Friday, May 1, 2015

2nd Gen LEICA M MONOCHROM 2 (Type 246) - Vital details and thoughts




As announced by Leica today (30 April, 15), the new model of Leica Monochrom M is way more advanced then its predecessor.  According the the technical specifications it is "Compact digital view and rangefinder system camera with a dedicated black-and-white image sensor." It uses the same Leica M Mount compatible all the Leica M Lenses. I believe there are 23 available lenses so far that are exclusively made by Leica ranging from 16 to 135 mm.

The major changes are in terms of body and electronics inside. Lets start with Body first - thats what make the camera - A Black Beauty! I believe its going to last for a long time. The previous version was launched in May 2012 and after three years the new version - they call it Type 246 is launched that will be made available by second week of May 2015. The body is made up of full metal die cast magnesium with synthetic leather (pleather?!) covering. The top panel and base is made of Brass with black chrome plated finish. Overall the body weighs around 700 gm which is heavier than a mirrorless (Olympus OM-D weighs roughly 450 gm) but almost equal to retro style Nikon Df Camera. It houses a quarter inch steel tripod mount in bottom. I  think the operating temperatures can go to extreme after going through the iceland photographs by RAX. The body houses 7.4 Volt, 1800 mAh battery (Model BP-SCL2) manufactured by Varta, Indonesia. The maximum battery mileage can be 800 shots without using live view.  For external flash, it uses old style leica hot shoe or SCA based controls. It has an option of high speed shutter sync (HSS) with exposure ranging from 1/180 sec. 





Since there is no mention of shutter type in specs, I think Leica is still using horizontal focal plane shutter unlike leaf shutters that can provide even higher shutter speeds. My Sigma DP2m can operate at pretty high shutter speeds (>1/1000) even with flash without any issues because of Leaf shutter. Leica released some lenses with inbuilt leaf shutters but they are not compatible with M series I believe. For pre-flash exposure measurement, it has lens covered dual silicon photodiodes on the camera base like typical exposure meters. TTL based exposure metering involves light reflection by blades of the 1st shutter curtain onto the measuring cell over sensor. It comes with spot, center-weighted, multi-field metering modes. The shutter can be triggered in aperture priority mode (A-mode) or full manual controls over aperture and shutter speeds. There is no shutter priority (S-mode) or program-auto (Pa) mode.

Coming the new 24 MP Sensor - it is a B/W CMOS chip developed by CMOSIS and manufactured by STMicro, with an active area of approx. 23.9 × 35.8 mm without color and low-pass filters. It can shoot videos too at 1080p! I think its the similar sensor used in Leica M colored sensor version without the microlenses. The details given for Leica M camera sensor according to CMOSIS is as follows - "The imager is based on a 6 x 6 ┬Ám² pixel size, yielding a linear full well capacity of ≥ 40,000 electrons and a linear dynamic range close to 76 dB. Pixel data are digitized by patented low-power, high-speed 14-bit column AD converters. The sensor features an electronic rolling shutter with global reset and noise cancellation through both analog as well as digital correlated double sampling (CDS) resulting in low temporal and spatial noise and non-uniformities." The sensor records only luminescence values - in other words, the sensor is color blind! It only sees light values (maybe in lux) that gets digitized by the sensor and processed by Leica Maestro processor to produce 12/16 bit RAW DNG or JPG. The absence of micro lens based Bayer/EXR color filters leads to 100% pure BnW images that are sharp, clear and high resolution even when shooting with the highest ISO sensitivity settings.

Here are some samples of images and videos that are shared by Leica. Copyrighted by Ragnar Axelsson / Leica. As given on this blog post the images were shot using  new Leica Monochrom M with 35 mm Summilux f/1.4 ASPH - one of the best lenses by Leica. Even at very high ISO levels, the images are noise free. The first image was shot at base ISO of 320, second at 1000 and third one at 12500. I can see some noise at 200% but at 100% it is workable. The smudging caused due to traditional anti-aliasing / blur filters in DSLRs is also not visible.

(Exif: 35mm, f/4.8, 1/2000, ISO320)

(Exif: 35mm, f/3.4, 1/250, ISO1000) 

(Exif: 35mm, f/1.4, 1/2000, ISO12500) 




The camera lens mount also supports UV and color filters. Leica has released new set of color filters especially for M. The details for both the filters are given here. These are the snippets of descriptions taken from Leica website.




UV Filters: "The UV filter protects the front element of the lens and can be permanently attached. The polarization filter for the Leica M eliminates disturbing reflections and helps to visualise the effect. It is supplied with an adapter with a swivel fitting, allowing it to be rotated to 180 degrees in front of the viewfinder. This way, you can assess and control the effect before taking the shot."



Color Filters: "By modifying the conversion of colours to grey scale values, yellow, green and orange lens filters – calculated especially for use with the Leica M Monochrom – offer new opportunities for the exploration of creative effects with light and contrast. This means that the colour of the filter in the original scene becomes brighter and its complementary colour darker. This is effective for creating unusual moods in landscapes, portraits and other genres of photography. At the same time, multilayer coating reduces reflections and ensures high transmission without vignetting."

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Street Market at Night - A collection of 6 Photographs


Egg Seller and the Ghost!  
Photograph of a street hawker with his cart, who sells eggs and omelettes on street. I did not realized the presence of another man, standing next to him, peeking at the camera till I came home started processing the image.



Counting 
A street flower seller, sitting on the footpath busy counting the earnings. She did not even noticed this bright flash of light after I took the shot!



Lo Cotton Candy ! 
People waiting for getting their cotton-candy and looking inside the candy preparation container with surprise.




Shoes or Cola !? 
A women seller on street having a shoes store-front and a contrasting coca-cola refrigerator at the back side.



Fruit Seller 
A fruit seller holding a Sapodilla (Cheeku fruit), negotiating with a customer. Note his glittering face and eyes by the colourful battery powered light.



Negotiation 
A shoe seller, negotiating with one customer while the other one is staring somewhere else probably lost in his own dangling thoughts.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Egg Seller and the Ghost!



Shot at night, photograph of a street hawker with his cart, who sells eggs and omelettes on street. I did not realized the presence of another man, standing next to him, peeking at the camera till I came home started processing the image.

Shot with DP2 Merrill, processed in SPP and Photoshop.
Can also be viewed at YourShot National Geographic
http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/photos/5467356/

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