Leica M Typ 240 Update

I’m at the point where I think I can give a thorough and fair review of the Leica M Typ 240.  Does that mean I would complete this review soon?  Well, there’s this procrastination that I seem to love doing…and If I say I will not write the review until I am able to take better pictures, then it will not be written at all.

Leica M Typ 240: IR Issues?

Getting this Leica M Typ 240 review done in this lifetime has become more and more difficult as I try to understand and get consistent color with the camera.

For a while, I thought getting the custom profiles with Photo Ninja would address this warm bias issue with the outputs.  Indeed, for the most part–except for the really out-of-whack recorded white balance–applying a custom profile helped in getting neutral colors in a consistent manner, until I processed a series of images from the other day taken the other day which still has a somewhat warm color bias despite applying the correct white balance (with a grey card) and applying the custom profiles.

Creating Custom Profiles for the Leica M Typ 240

Over the weekend, I created Photo Ninja sensor and light source profiles for the Leica M240 in preparation for writing the review.

Photo Ninja offers tools for custom profiles, one for the sensor and one for the light source profiles.  For the sensor profile, you will need to shoot a Color chart for all ISO settings (presumably to account for color shifts as ISO is increased) using an even lighting (not necessarily daylight-balanced lighting, I used Einstein 640 strobe with large Octabox).

For the light source profile, you will need to at least create one for a daylight-balanced light source, and one for a few other light sources like fluorescent or LED.  The principle applied here is that adjusting the WB with just a daylight-balanced profile is not enough to correct color shifts for some light sources like fluorescent lighting.  I have created two for now: daylight-balanced and warm-white LED lighting which I use at home.

Suffice to say that applying the profiles does make a huge difference (especially the light source profiles) in creating “neutral” (using the term loosely here) colors for the M240.  As you know, M240 is getting some slack with its strong magenta bias, and while some of this can be attributed to its horrendous Auto-White Balance implementation (which I almost never use), much of it is actually due to not using a custom profile designed specifically for the camera.  It’s unfortunate that the built-in profiles for the RAW developers doesn’t work perfectly for most users but the good news is that you can create one and apply that profile relatively easy for the RAW developers that support them.  Both Photo Ninja and Lightroom supports custom profiles, but Aperture 3.x (the one I use for catalog/db) doesn’t.

By |February 10th, 2014|tech|0 Comments

Leica M Typ 240 Review Delay Excuses

DSC_3871_v1Unfortunately, this review is taking much more time than expected.  I don’t want to take the half-assed route that most “real-world” reviewers do by taking pictures of their backyard or faucets and then make a full assessment of what a camera can or cannot do based on those images.  Note, however, that the review is not going to be as technical as the ones published by the likes of DPReview.  I will, however, cover features of the camera that are not even glossed over by some other reviews so as not to make the reader say “…well that’s 30 minutes of my life I’m not going to get back.”  To make this happen I have a list of things I need to have or need to do:

  • Get the Leica Olympus EVF-2 and make a thorough assessment of its usefulness.  I literally took delivery of one just an hour ago…and first impression is not very good.  How do I mildly put it?  It’s utter crap.  Laggy and refresh rate of an early 1980s television.  This accessory literally takes the joy out of using a Leica Rangefinder; I cannot believe some people actually paid for the Leica version of this.  If you have a perfectly-calibrated rangefinder, it’s better to use that than this garbage.  Thank goodness I was able to score a used one at half the price of a new one.  I would only use this if I need to be absolutely precise with my framing (which is less than 10% of the time) especially with the 75 APO.
  • Create a custom camera profile for the RAW developer I use for.  This is tedious as hell, and not really looking forward to doing it.  This, however, would help debunk the myth of the M240 not able to create neutral colors.
  • Have a better understanding of the camera sensor’s dynamic range and its relation to the camera’s histogram.  I pretty much nailed this down, but it probably burned half of my brain cells trying to understand it.  I thought monitor and printer profiling required a mind of a genius.

There is one thing I would like to address right now, though, is its image quality compared to the M9.  A lot of people claimed that it’s a step-down from the M9 in image quality and there’s even a website petitioning to go back to CCD sensors.   It’s absolute nonsense.  People claiming that the M9 is better than the M240 are either delusional or unable to see the M240 simply as a different camera!  Really, it is that simple.  I would, of course, elaborate on this on the full review.  But, for now, that’s as far as I can say about that topic.

Bottom line is if you’re an M9 user on the fence about getting an M240, I’d say just do it.  Expect it to perform like a Leica, but don’t expect it to perform like a Leica M9 and you will not be disappointed.

Coming Soon: Leica M Typ 240 Review

I know I haven’t updated this site in a long while…that’s about to change: I’m writing a review of the Leica M Typ 240.

By |November 17th, 2013|reviews|2 Comments
  • R0000344_v2
    Ricoh GR First Impressions Ricoh GR First Impressions

    Ricoh GR First Impressions

Ricoh GR First Impressions

  • For an APS-C camera, it’s really small.  If you have used any of the GR-D cameras, you’re gonna be at home with the latest one. The camera is fast and responsive.  No noticeable lag that I can see.
  • The lens is truly sharp even wide-open.  Probably surpasses the M9 + Summicron 28 ASPH…but I’ll confirm that once I get my 28 ASPH back from repair.  However, I never thought f2.8 is fast enough with the way I use my cameras (usually available light)…and sure enough, more often than not, I wished the lens was faster.  I would have preferred an f2.0, but obviously this would have compromised a lot of its features like size, lens sharpness, and price.
  • The way Auto-ISO is implemented in the GR is genius yet simple.  It has 2 levels of Auto-ISO: one Auto-ISO that goes to a relatively low ISO (max ISO 800, non-configurable) and a Auto-ISO “High” mode which goes to a max ISO (configurable) that you are comfortable with.  This is great because with the conventional Auto-ISO, it always takes your max ISO as your ceiling, which is not what you want in certain situations like good lighting where you don’t want the camera to get fooled into using a high ISO.
  • AF is not so great in low light.  Hunts a LOT.
  • Noise even at base ISO when RAW is processed other than the Aperture or Lightroom.  I expected this, and I personally isn’t bothered by it.  This little trade-off is worth the details offered by the sensor due to lack of AA.

All in all, a camera I intend to keep for a long time, just like the origina GR-D (which I still have).  More sample shots here.

ƒ/2.8 GR 18.3mm 800 1/40s

 

New Leica M Mini

So Leica has a new product to be announced on June 11th. Here’s my prediction on what the new Mini M is going to be:

  • It will be an interchangeable mount. I think it’s going to be a brand new AF mount but will come with an adapter to mount existing M-mount lenses
  • It will have the same sensor technology (CMOSIS) as the M240, but it will have 1.5x or 1.33x crop factor.
  • It will not have a viewfinder, supports the same EVF as the M240.
  • It will not be manufactured in Germany. In fact, it may be OEM’ed by Panasonic and may share the same internals with the rumored Panasonic L1 revival.
It’s pretty much a no-brainer that it will support M lenses out of the box (hence the name “M”). It will have a crop factor and EVF support only so it won’t cannibalize the existing M/M-E market. It will most likely be manufactured in Japan or China for lower costs. I think it will be AF natively so it can compete and grab back the marketshare that’s being aped by m43rds, NEX and Fuji X-series cameras with focus on existing Leica users who don’t want to send 7k for a back-up camera to take pictures of cats and their ugly kids (yours truly included).

It will be autofocus. AF technology isn’t exactly alien to them (they have the S2, after all). Making it MF-only wouldn’t make a lot of sense even with focus-peeking; the lack of AF alone would drive away potential buyers (i.e., the ones looking at the somewhat-oversaturated mirrorless market)

This will drive the cost of used M8s in the market and even get more people to at least try digital M’s for a relatively even cheaper pricepoint.

In any case, it’s a good move for Leica.

Ricoh is Finally Back!

With the recent announcement of the new Ricoh GR Digital (technically its fifth iteration), it looks like Ricoh/Pentax is betting all its chips to take a huge chunk of the pocketable digital camera.  Having owned the original Ricoh GR-D (the user-interface and overall handling is unmatched for any point and shoot camera) and after perusing all through the available videos and preview write-ups from various photography websites, it’s hard to see how this new camera can fail.

Suffice to say I pre-ordered one.  Hey, maybe we’ll see some real reviews on this site, no? ;-)

I hope they come out with the same design but with the Leica M-mount.  I’d buy that one in a heartbeat, too!

  • OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
    Olympus Zuiko 35-100 f2.0 Olympus Zuiko 35-100 f2.0

    Olympus Zuiko 35-100 f2.0

Olympus Zuiko 35-100 f2.0

I am making a huge gamble on what the next Olympus ‘E’ is going to be.  I am certain that Olympus is not going to abandon its FT line of lenses and would go as far as stating that it’s going to be its core.  I’m making such a huge gamble that I did what is thought as unthinkable nowadays: buy the FT Olympus 35-100 f2.  Granted that I paid much less than what a new Panasonic 35-100/2.8 is going to cost new, the idea may seem, again, silly nowadays.

Now it would even sillier that I’m using it on…an EP-2 and on an EPL-1.  Yes, you got that right: just downright insane.  The thing is really nose heavy (at about 3.5 lbs!) and makes my arm sore after hand-holding it for less than half an hour…and using it to take photos of my two-year-olds I get a keeper rate of probably less than 5%.

But.

The lens is just phenomenal.  Note that this is a zoom lens.  At f2, there is very little veiling, and unlike most zooms (even with some primes) where the true acceptable performance starts at one-stop down, this lens already performs at its best a f2.2!  not f2.8…f2.2!

E-P2 no 95mm 800 1/40s
By |February 4th, 2013|opinion|0 Comments

The Next Olympus “E” Specs Prediction

Olympus would need to somehow repeat the success of the EM-5, and to do this it should have features that would make one easily choose the next E vs the EM-5, price notwithstanding.

  • The camera will be mirrorless and will have that recently announced digital viewfinder made by Epson.  I would think that it would also have a hybrid VF a-la Fuji X series but that maybe too much.
  • Magnesium alloy body and weather-sealing similar to the E-5.  I may have the form-factor of the E-Volt.
  • The camera will have a slightly larger than FT sensor.  Olympus will reveal that the FT lenses (especially the SHG line) are actually spec’ed to cover slightly larger than FT (but would still be smaller than APS-C)
  • To make this happen, the camera will have a FT mount natively and somehow will have an adapter to mount MFT lenses.
  • Having a larger sensor would Olympus/Sony to have an expanded ISO (with ISO 100 as the minimum, vs 200 in the current generation of Olympus MFT cameras)
  • No Art Filters…because, you know, fuck Art Filters.
  • Built-in Flash :-|
  • Dual SD Slot
  • Control the camera via Bluetooth
  • Real buttons and dials instead of that stupid touch screen navigation that does not work with gloves.
  • Olympus will probably tack on support for 1080p 60fps video recording just because they’ll be crucified by not supporting any form of hi-def video.

Of course, I clearly have no basis for this list except my insanity.  You would have to agree, though, that an E having these specs would be a hit.

By |February 2nd, 2013|opinion|0 Comments