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Thread: M9 intermediate ISO settings

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Does anyone have any information about the intermediate ISO settings on the M9?

    Are they real hardware steps like in pro cameras from Canon and Nikon, or just pushed in the camera processor?

    Any info would be greatly appreciated.
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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    To make it clearer, I am talking about the 1/3 stop values that are in between the full stops, 160-320-640-1250-2500. If I shoot at iso 400 for instance, is it in reality iso 320 pushed 1/3 stop, in which case it would be better to stick to full stop values?
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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Seeing as every ISO setting above base ISO 160 is pushed, then yes. It´s just that it would suck marketing wise for all the big names to say that, like ISO 80 is a pulled stop on the M9, that 200,360,400,500,640, etc, etc, are just pushed stops (with software massaging the output files).

    This applies to every pro Canikon sensor out there, too. Applies to both CCD and CMOS chips from any manufacturer.

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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    All ISO settings above base ISO are just amplification factors - in any digital camera. It is like the volume control on an hifi. In that sense every digicam has only one "real" ISO setting and even that is in reality indeterminate. The ISO norm refers to comparability to Film ISO value, leaving the camera maker to interprete..
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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Thank you very much for your answers, but that was not exactly my question. I am aware that sensors have a base iso, and anything above that is signal amplification.

    My question is that signal amplification in most cameras happens only at full stop iso, and intermediate steps are just interpolated by software. There were studies on the 1Ds3 and D3X that showed that these cameras do signal amplification also on intermediate iso steps, but not the lower spec models. I was wondering to which group belongs the M9.
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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    I've been meaning to check this out myself at some point. Either way, I normally only use one ISO in good light and one in lowlight, and I push in Lightroom from there, so sticking to the full ISOs is fine for me.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Absolutely, Douglas. In fact it is not an important issue as I believe most people stick to full iso values as well. It is more out of curiosity than anything else. I guess a simple test can show the truth. But if the M9 does amplification at all values, it would be nice sometimes to use iso 1600 instead of 2500 for slightly less noise, knowing that it is not iso 1250 brightened with the camera software, as I'm sure LR4 would do it better.
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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    From what I've seen, I wouldn't be surprised if ISO 640 pushed in LR is better than 1250, 1600, or 2500. Unless I really need a good image review on the LCD screen, I usually stick to ISO 640 and push in LR past that.

    There were some examples on the Leica forum a few weeks ago that showed that pushing ISO 160 three stops in LR was a little cleaner than using ISO 1250, FWIW.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    I haven't done any testing myself, but I am shocked at how well the files of the M9 push. I had to fix some grossly underexposed shots, up to 2 stops, without any visible increase in noise. However, I noticed some weird effects on the colors.
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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    Absolutely, Douglas. In fact it is not an important issue as I believe most people stick to full iso values as well. It is more out of curiosity than anything else. I guess a simple test can show the truth. But if the M9 does amplification at all values, it would be nice sometimes to use iso 1600 instead of 2500 for slightly less noise, knowing that it is not iso 1250 brightened with the camera software, as I'm sure LR4 would do it better.
    That I can answer. 1600 has clearly less noise than 2500, the difference between 1250 and 1600 appears to be slight. That range seems to be a bit of a sweet spot.
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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Quote Originally Posted by jaapv View Post
    That I can answer. 1600 has clearly less noise than 2500, the difference between 1250 and 1600 appears to be slight. That range seems to be a bit of a sweet spot.
    Thank you Jaap! That's actually very interesting because sometimes an extra 1/3 stop in shutter speed can save a photo, while pushing a full stop to 2500 can make the shot unusable in color.
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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    Does anyone have any information about the intermediate ISO settings on the M9?

    Are they real hardware steps like in pro cameras from Canon and Nikon, or just pushed in the camera processor?

    Any info would be greatly appreciated.
    No info; I just assume they are full stop hardware steps and so I use only multiples of 160.
    The author of rawnalyze app and great community contributor known as Gabor or panopeeper was able to figure it out from a series of raw files, but he is no longer among us. Does anybody know how to do it?

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Quote Originally Posted by MirekE View Post
    No info; I just assume they are full stop hardware steps and so I use only multiples of 160.
    The author of rawnalyze app and great community contributor known as Gabor or panopeeper was able to figure it out from a series of raw files, but he is no longer among us. Does anybody know how to do it?
    Well, it is not easy. Most cheaper cameras will push 1/3 stop from the lower full stop iso, and pull 1/3 stop from the higher full stop iso, which makes it easy to check from the histograms of a series of shots at different iso settings.

    Definitely the M9 doesn't seem to do that, so it is either pushing both 1/3 and 2/3 settings (I tend to believe that) or it is using analog gain on all intermediate settings (unlikely imho).
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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    Thank you Jaap! That's actually very interesting because sometimes an extra 1/3 stop in shutter speed can save a photo, while pushing a full stop to 2500 can make the shot unusable in color.
    I probably wouldn't bother. I'd just shoot ISO 1250 and boost past there in LR. Your results should be as good or better, and you won't risk blowing out highlights.

    The M9 is essentially an "ISO-less" camera, in that you could just leave the camera at base ISO and boost in LR, leaving you to only focus on shutter and aperture when the light goes down.

    As I mentioned above, I usually only use 2 ISOs, 160 in most light and 640 (sometimes 1250) in bad light and boost from there.

    Leica does apply a little bit of noise reduction on raws above ISO 160, so I would just always leave it at 160 all of the time, but I do occasionally want to review the images that I take in lowlight on the camera's LCD, so using a higher ISO allows that.

    p.s. of course, this is assuming that you shoot raw. if you shoot jpeg, ISO is more important.

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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    The problem with pushing in Lightroom and other software is the available range and camera calibration. Leica and others do some good translations when amplifying the sensor gain, at the expense of some dynamic range.

    There are limits to any particular process. I normally have the M9 set to either 160 or 1250 as well, but I'm not above setting it to Auto ISO and letting the camera push the sensor around for me. There's not a whole lot different in the image quality that I've seen, and it keeps my adjustment range maximized to use an ISO that nets me proper exposure.

    Biggest thing I've had to learn to do differently on the M9 is set the white balance to a fixed value, particularly under any complex lighting with more than one light source. Any fixed setting will do ... correct in LR afterwards. The Auto WB setting wanders all over the place and makes adjusting a group of photos in LR a true pain if I don't.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    I will have to fully agree with Godfrey. I too believe that analog gain has a few advantages over software interpolation.

    Also if you believe this graph, there is a significant increase in noise even between 1/3 iso stops at high values, except strangely between 1250 and 1600 where there is practically no difference. That is why, I too tend to use the excellent combination of auto iso and minimum shutter speed settings, as they give me the optimal iso in changing conditions, unless I am shooting something specific that requires a certain iso value.
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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    I was involved in a very long thread on the Leica forum, and there were several examples showing pushing in LR vs. pushing ISO in camera. One member measured the noise of ISO 160 pushed 3 stops in LR to actually be lower than using ISO 1250. I also posted example test pics unlabeled, and they were so similar that no one could definitively tell which was which.

    Most newer cameras with Sony sensors behave the same way. Pushing ISO in camera is mostly only advantageous in getting a good jpeg/LCD preview with these cameras (Canon cameras and Nikon cameras without Sony sensors are usually the opposite.)

    Granted, I only shoot in M mode, because I don't find A mode useful without an AEL button to lock exposure for more than one shot without recomposing, so I'm not using autoISO. I essentially shoot this camera as I would with two film speeds, but with the advantage of being able to push exposure differently for each picture, rather than needing to push the whole film role.

    In using only 2 ISOs and sticking to one set WB (at least as a starting point,) it sounds like Godfrey and I shoot similarly.

    p.s. For a long time, most MFDBs, which had similar Kodak sensor technology, relied on converter pushing. You could set higher ISOs, but it didn't actually raise the camera gain, but, rather, told the raw converter to boost exposure at import under the hood.
    Last edited by douglasf13; 26th November 2012 at 08:32.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Hi Douglas,

    Definitely agreed about pushing in LR, as we have previously discussed. I did push an underexposed shot 2 stops without any visible increase in noise. That was really surprising. However I noticed some shift in color balance that I wasn't very keen on.

    I'm very interested in reading the thread you're mentioning. Can you please give us the link?
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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    That's interesting about the color shift, Edward. Overexposing midtones has been the only evidence of shifting color that I've seen in the past (here is one little article about it ChromaSoft,) but I'll keep an eye on it.

    Here are a few posts in a long thread about this and exposure in general.

    Expose to the right (ETTR) or underexpose? - Seite 7 - Leica User Forum

    Expose to the right (ETTR) or underexpose? - Seite 9 - Leica User Forum

    Expose to the right (ETTR) or underexpose? - Seite 9 - Leica User Forum

    I've really not seen any technical or visually tangible reason to use the camera's ISO boost over boosting exposure in LR4. Of course, there are certainly practical reasons, like getting a usable review image on the LCD, and that's why I don't just use ISO 160 all of the time.

    One thing to also consider is that using LR4 to boost exposure, rather than the camera, may be more future proof, as raw software does improve more and more as time passes, but the camera's hardware does not. So, in the future, we may get even better performance by boosting in the converter. Right now, it seems pretty close between the two.

    p.s. I'm not sure why "Jaybob" on those threads was so keen on attacking me. He doesn't seem to understand that our cameras have a single, base ISO, and boosting comes after the fact, whether it be in-camera analogue boost, in-camera digital boost, or in-converter digital boost. They're all different methods of doing the same thing.

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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    ... Granted, I only shoot in M mode, because I don't find A mode useful without an AEL button to lock exposure for more than one shot without recomposing, so I'm not using autoISO. I essentially shoot this camera as I would with two film speeds, but with the advantage of being able to push exposure differently for each picture, rather than needing to push the whole film role.

    In using only 2 ISOs and sticking to one set WB (at least as a starting point,) it sounds like Godfrey and I shoot similarly. ...
    Yes and no. I use both M and AE modes ... I'm very comfortable with tweaking the EV compensation*in AE mode based on what my eye says ... so I often set AutoISO options and work fluidly that way. I set fixed ISOs and Manual exposure mode when I know the lighting situation will confuse the metering system, or I'm shooting a bunch of frames and I want them to all be close and reflect the way the light changes in the session. When I set fixed ISOs, I just tend to find myself at the limits of either 160 or 1250 most of the time (but I've gotten some good results even at ISO 2500 with the M9, which surprised me given the amount of "miserable high iso" bleating I've read on some forums).

    I'd have to look at my LR catalog to see what ISO settings were used most of the time. Normally, I don't care much once I've learned the sensor's dynamic range at different settings, and just let it float on AutoISO unless I KNOW it needs a particular setting due to scene conditions.

    Since the in-camera sensitivity amplification control is a firmware control function, it can be updated just as much as raw converters can update how they process the data. How much it is updated is the question mark ... The evidence isn't conclusive that it is substantively improved any more frequently with raw conversion sw than it is with firmware updates.

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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post

    Since the in-camera sensitivity amplification control is a firmware control function, it can be updated just as much as raw converters can update how they process the data. How much it is updated is the question mark ... The evidence isn't conclusive that it is substantively improved any more frequently with raw conversion sw than it is with firmware updates.
    The analogue amp quality can't be improved by firmware, although I guess that if Leica did come up with an in-camera software solution that was better than their amps, they could bypass the analogue amps altogether and just use software amplification in future firmwares.

    Either way, even if the camera firmware updates did compete with raw converter updates, you can't use the camera firmware to improve a picture that you've previously taken, which is what I meant by future proof.

    I still contend that, in terms of image quality, using any ISO above base ISO isn't necessary, at least if you use LR4 (which is the only converter I've tested.) However, in terms of practicality, using higher ISOs may still be convenient and necessary.

    As far as A mode, I find it half baked in the M9 and earlier M cameras. Not having an AEL button (I believe the Ikon has one,) along with having very center weighted metering, forces you to recompose and re-lock metering if you want to take two or more shots in a row in S mode. If the camera had an AEL button, you could lock the exposure, or, if the camera had matrix metering, you'd likely be fine without recomposing, but the combination of those two omissions keeps me using M mode, which I'm fine with, especially considering the "ISO-less" behavior of the camera.

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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    If you consider ISO 160 to be the only true ISO setting on the camera, and you're going to use software scaling in raw processing to control ISO, how do you evaluate and set exposure when the exposure required runs out of range? If the camera were truly ISO-less, you would just set the aperture you wanted for the focus zone and the exposure time you wanted for stabilization and blur effect, then process the images out to the right density. But I know that doesn't lead to the best results ...

    The only Ms that have had AE are the M7, MP, M8 and M9 (plus its variants). So there's not a long history of AE controls in the Leica M. And I'm not sure what's so half-baked about it. The shutter release acts as the temporary AE-Lock on the second detent. If you want to take several exposures at the same setting, it's pretty easy to note the shutter speed and set it on the dial.. I use that technique on all my cameras much more than any of their AE-Lock buttons, as it is much more likely I'll forget to UNlock the AE-Lock and get the wrong exposure on subsequent shots.

    Or I meter, get the right setting, then frame and adjust the EV compensation until I get the right setting. Now the metering can float a little bit but with the desired offset, and I can get multiple exposures. A notice stays on in the viewfinder to tell me that the compensation is active as reminder to re-set it.

    There are many ways to work the camera... this works for me. Manual metering works for me too, as does Auto ISO a good bit of the time.

    G

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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    ...If the camera were truly ISO-less, you would just set the aperture you wanted for the focus zone and the exposure time you wanted for stabilization and blur effect, then process the images out to the right density. But I know that doesn't lead to the best results ...
    Yep, that's exactly the way I think about it, and ISO 160 is the only true ISO setting of the M9. I know that the more light that hits the sensor, the better my SNR, but I have to make trade offs with depth of field and motion blur. Whether you use the camera's "ISO" gain or your raw converter's gain, you're still making your exposure first, and then applying the gain AFTER the fact. You're not actually changing your base ISO like with film, but the camera companies designed things to be easier to understand for film photographers, so they stuck with calling camera gain "ISO" and made it somewhat consistent with whole stops of light...although, as we know, all of the manufacturers tend to use different "ISO" values.

    That's why I'm telling Edward that using ISO 1250 and boosting in LR4 vs. using ISO 1600 in-camera isn't really going to make much difference, and the ISO 1250 file boosted in post may actually be slightly cleaner. An ISO 640 file boosted might be even better, etc.

    As for A mode on the M9, it certainly is usable for some. I still occasionally use it when I know that I won't be taking two pics in succession at any kind of pace, but Leica's implementation is a little odd in reference to all of the other cameras that I've used with A mode. If the M9 had an AE lock button, like the Ikon, I'd likely use A mode more often.


    p.s. I want to reiterate that not all cameras are nearly "ISO-less," like Canon DSLRs. It depends on the sensor/ADC design.
    Last edited by douglasf13; 26th November 2012 at 16:45.

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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Hmm.

    It's going to take some to convince me that there's much benefit to be had from externalizing the ISO adjustment, even if it is entirely software. It seems a theoretical nuance at best, and makes processing more difficult since you're always going to be punching the ends of the image processing tools' range.

    Setting ISO in the camera also sets up an appropriate dynamic range that's easy to learn and understand. I suppose you can develop that information through experience in external pushing, but I'm unconvinced it's worth the effort.

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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    The beauty of not raising the internal ISO (when using the cameras in question) is that you actually maximize your dynamic range without the risk of blowing out highlights. That is the main advantage. Also, like WB, it allows you one less adjustment on the fly when shooting raw, since you can just adjust it after the fact.

    As I've mentioned, I do use an ISO above base ISO when shooting in lower light, but only when I want a usable jpeg review on the camera's lcd. There really isn't any technical reason to raise ISO outside of that, for me.

    Various cameras work very differently in this regard. Some cameras use analogue gain to a certain ISO, and then switch to digital gain (like Canons,) some cameras use analogue gain to a certain ISO, and then just flag the converter to push the raw exposure after that point (like the Fuji X100,) some cameras don't actually raise ISO at all and just flag the raw converter to push exposure under the hood at all ISOs above base (like some MFDBs,) etc.

    A telltale sign that a camera is more or less "ISO-less" is to look at their dynamic range plot. If it is a flat, linear line, the camera is likely close to being "ISO-less."

    I may not be the best at explaining this, so here are 3 links with good leads about it:

    Re: Please allow me to show my ignorance.: Open Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review (the green text in this post explains it well)

    About ISOless: Sony Cyber-shot Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

    Google Translate

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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    I'll do my own tests and see if its worth the trouble to figure out an entirely different way of operating both the camera and the image processing workflow. I'm as yet unconvinced.

    G

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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    Yep, that's exactly the way I think about it, and ISO 160 is the only true ISO setting of the M9. I know that the more light that hits the sensor, the better my SNR, but I have to make trade offs with depth of field and motion blur. Whether you use the camera's "ISO" gain or your raw converter's gain, you're still making your exposure first, and then applying the gain AFTER the fact. You're not actually changing your base ISO like with film, but the camera companies designed things to be easier to understand for film photographers, so they stuck with calling camera gain "ISO" and made it somewhat consistent with whole stops of light...although, as we know, all of the manufacturers tend to use different "ISO" values.

    That's why I'm telling Edward that using ISO 1250 and boosting in LR4 vs. using ISO 1600 in-camera isn't really going to make much difference, and the ISO 1250 file boosted in post may actually be slightly cleaner. An ISO 640 file boosted might be even better, etc.

    As for A mode on the M9, it certainly is usable for some. I still occasionally use it when I know that I won't be taking two pics in succession at any kind of pace, but Leica's implementation is a little odd in reference to all of the other cameras that I've used with A mode. If the M9 had an AE lock button, like the Ikon, I'd likely use A mode more often.


    p.s. I want to reiterate that not all cameras are nearly "ISO-less," like Canon DSLRs. It depends on the sensor/ADC design.
    That's an interesting view - based on what's been discussed so far, I'm getting the impression that outdoors, I could technically shoot at ISO160, f8, 1/400s and not worry too much about actual underexposure since I can push exposure to recover the image (except blown highlights and lost shadows)?
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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Thank you Douglas for the very interesting information.

    I personally am still keen to know to which category the M9 belongs, but there doesn't seem to be any research done on this subject, so I guess we will never know.

    On the practical side, it is quite reassuring for me that I can save underexposed files without quality loss (and even some quality gain ) so that I can only concentrate on not loosing the highlights. Chimping is an essential part of digital photography, so at least for me, I would still want to see well exposed shots on my LCD, so I don't think that I will apply the method in question. But it's good to know nonetheless
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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    "Chimping is an essential part...?" Um. No. I use review when needed, but I often look only after I'm done shooting. :-)

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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Quote Originally Posted by ghoonk View Post
    That's an interesting view - based on what's been discussed so far, I'm getting the impression that outdoors, I could technically shoot at ISO160, f8, 1/400s and not worry too much about actual underexposure since I can push exposure to recover the image (except blown highlights and lost shadows)?
    The overall point is that shooting at ISO 160 and boosting in LR should be as good or better than shooting at a higher ISO in-camera, in terms of IQ, and you don't risk blowing highlights.

    I should also mention that this assumes that you shoot uncompressed raw. I've seen evidence that it still might work ok with compressed raw, but I'm not sure, and I'd imagine that bringing up the shadows wouldn't work as well with compressed raw.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    "Chimping is an essential part...?" Um. No. I use review when needed, but I often look only after I'm done shooting. :-)
    Well, I use the LCD review the same way I used Polaroid test shots in film days. Chimping is essential to verify exposure and composition, IMHO.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    Thank you Douglas for the very interesting information.

    I personally am still keen to know to which category the M9 belongs, but there doesn't seem to be any research done on this subject, so I guess we will never know.

    On the practical side, it is quite reassuring for me that I can save underexposed files without quality loss (and even some quality gain ) so that I can only concentrate on not loosing the highlights. Chimping is an essential part of digital photography, so at least for me, I would still want to see well exposed shots on my LCD, so I don't think that I will apply the method in question. But it's good to know nonetheless
    I certainly don't mean to imply that I think you (or Godfrey) should overhaul your enitre method of working. I was just trying to give a little insight on how the camera works, so you can make small adjustments if you feel like it.

    Even if you do decide to explore these ideas, you don't have to take it to the extreme, because it could still help you with small ISO jumps. Since you were interested in the difference between ISO 1250 and ISO 1600, you could just leave the camera at ISO 1250 and boost a little in LR. You'd still have a usable image to chimp, and you won't risk blowing your highlights. That's all that I was trying to get at, originally, since most wouldn't find it practical to shoot ISO 160 all of the time, for various reasons.

    As for your original question about intermediate ISO settings, you're right that it is tough to find a definite answer. To be honest, judging by the camera's performance data, and the design of the relatively outdated sensor that is similar to some MFDB chips, I wouldn't be surprised if every in-camera ISO used interpolation, rather than analog gain, but I'm not sure.

    I did find another forum topic about the intermediate ISOs on RFF: Native ISO's on M9? - Rangefinderforum.com

    p.s. The M9 does apparently use NR on raw files, and it gets stronger as the in-camera ISO raises. I wonder if the relatively small jump in SNR from ISO 1250 to ISO 1600 is because that is the point where Leica ramps up the NR a bit more? That would be my guess.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Understood, Douglas. I have to say the idea itself is very appealing, but not easy to use in practice, especially for someone who uses the LCD review often. But as I said, it is very reassuring to know that it is possible to save severely underexposed shots with little IQ loss.

    Like you, I also suspect the M9 to use interpolation all the way due to the smooth transitions in the graph that I linked to.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    You know, I may have to take back the comment about the M9 using interpolation the whole way. The "ISO Sensitivity" chart on DXO Mark would have likely been different, like the P45+, if the camera didn't use some kind of analogue ISO gain. I think the M9 might use analogue gain for ISO, but that still doesn't answer the question about intermediate ISOs.

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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    Understood, Douglas. I have to say the idea itself is very appealing, but not easy to use in practice, especially for someone who uses the LCD review often. But as I said, it is very reassuring to know that it is possible to save severely underexposed shots with little IQ loss.
    I would say that slightly underexposed shots is where the technique becomes really handy.

    For example, lets say I have the camera set to ISO 640, f2, 1/30, and my meter is telling me that I'm about a stop underexposed. I can't open my lens any more, and I don't want to slow my shutter, so the usual coarse of attack would be to raise the ISO to 1250...or, with this new concept, I can just leave everything as is and fire away, since I can boost the exposure later in LR4. At just a stop underexposed in camera, the LCD review is still quite usable, and I didn't risk accidentally adding too much gain and blowing highlights.
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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    You know, I may have to take back the comment about the M9 using interpolation the whole way. The "ISO Sensitivity" chart on DXO Mark would have likely been different, like the P45+, if the camera didn't use some kind of analogue ISO gain. I think the M9 might use analogue gain for ISO, but that still doesn't answer the question about intermediate ISOs.
    I wonder if Leica would be willing to disclose this info if we ask them, but probably not.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    I wonder if Leica would be willing to disclose this info if we ask them, but probably not.
    Yeah, I wonder.

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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    I certainly don't mean to imply that I think you (or Godfrey) should overhaul your enitre method of working. I was just trying to give a little insight on how the camera works, so you can make small adjustments if you feel like it. ...
    I've decided to simply ignore it, thanks anyway. I've developed my technique for getting what I want out of the M9, which is based on learning what the different ISO settings do with respect to dynamic range, how the meter is calibrated, and how to get the best exposure for my photos. What I'm finding is that 95% of the time, my raw files process through Lr 4.2, with my customized defaults, and are done right there ... little need to do any additional adjustment other than the superfluous but pretty effects (a little added vignetting and a pleasant border for digital framing).

    Whether it perform a miniscule bit better at some specific ISO settings than others ... eh? The differences are simply not apparent enough to care overmuch. For me, anyway.

    Life is short. I'd rather be making photographs and letting the equipment do its thing without consuming my time.. ;-)

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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    I've decided to simply ignore it, thanks anyway. I've developed my technique for getting what I want out of the M9, which is based on learning what the different ISO settings do with respect to dynamic range, how the meter is calibrated, and how to get the best exposure for my photos. What I'm finding is that 95% of the time, my raw files process through Lr 4.2, with my customized defaults, and are done right there ... little need to do any additional adjustment other than the superfluous but pretty effects (a little added vignetting and a pleasant border for digital framing).

    Whether it perform a miniscule bit better at some specific ISO settings than others ... eh? The differences are simply not apparent enough to care overmuch. For me, anyway.

    Life is short. I'd rather be making photographs and letting the equipment do its thing without consuming my time.. ;-)
    No problemo, but I would contend that changing ISO less often will save you time during the capture process. We're only talking about moving a single slider in post, so it doesn't exactly add a lot of time to each picture, just like adjusting your WB. What you're currently doing, by using the camera ISO to add gain to your exposure, is allowing the equipment to take up more of your time on the front end, where saving time usually matters.

    Raising ISO in-camera isn't really much different than adjusting your WB for every single frame at the capture stage, rather than using a single WB (or even autoWB) and adjusting to taste in post. It is necessary when shooting jpeg, but not so much for raw.

    Ultimately, like with using a single WB, using only one (or a few) ISOs reminds of shooting a few speeds of film, where I would just push the film after the fact, if necessary. It's no biggie, really.

    As for dynamic range, the methods I describe are all about maximizing dynamic range, so, while other techniques are valid, none would provide more usable dynamic range, due to the design of the camera. If you were shooting a Canon DSLR, or, say, a Nikon D3/D700/D3s, it would be an entirely different story, but not so with the M9.

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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Ha! Oddly enough, I just started reading today's article on Steve Huff, and, coincidentally, Ofri Wolfus briefly mentions how sensors have a single ISO, and gain is added after the fact:

    I Shoot Digital Film by Ofri Wolfus | STEVE HUFF PHOTOS


    "...Another little known fact is that a digital sensor has a single sensitivity to light. Increasing the ISO in the camera simply increases the amount of analog signal amplification, but the sensor’s sensitivity to light remains unchanged.

    At this point lets stop for a second and look back at what we have. Surprisingly, this mechanism is extremely similar to how we work with film. First, we expose the film to light. Then we develop the film, at which point we can push process it, effectively increasing its ISO and adding “noise”..."

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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    I came across this thread and found it quite interesting...

    I'm not saying that the Wolfus guy is wrong, but I think increasing the ISO in a digital sensor is more to just increasing the analog signal amplification.

    When I had Nikon DSLRs (not sure if it applies to Canons), you also have Hi or Lo 1 & 2 settings in addition to the standard ISO settings. If it's truly just an analog signal amplification, why even bother with "Hi" and "Lo" ISO settings and just use the numerical equivalent?


    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    Ha! Oddly enough, I just started reading today's article on Steve Huff, and, coincidentally, Ofri Wolfus briefly mentions how sensors have a single ISO, and gain is added after the fact:

    I Shoot Digital Film by Ofri Wolfus | STEVE HUFF PHOTOS


    "...Another little known fact is that a digital sensor has a single sensitivity to light. Increasing the ISO in the camera simply increases the amount of analog signal amplification, but the sensor’s sensitivity to light remains unchanged.

    At this point lets stop for a second and look back at what we have. Surprisingly, this mechanism is extremely similar to how we work with film. First, we expose the film to light. Then we develop the film, at which point we can push process it, effectively increasing its ISO and adding “noise”..."

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: M9 intermediate ISO settings

    Quote Originally Posted by bubuli View Post
    When I had Nikon DSLRs (not sure if it applies to Canons), you also have Hi or Lo 1 & 2 settings in addition to the standard ISO settings. If it's truly just an analog signal amplification, why even bother with "Hi" and "Lo" ISO settings and just use the numerical equivalent?
    Lots of cameras have Hi and Lo settings (although they are named differently.) This is simply pushing or pulling the file digitally.

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