I think so. They're very different in use. I don't use a rangefinder or a dSLR just on the basis of file quality.

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    Re: D800E vs Mono

    Quote Originally Posted by dude163 View Post
    I dont have a D800 , but chasing kids around or going for long walks in the wild carrying a M body and 1 lens is so much easier than a backpack and a huge DSLR kit . Thats one of the reasons I like my M8 , light small discreet
    Chasing kids around and going on vacation with kids are two entirely different things! I'd say the former requires Olympic grade tracking technology, and the latter requires alien nano stealth technology not yet available and a patient wife
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    Re: D800E vs Mono

    Quote Originally Posted by pophoto View Post
    Chasing kids around and going on vacation with kids are two entirely different things! I'd say the former requires Olympic grade tracking technology, and the latter requires alien nano stealth technology not yet available and a patient wife
    if I carry the MM instead of my Nikon-DSLR I can run faster when I get "chased" around by my kids

    For me:
    -need zoom, tele, AF, flash => Nikon
    -discrete combo, more shooting from closer distance, fast primes => Leica M

    Personally I use the M much more often and prefer the images I shoot (maybe the rangefinder forces me to concentrate more on the subject??) Not allways technically perfect but I am more successfull with catching the "feeling" of the moment.
    I am sure others are more sucessfull doing this with a Nikon DSLR.

    Reviewers focusing mainly on resolution and DR are missing many other factors IMO. What about color, micro contrast, bokeh (whatever this is), overall "look"?

    In a world full of computers it is also a joy for me to use a relativly simple camera, with only few menues and buttons. Others might miss many functions when using a Leica M.
    I believe the user interface might be much more important than the differences in IQ. (Even though I dont have a problem to state that I prefer the IQ from the Leica)

    Just my thoughts
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    Re: D800E vs Mono

    Technical differences do not interest some, but after using the MM for now 2500 images I can say the DNG histogram IS very beneficial to me over the M9. I have been using it along side my Phase One and like the MM histogram. Keep in mind non-MM owners-the histogram spans the entire width of the LCD. Wait about 15-20 seconds and the DNG pops up and it is often very different in what you see versus the JPEG before it!

    Having said the above, I can tell you that there comes a point in landscape photography where everything is fine, but I feel I can get more data to the right and then I go up 1/2 then 1 stop and then sometimes 1 1/2 stops and just a 1/2 stop too much brings in the highlight clipping like hell so I am doing some manual bracketing in order to get a better feel of how far I can go with ETTR in general terms. That said, I am NOT a big ETTR user, but want to get more detail and data-that's all. I am contemplating using EV adjustments since it seems over the last 2 weeks, I can expose nearly one stop over where the meter gives me the OK dot. Of course this is not always the case, but I am left with this impression up to now.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: D800E vs Mono

    This seems like a pointless comparison to me. You buy the MM because you are a rangefinder shooter and appreciate the very best in monochrome and Leica glass & shooting style. You buy the D800 because you want a big *** DSLR and want AF or potentially great Zeiss MF glass.

    I don't personally see the overlap unless you really want to have a poor AF DSLR replacement (MM) or an oversized extremely visible DSLR with mono capabilities but zero stealth or rangefinder benefits (D800).
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    Senior Member atanabe's Avatar
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    Re: D800E vs Mono

    Roger,
    You want the MM, you just want to justify it. In the end you will get it. The D800 is large and will make you stand out in the crowd and will not merge into your style for street shooting. You have all the right glass to shoot with for the MM, buy it.

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    New Member sebastel's Avatar
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    Re: D800E vs Mono

    Quote Originally Posted by ghoonk View Post
    I'm tired of chasing image quality. These days, I'd rather be chasing quality images.
    thanks for this.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: D800E vs Mono

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    This seems like a pointless comparison to me. You buy the MM because you are a rangefinder shooter and appreciate the very best in monochrome and Leica glass & shooting style. You buy the D800 because you want a big *** DSLR and want AF or potentially great Zeiss MF glass.

    I don't personally see the overlap unless you really want to have a poor AF DSLR replacement (MM) or an oversized extremely visible DSLR with mono capabilities but zero stealth or rangefinder benefits (D800).
    That was the point of the OP . The comparison is only useful in that it establishes some benchmarks of performance ....but the cameras are so different in form and function as to be "apples and oranges" . Each can be "better" depending on the requirements of the photographer .

    Yet the article highlights the results as "saving you money " because the lower cost DSLR matches or exceeds the MONO.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: D800E vs Mono

    Quote Originally Posted by atanabe View Post
    Roger,
    You want the MM, you just want to justify it. In the end you will get it. The D800 is large and will make you stand out in the crowd and will not merge into your style for street shooting. You have all the right glass to shoot with for the MM, buy it.

    Al
    Al

    This would be the case if I could wrap myself around shooting B&W only . The other aspect is that the MONO has a unique aesthetic ..the images appear smooth and without grain(noise) yet still contain exceptional detail . Just like with film ,photographers will overtime create there own aesthetic with filters and post processing .

    The biggest issue with the D800E and manual focus glass ..zeiss or leica R ..is the ability to focus accurately using the D800E screen .

    I have uses for both a DSLR and a RF ...but I select the kit based on its fit for situation rather than its absolute IQ . Thought the comparison was interesting yet not relevant in matching performance to requirements .

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    Member StephenPatterson's Avatar
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    Re: D800E vs Mono

    I'm also in the "apples and oranges" camp on this one. I suppose we could also compare the M Monochrom to the Pentax 645D, but I don't expect to see many street photographers carrying that one around.

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    Re: D800E vs Mono

    I do not subscribe to the notion that a camera like the D800 is a big a$$ed tool that draws attention to the shooter ... the shooters technique is what draws the attention, not what is in their hands. There are some shooters that are very effectively using a Leica S2 for street photography ... a camera that dwarfs a D800 with a 35m lens.

    IMO, THE chief difference between any DSLR (small or large) and a rangefinder remains distinct. While in the act of shooting, a rangefinder forces attention on content to the exclusion of everything else other than the geometry or (rough) framing ... without any feedback as to visual effects of focal length, distortion, or DOF.

    As such, a rangefinder is prized by many for having less distractions relative to what the image is about, rather than what it looks like. By the time you chimp a rangefinder LCD to see what it does actually look like, the decisive moment is long gone.

    Focusing a M is an acquired art ... and many are to impatient to acquire it. Manually focusing a 35mm DSLR, especially one with the resolution of the D800, is even harder to acquire for spontaneous work ... a skill I personally did not have the patience or eyes to get right no matter how hard I tried even with "only" a 24meg DSLR.

    After having my eyes recently restored to 20/20 with no astigmatism, I still find the M with its mostly short throw lenses faster and easier to accurately focus in spontaneous situations compared to manual focussing a DSLR ... and in some cases or subjects faster/more accurate than AF in low light.

    Resolution comparisons at this point of digital development is meaningful to a small slice of shooters who do want more for a reason ... but in a vast majority of cases what is just pixel peeping and has little to do with actual output. If 400X pixel peeping resolution were the only criteria, I use a Hasselblad H5D/200.

    BTW, I pulled the trigger on a MM ... and wlll keep the M9P for occasional color. Back to my roots as a rangefinder shooter where I rarely ran color film through my Ms. A relatively clean ISO 5000 will do just fine, and 6400 will be a bonus ... with 8000 or 10,000 in the extremely rare "black cat, in a coal mine, at midnight" pinch.

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    Member StephenPatterson's Avatar
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    Re: D800E vs Mono

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    BTW, I pulled the trigger on a MM ... and wlll keep the M9P for occasional color. Back to my roots as a rangefinder shooter where I rarely ran color film through my Ms. A relatively clean ISO 5000 will do just fine, and 6400 will be a bonus ... with 8000 or 10,000 in the extremely rare "black cat, in a coal mine, at midnight" pinch.

    -Marc
    Enjoy...I am envious. And I agree with your comments about seeing the world through the rangefinder window. Not for everyone, but once mastered a life long love affair.

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    Workshop Member Woody Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: D800E vs Mono

    Back to Diglloyd's article - it's actually very interesting. He makes a living from subscriptions so I'm not going to say too much but he has interesting thoughts on issues like lens selection and has gone into great depth on the MM (far beyond the comparison with the D800E) covering issues like the effect of color filters on focus. Worth a read.
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