Leica M240 rendition of blue sky

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by ray ., Jun 28, 2021.

  1. Hi everyone

    There have been many things I've loved about the Leica M240 since I got it in 2015, but one thing that I've never been quite settled with is its rendition of blue sky color, that tends a little toward cyan. Granted, the hue of the sky often changes, and depending on the light and other factors, especially if the image stands alone with nothing to compare it to directly, it may be quite satisfactory.

    Canon's color signature in comparison is quite different. I think it's similar to Portra film and maybe more accurate than Leica's.

    The above shot is from a Canon 6D with Zeiss 25mm Distagon, the bottom from the Leica M240 with 35mm Summicron. What do you think? I looked outside just before posting and the sky indeed looks closer to the color seen from the 6D.

    I have never updated firmware for the M240, so I don't really know, but kind of doubt anything with color would be affected.

    I'm good with making certain adjustments from RAW files, but I don't find any sure fixes for this. If you look at the Leica photo there seems to be a hint of green or cyan cast to the whole image. The 2 photos were adjusted for exposure and contrast only.

    Top: Canon,
    Bottom: Leica
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2021
  2. Canon 6D

  3. Leica M240

  4. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    On my monitor the Leica sky color is better - the Canon is a touch purple. The insurmountable issue, what you see on yours, what others see on theirs.
  5. On my monitor the Canon sky is somewhat purple and there are other color differences (not saying which one is better). Are both photos adjusted to the same color balance (color temperature and tint)? Not a difficult task if using RAW files.
  6. Sandy and Ken, I don't think either is perfect and I can see possibly a touch of purple (or violet) in the Canon, but look at the sidewalks and the grey on the buildings including the background building. Do you see a cast there or a less neutral rendition with the Leica?

    Yes, monitors are another variable. As to color balance, I'm using Canon's DPP software for the 6D because my PS CS4 doesn't support the RAW files. I should note though CS4 does work with my older 5D and the color is the same. I've tried different settings with the Leica in CS4 Camera RAW or using photoshop 'match color' adjustment to adjust that blue, but nothing quite works.
  7. Curious as to what your color tempetkres are for each of those coming out of the camera. Note the walls in both pics, Leica has a lot more Cyan/aqua and I bet the temp is warmer than the Canon. If those are both straight out of the camera jpgs, they are different. And yes, monitor's can matter, but I see what you are seeing Ray.
  8. I think both are fine, FWIW. The Leica file seems to have more open shadows, probably due to your contrast adjustments. The shadows on the Canon file seem more neutral.
  9. White balance is, or at least should be, what you and not the camera, decide to make it and is one variable that will never be the same from one viewer to another since there is no one universal color palette for all monitors.

    if you don’t like what your camera is producing, change how you produce the results. I capture pretty much all color images with my M262 using auto white balance and rarely leave it there once the raw files are opened in Adobe Camera raw as they often appear too cool for my liking.

    Comparing white balance between different digital camera models today is like what people used to do in the days of film when trying to compare Canon’s version of center-weighted metering to how Nikon cameras measured the same light or how lens coatings affected the results of the same film from one brand to the next. The measure-bating can be never-ending (and a waste of time). I doubt color balance is even remotely the same if I were to compared the same image captured and processed separately with my Leica M262 and Leica CL.

    The idea is not to see how to match how one works vs the other or which one is “best” or most accurate, but use your camera of choice to produce the results you want. The biggest difference will always be how well the end-user, uses it.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2021
    AJG likes this.
  10. My monitor shows both the purple cast and the difference in contrast. For my comment I'm assuming the images were taken at the exact same time. Note the reflection in the street; the Canon does not show as much of the blue in the street reflection shadow as does the Leica 240. As stated above, there are a multitude of variables that are in play. Greg's comment has me recalling a series of test shots on Ektachrome slides using an M3 with f1.4 Canon 50, f1.4 Summilux 50 and a rebuilt f1.5 Summarit 50. The image variables were much broader, even on the same roll of film, than what I see here. At least the end-user here gets to adjust to what they prefer.
  11. The two shots were taken at approximately the same time.

    As far as lesser shadow detail from the Canon that may be because that shot was accidentally underexposed a fair amount. Metering and interface on the 6D is a bit different from my old 5D so getting used to it I've had some miscues on exposure. Even with the flexibility of RAW files I think ideally you want the exposure to be spot on.

    I always shoot with auto white balance setting on the camera but I've tried adjusting white balance for the Leica in PS Camera Raw, and occasional minor adjustments are all that seem to work for me. Almost always 'As shot' works best. I sometimes check 'Auto' or 'Daylight' for comparison and then maybe fiddle around with temperature in-between that improves the image, but that's fairly rare.

    Anyway I think in the end both shots are probably fine, or neither one is and best is splitting the difference. Color films are all different and that was part of the enjoyment to a lot of people… I think the truest color I've ever shot might be Fuji Astia film shot with a Hasselblad or Rolleiflex.
  12. SCL


    To me, the colored building in the Canon shot is definitely orange tinted, while the same building in the Leica shot is definitely a shade of yellow. However I'm working with a new pc and monitor which I haven't yet fully calibrated.
  13. Looking through my past M240 photos it does seem on the whole the sky blues are quite good. Maybe not as much cyan as I thought. Probably why it's taken me this long to even get around to complaining about it.
  14. To me, the Canon image has a magenta cast and the Leica one is too green.
  15. Dieter Schaefer
    To me, the Canon image has a magenta cast and the Leica one is too green.

    Simple observation.

    Editing, obviously can change it..
  16. IMG_20210706_221849.jpg Here's the edited PIC.
  17. I think I like the "unedited" pic better. ... The sky is bluer and the image has a bit more pop to it. And I don't see any cyan cast on my screen.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2021
  18. Looking back on the two pics I posted one above the other, I don't know. Maybe split the difference?

    Color is tricky. Our memory of color isn't perfect. In a way maybe that allows more room for error, because unless a color photo is significantly off, you believe in it, or in some way accept it because imperfection is inherent in the photographic process…. Saying that though, I think the truest color I ever got was from a Hasselblad fed with Fuji Astia film. The photo just told you when you looked at it that it was dead spot on. I still have a Hassy and some Astia in the freezer, but I'm just too lazy. Digital is more practical and pretty good.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2021

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