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02-28-2016, 08:34 PM   #1
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645Z vs Leica S = that look

Hey all,


I just made the leap to not only a CMOS sensor MF in the 645Z, but also a complete change of systems of a sort. I used to have the old 645 years ago, in fact it was my first MF camera (along with an old Yashica TLR). I thought it was great.

But as years progressed, I started to need and use FF DSLR systems, the 5D series Canon, Nikon, then a few Fuji X series cameras and the Sony A7 but I never really got the LOOK I wanted.

Then I finally switched up to the Leica M system. First with film, then the Kodak CCD M8, then the M240. I finally got the look I wanted - a high contrast but detailed "POP" in monochrome and VIBRANT colors with high definition in color.


In digital I shoot typically JPG and RAW (DNG) at the same time. I typically shoot f8-f16 or higher and use a hotshoe flashgun or off camera handheld.

I've had the 645Z for a week and I am trying to figure out basically how to get a similar look to what I do with my FF Leica cameras and lenses. I've gotten close, but I just wonder if any of you have any tips and tricks??



Samples below

#1, 2, are the 645 Z
#3, 4, are the M240

(all in camera JPG compression in BW)

---------- Post added 02-28-16 at 09:37 PM ----------

(negate the uploads, the files on BOTH were too big for the site!)

02-28-2016, 08:38 PM   #2
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You got links
02-28-2016, 08:39 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by bilbrown Quote
(negate the uploads, the files on BOTH were too big for the site!)
Downsize them or link us to a website where you have them?
02-28-2016, 08:57 PM   #4
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Trying again. Both

---------- Post added 02-28-16 at 10:03 PM ----------

Oh, and BTW, I also use a RICOH GR as well as the Leicas and the new Z. All have their own sort of pallete. It's cool, and interesting. But I want to somewhat stay consistent while taking advantage of the extra resolution and file structure of the 645Z.

Attached Images
 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX 645Z  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
LEICA M (Typ 240)  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX 645Z  Photo 
02-28-2016, 09:13 PM   #5
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Hard to tell because the photo hosting onsite here sucks, but it looks like you crushed the everloving heck out of the blacks on the 645z compared to on your other cameras, which seems pretty counterproductinve, considering the Z is a dynamic range champ.

EDIT: and now I'm really confused, since the exif on the images doesn't match up with the camera IDs you listed above.
02-28-2016, 09:22 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by dcshooter Quote
Hard to tell because the photo hosting onsite here sucks, but it looks like you crushed the everloving heck out of the blacks on the 645z compared to on your other cameras, which seems pretty counterproductinve, considering the Z is a dynamic range champ.

EDIT: and now I'm really confused, since the exif on the images doesn't match up with the camera IDs you listed above.

First IMAGE is 645Z
Second IMAGE is M240
Third and Fourth IMAGE is 645Z

That's what my flash does. and that's my look. Isolate with light.

---------- Post added 02-28-16 at 10:24 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by bilbrown Quote
First IMAGE is 645Z
Second IMAGE is M240
Third and Fourth IMAGE is 645Z

That's what my flash does. and that's my look. Isolate with light.
Sorry SECOND AND THIRD are the M240

I guess I am doing something right because even I couldn't tell
02-28-2016, 10:25 PM   #7
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Not sure how any possible discussions on any of your shots are of any values, as you are asking people to inspect your images by differently calibrated (if calibrated at all) monitors under various viewing conditions. The gold standard to me is print, and as you may know there is yet another layer or two of complexity in skills involved when trying to print to the "look" you want. You spend that much on gears and I surely hope that you have spent just as much on printers and papers and equally the time and effort that are deserving for the aesthetics of photography you are after.

To me personally, printing is where it's at.
02-28-2016, 10:55 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by bilbrown Quote
Trying again. Both

---------- Post added 02-28-16 at 10:03 PM ----------

Oh, and BTW, I also use a RICOH GR as well as the Leicas and the new Z. All have their own sort of pallete. It's cool, and interesting. But I want to somewhat stay consistent while taking advantage of the extra resolution and file structure of the 645Z.
The biggest difference seems to be the fstop and exposure time. Are you shooting the 645 handheld? The Leica is very sharp probably because it's f/16 and fairly fast exposure. Can you compensate with your flash on the 645 to get it to 1/125- and maybe some more depth of field to get sharp focus? The 645 is very shallow so if you want that crisp poppy quality, you'll just need some more focusing power–at least that's my take.

02-28-2016, 11:26 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fontan Quote
Not sure how any possible discussions on any of your shots are of any values, as you are asking people to inspect your images by differently calibrated (if calibrated at all) monitors under various viewing conditions. The gold standard to me is print, and as you may know there is yet another layer or two of complexity in skills involved when trying to print to the "look" you want. You spend that much on gears and I surely hope that you have spent just as much on printers and papers and equally the time and effort that are deserving for the aesthetics of photography you are after.

To me personally, printing is where it's at.

Yeah, its the whole point in the end for having a MF camera in the first place. I noticed a cover that I did with the M240 and Sony A7 (original) was lacking the clarity it needed because the art director cropped my shot.
I also shoot film on a Hassy (Zeiss 80) and a Pentax 67 (also 55mm, as the Z here), and Leica M4-2 and M7, Contax G2, and a 6x9 Omega. But since the Z was "affordable" digital MF it seemed a good option.

Plus, I have a few friends that are doing very LARGE (wall sized) prints with the Z and that sold me.
02-28-2016, 11:37 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by skytomorrownow Quote
The biggest difference seems to be the fstop and exposure time. Are you shooting the 645 handheld? The Leica is very sharp probably because it's f/16 and fairly fast exposure. Can you compensate with your flash on the 645 to get it to 1/125- and maybe some more depth of field to get sharp focus? The 645 is very shallow so if you want that crisp poppy quality, you'll just need some more focusing power–at least that's my take.

I will likely MOSTLY shoot it handheld. I have a couple of Manfroto tripods but I don't really shoot studio (at least not very often).

Above I used an on camera flashgun, manual at 1/8 and 1.5 power. I also had a secondary strobe (Profit B1) that was used for fill. Plus window for ambient in the chair shot... but you would't be able to tell much since its mostly stopped down pretty intensely.

I was thinking if I matched the exposure settings f16 and 1/125 on both and simply used ISO as my variable I may get similar results.


I used the M240 and Z as the comparison here since they both have CMOS-type sensors. To be honest, my 10 year old M8, however low the resolution (10.3MP) and its Kodak CCD sensor kind of has the look I'm going for out of the box. As seen here: (very film like look, although here you can also see a very sharp and clear background. I won't do much post in this and this is right out of the M8 JPG.)

---------- Post added 02-29-16 at 12:40 AM ----------

I may just up the blacks in the above.
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View Picture EXIF
M8 Digital Camera  Photo 
02-29-2016, 02:09 AM   #11
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From a quick look at the upper portraits I'd see that the shadows in the Z go pitch black/crispy whereas the Leicas don't and are more soft and moody.
02-29-2016, 04:38 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by sbh Quote
From a quick look at the upper portraits I'd see that the shadows in the Z go pitch black/crispy whereas the Leicas don't and are more soft and moody.
Yes, I think it's the Sony sensor. I have had similar happen with the A7 files, even with the Summicron-M glass I use on both.

But then the Leica can be pretty black/Crispy too



All of the shots on both the Leica M240 and the Z are at f16 or higher,


Here are a couple more examples of the M, in different circumstances and how the blacks and sharpness renders. (this is the 28mm Summicron-M f2, and I believe f8-f18 on the M240. Again BW JPG and full color DNG).


Anyone had any luck getting this kind of definition (I know this is not everyone's cup of tea....)
Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
LEICA M (Typ 240)  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
LEICA M (Typ 240)  Photo 
02-29-2016, 06:21 AM - 1 Like   #13
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The 645Z files really are bland out of camera, great for landscape or high-contrast scenarios since you'll never lose detail, but it does lack the pop of CCD sensors. Personally I enjoy the extra flexibility of the files of my Z over the crunchy saturated look of the 645D, since I can always play with the files in post to get that look I want, but toning down high-contrast images is harder to do.

This is a trait of just about any camera sensor that has more than 11-12 stops of dynamic range. The Z has like 15 stops, most of them in the shadows, so if you crush them the image is going to look glassy smooth. I think the solution would be to under-expose your images by a few stops and push them in post. Shadows on other cameras are always going to look softer because they're at the edge of the noise floor, which causes dithering.
02-29-2016, 01:16 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kolor-Pikker Quote
The 645Z files really are bland out of camera, great for landscape or high-contrast scenarios since you'll never lose detail, but it does lack the pop of CCD sensors. Personally I enjoy the extra flexibility of the files of my Z over the crunchy saturated look of the 645D, since I can always play with the files in post to get that look I want, but toning down high-contrast images is harder to do.

This is a trait of just about any camera sensor that has more than 11-12 stops of dynamic range. The Z has like 15 stops, most of them in the shadows, so if you crush them the image is going to look glassy smooth. I think the solution would be to under-expose your images by a few stops and push them in post. Shadows on other cameras are always going to look softer because they're at the edge of the noise floor, which causes dithering.

I thought it might be the CCD. But I think it has something to do with the micro-contrast of the Summicron glass on the M240 as well (since the M is also a CMOSIS sensor, but doesn't have the dynamic range of the Z).

The 645D and Leica S (006) might be the solution, but I'm not giving up on the Z yet.

Has anyone tried the Hassy Zeiss glass on the Z, or maybe the CONTAX 645 glass, does that help at all?


Time to experiment.

---------- Post added 02-29-16 at 02:19 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Fontan Quote
Not sure how any possible discussions on any of your shots are of any values, as you are asking people to inspect your images by differently calibrated (if calibrated at all) monitors under various viewing conditions. The gold standard to me is print...

And, the more I think about it... ABSOLUTELY the "Gold Standard is print" but seeing that 99.999% of people will be seeing these images on a monitor of some sort, calibration isn't an issue for this kind of stuff. You want to get the best generic contrast and sharpness for the screen that you can.
02-29-2016, 03:02 PM   #15
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i use the zeiss 110/2 and the 80/2 on my 645z and they are amazing lenses, but your b&w examples the blacks are so heavily crushed any samples i show you really wouldn't have any relevance
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