Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2006/11/07

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Subject: [Leica] DMR processing/workflow (was: 2500 ISO)
From: jbm at (Jeff Moore)
Date: Tue Nov 7 12:53:36 2006
References: <00c401c70155$4d761260$6401a8c0@FrankDell2> <> <> <> <002401c7021d$b4461f30$a302a8c0@ted> <>

2006-11-06-23:23:27 Douglas Herr:
> This weekend warrior appreciates the no-light capabilities of the DMR, 
> using ISO 1600 and even 3200 when required to get the picture.  I 
> haven't compared it with the results from competing brands but the 
> high-ISO noise looks to my eye like ISO 400 film grain, the color 
> quality is delightful and none of the photos I've made with it have 
> anywhere near the 'plastic' look I've seen in some digital photos.

I'm wondering if I'm missing something about how to handle high-ISO DMR
images.  I love the way pictures made with the DMR and Leica glass look
when there's enough light for a low to middlin' ISO;  to my eye they
beat the pictures I get with a current Canon and good Canon glass all
hollow.  But when the light gets dim, and the ISOs high, I get pictures
which look kind of blotchy, with weird color that's hard to correct.  So
far, I'm pretty sure it's related to fist-sized snowflakes of noise
almost entirely in the blue channel, so I get pretty good results if I
do a conversion to grayscale mixed entirely from red and green...  but
is there something I could be doing differently?  Can I actually get
decent color images at the rough end of the ISO trail?

I use Adobe CS2 and Adobe's RAW conversion;  is there some other RAW
converter which works better with the DMR?  (I know Leica bundle Capture
One with the M8, and I also wonder about how the newfangled Aperture

Oh, and to jump to the opposite side of the ISO range...  as I said, I
really like the quality of low-ISO images from this camera, but I'm not
prepared to swear that my workflow is optimal (especially since the
Leica sensor doesn't have the fairly aggressive anti-aliasing filter of
the Canons).  Can some DMR initiates let us in on their soup-to-nuts
usual processing chain, including import, any special anti-moire
processing if there is such a thing, capture sharpening if used, noise
filtering if done, editing, local contrast enhancement actions, final
sharpening, everything -- and exactly in what sequence and under what
conditions?  I'm hoping for an end-to-end description of the usual
process for an image, just so see what I might have completely missed.

To further add to the assignment (should anyone choose to accept it) I'd
love to see the end-to-end DMR workflow compared with the same person's
known-successful end-to-end Canon workflow.  I remain confused about
issues of capture sharpening versus only sharpening right at the end.
I'm sure I'm confused about other stuff, too.

And, Ted -- because somehow I already see your email expressing a lack
of welcome for too much technotrivia distracting you from taking
pictures -- really, all this stuff is the digital equivalent of talking
about film emulsions and Xtol dilutions (with occasional interruptions
from the black-nailed Pyro freaks).  Once we figure out the processing,
we can just do it, and pretty much stop thinking about it so we can
concentrate on keeping that shutter button unstuck.  But right now, I
have this feeling I don't have it right enough to forget about yet.  I'd
be perfectly happy to lazily adopt the techniques of someone who's put
in the time to figure it out and get it right.  (F'rinstance, I like the
look I get by applying B.D.'s channel-mix-then-local-sharpen B&W
conversion recipe, if I start with low-noise images.)

So -- a lot of questions.  But I haven't yet noticed a detailed
discussion end-to-end processing, especially with the DMR (but
comparisons with other tech would also be of interest, especially those
damned Canons I sometimes end up having to use).  I know that I'd be
grateful if a few people who've got this figured out could offer hints,
and I suspect I wouldn't be the only one.

We'll only have to put up with a few tens of snipes from MJS and the
rest of the most recalcitrant chemical photographers.  A small price to


   -Jeff M

Replies: Reply from firkin at (Alastair Firkin) ([Leica] DMR processing/workflow (was: 2500 ISO))
Reply from harrison at (Harrison McClary) ([Leica] DMR processing/workflow)
Reply from tedgrant at (Ted Grant) ([Leica] DMR processing/workflow (was: 2500 ISO))
Reply from images at InfoAve.Net (Tina Manley) ([Leica] DMR processing/workflow (was: 2500 ISO))
In reply to: Message from red735i at (Frank Filippone) ([Leica] 2500 ISO)
Message from jgovindaraj at (Jayanand Govindaraj) ([Leica] 2500 ISO)
Message from images at InfoAve.Net (Tina Manley) ([Leica] 2500 ISO)
Message from jgovindaraj at (Jayanand Govindaraj) ([Leica] 2500 ISO)
Message from tedgrant at (Ted Grant) ([Leica] 2500 ISO)
Message from telyt at (Douglas Herr) ([Leica] 2500 ISO)