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Thread: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

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    Senior Member helenhill's Avatar
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    The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    I FEEL Quite SHY in saying this (and Jack suggested I start this Thread /after a Question I posted to him)
    but I am Not Thrilled as an M8 owner
    and I FEEL quite Guilty about it...

    I have loved sooo many posts & pix with this cam
    by so many of YOU here @GETDPI

    When I shoot B&W Film the pics are soooo 'Atmospheric' & Alluring
    something I don't see when I shoot w/the M8
    I'm always abit Flat or Disappointed....

    color w' the M8 is charming, True to Life & Brilliant but my Hearts in B&W

    so I guess I need to Understand the World of PP
    and Perhaps some of Your Secrets

    This is NOT a Thread / Digital VERSUS Film Bashing
    just Wondering how I may Fall under the M8 Spell....
    Last edited by helenhill; 16th March 2009 at 15:52.

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    Senior Member Erik Five's Avatar
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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Exposure2 plug in for PS. Buy it and love it

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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Were you "thrilled" with the RD1 files?

    Which RAW conversion software are you using?

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    Senior Member helenhill's Avatar
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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Quote Originally Posted by cmb_ View Post
    Were you "thrilled" with the RD1 files?

    Which RAW conversion software are you using?
    Touche' Charles, ....You are Good

    IGNORANCE IS BLISS....
    You see its the damn B&W Film that ruined my Eyes or rather heightened my Vision
    and YES the M8 files are far more expandable & Superior
    but RD1 rocks at Night

    At present I just have Aperture /where I do a tweak ,here & there
    Last edited by helenhill; 16th March 2009 at 16:24.

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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    i get the impression that an M8 is due to join our household soon ... in the meantime we have been shooting and developing film this weekend... well I have been developing film... and fighting the scanner and all that stuff... and i am sorry but digital wins big time for me at this point.

    to me the jury is out to whether the M8 is a better digital camera than the rest. To me its only redeeming feature is that you get to use leica lenses

    with my photography the actual camera seem less important..... my top five most interesting on flickr were taken on Powershot(ixus) 100, Canon 10D, OLy510 iphone, Canon 10d and canon g9

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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Helen,

    I highly recommend Nik's Silver Efex Pro for the B&W conversions. It's pretty much all I use now.

    Cheers,

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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    I use Alien Skin Exposure 2 for b&w also a very important item in my digital work flow is Pixel Genius PhotoKit Sharpener. For sharpening theory get and read the late Bruce Fraser "Real World Image Sharpening with Adobe Photoshop CS2" Once you understand the process you can put it to the side and just use photokit sharpener. All digital images need to be sharpened twice, once on capture and once on output for the targeted device.

    You can get the magic back...


    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Quote Originally Posted by simonclivehughes View Post
    Helen,

    I highly recommend Nik's Silver Efex Pro for the B&W conversions. It's pretty much all I use now.

    Cheers,
    I was just going to suggest that if no one else did. They have the entire plug-in set for Photoshop and Aperture (Lightroom coming soon.)
    Sony Visible Light & IR Photographer
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    matmcdermott
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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    I'd also recommend Alien Skin Exposure. I use it for both B&W (which I rarely shoot) and for color on every image. Love it. Though running it on a MacBook requires a good deal of RAM to make it speedy. Record your favorite film settings as actions in Photoshop to further speed things up a bit.

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    Senior Member helenhill's Avatar
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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Quote Originally Posted by kevinparis View Post
    i get the impression that an M8 is due to join our household soon ... in the meantime we have been shooting and developing film this weekend... well I have been developing film... and fighting the scanner and all that stuff... and i am sorry but digital wins big time for me at this point.

    to me the jury is out to whether the M8 is a better digital camera than the rest. To me its only redeeming feature is that you get to use leica lenses

    with my photography the actual camera seem less important..... my top five most interesting on flickr were taken on Powershot(ixus) 100, Canon 10D, OLy510 iphone, Canon 10d and canon g9
    Yes Cam is just like Eric
    sitting on the Bleachers while I develop the Film and then crowing Film is Better....
    Though I immensly enjoy Developing... its Fun & relaxing

    Its the Damn sitting on the Floor with the Changing Bag trying to open the film with a can opener and winding the plastic reels

    The M8 is Special ,
    I just haven't wrapped my head around it in the World of B&W

    i agree its not the Camera but certainly One has Groove w/the Medium
    Last edited by helenhill; 16th March 2009 at 17:00.

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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Erik, Simon, HiredArm, Mat
    John (you changed your Avatar-Lovely)

    I only have Aperture / mac desktop 10.5.6
    Is Alien or Niks compatible or do i need something else w/it ?

    THANX ALL...LOVE YA

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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Alien Skin requirements and it doesn't play with Aperture nor does Pixel genius. Why I'm a photoshop person.

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
    Mike Johnston


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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Perhaps you have C1 as well, depending on if the seller of your camera activated the version that ships with the camera under their name or not - and, if not, did they send you the CD?

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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Dearest Helen, you know I love you right?

    But I must say that many of the most worthwhile experiences in life take work. There are simply no shortcuts to excellence or even good-enence. It seems to me that everyone who takes up photography must pay their dues and earn their chops. It's frustrating, disappointing at times, and often humiliating, but there's just no way to get better without putting in the time to learn and grow. No camera, no film/developer combination, no scanner or lens will suddenly give you what you seek (which by the way, is a very personal goal and you are the sole judge of its definition.)

    There's just no getting around the facts that you have to learn the basics like focus, exposure and processing. The M8 does not go out of its way to make any of those things easy for you. It's a demanding camera in some ways. But if you are willing to put in the time, it can yield some wonderful results.

    My own personal opinion (and I know others will disagree) is that no digital photographer should be operating without a solid understanding of Photoshop. And if you're shooting the M8, C1 is also a must have. Both programs are entire fields of study unto themselves. Together they can make M8 files really shine. Silver Efex Pro as a plugin to Photoshop can make your B&W dreams come true.

    My advice is not to give up on the M8 but instead to take it as a wake up call. Time to get busy!

    With the best of intentions,
    Tim

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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    last time i developed 35mm was a year ago...i couldn't find a can opener! times, they are a changing

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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    helen

    little trick - when winding the film back in the camera dont wind all the way back... when you feel it loose and making crinkle noise stop... and take the film out.. If you still have the leader you dont have to destroy the canister...just trim the ends and feed into the spiral as needed but you do have to operate scissors in the black bag... so beware of fingers... oh and remember to put the scissors in the bag :-)


    K

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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Quote Originally Posted by helenhill View Post
    I only have Aperture / mac desktop 10.5.6
    Is Alien or Niks compatible or do i need something else w/it ?
    Helen,

    Yes, Nik's software works with both Aperture and Photoshop.

    Ciao,

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    Senior Member helenhill's Avatar
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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Quote Originally Posted by cmb_ View Post
    Perhaps you have C1 as well, depending on if the seller of your camera activated the version that ships with the camera under their name or not - and, if not, did they send you the CD?
    Do have the CD ...will try


    and THANK YOU TIM for your paternal advice

    This Neophyte of the M8 will await his Awakening as a Zealot
    but I certainly am not shy of Hard Work & Discipline
    as i have gone through in this Learning Experience
    compact P&S, to rangefinder digital /rd1
    to analog M4/M2 to starting developing and now an M8 ..ALL IN ONE YEAR and 3 months

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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Helen, let me put it this way:
    1) Preparing your canvas:
    We are not using linen canvas with rabbit hide glue sizing followed by gesso,
    Instead we begin with a raw file and develop it into a working tiff.
    This step cannot gain, but can only lose image quality.
    After many trials, I decided to use c1 for this conversion for he best initial conditions, the sharpest files (not over-sharpened turn town the default adjustments by half), and the lowest noise. Leave your file color at this point, unless your are tottally enamored with one of the c1 "styles"
    2) Select your media:
    B&W, Color, split toned? decide now, use PS to get you there. The B&W conversion allows good color weighting opportunities plus your own choice of custom curves.
    3) Pick your brushes:
    Gosh there are a lot of them in PS. Brushes (on masks) that subdue texture or enhance it. Brush color or contrast or brightness or darkness. make emphasis subdue distractions.
    4) Varnish:
    an optional step. Wait until your image is thoroughly dry, or you have looked at it over several days. Are there any final adjustments you would like to make? Now is the time to make sure your highlights are just about white and your darkest darks are just about black but with just a hint of detail. Adjust accordingly.
    Size and convert to finished format and you are done.
    Almost all of the features that one can get in a plug-in can be had with basic PS functionality albeit with maybe a few more steps.

    What I love above all with the M8 is that it gives you the BEST canvas cum grisaille underpainting bar none.
    -bob

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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    You might want to look at Lightzone.

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
    Mike Johnston


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    Subscriber Member mwalker's Avatar
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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    To my friend Helen, two words...or three words "Silver efex pro"
    Nik software....... fantastic and will let you emulate some film types and grains. Imants turned me on to it and it does the job!
    Mike

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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    Dearest Helen, you know I love you right?

    But I must say that many of the most worthwhile experiences in life take work. There are simply no shortcuts to excellence or even good-enence. It seems to me that everyone who takes up photography must pay their dues and earn their chops. It's frustrating, disappointing at times, and often humiliating, but there's just no way to get better without putting in the time to learn and grow. No camera, no film/developer combination, no scanner or lens will suddenly give you what you seek (which by the way, is a very personal goal and you are the sole judge of its definition.)

    There's just no getting around the facts that you have to learn the basics like focus, exposure and processing. The M8 does not go out of its way to make any of those things easy for you. It's a demanding camera in some ways. But if you are willing to put in the time, it can yield some wonderful results.

    My own personal opinion (and I know others will disagree) is that no digital photographer should be operating without a solid understanding of Photoshop. And if you're shooting the M8, C1 is also a must have. Both programs are entire fields of study unto themselves. Together they can make M8 files really shine. Silver Efex Pro as a plugin to Photoshop can make your B&W dreams come true.

    My advice is not to give up on the M8 but instead to take it as a wake up call. Time to get busy!

    With the best of intentions,
    Tim
    Tim, I agree with most of what you say. This weekend, I forced myself to look at some tutorials and learn something new in processing.

    However, I am one of those that do find Photoshop daunting. I've gotten some instruction but its funny my brain just does not interact well with it. Nobody can make the case that it is the least bit intuitive. There is just too much there. I've been using Lightroom and am holding out for increased functionality within the program. I may not get every little last bit out of my files but sometimes I'm OK with leaving a little bit of quality to keep the process from getting frustrating.

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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Helen,

    It is imperative that you first have a calibrated monitor (for color as well as b&w conversion). M8 RAW files tend to be a bit flat straight out of the camera, esp as compared to b&w film, so it is important to get a contrast curve you like first, and then go from there. Alien Skin or Nik both work well, but you do need to figure out how to work levels and curves and to do some fill layers with brush for dodging and burning. Same as you would do in a traditional darkroom. Get a Photoshop book by Martin Evening or Scott Kelby.

    Otherwise, i find the M8 to be absolutely brilliant, esp for color. But b&w can be nice too: here's a link to a shot published online recently. M8, iso 640, 28 cron wide open, Alien Skin Tri-X setting, and lots of burning.

    http://www.burnmagazine.org/photogra...rles-peterson/

    Charles

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    Dearest Helen, you know I love you right?

    But I must say that many of the most worthwhile experiences in life take work. There are simply no shortcuts to excellence or even good-enence. It seems to me that everyone who takes up photography must pay their dues and earn their chops. It's frustrating, disappointing at times, and often humiliating, but there's just no way to get better without putting in the time to learn and grow. No camera, no film/developer combination, no scanner or lens will suddenly give you what you seek (which by the way, is a very personal goal and you are the sole judge of its definition.)

    There's just no getting around the facts that you have to learn the basics like focus, exposure and processing. The M8 does not go out of its way to make any of those things easy for you. It's a demanding camera in some ways. But if you are willing to put in the time, it can yield some wonderful results.

    My own personal opinion (and I know others will disagree) is that no digital photographer should be operating without a solid understanding of Photoshop. And if you're shooting the M8, C1 is also a must have. Both programs are entire fields of study unto themselves. Together they can make M8 files really shine. Silver Efex Pro as a plugin to Photoshop can make your B&W dreams come true.

    My advice is not to give up on the M8 but instead to take it as a wake up call. Time to get busy!

    With the best of intentions,
    Tim
    Well said Tim and let me add my spin on this if I may. Helen digital is not a easy task as it was set out to be and learning any camera that is new to you the bottom line is it is going to take several months to get the hang of it and frankly you will have to sleep with it for awhile and really get to know it and how it ticks. All the Photoshop tricks are something to learn but more important is you need to learn the camera. It will do absolutely nothing for you at all. There is NO help when you pick up a M8 it is ALL about you and how you work it. Let me say that again it is how you make it work for you and what your vision is looking for. But to get to the end line as they say there is a lot of starting and stopping and questioning going on. Hey i did the same thing and i do this everyday and it took me time to get it under control. Right now it is a control factor a month from now it will be maybe a tweaking factor. So the learning curve is about 3 months in reality . Give it some time and get to know it and the files that come out of it. Pick a raw processor and don't try anything else for a month and work it to death.

    Instant gratification came and went when you bought it , the bright lights went out now you need to get to work. Many here to help and we will but you just need to get yourself around it and experiment.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    However, I am one of those that do find Photoshop daunting. I've gotten some instruction but its funny my brain just does not interact well with it. Nobody can make the case that it is the least bit intuitive. There is just too much there. I've been using Lightroom and am holding out for increased functionality within the program. I may not get every little last bit out of my files but sometimes I'm OK with leaving a little bit of quality to keep the process from getting frustrating.

    I'm with you and part of that is because I hadn't used any recent version of Photoshop before CS4 (just got it a few weeks ago.) I "get" Lightroom and I too hope they make it a more complete program where you have less of a "need" for Photoshop for simple things like making borders and frames (probably won't happen though.) The visual cataloging just makes Lightroom so much more accessible to me as well. I also liked Aperture as well but the D-Lux 4 isn't supported yet.
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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    What I love above all with the M8 is that it gives you the BEST canvas cum grisaille underpainting bar none.
    -bob
    The M8 is good but I think the DMR is stellar in that regard.


    Helen - C1 really delivers with the Leica files (although I must admit I've never used anything else even when Lightroom was so in fashion I stuck with C1).

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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Another thing with the M8 files - color processing - makes a difference if you are using an IR cut filter or not, This can vary from image-to-image. I mostly do not use them and on first look some images can seem rather disappointing but they just require a little more work that is all.

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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    I can understand that feeling Terry. There's a lot going on in PS. It may be that LR will eventually do everything you want it to do. Maybe it's even there now for some. (substitute Aperture if that's your thing).

    For me it took relentlessly pounding away at Photoshop for a long time and attending training at events like Photoshop World. I eventually had some kind of breakthrough with it. Things just clicked into place. Don't get me wrong, I'm not an expert. But I'm not intimidated by it anymore and realize that a lot of the features are simply alternate ways of obtaining a result. In the process I learned more about the files I was creating. A lot of its power is in its ability to make very subtle changes.

    I'm not sure how to describe the pathway "in" to anyone else's breakthrough with it, but I do believe (for now anyway) that it's worth the effort.

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    However, I am one of those that do find Photoshop daunting. I've gotten some instruction but its funny my brain just does not interact well with it. Nobody can make the case that it is the least bit intuitive. There is just too much there. I've been using Lightroom and am holding out for increased functionality within the program. I may not get every little last bit out of my files but sometimes I'm OK with leaving a little bit of quality to keep the process from getting frustrating.

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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    I use Lightroom for most of my M8 post processing then round trip it to CS3 for "fine tuning", NIK software adjustments, noise ninja (if needed), sizing, output sharpening then print from the canon 16 bit plug-in . Catalog back in LR. The data base function in LR is the best out there IMHO. Best of both worlds.

    I use plug-ins in PS because I'm not proficient at it.

    I use C1 for my Sony files then catalog as Tiff in LR.
    Last edited by mwalker; 17th March 2009 at 03:23.
    Mike

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  30. #30
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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Quote Originally Posted by helenhill View Post

    When I shoot B&W Film the pics are soooo 'Atmospheric' & Alluring
    something I don't see when I shoot w/the M8

    This is NOT a Thread / Digital VERSUS Film Bashing
    just Wondering how I may Fall under the M8 Spell....
    Ah, but it is a digital vs film thread! While I like digital and have seen great BW from the medium, imo it still can't touch film for those special intangible qualities that you mention, they're just different. I have some of the plugins mentioned above, including Siver Efx Pro, and don't really find any that have the qualitities that you seek. Film and digital are going to be different in that way. What's true is that good technique and correct workflow will go a long way to getting you close to what you want, of course, in the end, its the image that counts.
    Last edited by ddk; 17th March 2009 at 05:13.

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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Quote Originally Posted by helenhill View Post
    Yes Cam is just like Eric
    sitting on the Bleachers while I develop the Film and then crowing Film is Better....
    Though I immensly enjoy Developing... its Fun & relaxing

    i agree its not the Camera but certainly One has Groove w/the Medium
    hey now!!! sitting on the bleachers? moi??? hurumph!!!

    and i do like the look of film better -- only, not when i do it

    what everybody of kind of pussy-footing around here, is your digital processing is for ****. the same could be said for my current film skills. you find developing meditative, i find playing with photoshop the same. it's time for us both to get out of our comfort zone and expand! no pain, no gain and all that.

    as for the camera not making a difference, that's bollocks. it can! again, you and i are complete opposites here....

    you care about every photo you shoot with the M2, take your time with focus, exposure, etc., until everything is just so. with the M8 and digital files being so expendable, poof! you don't give it the same loving attention. if you did, i think it would go a long way to changing your mind about the cam.

    whilst i love the feel of the M2 in my hands, i feel inhibited by the permanence and expense of film. i am not shooting what i normally would, not playing around, and generally thinking too hard until the shot is gone. i'm finding it stifling!

    it's all in my head, Helen, as it is with the M8 for you.

    we both need to let go!

    the magic isn't in the M2 or the M8 -- it's in me and you. we just need to step outside ourselves to find it.

  32. #32
    Senior Member helenhill's Avatar
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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    [QUOTE=cam;84890]

    what everybody of kind of pussy-footing around here, is your digital processing is for . the same could be said for my current film skills. you find developing meditative, i find playing with photoshop the same. it's time for us both to get out of our comfort zone and expand! no pain, no gain and all that.
    **I Think You are being abit Harsh & Exaggerating about my PP skills w/Digital***

    as for the camera not making a difference, that's bollocks. it can! again, you and i are complete opposites here.... **THIS QUOTE was Kevins POV which I was Commenting On***

    you care about every photo you shoot with the M2, take your time with focus, exposure, etc., ***NOT TRUE ...I don't take my Time I'm quick to the Draw when out
    I measure my distance between 3 to 5 ft and have my aperture & shutter speed already set
    theres no long waiting...Just Catch the Moment NOW***



    it's all in my head, Helen, as it is with the M8 for you.
    we both need to let go!
    the magic isn't in the M2 or the M8 -- it's in me and you. we just need to step outside ourselves to find it.[ [B]****AGREED**[/B]/QUOTE]

    -H

  33. #33
    ddk
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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Quote Originally Posted by cam View Post

    the magic isn't in the M2 or the M8 -- it's in me and you. we just need to step outside ourselves to find it.
    While the magic might be inside of us, a suitable tool will go a long way to bring out that magic. This tool can be very personal and the camera system makes a big difference here. I know this from my recent trials with the Sigma DP-1, I really had to struggle hard to shoot a keeper with this camera and failed for the most part. I just didn't like the look of my files from this camera and dislike the rendering of their lens. There is a definite Leica look with film which is missing/different with the M8 and maybe that's what's bothering her, she does have a point!

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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Helen -- i adore you! i didn't mean to be so harsh (sorry), i was speaking for myself (see below) -- i just don't think you've applied yourself to PP at all because it bores you and digital images need a little TLC. i think you could be amazing once you get your head around it. (and i am definitely not being at all harsh about my film skills thus far -- i suck! i am a total dud!)

    yes, i know it was Kevin's comment. and multiple others... i am disagreeing with them all (not necessarily) because i do believe their is a difference in how we react to each camera. not saying it has to do with the tool itself -- but our response to it. i obviously consider photography a much more emotional experience than many others.

    i was not saying you were slow with the M2, simply that you made sure all was ready so you could be there when the moment arose. are you doing that with the M8 as well? using it manually? totally in control? there is definitely a different feeling when you do this.... and i know digital can be less forgiving than film -- i think i read to equate f/5.6 on film to f/8 on the M8 and so on (i believe the Epson is more like 2 stops)? you need to figure that into the equation...

    find your magic, find your allure, and go to it! i truly believe it's there -- maybe you just need to stop looking for it and just let it come?

    (this is what i keep telling myself with the M2....)
    Last edited by cam; 17th March 2009 at 07:25.

  35. #35
    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    I decided to go back to Helen's original post and I now have one more suggestion. If all that color is getting in the way of your aesthetic, maybe you could try setting the camera on B&W jpeg with the B&W preview. I think that's about as close to shooting digital-as-film as you can get with the M8. It even removes some of the post-processing angst since there isn't quite as much that you can do with the jpegs as you can with RAW. You should be able to do everything you want with lightroom (or C1).

    It might be a way forward for you and help you warm up to the camera. Although it must be said, that it's not a camera for everyone. Lots of folks have tried it and been uncomfortable with it and simply sold it and moved on. No shame in that. You gotta have a certain affection for the tool I think. There's a lot of M8 enablers here on this forum, but there are just as many people I know who think I'm nuts for owning an M8 (and for a variety of other reasons.)

    Best,
    Tim

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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    SilverEffex pro is a great program and makes B&W conversion and tinkering easy. That said, doing the block and tackle B&W conversion, layers, masks, curves, etc work in PS using the B&W adjustment feature will teach you more.

    You'll have a better understanding of how PS works, how layers and masks function, etc. You can always move to SEP if the more DIY process bores you - or you find the volume of conversion simply too much.

    While there will always be the eternal debate of film vs digital in B&W, I think it's not so much a matter of getting one as 'good' as the other, but getting each to the point where the end product appeals to you - regardless what shot with.

    I don't know if the M8/DMR have 'magic' or 'soul' but they do have the advantage (same as MFDBs) of lacking AA filters for that extra acuity - and strong glass. That said, be it from Leica, Nikon or whomever digital B&W and film B&W are different critters and need to be worked differently.

    However, a camera/lens does need to make a connection to the user for the photog to want to use it and to get the most out of it. It may simply come down to the fact that the M8 may not be your digital photo 'soul mate' as it were.

  37. #37
    nei1
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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Im going to be a little harsh ,deliberately.If a digital photo needs anything doing to it after basic processing its because you dont like the look of digital.If you need to use silver efex pro its because you like film,,,,,better to use film than copy it.
    Believe it or not I want to use digital,but not because its cheaper and easier but because it has its own look.............Digital should be a step forward not a look back at a more beautiful past ,...............a tool to create the new,it needs explorers not copyists.....................Neil

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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    here is a tip, not new. but not mentioned

    use a flatbed scanner to layout the entire roll in 6 neg strips and make a proof of the entire roll. start looking that over in your computer to sort through the keepers and discards. then spend the quality time scanning the good ones.

    biggest problem with film is how to edit all those negatives without seeing a positive

  39. #39
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Quote Originally Posted by cam View Post
    it bores you and digital images need a little TLC.
    Cam, I think you have made a *very* significant point here, two actually...

    First is that getting digital files to look good takes some TLC. The hard fact is that digital has such LARGE and LINEAR DR compared to film that we need to tweak it to make it look "good." FWIW, we spend a *LOT* of time on this at our workshops for this very reason. Second relevant point you made is PP can be boring -- mostly because it's frustrating until you get the hang of it.

    Back to getting a file to look right. With film, you have net total DR that is in many cases comparable to a finished digital file, but the difference is the film's DR is already heavily CURVED when it comes out of the soup, and a heavy curve will decrease DR. By contrast (pun intended) a digital file comes out of the raw processor *default* as fairly flat and needs some push. Film generally has a flat lower quarter-tone toe and a relatively flat upper quarter tone shoulder combined with a relatively steep ramp in the middle two quadrants. So... What we need to do in post is add those kinds of adjustments to the digital file.

    In color what you usally end up with would be described as a mild "S" curve compiled from a large font at the top half of the "S" and a smaller font for the bottom half, if that makes sense. In B&W you get much the same thing, but the middle part of the "S" is in total much steeper and the ends are much longer. And of course you make all these adjustments using a combination of the RAW processor tools available including first and foremost color balance, then exposure, highlight and shadow, black point and very often contrast and brightness, and finally clarity (a local contrast adjustment).

    At that point -- to put this in film processing parlance -- you have what is equivalent to the wet emulsion processed negative. To be clear though, before that what you have isn't even comparable to film choice -- and here is where digital is superior to film IMO -- we actually get to choose film after we've exposed it and before we start processing it! (We do however need to obviously choose the ISO before capture, though actually can push or pull that choice afterward if desired )

    Now we can send that proper digital "negative" to the image editor -- a program like Photoshop -- where you can make some localized adjustments just like you would in the darkroom during the printing step via choice of paper type (for its tonal response characteristic) paper base color (for white point and overall tone), paper grade (as final contrast adjustment), exposure time for chosen contrast (for desired shadow response), dodging and burning for desired effect (your localized adjustments).

    PS: Most of the programs recommended above don't do anything more than you can already do in Photoshop -- they just make some specific results easier and more intuitive to achieve.

    Hopefully this helps draw the appropriate parallels...

    Cheers,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  40. #40
    Senior Member helenhill's Avatar
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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Quote Originally Posted by nei1 View Post
    If a digital photo needs anything doing to it after basic processing its because you dont like the look of digital.If you need to use silver efex pro its because you like film,,,,,better to use film than copy it.
    Believe it or not I want to use digital,but not because its cheaper and easier but because it has its own look.............Digital should be a step forward not a look back at a more beautiful past ,...............a tool to create the new,it needs explorers not copyists.....................Neil
    I suppose YOU said in a Nutshell what my mind has been thinking...
    For me I can shoot Film because I LOVE the Look
    But in Terms of the M8
    I NOW Realize through you Neil, / putting my mind into Perspective
    That I'm NOT looking to Copy Fiim
    but as YOU say I NEED TO "Create the New, it needs explorers ,not copyists"

    how I get there ???... I will try and make it a Fun & Creative Aspiration....

    THANX Everybody...
    Last edited by helenhill; 17th March 2009 at 09:11.

  41. #41
    nei1
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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    My money is on you Helen,you have everything thats needed,just follow your nose,analogue or digital,whatever,just keep going,youll make it fun and new.

  42. #42
    Senior Member helenhill's Avatar
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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    After Reading this Thread Over
    Thanks to ALL of YOU
    i had to have A Drink.... (good excuse,right)
    w/Eric at Mexicano...Sangria
    M8 & 35 Cron

    Going light on PP ...I'm Drunk

  43. #43
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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Helen,

    One other point re digital B&W. Here is a link I'd like you to explore. It's landscape work, not street, but the images speak volumes. It was actually this guy that convinced me that digital could do respectable B&W; before these images I felt traditional B&W emulsion was the only way to get great B&W.

    Oh, and his camera? A Sony R1 -- serious: http://www.mitchdobrowner.com/
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  44. #44
    Senior Member helenhill's Avatar
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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    THANK YOU JACK
    his work seems so 'Other Wordly'
    Quite Lovely

    going back to the site Now

  45. #45
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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Jack - nice work in the link, have you seen prints?

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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Helen give this listen.

    "Photographers are explorers — so facing our own fears is a part of our creative path. Here is an excerpt from my interview with Camille Seaman in LensWork Extended #81 in which she talks about managing fear."

    Brooks Jensen pod cast #510

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
    Mike Johnston


  47. #47
    Jamie Roberts
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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Quote Originally Posted by nei1 View Post
    Im going to be a little harsh ,deliberately.If a digital photo needs anything doing to it after basic processing its because you dont like the look of digital.If you need to use silver efex pro its because you like film,,,,,better to use film than copy it.
    Believe it or not I want to use digital,but not because its cheaper and easier but because it has its own look.............Digital should be a step forward not a look back at a more beautiful past ,...............a tool to create the new,it needs explorers not copyists.....................Neil
    No--this is just not so

    When you deal with digital, you're dealing with a "colour" file 9/10 times (unless you're doing your BW conversion in the RAW converter) that you want to give the sense of BW.

    You'd have just as much trouble with Kodachrome, believe me Skin, for instance, just doesn't look the same as it does with BW emulsions.

    That's ok, unless you want your files to have the sense of belonging to a history of imaging, and to the typical contrast and tonality other photographers would get chemically.

    That's what the poster wants, and it has nothing to do with digital vs film, because really it's the print (or output) that matters.

    So the point is, how do you get the tonality of panchromatic (or other) BW emulsions--their colour response, if you like--beginning with a colour "negative"/ RAW file?

    There are *lots* of pages written on this. If you want to do it manually, and understand the channel mapping / mixing process, I'd suggest Dan Margulis's PS Color Correction books.

    All SilverEFEX Pro or Alien Skin Exposure do is *automate* the process to get you in the neighbourhood without having to mess with curves and channel mapping. And they do a very good job.... and both give you typical BW film-like results from a colour original, because they mimic the sensitivities and contrast of certain emulsions.

    Nothing wrong or fake or anti-digital or antedeluvian about that at all.

    BTW--they're both great programs, and while you can do everything they do yourself, they are both great ways to explore monochromatic effects.

  48. #48
    ddk
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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Helen,

    One other point re digital B&W. Here is a link I'd like you to explore. It's landscape work, not street, but the images speak volumes. It was actually this guy that convinced me that digital could do respectable B&W; before these images I felt traditional B&W emulsion was the only way to get great B&W.

    Oh, and his camera? A Sony R1 -- serious: http://www.mitchdobrowner.com/
    Nice images Jack but you can't get more digital looking than this, on the screen at least. Everything seems to have been shot with an IR converted camera and highly pp'd, they're great but definitely not film like!

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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Helen,

    One other point re digital B&W. Here is a link I'd like you to explore. It's landscape work, not street, but the images speak volumes. It was actually this guy that convinced me that digital could do respectable B&W; before these images I felt traditional B&W emulsion was the only way to get great B&W.

    Oh, and his camera? A Sony R1 -- serious: http://www.mitchdobrowner.com/
    ...I had a mixed reaction to that. Difficult to tell from the web, but I have never really "seen" anything that looks like that, and I have a hard time "seeing" through the artistry to the 'scene' if you know what I mean. They all look like illustration to me, pictures, but not photography.

    I actually like the LA scenes best, there was a quality about them that I could imagine seeing in a magazine article about LA for example, the stylization.

    I don't mind heavy handed per se, Action Movies, cinematic effects, etc. Maybe the prints do convey the air out there, the space. On the web it was overwhelming.

  50. #50
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: The MAGIC & ALLURE of the M8.....Is it For REAL

    Quote Originally Posted by cmb_ View Post
    Jack - nice work in the link, have you seen prints?
    I have not personally seen them, but a friend has and said they were "impressive" for having come from such a little camera
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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