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Thread: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    I got rid of all of my digital gear, except an M9, a collapsible 50 Summicron that I use 99.9% of the time, and a 90 tele-elmarit that I use for an occasional portrait. Choice bogs me down, and I love this streamlined setup.
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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    One is CMOS (1Ds3) and the other is CCD (M9). Same day within 10 minutes or so of each other -





    CCD vs CMOS doesn't matter much. It comes down to AA filter vs no AA filter and how the raw editors decode the raw files. Just my $.02...
    John
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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    John,

    Of course when it comes to web based images, telling apart CCD/CMOS matched pairs of images can often be dependent on a whole host of variables. With that said, looking at these two images by themselves, I much prefer the 1st image, especially for skin tones and texture and a bit of depth to the image. The lighting in the second one though I believe has influenced some of this. Of course what transcends all this is her attractiveness, lovely smile and pose.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 26th February 2013 at 20:42.
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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Regardless of the differences in color rendition, to my eyes, there is an unmistakable difference between what I described earlier as the density and depth of CCD files that is similar to slide film versus the light and airy character of CMOS more similar to negative film. I can see those characteristics clearly in John's lovely photographs.

    (PS: also the IR contamination in the sweater is unmistakable too )
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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    You know, I was just telling someone on another thread that haven't noticed any IR issues with black clothing and the M9, but if that first pic is from the M9, I may have to reevaluate.
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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    You know, I was just telling someone on another thread that haven't noticed any IR issues with black clothing and the M9, but if that first pic is from the M9, I may have to reevaluate.
    I can't say I have seen it often. Most of the time, it's imperceptible.
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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    IR affects more than just blacks. But in this example, if only one pic were shown, one would have no clue about the accuracy of the sweater color.

    We like to think we can tell these things, but in a 'blind' test, looking at different prints of diverse subjects by lots of unknown photographers, most people have no clue about the camera or lens used.

    Jeff

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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff S View Post
    IR affects more than just blacks. But in this example, if only one pic were shown, one would have no clue about the accuracy of the sweater color.

    Jeff
    I agree. I'm just surprised it is so noticeable compared to the Canon in those shots.

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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by John Black View Post
    One is CMOS (1Ds3) and the other is CCD (M9). Same day within 10 minutes or so of each other -





    CCD vs CMOS doesn't matter much. It comes down to AA filter vs no AA filter and how the raw editors decode the raw files. Just my $.02...
    This shows exactly what I always say! And we could go on here - Nikon, Pentax etc ....

    Many thanks for posting this!!!!

    Peter

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    Re: CCD/CMOS transition in MFDBs

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    That would be Dalsa P40 not P30 which was Kodak. The same sensor in the P40 is identical to the IQ 140 and 160 although larger FF size.

    So for clarity

    P20+
    P21+
    P25+
    All Kodak 9 micron sensors. Not made anymore

    ____________________________________________

    P30+ Kodak sensor 7.9 Micron high ISO to 1600
    P45+ Kodak sensor 7.9 long exposure king

    ____________________________________________

    P40+
    IQ 140
    P65+
    IQ 160
    All share the same Dalsa sensor 6 micron

    __________________________________

    IQ 180 Dalsa 5.4 Micron sensor
    Oh, Since the later backs have maximum exposure time of 1-2 min, and lots more display controls (zooms, touch-screen input), I got the impression they were Dalsa CMOS, but checking the Phase site, I see there is no Live View. So the MFDB world is still all CCD and doesn't tell us anything about this transition, right?

    scott

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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Douglas - I wouldn't get to sussed about the IR. In trying to match the color between the images, it's a tug of war with the color balancing in Photoshop. FWIW - the 1Ds3 can show IR from time to time; it just depends on the ambient lighting, such as direct sunlight on a black car interior.

    Dave - having fought the CCD vs CMOS battle with a friend and even dumping various medium format kits into the mix, the differences can be minute. I really think the 1Ds3 punched above its weight class. The M9 can be more endearing due to lens character - for example, the 50 Lux ASPH has no peer in dSLR land. The non-AA'd cameras have more "punch" in terms of acuity, but then there is the false color and aliasing. After the images are processed, the differences are so small (assuming comparable file sizes). Bringing the P65+ to the fight isn't fair, but the DF system had the most focus errors by far, so the benefit of all those pixels could be diminished very easily. Here are 100% crops at F2 - same day, same lenses. In terms of acuity, both are comparable. The 100 ZE does a very good job of cutting through AA filters (IMO) --- 100% crops from the raws.

    Anyways, first image is the M9 w/ 75 APO & second was the 1Ds3 with 100ZE; both shot af F2. EXIF is attached. The draw of the lenses is quite comparable (as shown above) at near distances.

    In normal day to day use, the difference I always see is the M9's color rendition vs the 1Ds3. The M tends to the blues; the 1Ds3 goes to the reds and yellows. Based on the M-240 DNGs we've seen thus far, I think I much prefer the M240's color rendering over the M9. I prefer a more neutral file, and then I'll edit it in the direction I like. I'll reserve final judgement until the M-240 is supported by C1 with a proper color profile.
    John
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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by John Black View Post
    Douglas - I wouldn't get to sussed about the IR. In trying to match the color between the images, it's a tug of war with the color balancing in Photoshop. FWIW - the 1Ds3 can show IR from time to time; it just depends on the ambient lighting, such as direct sunlight on a black car interior.

    Dave - having fought the CCD vs CMOS battle with a friend and even dumping various medium format kits into the mix, the differences can be minute. I really think the 1Ds3 punched above its weight class. The M9 can be more endearing due to lens character - for example, the 50 Lux ASPH has no peer in dSLR land. The non-AA'd cameras have more "punch" in terms of acuity, but then there is the false color and aliasing. After the images are processed, the differences are so small (assuming comparable file sizes). Bringing the P65+ to the fight isn't fair, but the DF system had the most focus errors by far, so the benefit of all those pixels could be diminished very easily. Here are 100% crops at F2 - same day, same lenses. In terms of acuity, both are comparable. The 100 ZE does a very good job of cutting through AA filters (IMO) --- 100% crops from the raws.

    Anyways, first image is the M9 w/ 75 APO & second was the 1Ds3 with 100ZE; both shot af F2. EXIF is attached. The draw of the lenses is quite comparable (as shown above) at near distances.

    In normal day to day use, the difference I always see is the M9's color rendition vs the 1Ds3. The M tends to the blues; the 1Ds3 goes to the reds and yellows. Based on the M-240 DNGs we've seen thus far, I think I much prefer the M240's color rendering over the M9. I prefer a more neutral file, and then I'll edit it in the direction I like. I'll reserve final judgement until the M-240 is supported by C1 with a proper color profile.
    HI There John
    Thanks for this - excellent - and so, of course, I agree with every word!
    all the best

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: CCD/CMOS transition in MFDBs

    Quote Originally Posted by scott kirkpatrick View Post
    Oh, Since the later backs have maximum exposure time of 1-2 min, and lots more display controls (zooms, touch-screen input), I got the impression they were Dalsa CMOS, but checking the Phase site, I see there is no Live View. So the MFDB world is still all CCD and doesn't tell us anything about this transition, right?

    scott
    Not Yet. At the moment it's all CCD based. That will change
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by John Black View Post
    Douglas - I wouldn't get to sussed about the IR. In trying to match the color between the images, it's a tug of war with the color balancing in Photoshop. FWIW - the 1Ds3 can show IR from time to time; it just depends on the ambient lighting, such as direct sunlight on a black car interior.

    Dave - having fought the CCD vs CMOS battle with a friend and even dumping various medium format kits into the mix, the differences can be minute. I really think the 1Ds3 punched above its weight class. The M9 can be more endearing due to lens character - for example, the 50 Lux ASPH has no peer in dSLR land. The non-AA'd cameras have more "punch" in terms of acuity, but then there is the false color and aliasing. After the images are processed, the differences are so small (assuming comparable file sizes). Bringing the P65+ to the fight isn't fair, but the DF system had the most focus errors by far, so the benefit of all those pixels could be diminished very easily. Here are 100% crops at F2 - same day, same lenses. In terms of acuity, both are comparable. The 100 ZE does a very good job of cutting through AA filters (IMO) --- 100% crops from the raws.

    Anyways, first image is the M9 w/ 75 APO & second was the 1Ds3 with 100ZE; both shot af F2. EXIF is attached. The draw of the lenses is quite comparable (as shown above) at near distances.

    In normal day to day use, the difference I always see is the M9's color rendition vs the 1Ds3. The M tends to the blues; the 1Ds3 goes to the reds and yellows. Based on the M-240 DNGs we've seen thus far, I think I much prefer the M240's color rendering over the M9. I prefer a more neutral file, and then I'll edit it in the direction I like. I'll reserve final judgement until the M-240 is supported by C1 with a proper color profile.
    It all depends on how picky you are. My clients do not like green hair like in the Canon sample shot ... and for me, fixing that on 50 bridal shots is NOT easy and mind numbingly boring.

    For this specific portrait, I think the 75's draw was better for her face BTW... the 100 compacts and flattens it a tad too much. Focal length choice makes a huge difference on different faces.

    I shot a zillion weddings with the IDsMK-III, and got really sick of spending so much time in PP to even come close to the M9 in "presence" ... so I dumped it in favor of the Nikon D3X ... which turned out to be jumping from the frying pan to the fire even using the incredibly slow to use ZFs that defeats the main AF advantage of a 35mm DSLR . So I dumped that also. So far the Sony A900 is still the best of the lot for consistent color out of the camera (jury is still out on the A99).

    Right now I have a nice color consistency between the S2 and M9, with a relatively easier PP job with the Sony/Zeiss output and my LR user presets ... if profiles, presets and whatnot gets the M 240 in that ballpark, then it'll go into the bag.

    Remains to be seen.

    -Marc

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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Ditto. I have been using 5d mk2 with Leica R lenses (80mm 1.4, 180mm 2.8 APO, 90mm f2, 35mm 1.4). Most of the time, I can spot the difference between 5D mk2 vs. M9 instantly (same glass on both 80mm 1.4 on 5D Mk2 vs. 70mm 1.4 on M9). M9 photos really bite when the light is ample. In John Black's example, I prefer the first photo, which turns out to be M9. I spent minimal time in editing - mostly with C1. (Off topic, for M9, how is C1 vs. LR -- hate to learn to use yet another raw editor).

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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    I agree. I'm just surprised it is so noticeable compared to the Canon in those shots.
    But you likely wouldn't have noticed much difference if the M9 had been used with a UV/IR cut filter, as I use with my M8.2. That would have at least eliminated some of the obvious color distinction (on the sweater especially) between the two photos. The internal M9 filtration has been known to be weaker than the external filtration provided by the filter.

    Jeff

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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff S View Post
    But you likely wouldn't have noticed much difference if the M9 had been used with a UV/IR cut filter, as I use with my M8.2. That would have at least eliminated some of the obvious color distinction (on the sweater especially) between the two photos. The internal M9 filtration has been known to be weaker than the external filtration provided by the filter.

    Jeff
    I know. That's my quandary. I'm wondering if using an IR filter is worth the occasional weird, green reflections that they sometimes cause. Maybe I'll get one for occasional usage.

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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    I haven't had any 'funny weird green reflections' using either of my 2 M8.2s over the last four years (and the filters have never been removed since I bought them.) I haven't tried filters on an M9, though.

    Jeff

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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff S View Post
    I haven't had any 'funny weird green reflections' using either of my 2 M8.2s over the last four years. I haven't tried filters on an M9, though.

    Jeff
    I've read a lot about green reflections in point sources of light from the IR filters on M8s from other members, but I've never tried an IR filter, myself.

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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Filters are relatively cheap given your sunk costs, so try one and see. Only your opinion matters. This is a quandary easily solved.

    Jeff

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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Funny weird stuff from M8 with IR filters?
    Or maybe just a bad case of boot oder

    -bob
    Last edited by Bob; 1st March 2013 at 12:56.
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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Ha! In that case, I think the green blob adds to the pic. Great, Bob!

    Anyway, sorry to get so off topic.

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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    I never said it didn't happen, just that it hasn't happened to me. And even if I had gotten a case of 'green boots,' I'd have to weigh the frequency against the otherwise obvious benefits. Each photographer needs to make judgments based on his/her own use and experience; hence my recommendation to Douglas to try it and see.

    Jeff

    PS At least we know her jacket wasn't black.

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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    If one is inclined to upgrade to new "M" then those folks will likely believe and continue to feel that CMOS and CCD are at parity.

    If one is inclined to keep their M9/M8 etc then those folks will likely believe that CCD is better.

    blind tests on web are meaningless. You could show two images and have a hard time telling Monochrom vs. m43 camera B&W and we all know there is a difference in performance there, for example.

    My feeling is that there are definitely characteristics of different sensors. One is not better than the other and that's why choices are good. I have an M9P and D800E and although D800E is technically a better sensor I often find the images on the M9P more pleasing. Also using primes/Zeiss etc on Nikon.
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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Sooner or later, every M8* user will get a green blob. Nature of the UV/IR filters and both Leica's and Heliopan's filters do it. Typically when there's a strong specular light. In these situations you have four choices:

    1) Suck it up
    2) Clone it out
    3) Pull the filter
    4) Get an M9

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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Shoot an MP

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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Negative View Post
    In these situations you have four choices:

    1) Suck it up
    2) Clone it out
    3) Pull the filter
    4) Get an M9
    5) Convert to b/w.
    6) Don't shoot in those conditions.
    7) Keep it and post it on the web for all to see

    Jeff
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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Inspired by the CCD vs CMOS discussion, I revisited my archives and browsed many files, all shot with Carl Zeiss lenses, on Canon 5D and 1Ds2, Sony A900. What strikes me the most is the almost organic quality of the M9 files and the "roundness" of shapes, while I found the shapes by all other cameras quite flat looking. Flat not in terms of contrast (well, that too), but flat in that they lack the roundness (not to be confused with 3D) of the M9. Very interesting discovery for me.
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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    I am fascinated about the CCD vs CMOS discussion also, I think there is a good case for now at least to keep the M9 where possible, while having the improved ergonomics and functionality of the M240. At base ISO's, I feel the M9 will become the classic, sought after look. With the improved firmware and profiles the new M240 will look similar, and in reality maybe very hard to pick the difference on the computer screen.

    Having the RX1, FF Sony's latest CMOS sensor, the IQ, DR and low light ability have amazed me. At base ISO's, the M9 has the definite clean, rich and full look that the RX1 files seems to lack, even with extensive PP'ing.
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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    That makes me think the Phase One MF digital backs might be sought after for many years with the P45+ being the long exposure leader. It's needed when shooting ISO 50. I've never even tried ISO 100 with it.

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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Fully agree, Charles.

    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesK View Post
    I am fascinated about the CCD vs CMOS discussion also, I think there is a good case for now at least to keep the M9 where possible, while having the improved ergonomics and functionality of the M240. At base ISO's, I feel the M9 will become the classic, sought after look. With the improved firmware and profiles the new M240 will look similar, and in reality maybe very hard to pick the difference on the computer screen.

    Having the RX1, FF Sony's latest CMOS sensor, the IQ, DR and low light ability have amazed me. At base ISO's, the M9 has the definite clean, rich and full look that the RX1 files seems to lack, even with extensive PP'ing.
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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    This is a very interesting discussion. I have never really known or thought about the CCD vs CMOS factor until recently with the M240's release, but what I have known very intimately is whether I like the look out of a certain camera or not. I don't need to know *why* one looks better versus the other... And the why applies to both the "supply" side (sensor, lens, etc.) and the result side (technical differences in output files).

    But it's fascinating that without thinking about the "why" many of us are emotionally more responsive to outputs from one camera versus the other. And perhaps that's all that matters.

    Despite the perceived technical superiorities, I never really fell in love with Nikon D3/D3S files, and the same with Canon 5D Mk2. However I felt a lingering attraction to Sony's A850's outputs and much more so with those from the M9. Not sure why, and pixel peeping and stretching the limits of RAW files in Lightroom I did not feel that one was superior in versus the other in terms of amount of information contained in the files, but the way they're presented... Despite the horrid auto WB on the M9, I often still preferred the look versus similar shots out of the Nikons and Canons.

    I admit, this could all be in my head, since Leica as a brand and the pretty shape of the M9 command a significant emotional premium to start. And I've seen plenty of photos from others that I can form a strong and lasting emotional attachment with that were shot with Nikons and Canons. So, I dunno. What I do know is that I look forward to opening up the files from my M9 much more so than I did with any other camera, and I guess it doesn't really matter why.

    That said, of the two photos above, I immediately and instinctively preferred the first one and was hoping that was the M9 file and was relieved to find out it was so.
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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Excellent points. My first toe into the waters of MFD was with the Hassy CFV on my 500 C/M. If the files were opened in Photoshop they were converted to DNGs. The DNG files were awful. They were dull, dark, and the color was horrid. In Flexcolor the files were absolutely stunning. So, it seems, Hasselblad had worked hard and provided "out of the box" images that needed only slight alterations. If you think about it, the 35 mm camera makers give you "out of the box" images that enhanced the positive attributes of the 35 mm systems. Conversely, MFD manufacturers provided "out of the box" images that brought photographers to the Medium Format systems in the first place. So, I'm not sure there is a CCD versus CMOS "look". Now, I also know, that there are inherent differences in the sensors that allow the manufacturers to only go so far, and camera manufacturers have chosen the sensors that allow them to take advantage of their individual systems.

    As I understand it, the Leia sensor is a European version that should contain the most recent technical innovations. So, if they are presumably working with a clean slate, they may just be able to bring us the most useful advantages of the RF system, using top notch lenses, into the new M.

    Greg

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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Well looking at the Buy/Sell forum, all I see are M9's for sale now.....
    Am I to assume that everyone is going for the new "M"
    Steven Kornreich
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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by kuau View Post
    Well looking at the Buy/Sell forum, all I see are M9's for sale now.....
    Am I to assume that everyone is going for the new "M"
    Well you have thousands of people wanting an M, many are M9 owners. You will see a lot on the forums. Now is a good time to buy an M9! Long term who knows, maybe they will rise in price!

  36. #136
    Senior Member Amin's Avatar
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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    I think the point was that its the temptation to calibrate a CMOS sensor to have fantastic high ISO which compromises it rather than the actual sensor technology. AFAIK there are no modern CMOS sensors which do not do this. The new CMOSIS sensor is much less ambitious (as was the sensor in the Sony A900).
    I understand your point about sensor tuning beyond intrinsic sensor technology itself, but the chosen base ISO of 200 in this camera represents a decision to prioritize high ISO performance at the expense of low ISO performance. Don't get me wrong - I'm sure the low ISO performance is, for all practical purposes, wonderful. I also don't doubt that it will be better than the M9 at all ISO values. However, my understanding is that - all other things being equal - a sensor designed with a lower base ISO will have better image quality at base ISO than a sensor designed with a higher base ISO.

    I was told by a sensor expert that a 4/3 sensor designed with a base ISO of 25 would have the same dynamic and tonal range and same signal/noise at that ISO as a 35mm format sensor with a base ISO of 100. If paired with high quality prime lenses that excelled at f/2.8, such a camera could be an incredible compact and lightweight tool for landscapers. However, such sensors do not exist, presumably because they would sacrifice low light, high ISO image quality.

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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    The actual sensitivity of a sensor is defined by sensel area (they "collect" photons during the exposure - 4x area -> 4x more photons) and quantum efficiency (basically translating light into electric current) - the signal can then be amplified (in an analogue stage or digitally) to the desired higher "sensitivity".

    The quality of implementation (electric interference etc.) and the amplifier/ADCs varies, but generally speaking, an efficient sensor with high basic sensitivity will offer superior IQ (regarding noise and to a certain degree DR) at any ISO setting.
    The rather different amplification/conversion-technology in the CCD-world (external, 1-4x amps/ADCs) might lead to a faster degradation of IQ compared to modern CMOS (on-chip, column-based).

    What can be compromised in favour of higher sensitivity is the density of the CFA, using more "transparent" filters which reduce "color precision". Other than that, a low-noise sensor (+ additional circuitry) will ALWAYS be preferable.
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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    What can be compromised in favour of higher sensitivity is the density of the CFA, using more "transparent" filters which reduce "color precision".
    Is there any way to see or verify the higher "color precision" of such sensors? I have seen several indications that Leica (M9, specifically) uses more selective filters and I wonder how it would be reflected in actual images. I don't want to open a can of worms here, but one of the DxO numbers is about color depth and the collected numbers are more or less the same as competition, which rises my curiosity.

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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by MirekE View Post
    Is there any way to see or verify the higher "color precision" of such sensors? I have seen several indications that Leica (M9, specifically) uses more selective filters and I wonder how it would be reflected in actual images. I don't want to open a can of worms here, but one of the DxO numbers is about color depth and the collected numbers are more or less the same as competition, which rises my curiosity.
    Here are some great posts from Joakim (thesuede,) who works in the industry:

    a850 vs a900, 1 stop better noise performance? - FM Forums

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    Re: Sean Reid's M9/MM/M240 Comparison

    Thanks for taking the time and finding this in old posts on FM for me. TheSuede has also been a great source of information and I was not aware of these particular posts. Very helpful!

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