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Mitch...Hopefully not opening a can of worms here, but some of this has to be related to Leica's choice of color 'look' for the M9, which has been stated before, was intended to emulate Kodachrome...I think I can sympathize with you about hitting focus in such situations. It can be tricky and the extra depth of field can be beneficial. But I think I agree with Adam that for some a wider aperture and less need to push in post would probably have resulted in richer/purer colors that would in turn have complemented the scenes...From a technical consideration, we discussed...Show more →
Ron, thanks so much for providing the link to Jim Kasson's excellent discussion on the idea of pushing in post-processing rather than increasing the ISO in camera, which is, in effect, increasing the gain. As mentioned earlier, I had read posts by douglas3f on this but never got around to trying this and your post finally made me do it — and now have found that it works very well. I shot the pictures below at ISO 640 and then pushed in Lightroom 5, as needed. There are several advantages:
1. There is less noise when pushing later than in shooting at speeds like ISO 1250 and 2500 in the camera.
2. As you're shooting at ISO 640 all the time, there is no need to keep on changing ISO, at night in the type of scenes below, would require changing firm ISO 640 to 800, 1250, 1600 and 2500 —and back — frequently; in reality this would mean that you often wouldn't change ISO and would often end up exposing at the higher ISOs when not necessary.
3. When pushing the exposure in post-processing, you need only to push the minimum necessary, which means that often you end up using a lower effective ISO than you would had you shoot setting the camera to, say, ISO 1250 or 2500.
4. When using the higher ISO set in the camera there is less dynamic range, which means that hitting the right exposure is more difficult. In comparison, when gradually pushing up the exposure in Lightroom the image will usually have better exposure. On the question, of how to expose when shooting at ISO 640, you can start with what the exposure would be at ISO 640 and if the aperture is too large for the depth of field that you want, or the minimum shutter speed is slower than you need, you adjust these two settings to to a point that will require the least pushing when processing. Actually, this is a good way of shooting for the type of night street photography in the pictures below because measuring or estimating the "correct" is difficult with the in-camera meter or even a separate spot meter; and you cannot use an incident light meter because it would mean walking over to the main subject to take a reading and then walking back to the shooting position, which for obvious reasons does not work for street photography.
For my taste, the noise in the image below is fine, but you may recall that I wrote earlier that I like the M9 noise at ISO 640 and feel it looks film-like. Thorsten Overgaard's in his review of the M240 wrote, "One of the reasons CCD looks so film-like is that the noise pattern is completely randomised. On CMOS it is uniform and you can always notice the fixed pattern of noise imprinted on the image. A CCD sensor has grain like film and it moves in the same way as film grain." QUESTION: Anyone know whether this is really true and, if so, why the is the CCD noise pattern randomised and the CMOS one uniform?
Here are the pictures, with an indication of how much pushing I did in processing. They're roughly in the order that like them. I like the colors one can get at night and also the contrast as well as rapid fall-off of light — the intensity of light decrease in proportion to the square of the distance. Picture No. 1 is taken in a very dark scene with bright light falling on the young woman in the university uniform.
No. 1 | Summicron-28 | ISO 640 pushed 2.15 stops | f/2.8 | 1/125 sec
No. 2 | Summicron-28 | ISO 640 pushed 2.4 stops | f/2.0 | 1/60 sec
No. 3 | Summicron-28 | ISO 640 pushed 1.95 stops | f/2.8 | 1/90 sec
No. 4 | Summicron-28 | ISO 640 pushed 2.26 stops | f/4.8 | 1/125 sec
No. 5 | Summicron-28 | ISO 640 pushed 2.3 stops | f/5.6| 1/125 sec
No. 6 | Summicron-28 | ISO 640 pushed 1.05 stops | f/2.8 | 1/45 sec
Bangkok Obvious [WIP]
Eggleston said that he was "at war with the obvious"...