There is a handy app for the Leica M8 I have been trying out recently which “unlocks” the ability to shoot in 14 bit raw instead of 8 bit DNG.
A link to the app is here: http://m8raw2dng.de/
In order to “capture” the 14 bit raw image the camera needs to be put into “service menu” mode as follows:
Press right arrow button 4 times
Press left arrow button 3 times
Press right arrow button 1 time
Press “set” button as select “RAW + jpeg fine”
People call it the “button dance” lol! I tend to disable auto power off and I stick a small bit of electrical tape on the power switch as it tends to easily be accidentally switched off.
The RAW files are about 20mb instead of the usual 10mb DNG files. The m8raw2dng app takes the RAW file and turns it into a 14bit DNG file using the exif data from the jpeg image as RAW files have no exif info stored.
iso1250 sculpture in taunton museum
iso320 dellers wharf
iso160 viridor building firepool
The m8raw2dng app (*.exe file) is quite small and can be placed anywhere you choose (eg in “my documents”) there is a small text only *.bat file which can be copied into the folder with the RAW+jpeg pairs and double clicking this will start the conversion to DNG which seems to convert about 6 files per second so pretty quick. The *.bat file hold the parameters like location of the *.exe file.
These were mainly shot at f/4 although Leica digital cameras cannot record aperture as there is no data link between the lens and the body.
I quite like the B&W preset profiles in Rawtherapee – there are 4 to choose from.
I’m gradually getting a bit more used to the Leica M8, this being my 6th day of owning it. Day 1 did not really count as I did not have a memory card that would work with it.
I have noticed that it’s quite easy to accidentally jog the focus ring on the lens as I normally keep it set about 3 metres but as I have a blackrapid strap it can brush against me and get moved as there is not much damping so it needs checking before taking a shot.
I have disabled the “auto off” feature as it does not seem to use much power when the display is off. I had it set to switch off after 10 minutes before.
I was mainly using f/5.6 today in aperture priority – it was quite sunny so could have gone with f/8 but there are a few annoying dust spots I need to shift. Had a go with a rocket blaster and shifted a few spots but some stubborn ones left.
Using discreet advance so shutter only resets once the button is released. The Epson RD1 has a lever to reset shutter rather than a motor so would have been nice on the M8.
The lens hood is a bit fiddly to take on and off so I’m tending to leave it on as the lens can easily be cleaned with it in place.
Recently decided to sell my Nikon D610 DSLR and move to something more compact. I liked my Ricoh GRD4 and Ricoh GR but they were really “point and shoot” type cameras although they did offer a lot more than most mass market point and shoots.
I was thinking about getting the Fuji Xpro1 as it has an optical viewfinder, however it’s still a very electronics based camera and the focus system works electronically even though it offers manual focus. It is styled like a rangefinder but does not have a rangefinder method of focussing where you line up the double images to confirm focus.
There are only 2 digital rangefinders:
1) Epson RD1
2) Leica M
Leica M is not cheap, however the original M8 is now cheaper than many DSLR cameras and certainly cheaper than the Nikon D610.
An important thing to consider is that the M8 is not a full frame camera – it has a 1.33x crop sensor made by Kodak. It’s a CCD rather than a CMOS which I actually quite like. You certainly do not get any “bells and whistles” like live view or video! Another catch is the IR sensitivity of the sensor due to the thin sensor AA filter. Have not got round to getting an IR filter yet so some colours might not be “true” – eg foliage can show a bit yellow green and black synthetic fabric can look purple.
I’m used to a 28mm prime on the Nikon D610 and though of getting a 21mm prime for the M8 but in the end went with a 28mm prime – an elmarit 28mm f/2.8 asph – second hand as the price of a new leica lens is not cheap! This works like a 37.33mm with the 1.33x crop factor although the exif says 38mm equivalent. The lens has 6 dots on the lens mount which tells the body which lens is being used “6 bit coding” is the leica term.
The camera I purchased still had the original firmware from 2008 when it was originally purchased and this meant that it would only take a standard SD card and these are not easy to buy as only SDHC cards are readily available. I did find one a Maplin – phew! This allowed me to update the firmware to the latest version, which then allows use of any SD card.
It also allows auto iso which is quite handy although the algorithm is not like nikon where is only changes the iso when the shutter drops below a preset value – the m8 still has a preset shutter value but seems to change iso sometimes when not on the minimum shutter value.
Iso steps are 160, 320, 640, 1250 and 2500 – 2500 is not as bad as I expected – the shot of the cat above is at iso2500 and although grainy the grain is not too bad.
The M8 is quite a heavy camera for it’s size but it’s almost all metal. The menu system is very basic and simple, unlike the complex menus on DSLR cameras.
It works well with the old version of lightroom (v3) that I have as it produces DNG files. Newer cameras like the Fuji Xpro1 need to have the files first converted with adobe’s DNG converter before they will work in old versions of lightroom.
I have really been trying to get used to the camera at the moment rather than trying to shoot anything particularly interesting. Once I am fully used to the camera I will then be able to concentrate more on images than the camera.
i quite like this dragon outside the brewhouse with the words “waterside house” – i remember seeing this dragon being painted in the orchard centre
a firey dragon outside the cosy club
a dragon in the entrance to the library
outside sainsburys in county walk with a red cross and plasters
this dragon at the castle is very artistically designed with impressionist style spots
it took me a while to find this dragon on the top floor of debenhams – i asked a couple of staff members where the dragon was and got very blank looks as if i was mad but finally someone told me it was on the top floor
this is a cricketing dragon at the county ground
a dragon with flowers outside the market house in the parade
a dragon with a crown outside the kings arms – it also has a black horse on it
a cider apple dragon at the bathroom centre at firepool
a black dragon in the orchard shopping centre with “life” written on it
a very red dragon outside scat – it has logos like cameras, brushes etc
a starry blue dragon with a half moon at the octagon in east reach
a vivary park dragon
a minimal white spot on blue design at wilton lands near the high ropes
a dragon at brendon bookshop in bath place
this dragon is not part of the trail and has been here for years in the arcade between church square and east street
the waterstones dragon – not actually part of the taunton deane dragon trail