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03-02-2016, 03:49 PM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by bilbrown Quote
I shoot both JPG with the BW set to -3 Exposure Comp, and RAW (DNG) to both cards (or one in cameras that only have one). MOST times I would like to use the JPGs if I can, as it makes the process FASTER for things that need FAST turn around. My process is VERY little post processing time. Usually 20-30 seconds on each image and shift+sync in LR the rest of the time. IF I really like an image I will open it in PS and take a little more time.

There is a reason I light the way I light it. Skin looks better for the type of imagery I want, and the high F-Stop keeps the blacks HARD and when its GREAT lighting EVERYTHING mostly in focus.


I leave retouching to retouchers, whether I can do it or not.



So yep, you are pretty much correct. You spend a few grand on a camera, and it would be nice to have usable files out of the box.
But I think the files are quite usable - if not to your specific tastes right out of the camera. I think (and I could be wrong) that you can setup fairly simple batch adjustments to the files and produce what you are looking for since you are starting to get that look. But maybe I'm wrong.

03-02-2016, 03:57 PM   #32
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A lot of this has to do with the micro contrast that Leica lenses have. Leica lenses have their rep for a reason, even if you like other lenses better nothing really looks quite like Leica lenses. The sensors in Leica just render things more contrasty/sharp than the Sony sensors in the Nikons, Sonys and Pentax Z as well.
The CCD sensor I have in my 645D certainly has a different look than CMOS sensors, so that may be worth a shot. It does in some ways remind me of a way way better look that the Leica M8 had (which I owned for a short time).

I'm not sure you're going to get that 'look' than with anything other the tools that already give it to you.
I will say, if you haven't tried shooting your Contax G glass on your Sony, that has been one of my favorite ways to shoot lately. The 45 and the 90 on it in particular are great. Get a little Nissin i40 strobe and you can do a lot.
Like you I do a lot of direct flash, handheld stuff. I go for a different look, but there are similarities.
03-03-2016, 06:50 AM - 2 Likes   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by bilbrown Quote
I shoot both JPG with the BW set to -3 Exposure Comp, and RAW (DNG) to both cards (or one in cameras that only have one). MOST times I would like to use the JPGs if I can, as it makes the process FASTER for things that need FAST turn around. My process is VERY little post processing time. Usually 20-30 seconds on each image and shift+sync in LR the rest of the time. IF I really like an image I will open it in PS and take a little more time.

So yep, you are pretty much correct. You spend a few grand on a camera, and it would be nice to have usable files out of the box.
Well I hate to break it to you but professional cameras generally DON'T have usable files SooC. You'd like them to as I understand but they don't. Before Pentax medium format digital cameras couldn't even shoot jpgs. What I'm hearing with FAST FASTER FAST is "I don't want to, or don't know how to work on my images to get the look I want". Since you can't get it in camera this is reinforcing that opinion. Leica's have increased contrast profiles from camera because they market to rich amateurs who also don't know what to do with a raw file. 30 seconds an image is actually pretty normal for raw workflow, I never even mentioned retouching which is a whole other industry. If you can't adjust a curve in 30 seconds and then copy and paste to a set of images IDK what to tell you. You might try shooting film and have a lab process your images to the look you want since you can't do it yourself. I've been in this industry for 10 years and I've never met a client who demanded jpgs from a medium format digital camera only seconds after the shoot was completed.
03-03-2016, 08:25 AM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sperdynamite Quote
Well I hate to break it to you but professional cameras generally DON'T have usable files SooC. You'd like them to as I understand but they don't. Before Pentax medium format digital cameras couldn't even shoot jpgs. What I'm hearing with FAST FASTER FAST is "I don't want to, or don't know how to work on my images to get the look I want". Since you can't get it in camera this is reinforcing that opinion. Leica's have increased contrast profiles from camera because they market to rich amateurs who also don't know what to do with a raw file. 30 seconds an image is actually pretty normal for raw workflow, I never even mentioned retouching which is a whole other industry. If you can't adjust a curve in 30 seconds and then copy and paste to a set of images IDK what to tell you. You might try shooting film and have a lab process your images to the look you want since you can't do it yourself. I've been in this industry for 10 years and I've never met a client who demanded jpgs from a medium format digital camera only seconds after the shoot was completed.
I think as cameras evolve, so too will the needs of the photographers , and we will keep pushing what we can do with them. I would love to get ooc files that were to my preference, but until then I'm fine with my custom raw presets and go from there. I don't think it's necessarily an unreasonable request that is being made, (well, the part where you have a camera that does what you want, but then you want another camera to act like the perfectly good camera you already have is maybe a bit much, but I'm a little guilty of this myself) but it does speak to a batch shooting mindset - the art of photo editing is becoming lost in the days of clients wanting image catalogs that are consistent throughout. Doing post work for one, or even a whole spread of images, isn't much of an issue if you're not trying to streamline every frame from the shoot to look the same.

Personally, I'll only do post work after I narrow down selects from the shoot, and at that point it's not really that time consuming.

03-03-2016, 09:39 AM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sperdynamite Quote
Well I hate to break it to you but professional cameras generally DON'T have usable files SooC. You'd like them to as I understand but they don't. Before Pentax medium format digital cameras couldn't even shoot jpgs. What I'm hearing with FAST FASTER FAST is "I don't want to, or don't know how to work on my images to get the look I want". Since you can't get it in camera this is reinforcing that opinion. Leica's have increased contrast profiles from camera because they market to rich amateurs who also don't know what to do with a raw file. 30 seconds an image is actually pretty normal for raw workflow, I never even mentioned retouching which is a whole other industry. If you can't adjust a curve in 30 seconds and then copy and paste to a set of images IDK what to tell you. You might try shooting film and have a lab process your images to the look you want since you can't do it yourself. I've been in this industry for 10 years and I've never met a client who demanded jpgs from a medium format digital camera only seconds after the shoot was completed.

Ha, I CAN do it did I say I couldn't? You don't know me. But yeah, I've been working in Photoshop and digital imaging since 1990. I just have used enough cameras to KNOW that you can get basically the look you want with light, settings, and with the right EQ. And yeah, SOMETIMES you want it right out of the camera - especially with photojournalism, some events, and other forms of reportage. I tend to treat fashion/lifestyle similarly. I won't sit on files for a week.

And I've been in the "industry" for about 17 years. No need to push your experience.

"Rich amateurs" maybe for some of their cameras (the Q comes to mind). Do you think that includes MOST Magnum photographers, Bruce Gilden, Josef Kodelka, say someone like Ellen Von Unwerth, etc. What about the TROVES of street photographers that swear by their Leica, and all of the adapters for the Leica glass for the Sony A7, Fuji X, etc. Sorry you hate on a company that makes pretty amazing, precision tools that don't need the extra bits and keep their value better than most any other camera out there (what other camera from a DECADE ago still is worth around 2 grand).

I like Pentax/RICOH, I especially like my little RICOH GR. I don't dislike the 645Z, like I've said elsewhere in the thread I used to have the original Pentax 645, and am willing to see the benefits over just having a simple camera that can get what I want and with minimal editing give me a solid look. And let's talk about "amateur" the 645Z doesn't have high speed sync. IF I have t shoot this bitch at MAX 1/125 of a second with a wrythy model then it better perform on that Sony sensor.

Yes, absolutely I want a camera that does what I want, and there are REASONS for this:

1) Instead of worrying about settings or "getting it in Post" you can just shoot.

2) A lot of editors and art directors do not want to work with a photographer that says, "I can get that in post". It shows that a photographer doesn't know how to get a shot. It's a lame excuse.

3) Some retouching houses ONLY take the DNG or RAW files to retouch. They will use a base TIF or even JPG to get the photographer's meaning, but if I send them something that isn't pretty much exactly what I want I will likely NOT get what I want. Also, when working with certain clients, I don't even get to see the final retouch - as they have their own services.



And as for shooting film. I do, I have been. Hassy, Pentax 67, Mamiya 7II, and Fuji (as well as some odd cameras like the Speed Omega, and others). I have a few good labs, or I just work from a scan. I've been scanning so much lately it made sense to move over to a digital option. Pentax is not the ONLY option for digital I've looked at, it just happened to be the one I took home. To stay within the DSLR type handling I could get a used Leica S Typ 006 and a lens adapter for Contax 645 lenses for what I paid for the Z. If I wanted to stick with the more traditional MF professional build I could get a demo Hassy 50c back for the same, and the previous generation Phase One bodies with a 40MP sensor back are even cheaper.


At this point in my career, and because I can afford it at this point in my career (to you this would mean I'm a "Rich Amateur" I guess), I may not be willing to fork over 40K for a MF system because at the rate these things lose value it seems stupid not just to rent the ing things - but I can put the money into something that works for what I want it to do and will work for a long time. I don't buy into digital obsolescence. I buy into tools that are super useful and that I will likely make part of my look in the long run.


If you don't understand that, you haven't yet gotten to that level.

---------- Post added 03-03-16 at 10:42 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
But I think the files are quite usable - if not to your specific tastes right out of the camera. I think (and I could be wrong) that you can setup fairly simple batch adjustments to the files and produce what you are looking for since you are starting to get that look. But maybe I'm wrong.
Yes, I'm sure I can. OR just set a custom preset in LR.

I'll likely try this for awhile.

---------- Post added 03-03-16 at 10:45 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by petrakka Quote
I think as cameras evolve, so too will the needs of the photographers , and we will keep pushing what we can do with them. I would love to get ooc files that were to my preference, but until then I'm fine with my custom raw presets and go from there. I don't think it's necessarily an unreasonable request that is being made, (well, the part where you have a camera that does what you want, but then you want another camera to act like the perfectly good camera you already have is maybe a bit much, but I'm a little guilty of this myself) but it does speak to a batch shooting mindset - the art of photo editing is becoming lost in the days of clients wanting image catalogs that are consistent throughout. Doing post work for one, or even a whole spread of images, isn't much of an issue if you're not trying to streamline every frame from the shoot to look the same.

Personally, I'll only do post work after I narrow down selects from the shoot, and at that point it's not really that time consuming.
I vacillate between working with the entire set of photos in a quick edit than honing in on the 5-7 our of 300 or so that really work and bring those with the presets set into PS.



And yes, the cameras are pretty highly evolved now. There isn't a bad camera on the market to be honest. Now it's just whittling down to the ones that won't just stay in your bag, that you will use, and work with their eccentricities.

---------- Post added 03-03-16 at 10:52 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by petrakka Quote
A lot of this has to do with the micro contrast that Leica lenses have. Leica lenses have their rep for a reason, even if you like other lenses better nothing really looks quite like Leica lenses. The sensors in Leica just render things more contrasty/sharp than the Sony sensors in the Nikons, Sonys and Pentax Z as well.
The CCD sensor I have in my 645D certainly has a different look than CMOS sensors, so that may be worth a shot. It does in some ways remind me of a way way better look that the Leica M8 had (which I owned for a short time).

I'm not sure you're going to get that 'look' than with anything other the tools that already give it to you.
I will say, if you haven't tried shooting your Contax G glass on your Sony, that has been one of my favorite ways to shoot lately. The 45 and the 90 on it in particular are great. Get a little Nissin i40 strobe and you can do a lot.
Like you I do a lot of direct flash, handheld stuff. I go for a different look, but there are similarities.


THANK YOU, for coming up with an intelligent answer. Yes, I do believe it is partly the micro-contrast of the Leica lens design and the way the sensor technology reacts to those lenses. For instance, I can't get Leica glass to work as well on my Sony as it does on my M240. Zeiss is a different story, my Zeiss 50 f1.5 stays on my Sony right now, and NO I haven't used the CONTAX G glass yet, but that sounds promising (also Zeiss). Like I would LOVE to find glass that works similarly to the Leica S 100mm in the Pentax line, but I'll work around it, I don't really shoot wide open so much right now anyway.

I'll look into the Nissan i40, you aren't the only person that has mentioned that little strobe.

Again THANKS SO MUCH, this was a thoughtful post.
03-03-2016, 10:16 AM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by bilbrown Quote
Ha, I CAN do it did I say I couldn't? You don't know me. But yeah, I've been working in Photoshop and digital imaging since 1990. I just have used enough cameras to KNOW that you can get basically the look you want with light, settings, and with the right EQ. And yeah, SOMETIMES you want it right out of the camera - especially with photojournalism, some events, and other forms of reportage. I tend to treat fashion/lifestyle similarly. I won't sit on files for a week.

And I've been in the "industry" for about 17 years. No need to push your experience.

"Rich amateurs" maybe for some of their cameras (the Q comes to mind). Do you think that includes MOST Magnum photographers, Bruce Gilden, Josef Kodelka, say someone like Ellen Von Unwerth, etc. What about the TROVES of street photographers that swear by their Leica, and all of the adapters for the Leica glass for the Sony A7, Fuji X, etc. Sorry you hate on a company that makes pretty amazing, precision tools that don't need the extra bits and keep their value better than most any other camera out there (what other camera from a DECADE ago still is worth around 2 grand).

I like Pentax/RICOH, I especially like my little RICOH GR. I don't dislike the 645Z, like I've said elsewhere in the thread I used to have the original Pentax 645, and am willing to see the benefits over just having a simple camera that can get what I want and with minimal editing give me a solid look. And let's talk about "amateur" the 645Z doesn't have high speed sync. IF I have t shoot this bitch at MAX 1/125 of a second with a wrythy model then it better perform on that Sony sensor.

Yes, absolutely I want a camera that does what I want, and there are REASONS for this:

1) Instead of worrying about settings or "getting it in Post" you can just shoot.

2) A lot of editors and art directors do not want to work with a photographer that says, "I can get that in post". It shows that a photographer doesn't know how to get a shot. It's a lame excuse.

3) Some retouching houses ONLY take the DNG or RAW files to retouch. They will use a base TIF or even JPG to get the photographer's meaning, but if I send them something that isn't pretty much exactly what I want I will likely NOT get what I want. Also, when working with certain clients, I don't even get to see the final retouch - as they have their own services.



And as for shooting film. I do, I have been. Hassy, Pentax 67, Mamiya 7II, and Fuji (as well as some odd cameras like the Speed Omega, and others). I have a few good labs, or I just work from a scan. I've been scanning so much lately it made sense to move over to a digital option. Pentax is not the ONLY option for digital I've looked at, it just happened to be the one I took home. To stay within the DSLR type handling I could get a used Leica S Typ 006 and a lens adapter for Contax 645 lenses for what I paid for the Z. If I wanted to stick with the more traditional MF professional build I could get a demo Hassy 50c back for the same, and the previous generation Phase One bodies with a 40MP sensor back are even cheaper.


At this point in my career, and because I can afford it at this point in my career (to you this would mean I'm a "Rich Amateur" I guess), I may not be willing to fork over 40K for a MF system because at the rate these things lose value it seems stupid not just to rent the ing things - but I can put the money into something that works for what I want it to do and will work for a long time. I don't buy into digital obsolescence. I buy into tools that are super useful and that I will likely make part of my look in the long run.


If you don't understand that, you haven't yet gotten to that level.[COLOR="Silver"]
lol. Keep drink the Leica cool aide. Your 17 years haven't taught you much and I highly doubt there is much truth in those 17 years true because of everything you're saying. It's like listening to someone who's trying to use industry lingo for the first time but doesn't really grasp the meanings. Just get the Leica S if that's what you want so much. You obviously won't be happy until you have a dentist camera. The only magnum photographers left shooting Leica professionally were given cameras by Leica. This may have changed with the 240 but This ain't the 1980s generally. Just look at the cameras that captured the 2016 world press awards. There is a 645z on there, even an RX100, but noooo Leicas. But we're not talking about photo journalism. Neither was your OP about photojournalism. It's about commercial fashion photography, at which you seem pretty lost.
03-03-2016, 10:45 AM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sperdynamite Quote
lol. Keep drink the Leica cool aide. Your 17 years haven't taught you much and I highly doubt there is much truth in those 17 years true because of everything you're saying. It's like listening to someone who's trying to use industry lingo for the first time but doesn't really grasp the meanings. Just get the Leica S if that's what you want so much. You obviously won't be happy until you have a dentist camera. The only magnum photographers left shooting Leica professionally were given cameras by Leica. This may have changed with the 240 but This ain't the 1980s generally. Just look at the cameras that captured the 2016 world press awards. There is a 645z on there, even an RX100, but noooo Leicas. But we're not talking about photo journalism. Neither was your OP about photojournalism. It's about commercial fashion photography, at which you seem pretty lost.
How many times you need to upgrade an RX100, a 5D, a A7, a D800E and yes, eventually the 645Z? How many people still shoot with an M9, swear by it?

How many people use a 645Z for commercial fashion, I wonder?

How exactly am I "lost" enlighten me.
03-03-2016, 11:46 AM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by bilbrown Quote
How many times you need to upgrade an RX100, a 5D, a A7, a D800E and yes, eventually the 645Z? How many people still shoot with an M9, swear by it?

How many people use a 645Z for commercial fashion, I wonder?

How exactly am I "lost" enlighten me.
To the first question, never, or as many times as they want. Why would a 5D user physically be forced to upgrade if they like their camera? I know people who still use a 5D classic. What point are you making? It's the same point you're trying to make about the M9. Yeah people still like their M9s just like some people still like their D800Es. Some other people like the M8 or M262. People upgrade whenever they want. You don't have a coherent argument. The A7 is still a great camera, no reason why someone MUST upgrade. People do because it's cheap to do so, relatively. I can say there may be fewer M9 diehards than you think, especially since Leica made it so attractive to upgrade to the 240 after M9 CCDs started corroding.

To the 2nd question, considering that the 645z was designed and marketed as a landscape photographers medium format digital camera, and not marketed at all to rental studios, probably not too many. But for some reason YOU want to shoot fashion with it and do the ONE thing it's not that great at, high speed sync. Ask yourself why you're making that choice? As an aside point, a 125th of a second sync doesn't actually matter in a studio because flash duration can easily be faster than the fastest leaf shutter. It only matters in brightly lit location shoots, for which you should use the right tool for that job. I wouldn't try to win the Le Tour with a mountain bike! I know for a fact because I know people who work at one of the world largest photo retailers that the 645z has outsold every competing medium format digital option by a large margin, which is no surprise considering the cost.

As for your 3rd question, well you're arguing against a camera and brand that you decided to buy when you clearly wanted something else and claim was the same price. So...idk man you seem like you might be a little confused.

03-03-2016, 12:33 PM - 1 Like   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sperdynamite Quote
lol. Keep drink the Leica cool aide. Your 17 years haven't taught you much and I highly doubt there is much truth in those 17 years true because of everything you're saying. It's like listening to someone who's trying to use industry lingo for the first time but doesn't really grasp the meanings. Just get the Leica S if that's what you want so much. You obviously won't be happy until you have a dentist camera. The only magnum photographers left shooting Leica professionally were given cameras by Leica. This may have changed with the 240 but This ain't the 1980s generally. Just look at the cameras that captured the 2016 world press awards. There is a 645z on there, even an RX100, but noooo Leicas. But we're not talking about photo journalism. Neither was your OP about photojournalism. It's about commercial fashion photography, at which you seem pretty lost.
This is nonsense.
Have you ever shot with Leicas? Better or worse is immaterial. They render images differently than the other stuff on the market. Call it whatever you want, but if a photographer values the things that makes Leicas different, then it's worth it for them - it's not drinking any sort of koolaid. The user experience is different, the file rendering is different - they are unique machines.

And yea, Pentax does want fashion/portrait shooters and as someone who does most editorial work with their 645D (just returning from a magazine portrait shoot using that camera this morning!) they really would be great to up that flash sync. It is the biggest limited of these cameras and was, as usual, a factor for me on this morning's job. Which is why I also brought my a7rII. But I love the Pentax still.
03-03-2016, 12:41 PM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by petrakka Quote
This is nonsense.
Have you ever shot with Leicas? Better or worse is immaterial. They render images differently than the other stuff on the market. Call it whatever you want, but if a photographer values the things that makes Leicas different, then it's worth it for them - it's not drinking any sort of koolaid. The user experience is different, the file rendering is different - they are unique machines.

And yea, Pentax does want fashion/portrait shooters and as someone who does most editorial work with their 645D (just returning from a magazine portrait shoot using that camera this morning!) they really would be great to up that flash sync. It is the biggest limited of these cameras and was, as usual, a factor for me on this morning's job. Which is why I also brought my a7rII. But I love the Pentax still.
I know they render differently but the implication IN THIS CASE is that they are so different that you will end up with an S curve to the overall contrast of your images which is nonsense. Stick a Leica 50/1.4 ASPH on an A7II and shoot at 1.8 and the 55/1.8 and shoot at 1.8 and while the two images will be different slightly, the Leica image will not have a significant increase in overall contrast due only to the contrast of the lens. That's the argument people are making here, and that's what I'm saying is not true. I'd also say that Leica gear is the Birkin of photography but that's another conversation.
03-03-2016, 06:36 PM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sperdynamite Quote
I know they render differently but the implication IN THIS CASE is that they are so different that you will end up with an S curve to the overall contrast of your images which is nonsense. Stick a Leica 50/1.4 ASPH on an A7II and shoot at 1.8 and the 55/1.8 and shoot at 1.8 and while the two images will be different slightly, the Leica image will not have a significant increase in overall contrast due only to the contrast of the lens. That's the argument people are making here, and that's what I'm saying is not true. I'd also say that Leica gear is the Birkin of photography but that's another conversation.
If it's different enough for the photographer to notice and care, why is that not valid?

Also, it would be nice if Leicas were like Birkins. But really, they are more practical tools that are a lousier investment unless you know how to use them properly.
Study Says Birkin Bag Is a Better Investment Than Stocks and Gold - Racked

If the Leica suits the way you want to make pictures, all talk about price aside, there simply isn't a better tool. There's just not. If your look relies on the particulars of Leica, there's no other way to get it.
03-04-2016, 12:15 AM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sperdynamite Quote
I know they render differently but the implication IN THIS CASE is that they are so different that you will end up with an S curve to the overall contrast of your images which is nonsense. Stick a Leica 50/1.4 ASPH on an A7II and shoot at 1.8 and the 55/1.8 and shoot at 1.8 and while the two images will be different slightly, the Leica image will not have a significant increase in overall contrast due only to the contrast of the lens. That's the argument people are making here, and that's what I'm saying is not true. I'd also say that Leica gear is the Birkin of photography but that's another conversation.



Let's test what you say.

Attached:
Sony A7
Leica M240
BOTH with the same Summicron M 28 f2 at f2, ISO 500, 1/125

and just for comparison the other Sony sensor:

Pentax 645 with the 55mm f2.8 at f2.8, ISO 400 at 1/125

All from the in camera JPGs and BW settings essentially the same, with only available light.
Attached Images
     
03-04-2016, 12:23 AM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by bilbrown Quote
Let's test what you say.

Attached:
Sony A7
Leica M240
BOTH with the same Summicron M 28 f2 at f2, ISO 500, 1/125

and just for comparison the other Sony sensor:

Pentax 645 with the 55mm f2.8 at f2.8, ISO 400 at 1/125

All from the in camera JPGs and BW settings essentially the same, with only available light.
Here is the EXIF data for each of the above photos.
Attached Images
 
03-04-2016, 07:05 AM   #44
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But you didn't actually test what I said. This is three different cameras. I already said or implied earlier that different cameras have different curves built in. Leica's typically build in more contrast because of their amateur/enthusiast customer base. I SAID, 1 camera, 2 lenses. Not 2 camera, 1 lens. Your test only essentially shows you how much highlight information Leica throws out SooC in relation to Sony sensors.

The other thing you seem to have self discovered is that the camera with the most dynamic range on the market has the least contrast SooC! Congratulations on needing to see visually what could be garnered simply from the words "most dynamic range". Now what you do with that detail in LR is what makes the camera's sensor so fantastic. Your refusal to take that step is what is your own problem.

You still seem to think that applying a curve is the same thing as retouching which it is not, and you bungled the whole point of your test. Great work.
03-04-2016, 08:25 AM - 1 Like   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by bilbrown Quote
Let's test what you say.
Sony A7
Leica M240
BOTH with the same Summicron M 28 f2 at f2, ISO 500, 1/125

and just for comparison the other Sony sensor:

Pentax 645 with the 55mm f2.8 at f2.8, ISO 400 at 1/125
I think your test is highlighting the fact that these cameras were designed with different photographers in mind. All of the cameras no doubt have excellent dynamic range and resolution. But, the first two (A7 and M240) seem to take that resolution and color and make some definite decisions about how to record or represent it, and thus present a certain look based on those choices; whereas the Pentax seems to just record the data in a more neutral way.

The A7's strategy seems to be to try to spread the color data out as evenly as possible throughout the tonal ranges. Its designers want the viewer to admire the detail in the highlights, the mids, the lows–just like a TV on display at CES. The Leica seems to try to just reach for the highlights. It seems to spread out the color data so that the extreme highlights are reached–but without the care to make everything even and nice like the A7. It just spreads the histogram out and reaches for the highlights. Which makes sense–they know the glass in front of the sensor can handle it. The Pentax seems to just not make the choice. It seems to just collect the data and record it. It seems to assume that the photographer wants the data as unadulterated as possible–each color in the bin it came in when it got to the sensor to be molded later.

That would make sense in that the photographers using the Sony and the Leica were designed for want amazing images out of the camera. Sony, like their TVs, wants to present the consumer with beautiful, detailed, 'nice' even images. Leica wants to make sure its reputation for contrast creating precision shows up out of the box. Whereas, I think the 645 photographer wants latitude to push the image as they like later. I'm not suggesting in any way that one couldn't get great pictures in-camera on the Pentax, or that one couldn't manipulate the Sony or Leica in post. I'm just suggesting that I think Pentax knows that their photographers want a fairly direct representation of the color data so that they can make it look a lot of different ways.

So, if my very speculative idea (I've only had my 645 for a couple of weeks) has any merit, it would back up your current hypothesis that the Leica has a look and that the Pentax is more formless and designed to be shaped by the photographer later (which you don't want to do). It seems that if you want to avoid post the Pentax isn't going to work. Perhaps a compromise is that you could develop the curves and parameter changes the Pentax needs to look like the Leica and apply them automatically.

I think that many of the photographers using the 645 like that 'ooooh' moment when they bring information out of the deep shadows. But, that's not really what you're after.
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