Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2004/09/08

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Subject: [Leica] The Ted Grant Discovery.
From: tedgrant at (Ted Grant)
Date: Wed Sep 8 11:50:48 2004
References: <01a101c495ae$b76d53a0$>

B. D. Colen offered:
Subject: [Leica] The Ted Grant Discovery.

> Okay. So I took several shots at 400 iso with 2 Evs of underexposure
> dialed in, which means I shot at the exposure equivalent of 1600 iso.
> Two shots were taken of a scene with window light and indoor dim. Then I
> took a self-portrait, in basically flat, low light.
> (Keep in mind that I am shooting in color and running my standard bw
> conversion routine in Photoshop as the E-1 does not have a bw shooting
> mode.)<<<<<

Hi B.D.,
Would your processing approach make a difference in the end result? IE:
colour in camera to PS conversion to B&W?  Rather than Digi 2 B&W recorded
then to PS? Because it's B&W captured and initially processed in camera with
whatever that means? Or does?

> As I suspected, the contrasty scene ends up looking very close to the
> way Ted describes it. With no Photoshop adjustments, other than my
> standard routine for conversion to bw, the shadows go way dark almost to
> black, the brighter areas are much closer to properly exposed. There is,
> indeed, some noise in the mid-tones, just as there would be grain in the
> midtones in a shot taken on tri-x at 800 asa. The noise is definitely
> there, but it is grain-like, and not as displeasing as is noise when the
> camera is set at 1600.<<<<<<

I down loaded your "experiment 1" to PS, sized to 300 6X8, printed on Epson
2200, Enhanced Matte paper with matte black ink and at this size I don't
have any problem with the look of it at all.  "It looks real looking!"
And basically I see it as a "grainless (read noiseless) available light

However, it might be enhanced with a tiny smidgen of contrast. As that would
enrich the blacks slightly. But now we're getting down to the preference of
the eye and not the technical processing.

> The second shot, with the very low, generally flat lighting, is another
> story. Here I had to goose the highlights way, way, up, compressing the
> tonal range, to get a useable image. But when I did, and when I then
> took the midtones up by about 20%, I got an image that resembles nothing
> so much as a shot on Delta 3200 @3200, processed in Xtol. Noisy as hell,
> BUT again the noise looks much more like film grain.<<<<<<<

Yes it looks very "grainy" and even though I PS fiddled it slightly in
levels it's still very poorly processed 3200 film looking. OK I'll conceed
the term "Noise looking!" ;-)

> Now, one of two things are entirely possible here:
> 1. While I am nowhere near the photographer Ted is, I am more digital
> savvy, and I may be seeing noise as noise where he either isn't seeing
> it, or is interpreting it improperly;<<<<<<,

I think it has as much to do with the "how we're viewing the prints." I know
I've seen a very gritty looking effect in some prints where I was playing
with the contrast and it produced a sort of black no detail looking areas in
the shadows, didn't like what I saw and just deleted the picture as
un-saveable. And never thought of it as "noise" but a sick looking area of
the picture and dumped it.

But in your "experiment 1", I don't see anything like that and see it as an
OK print shot under the light conditions as an acceptable print.

> 2. Ted may be 100% correct in what he is seeing. And if that is the
> case, it would indicate that whoever has written the software
> instructions for the DigiII to shoot in bw has performed a miracle of
> some sort - and that alone would make the camera, or at least it's less
> expensive Panasonic incarnation, a definite 'must have.'<<<<<

Well either way I think what we need here is someone else with a Digilux 2
or it's Panasonic counterpart to shoot in exactly the same manner, rather
than trying to match conditions with different manufactured digi cameras.
Because isn't that something like comparing apples and oranges because of
internal camera software? Or does that make any difference camera to camera?

Now there are some positives happening in comparing camera to camera which
is interesting, not to forget, maybe we've stumbled on some "small
technique" not before tried nor thought of. So we who lean toward "available
darkness" kind of picture taking may well gain some very positive techniques
to improve the lot of our pictures under those conditions. then again maybe
not. ;-)

But to some degree we're not being fair in comparison, as the two cameras
should be side by each shooting under exactly the identical conditions and
same scene, then we could see the difference much easier rather than being
several thousand miles apart.

So first, who's out there with a Digilux 2 or the Panasonic mate who'd like
to give this a try?  Sonny?  Joseph? Howard Cummer? Other?

> I have no idea which is true. But in either case, the results are
> surprisingly good. I would certainly want to fiddle with this a great
> deal more before trying it on money shots, but it is very, very
> intriguing.<<<<<

I agree B.D. as it has potential for some real available light shooting as
we did for the "Women in Medicine" book. Because then we have real film
pictures for comparison under similar lighting and action conditions.

Ahhhh the digital challenges of life! ;-)


In reply to: Message from bdcolen at (B. D. Colen) ([Leica] The Ted Grant Discovery.)