Leica DMR: Update: further Impressions:

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by fotografz, Aug 15, 2005.

  1. In addition to having already shot 2 weddings with the DMR, I brought it with me to LA as I work on a Commercial TV shoot. I was free yesterday, so went to Catalina Island for a day of pure tourist shooting. Very overcast in the morning and a lot brighter in the afternoon. New insights: battery last a long time even with constant LCD with histogram review set for 5 seconds. Shot over 250+ images before the battery warned of being low. But it never quit before I left the Island with five SD 1 gig cards full. Leica thoughtfully provides both a wall charger and a car charger with the DMR. Good if you're vacationing by car, or, like me traveling from the Church to the Reception and can top off the battery. I've ordered a second battery, but it'll be awhile before I get it I'll wager. Next insight is that the camera does quite well at ISO 400 and 800. They are the ISOs I set most of the time. Noise is an issue IF you underexpose too much ... but that's true for the Canon 1DsMKII also. I still am of the opinion that the DMR exhibits a greater dynamic range than my 1DsMKII, allowing me more latitude on the exposures with the DMR ( less tendency to slightly underexposing to preserve the highlights. I also like the histogram on the DMR which is a light overlay on the full LCD image. The two R lenses I took to Catalina were the 28-90/2.8-4.5 and a 500/8 R Mirror. I also have a 35/1.4, 50/1.4 and the new 90/2 with me ... but I just kept it simple for the Catalina trip. I used ISO 800 a lot with the 500 mirror to increase the shutter speed (The 500 mirror is the equivalent of almost a 700mm on the DMR due to the 3.7X lens factor). Next test is to try the 35/1.4 in low light and boost the ISO to 1600.
    00DE6M-25178584.jpg
     
  2. Another Catalina shot:
    00DE6V-25178684.jpg
     
  3. hi marc,
    having never used a digi slr nor transferred over, can you tell me what those blocks are in the sky in pic #1 and the harsh black outline on the tower? i will soon be dabbling with a dslr and i'm assuming there's a new learning curve compared to my method now of canning and importing my negs into ps.
    cheers
    m
     
  4. I like your first picture.
    I wait for your next test. I am very interested in the DMR performance at ISO1600.
     
  5. Marc, you are the king of the "early adopters." I doubt that I'll ever own most of the cameras that you have tried, but I enjoy reading your reports.
     
  6. I'm getting so used to shooting with a 15 that the crop factor would make me nuts! Of course some of you think I'm nuts already.

    Keep up the reports, Marc. When the digital M comes out I just might go for it.
     
  7. Thanks for the update Marc, and thanks for posting on this forum despite some of the shenanigans that go on from time to time : ) I envy your position being able to amortize this equipment. As a hobbyist I'd have to be rich to risk that much money on a company with such a shaky financial situation's maiden venture into high-end digital. For me, the cost of digital means I will probably have to commit to one system and stick with it and it'll have to be a company that there's a good chance will be around for the long haul. I made the decision to sell my R8 and R lenses and give up the idea of ever getting a DMR based mostly on those economic factors, and it will probably be the same factors that will preclude me ever getting a digital M Leica. Still, it's nice to see that Leica is capable of finding high-quality outsourcing when they really want to.
     
  8. You think it has better dynamic range than the 1Ds2?! That would make it very interesting indeed...
     
  9. Ben, I don't think cost is an issue. The 1Ds1 lost about $125/month the first two years, I figure the 1Ds2 loses about $150 worst case. Even as a second-line stringer for a local community newspaper that pays $35/photo, that's only 4 shots per month to pay for it. Or about 8 rolls of E6 -- film + quality processing. (Not including B+W here, since it's cheap as dirt but far more time consuming.) Even the most novice hobbyist who shoots just to pay for the gear should have no trouble amortizing the cost.

    And I suspect the DMR will depreciate even less, being in such short supply and not on a regular 2-year upgrade cycle. A nice used R8 is zero loss, an R9 of course loses 30% as soon as you've rang it up (but you get passport coverage in return), and the lenses are IMO a lifetime investment.
     
  10. I don't have a degree in accounting or math but I don't see what comparing it to film cost has to do with it, with any dSLR film cost is zero. The difference between a DMR+used R8 or a 1DS-II, and a 20D is about $7000. If I got paid for taking photos and could deduct the camera from income, there might be a tax advantage, but not enough to wash. Only if I shot so much that I would literally wear out five 20Ds in the time it took me to wear out a DMR/R8 or 1DS-II would they break even.
     
  11. Interesting,Mark. Just for the fun of it a photo from a Fuji S3.
    00DECv-25180984.jpg
     
  12. Ben Z wrote: I don't have a degree in accounting or math but I don't see what comparing it to film cost has to do with it, with any dSLR film cost is zero
    Ben, the life-cycle cost is what matters. With a DSLR the vast majority of the life-cycle cost is in depreciation. With a film camera the film and processing can be a very big part of the life-cycle cost so it's entirely appropriate to include the cost of consumables in the analysis.
     
  13. I understand it's important when comparing the cost of sticking with film vs switching to digital. I don't understand what it has to do with comparing one dSLR to another. Assuming every dSLR will eventually depreciate to zilch thanks to perceived obsolescence, it seems to me to make even less sense for anyone to buy any more expensive of a dSLR than they absolutely must for the features they need, and I think even the manufacturers have that one figured out. Except for the full-frame chip the 1D-II and 1DS-II are virtually twins yet the latter is nearly double the price of the former. "So" says Canon "You want to use your wide-angle lenses, eh? OK, that'll be another four grand."
     
  14. Ben Z, the 20D, D70 and the like are comparable to cheap grocery-store film. The expensive DSLR cameras are comparable to professional films. Take your pick.
     
  15. Great technical shots, Marc. My DMR is due in September and I
    cannot wait.
    Does the camera come with SD cards and if so, which type? Is it
    "sealed" the way the Canons are? I suspect a no to the last
    question and have asked Luigi Crescenzi to design a leather
    half-case for the R8/DMR.
    Finally, I recently took an intro to dslr at ICP and found it most
    enlightening. Do you download after every 50 shots or so onto a
    computer or a "digital wallet" like the Epson?
    How accurate, for wont of a better word, is the viewfinder? Can
    you buy a plastic cover for it?
    I am very excited and thank you in advance.
    Regards,
    Albert
     
  16. "Ben Z, the 20D, D70 and the like are comparable to cheap grocery-store film. The expensive DSLR cameras are comparable to professional films. Take your pick."

    Bull.

    The IDSII is like 645 professional film.

    The 20D is like 35mm Pro film.
     
  17. Hi marc,

    do u have any samples of the DMR at ISO 800 in low light conditions?
     
  18. Good eye Matt. Those are jpeg artifacts from down-sizing from a 20 inch file to 511 pixels then sharpening a bit. I should have sized down first, sharpened, then reduced for web. Here's an ISO 1600 shot I did today while dealing with pre-production stuff at the production company.
    00DEMj-25184084.jpg
     
  19. Detail of above...
    00DEN5-25184184.jpg
     
  20. Marc,
    No Noise Ninja or the like on the 1600 ISO shot above? Nice look to the detail. Wow.

    Thanks for posting.
     
  21. Some noise suppression in the background of the detail (using despeckle after sharpening
    the down-sized jpg. None on the face.
     
  22. Boon, I will when I shoot something in super low light. The 1600 shot above was in pretty low light... but I know what you are looking for. I do not think you can underexpose much at 800 or 1600, and you need the color temp close, or you'll get noise. This camera tops out at 800 with a push to 1600, so there's not much at that end of the range. The 1DsMKII can go further, which is why for me this Leica isn't a replacement for the 1DsMKII. But I am pretty pleased so far, especially for a majority of existing light work @ 400 that I've been using it for ... good color and dynamic range without much fuss.
    00DEOv-25184484.jpg
     
  23. Marc Bergman wrote: "Bull.
    The IDSII is like 645 professional film.
    The 20D is like 35mm Pro film."

    Marc, the exact analogy isn't what's important. What I was trying to point out to Ben Z is that there are different grades of DSLR cameras, just as there are different grades of films and film cameras: consumer films and professional films, Rebel and 1v, D70 and D2X, etc.
     
  24. ky2

    ky2

    Marc, very impressive shots. How does the R cope with the 1.37x crop factor? Are there wide angle lenses designed to accomodate this?
     
  25. Detail of above...
    Wow, that's really very good... That should print quite well I think.
     
  26. That fellows first name wouldn't be 'Anthony", would it?
    Does his last name start with a 'C'?

    He looks familiar.

    feli
     
  27. "Douglas Herr , aug 15, 2005; 06:14 p.m.
    Ben Z, the 20D, D70 and the like are comparable to cheap grocery-store film. The expensive DSLR cameras are comparable to professional films. Take your pick."

    "Douglas Herr , aug 15, 2005; 10:53 p.m.
    Marc Bergman wrote: "Bull.

    The IDSII is like 645 professional film.

    The 20D is like 35mm Pro film."

    Marc, the exact analogy isn't what's important. What I was trying to point out to Ben Z is that there are different grades of DSLR cameras, just as there are different grades of films and film cameras: consumer films and professional films, Rebel and 1v, D70 and D2X, etc."

    Actually, the exactness of an analogy is quite important, as is the underlying connotation. Such as saying that only people who have the coffee shakes benefit from Image Stabilization. It implies a certain arrogant superiority complex on the part of the person making the statement.

    The fact is, _many_ professionals who formely used pro 35mm bodies and shot pro 35mm film now shoot the D70, 20D and even the Digital Rebel because at print sizes they would normally have used 35mm for, the results satisfy them and their clients. A large part of the sales of the Canon 1DS and 1DS-II have come from medium-format shooters, and Marc Bergman's analogy is supported by the facts.

    In the "film age" one could buy a Rebel body, load it with E100 and slap on an L lens and get the same image quality as with a 1V. If in fact you did happen to be right in your implication that everyone who doesn't cough up $8000 for a dSLR is settling for "grocery store" film quality (BTW all the film I've ever seen in grocery stores is the same amateur film they sell at camera stores), it would signal a dark turn of events for serious photo hobbyists because for a large number of people, your casual "take your pick" is just not a financial option. To use your own insistence on comparing to the cost of shooting film, the cost of a "pro" version film is around 2x that of the amateur version, while the cost of a 1DS-II is 6-8x the cost of a 20D or Rebel XT.
     
  28. Benson, an exact analogy was not intended. What you read into it is your business.
     
  29. I don't think I read anything into your comment that others have not or won't. Seems like your message was loud and clear.

    BTW, I don't want to "read anything into" it but I'd appreciate it if you didn't call me by the name of the butler on "Soap". My name is Benjamin (Ben Z = Benzy = how I pronounced Benjy as a baby), or just ignore my posts altogether if you can't keep it mature and civil. Thanks.
     
  30. PS, just a thought but as long as you've got enough money lying around to dis everyone who can't afford better than a 20D, maybe you'd consider kicking in $25 to become a PN subscriber?
     
  31. What's "Soap"?
     
  32. Marc any pictures of extreme contrast like an indoor church scene?

    Thanks,
    Gerry
     
  33. Great discussion all! Thanks Marc for your postings and beautiful photos.

    Personally, I don't see any Leica R in my future just because SLRs just don't
    spin my dials . . . for all the usual reasons: size, weight and noise. Buying a
    Nikon film scanner two yars ago opened the amazing digital world of
    PhotoShop to me and has given my investment in the "M" a mid-life kicker.

    Blatant economics finally will compel me to buy some sort of digital but I'm not
    too worked up about it. I'll shoot another wedding this Saturday with good ol'
    Fuji NPH and enjoy a normal Sunday without being hunched over a keyboard
    post-processing all the images.
     
  34. Mate, if you aren't hunched over on Sunday you didn't live Saturday night to the fullest.
     
  35. does anyone know if they will be making a plastic cover for the
    back viewing screen? thanks, Albert
     
  36. "I'll shoot another wedding this Saturday with good ol' Fuji NPH and enjoy a normal Sunday without being hunched over a keyboard post-processing all the images."

    Why couldn't you drop off your memory card and get the same service?
     
  37. Marc,

    thanks for your pictures and comments!!!!
     
  38. Marc,

    "Why couldn't you drop off your memory card and get the same service?"

    Point taken. I hadn't even considered that. Sounds like you use a lab located
    in your city, yes? How did you find this resource?

    Migrating to digital involves so much more than just a camera decision.

    -jb
     
  39. Jack,

    Next time you take your film in to be processed ask the lab what digital services they offer. If they don't offer it ask them for a recommendation.

    See what they offer as far as cost for the same service you get from film. Ask to see some samples. It could be that film is still the best way to go for you.

    Also ask what film to digital services they offer. That may give you another service to offer your customers.
     
  40. When the colors are on the money.... the DMR produces great photos that one can truly market.
     

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