Leica M10 Monochrom review – Amateur Photographer

Leica is a company that plays by different rules to everyone else. By building cameras in low volumes and charging a premium for them, it’s able to pursue different avenues from the mainstream Japanese makers. It’s maintained a healthy market for its M-series rangefinders, despite this type of camera having generally fallen out of favour in the 1960s, and it also makes cameras dedicated to black & white shooting, with its M Monochrom series.

So how, and why, would you do such a thing? The basic principle is simple: conventional cameras sense colour by arranging red, green and blue filters over the light-sensitive photodiodes of their sensors, with the recorded data being converted to a visually-meaningful photograph through a complex process of demosaicing, noise reduction and sharpening. While this works very well, it delivers less detail and introduces artefacts compared to recording full colour data for each pixel. To produce a black & white image, the colour has to be removed again, but you’re still stuck with the after-effects of the processing. In contrast, by doing without a colour filter array (CFA) over the sensor, the Monochrom cameras are capable of recording black & white images directly. This gives visibly superior tonality and detail, along with higher sensitivity and lower noise.

Leica has announced a new version of its Leica M Monochrom camera, one of the only cameras available that only shoots black and white. With a new sensor, going from 24 Mp in the previous model to a whopping 40.9 Mp, this unique camera gives photos that are like shooting black and white film. The detail, and the low noise at high ISOs, are extraordinary. The above explains what is so special about this sensor.

This is one of the best reviews I’ve seen, explaining the specificities of this camera, as well as those of a rangefinder.

I don’t generally have gear lust, but I definitely lust after this camera. I prefer black and white photography, and I like the way this camera strips the process to its essentials, all while providing a quality that is simply unavailable in other cameras when converting from color photos to black and white.

The images below are those supplied by Leica as JPEGs. Both are downsampled; the first was 6467 x 4267, shot at ISO 160. The second is 7692 x 5086, shot at ISO 12,500! (Full resolution of this camera’s files is 7692 x 5086.) I’ve downsampled both for use here, but see the link in the last paragraph of this article to download the full-resolution files.

Monochrom1

Monochrom2

As you can see, the strength of this camera seems to be a high-contrast, Tri-X Pan-ish look. But that second photo, shot at very high ISO (12,500), also shows that the sensor performs really well in low light. The photo was shot at f/4.8, 1/180 sec.

But it costs £7,250; and that’s without a lens. Yes, you can get “cheap” lenses to use with the camera, but at that price, you really do want a good lens. About a year ago, there were promotions where you could get the previous model Leica M Monochrom and a good Leica lens for less than £7,000, and I was seriously considering getting a 0% interest credit card and paying it off over a year. But it would be overkill; I don’t take enough pictures to justify this, and it would be nothing more than a (late) mid-life crisis camera.

Nevertheless, I would love to own this. I wish other camera manufacturers would make affordable monochrome cameras. The ideal candidate would be Fujifilm, who could make an X100M, perhaps, which would be very popular among street photographers.

You can learn more about the Leica M Monochrom, and especially a great explanation of what is unique in its sensor, in this video.

If you’re into this sort of thing, you can download some sample DNG files here. And there are a bunch of sample JPEGs provide by Leica here. When I had seen sample DNG files from the previous model, they tended to be washed out, because that’s the way the sensor worked. With these, it only takes a few adjustments to make the photos look very filmic. For one of the files, in Apple Photos, I just clicked the Auto adjustment for curves, and for another, I adjusted the curves, then made some tweaks to contrast, shadows, and highlights, to bring out the contrast. It’s very interesting to play around with these files.

Source: Leica M10 Monochrom review – Amateur Photographer

How to remove GPS location data from photos on iPhone or Mac

It’s great to have location data stored in your photos. This allows you to sort through your photo library and find all your photos from your last vacation, or from favorite sites you like to visit. For some photos, like that one of the Eiffel Tower, it’s obvious where you’ve taken them. But you may not want people to be able to figure out where all your photos were taken. For example, you probably don’t want location data in photos you’ve taken in your back yard showing up on social media, allowing people to find exactly where you live.

It’s easy to remove location data when sharing photos from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Here’s how.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

The PhotoActive Podcast, Episode 59: Luminar 4 and Its AI Emphasis

We’ve talked about several photo editing applications in the past, and in this episode we turn our attention toward Luminar 4 (and not just because one of us has a forthcoming book about it). Skylum has overhauled Luminar in significant ways for version 4, with an emphasis on AI features that save a lot of time and effort on your part.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at the PhotoActive website. You can follow The PhotoActive on Twitter at @PhotoActiveCast to keep up to date with new episodes, and join our Facebook group to chat with other listeners and participate in photo challenges and more.

The PhotoActive Podcast, Episode 58: Rule of Turds

At several points when recording the PhotoActive podcast, Kirk has said that the “Rule of Thirds” does not exist. Most books and articles about photography insist it does, that positioning objects at approximately one third distance from the edge of the frame leads to better composition. So in this episode, we get into it: Does the Rule of Thirds exist, and why?

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at the PhotoActive website. You can follow The PhotoActive on Twitter at @PhotoActiveCast to keep up to date with new episodes, and join our Facebook group to chat with other listeners and participate in photo challenges and more.

Pixelmator Pro’s ML Super Resolution Feature Offers Quality Upscaling

Pixelmator Pro is one of the many Mac apps for editing photos. It stands out for many features, notably its ability to work with Apple’s Photos app as an extension and retain editing history, so you can go back and make changes to your edits later; something not many other Mac apps offer currently. (I know that Raw Power offers this; I haven’t encountered any other apps that work this way.)

It’s most recent update includes a feature called MS Super Resolution, which allows you to upscale images and not get the jaggies. That’s what you often see when low-resolution images are upscaled, because apps generally just interpolate the pixels, creating, for example, four pixels where there is one in the original.

I tried this out on a few photos, and it’s quite impressive. Let me show an example of how this works. Here is a photo of Titus the Cat; the original is 5608 x 3739 px. A cat photo is a difficult one for a feature like this, because of the hair and whiskers.

(Note that all photos below have been downsized for display; click them to see them in full size. If not, you won’t really be able to see the differences.)

Read more

The PhotoActive Podcast, Episode 57: Remote Triggered

It’s time to step away from your camera. No, not put it away for the holidays—we’re talking about triggering the camera remotely! In this episode, Jeff and Kirk talk about various ways to trip the shutter from afar, such as using an Apple Watch to control the Camera app on an iPhone, remote cable releases, and products that control a mirrorless or DSLR via apps.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at the PhotoActive website. You can follow The PhotoActive on Twitter at @PhotoActiveCast to keep up to date with new episodes, and join our Facebook group to chat with other listeners and participate in photo challenges and more.

The PhotoActive Podcast, Episode 56: Considering a Second Camera?

With the holidays and Black Friday sales upon us, this is the time that photographers can often get good deals on equipment. In this episode, Kirk and Jeff ponder the reasons you might consider buying a second camera. Perhaps you want a backup for your regular camera, or maybe you want a smaller go-anywhere camera that might encourage you to take photos more often.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at the PhotoActive website. You can follow The PhotoActive on Twitter at @PhotoActiveCast to keep up to date with new episodes, and join our Facebook group to chat with other listeners and participate in photo challenges and more.

The PhotoActive Podcast, Episode 55: Photos App in iOS 13 and macOS Catalina

Now that iOS 13, iPadOS 13, and macOS Catalina are out, Jeff and Kirk have some strong opinions on the changes made to the Photos app for each platform. It’s time to rant a little.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at the PhotoActive website. You can follow The PhotoActive on Twitter at @PhotoActiveCast to keep up to date with new episodes, and join our Facebook group to chat with other listeners and participate in photo challenges and more.

The PhotoActive Podcast, Episode 54: Product Photography with Dan Bracaglia

How do you make product photos look fresh and interesting? Do you need a well-equipped studio? Dan Bracaglia shoots thousands of images of cameras and other accessories in his job as photo editor at DPReview. Dan joins Kirk and Jeff to answer those questions and more.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at the PhotoActive website. You can follow The PhotoActive on Twitter at @PhotoActiveCast to keep up to date with new episodes, and join our Facebook group to chat with other listeners and participate in photo challenges and more.

The PhotoActive Podcast, Episode 52: iPhones 11 and Semantic Rendering

Kirk and Jeff both bought the latest models of Apple’s digital camera – sorry, we mean the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. Does adding a third camera make a difference? Is the ultra-wide camera just a gimmick? And what is “semantic rendering” anyway? We explain why nothing is really real, and yet these might be the best-looking photos people create.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at the PhotoActive website. You can follow The PhotoActive on Twitter at @PhotoActiveCast to keep up to date with new episodes, and join our Facebook group to chat with other listeners and participate in photo challenges and more.