Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2006/10/29

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Subject: [Leica] Playing with an M8 DNG
From: hoppyman at (G Hopkinson)
Date: Sun Oct 29 01:36:33 2006

Peter, that's a very helpful and interesting post, thank you.
I downloaded the suggested DNG and printed it with an extremely minimal 
crop, to A4 (near letter), following my normal workflow for
printing and with just a light luminance sharpen first. The detail captured 
is certainly extremely impressive, with that digital
look missing any grain, of course. With my calibrate environment, the tones 
and colurs reproduced on the print very faithfullt to
the on-screen versio. My inkjet (Epson R800) faithfully reproduced coloured 
fringing visible in the shadow around the car's fuel
filler cap and door frame. It is there just visible to the naked eye in my 
print. These areas show up as warnings when viewing the
DNG. Since I have no experience with any of the Raw converters (I used the 
Adobe plug in for CS2) I didn't attempt any correction.
So it would be an area perhaps requiring attention, as you said.
I have to say that I have absolutely no good reason not to buy this camera 
now, for my particular circumstance, except for finding
the dollars, of course.
Thanks again for a great post on this

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of
Peter Klein
Sent: Sunday, 29 October 2006 14:12
Subject: [Leica] Playing with an M8 DNG

Uwe and Bettina Steinmuller have posted an M8 mini-review on their 
site.  It includes a DNG that we can download and play with.  Since I could 
not go to Wetzlar/Solms or Rockport (sob), this represents the first chance 
I've had to play with a real-world M8 file.

Klein's First Law of Pixel Peeping states that "Sufficiently magnified, all 
photographs look terrible."  I've learned that pixel-peeping is 
counterproductive unless you qualify it by how big you're blowing something 
up.   Otherwise, it's like looking at a Monet painting from four inches 
away and declaring that the painter had sloppy technique.

So, I made some prints of Uwe's file, a sun-lit shot at ISO 160.  I opened 
the DNG file in Picture Window Pro's RAW converter, which is a fairly 
generic tool. I then used some fairly standard adjustments--just curves and 
a bit of USM.  I easily got a file with levels and colors very similar to 
Uwe's JPG examples.

I then made letter-size prints of the file, both in color and converted to 
black and white. I also made a couple of 5x7 prints of sections of the 
file, blown up to the magnification of a 16x20 print.

The general impression of quality is pretty astounding.  Sean Reid is right 
on--the prints indeed look like they were made from a medium format 
negative.   The 16x20 magnification prints have unbelievably subtle details 
that I have not seen in samples from other digital cameras save perhaps the 
1DSMkII. These details hold with magnifications beyond the point where you 
can see the individual pixels.  With most other DSLRs, such extremely fine 
details "smear out" before you can see the pixels, probably because of the 
AA filter.  If a few color artifacts represent the price one must pay for 
that level of detail, it is a worthwhile trade.

There was a thread on Rangefinder forum bemoaning some moire and purple 
fringing people noticed in Uwe's sample.  I looked at this carefully, both 
from a pixel-peeping and a real-world standpoint.  I'm referring to 
specifics on Uwe's photo, so take a look at the URL above so you can see 
what I'm talking about.

On a letter-size print, I just barely see the purple fringing from full sun 
reflections on the car's chrome trim.  It only bothers me if I "smell" the 
print.   On the B&W print, it just looks like normal specular-highlight 
glare. At 16x20 magnification, the fringing is more bothersome.  I also see 
some color artifacts at boundaries between the white plaster and darker 
shadows.  There are also faint reddish rings around the number "160" on the 
restaurant door.

If I pixel-peep at 200%-400% magnification, I see significant color 
speckling in the gray molding that runs across the upper part of the 
picture just above the door.  This appears to be not moire, but 
Bayer-pattern artifacting on tiny bits of flaking paint on the 
molding.  It's barely detectable at 16x20 magnification.  I can also see an 
occasional false-color speckle on the plaster dome above the door, but this 
is only visible on the screen at 200% and larger--not in the final print.

To which, I say a rousing SO WHAT?  The only extra work I would have needed 
on this file to print at letter size in color would be on the 
sun-reflection highlights.  Most cameras, even the best, have this 
issue.  Heck, I've gotten such fringing on such highlights on film 
scans.   It cleaned up with a minute's work with a quick mask and the Moire 
reduction transformation in Picture Window Pro. For a 16x20 print, I would 
have needed to do the same thing on the dark grey molding above the 
door.  For B&W, I wouldn't have needed to do anything extra at all.

It's possible that the Leica-tailored edition of Capture One supplied with 
the camera deals with these issues in the converter.

Despite what some less-informed people on digital camera forums think, 
there are laws of physics and some real-world trade-offs to be made in 
camera design.  I've now seen some LUGger's samples, including low-light 
stuff, and Uwe's sunny DNG.  Based on what I've seen so far, I think Leica 
made some *very* good decisions on this camera.

Heaven help me, I want one.


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In reply to: Message from pklein at (Peter Klein) ([Leica] Playing with an M8 DNG)