A thread for discussing Black & White work

I don’t mean either of those, and people have been saying this about the Leica for decades. To me, it means I have a total of four controls, ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and focus. By comparison, my Nikon digital cameras have more controls/adjustments/knobs/levers/menu-choices than I can count. With the Leica, it’s just exposure and focus.

It also means the camera and lenses are small and light and quiet - I can carry extra stuff in a small gadget bag, or my pockets. For my Nikon, one single 80-200 lens is bigger and heavier than all my Leica stuff combined.

The Leica was originally intended for “street shooting”, candid photos of real life. It’s so small, people ignore it. Even in India, it looks like a toy camera - where a DSLR attracts a LOT of attention, if for no other reason than the size, and it is LOUD.

As to “gets out of your way”, I’ll try to find out what other people feel this means. I dunno… and I’m sure you’re right, a lot of it is just “hype”, not reality.

The two cameras carried around by photographers during the Vietnam war were the Leica M, and the Nikon F. Both were rugged, reliable, and neither relied on electronics and batteries.

Enough about me - I’m real anxious to read about your new experiences with moving up to the D850 !!!

Absolutely. Personally I even like Leica’s digital colour science. I shoot mostly sports so Nikon is a more sensible choice for my photography. I tried hard to make Fuji X-Tx series work but neither the focus nor the APS-C sensor worked for me for sports. My almost Leica these days is a little silver Canon M6 which is slow to focus (solution: back button focus) and is so tiny people hardly notice it when you pull it out. There’s a great pancake lens to go with the small body too: the EF-M 22mm which is literally just 2cm long. Not at all the case with a big black Nikon. Sadly, the video is crippled yet again in M6 (and the M6 II, which has lost a lot of the tiny quality of the original M6 while some of the manual controls have been removed, a charmless if capable camera). If you’re going to shoot an M6 II you may as well carry an Nikon Z50 instead and the Nikon Z50 is a much more capable camera with real 4K video.

But this desire for something small, discrete, high quality and elegant is a longstanding desire of photographers for good reason. If I had the budget for it, I’d probably have a couple of Leica instead of the M6.

Now that the iPhone video (11 Pro) is so good and so well-stabilised, I might lean harder on the M6 as the carry camera. PhotoLab does a fantastic job of cleaning up Canon chroma noise as for instance in this ISO 3200 shot.

I’m tired of the anti-Leica schtick here. Leica makes beautiful cameras, great lenses, charges a lot of money for them. If money is no object, most capable photographers would enjoy shooting with a Leica. For that matter, Overgaard is a decent street photographer, competent portraitist and a capable teacher.

I finally found a clear, simple, and accurate definition for a camera that “gets out of your way”, written by Ken Rockwell:


I could never say this as well as Ken does, which is why he’s famous and I’m not, but I agree with almost everything he wrote.

He’s right that a simple D40 is adequate - I went to Italy to cover a World Championship 1/8 scale R/C car race, and my brand new Nikon died after 15 minutes of use. Someone at the track loaned me his D40 for the event, and I managed to get everything I wanted out of it, even though it was far less convenient - but it did the job!

I also know the D40 isn’t able to do all the things that Joanna wants to do with a camera, but at the end of the race, I was happy, and the editors and staff at two different magazines were thrilled. I got zero complaints. I was able to get the simple D40 to do everything I needed. …and no, I have no desire to own one. Definitely much too slow for race photography, so I had to set up my action shots before the race car got to the corner, to end up with a photo of the race car going around that corner.

Anyway, Ken’s article pretty much explains my attitude to photography, and what is most important.

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Then you get me wrong. I am not anti-Leica, I am saying similar things to Ken Rockwell, when he says you can use any camera to make great images. If I ever win the lottery, I might even buy a Leica to put on a shelf somewhere. They are beautiful cameras with a similar level of automation to my Ebony 5" x 4" view camera - the big difference is that I can create massive prints with my Ebony and that is something that is important to me.

As I’ve said elsewhere, it’s a great camera for street photography and reportage where discretion is important. But, for the work that I do, the present M10 just doesn’t cut the mustard. And, as Mike also has a Nikon D750, with similar sensor resolution, we were discussing which is better - he wasn’t trashing the Nikon and I wasn’t trashing the Leica, it’s just that I can’t see why anyone who is taking the kind of landscape shots that Mike has been sharing, especially wide dynamic range shots, wouldn’t use a camera that has a built-in spot meter.

If I arrived somewhere for a shoot and the only camera available was a Leica, I would use it - it’s just so simple to use, but I would have to do a bit of testing to find out the kind of results the centre-weighted metering gave and adjust my technique to using it.

My experience and work is primarily with LF cameras and Nikon DSLRs, with the odd iPhone image thrown in for good measure. The first I can do standing on my head (it helps when the screen is upside down :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :laughing:), the last doesn’t have the same menu problems as a DSLR but, as I have said before, I just set my DSLR up in a way that the only controls I need to adjust are the aperture, ISO, shutter speed and focus - all the rest I hardly ever even look at.

I must say that it did take time to setup my new D850 for the first time - something that could easily baffle a lot of inexperienced new users, but one feature of the Nikon D850 that has made life so much simpler is the “My Menu” menu that has allowed me to “extract” the 6 settings I might need to use from time to time into one simple short list.

But once that that is done, my D850; like my D810 and Mike’s D750 are no more difficult to use than a Leica, especially if the person using it works in manual mode.

Well, my takeaway was that it doesn’t matter what camera you use, as long as you get to know it well.

My only reason for upgrading to the D850 was primarily the extra resolution and the fact that I didn’t want to be forced into a mirrorless camera to get that.

I shall be assisting the less knowledgable members of our photo club on an outing on Saturday, so I’ll be going out tomorrow with my new toy to get some shots for myself. Hey! So Christmas has come early but, then again, I didn’t get any birthday presents this year :sunglasses:

Sounds familiar - when I turn on my M10 and select “Menu”, a page for “favorites” comes up, and I can select my most important menu choices there for instant access.

I selected:

  • Lens Detection
  • Drive Mode
  • Exp. Metering
  • Exp. Compensation
  • Format SD Card
  • Main Menu

I keep changing this list around, and I will be removing “Exposure Compensation” since I’m using the camera in (M)anual mode.

I have found the codes for Lens Detection for my 35, 50, 90, and 135 lenses, and for my Voigtlander I will simply disable Lens Detection. For Leica lenses, I just select the proper code, and the lens information will be available to PL4.

I am not a very logical person. I thoroughly enjoy using the Leica, and I enjoy using the lighter and smaller Df more than my D750, but I realize the D750 has more “power”. The Nikons are cameras I use. The Leica feels like part of me.

In a logical world, you are right. I have this feeling that I can do pretty much anything with most cameras, and maybe because I’ve been shooting a Leica M since the 1970’s, it’s just become part of me, or vice versa.

hope you are lucky with lens support

see → PhotoLab "Lens Sharpness" - #3 by Wolfgang

Dear @Joanna,

concratulations for your new toy. I hope we can get some sample raws to play with.

Enjoy the weekend with the 850 :innocent:



Well, I’ve just seen that the battery grip is finally on the delivery van so, if we go out for lunch, it should arrive about ten minutes after we leave :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :laughing:

So go outside through the front door, make a little walk from about 300meters, come back through the backdoor, and wait for the guy…surprise :ghost:

Heheheh. It just arrived about ten minutes ago :smiley:

Totally off-topic, but here is what you get when you use the in-camera focus stacking on the D850

Nearest shot of 10…

Furthest shot of 10…

10 shots merged using Affinity Photo…

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or there is a window behind the plant or your lens is already dirty… :crazy_face:
(i think a window because I can vaguely see your shoulder in the picture. purple sweater.)

keeps fun to be able to quickly focus stack something inside a camera. Often remarkable in handheld modes.
(Is the D850 be able that too?)

You got me. The window gets bombarded by flies this time of year as well as the odd bird that flies into them.

I’ve not tried handheld but that would depend on the software that does the stacking afterwards I guess.

This is one of the greenhouses at the Biltmore mansion in Ashville, North Carolina. I was experimenting with sharpening, contrast and filtering. I did initial edits in PL4, sent the image to SEP for B&W conversion and other edits and returned the image to PL4 for final edits, adding a bit more micro contrast and sharpness, and from the embedded FP5 features, a dark orange filter and channel mixer edits.



So you focus your camera, press the shutter button, and the camera and lens take ten images in a row starting and ending a short distance away from the selected focus? Amazing! Can your D850 also brew a cup of tea, and act as an alarm clock?

a very special version, but I like it

In essence, yes. Apparently, it can also do the same trick with landscape shots, making it unnecessary to use the hyperfocal distance to get everything sharp.

Not quite, but I didn’t realise it has focus peaking in live view, which means I can tell if something is really sharp because it highlights those parts of the image.

I know I said it can be used as a simple camera but there are one or two tricks that I’ve really got to try that is going to require me to read the manuals and watch a couple of videos, to get my head around those things. At least Nikon do provide what they call a Professional Technical Guide, which is going to be next on my reading list.

I let my mind wander, considering “what if?”. That led me to this web video:


I’m not sure I agree with everything he noted, but he left me even more content with what I’ve got already. I prefer lighter cameras, and while the D850 can create 100-meg files, I’m not sure if I’m ready to deal with that. On the other hand, it seems like it may be the best DSLR available for you, unless you went for the D5 or D6 or whatever they are up to now.

I’m very curious how “focus peaking in live view” is going to work for you.

Oh, and the change in position for the ISO button - huge! Much more convenient now.

I was going to start using my Df this week, but I’ve changed my mind - will use the D750 for a while.

Christmas came early for you this year!!

Which is a “good thing™”

As the guy noted, for landscape and some of the other things that I do, the D850 is definitely the better choice for me.

He seemed to infer that the smaller file size made it easier to shoot at a faster frame rate. But that is only true if you don’t take into account that the D850 can use CF Express memory cards in the XQD slot, which allows for writing at up to 800 Mbits/sec - much faster than the SD cards at up to 95 Mbits/sec. This means, with the battery grip, I can shoot crazy numbers of 45Mpx shots at 9fps without hesitation - this is going to be great for shooting the Patrouille de France aerobatics team or anything like horse or motor racing.

By the way, the D6 is much more a journalist’s camera with a mere 20Mpx sensor, so not of much interest for those high detail super-smooth landscape shots.

Well, I’ve tested it in limited circumstances and it seems to make it easier to determine what is the true focus point much easier than just the micro focus screen on its own - possibly useful for finding hyperfocal distance more easily but only time and experience will tell.

Do you know something? Possibly because I don’t change ISO that often, mid-shoot, I hadn’t even thought of its position on the D810 as inconvenient but, I can see how it is better for those who make such use of it.

Well done, you know it makes sense :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :joy:

Affinity Photo has a surprisingly good focus stacking module with excellent “touch up” UI for fixing any misaligned areas.