This is my second submission to your daily inspiration section – the first time was back in September 2011 after I returned from a trip to Iceland with my newly-acquired Leica M9.
My Leica MM / Monochrom arrived in mid-December – the first one sold by the new Leica store in Soho, NY. I took some test shots around downtown Denver (where I live) and was stunned by what I saw. But I finally got to use and test the camera in the field during a 3-day road trip to Moab, Utah in mid February. Out of the three lenses I owned at that point – the APO ‘Cron 90/2, ‘Lux 50/1.4 asph and the Elmarit 28 – I decided to only take the APO ‘Cron 90 with me, being the sharpest of the three.
I just want to share this with everybody without further adieu: the 600MB drum scans of my 4×5 transparencies, and the RAW files from my previously-owned 40mp Hasselblad H3DII-39 and 24MP Nikon D3X, don’t even come close to the per-pixel integrity that the Monochrom achieves! The RAW DNGs from the MM are beyond jaw-dropping. Period.
Of course, even the best equipment on the planet won’t give you the desired results if you don’t know how to extract the maximum out of it. The MM’s DNGs are indeed quite flat out-of-the-box and one should be willing to perform a fair amount of dodging/burning and curves-manipulation in PS. But then, that’s the beauty of the MM – it gives you stunningly-sharp and wonderfully flat files with amazing push-pull capabilities, opening up all kinds of latitude to achieve the exact *look* that you desire! Imagine trying to do that with an already-contrasty file. I understand that viewpoints may differ on this, but for my purposes, I’d rather work with a flat file. I also wanted to add that I am not a master of the digital workflow and am still learning the tricks of the trade!
Since my Moab trip, I have sold my ‘Lux 50 and Elmarit 28 to make room for the new APO 50 which I’m wait-listed for. Also, my M 240 just arrived a couple of days ago – thanks Dale Photo! I can’t wait to compare the MM and the M 240 next. Whatever the result, I am keeping both.
The web is definitely NOT the right medium to truly appreciate the image quality of the MM, unless of course you put out full-size files. But I hope the medium-sized images I have included here will give the readers a good idea at least. I’ll be publishing a fuller review of the camera on my website in the very near future. You can view more of my MM portfolio on my website here: www.harshagrawal.com/utah.html