Another Pointless Photo Comparison

One from the M240. One from the M9M

I’ve always told myself that if I started posting pictures of my wife/kids/pets to fill up space I’d shut Leicaphilia down and call it a day. It’s inevitable, at some stage, you run out of things to stay, no matter how much you’ve said in the past. I suspect I’m getting dangerously close to that time, given I’m now reduced to posting pictures of my wife. I could do worse, I suppose. My wife is easy on the eyes. In any event, the best I can promise you for the time being are some fairly thoughtless comparisons like the output of the M9M versus the M240. I really do like both cameras, but have developed a distinct preference for the M9M since I shoot exclusively in B&W. Native B&W output seems one less unnecessary step, and I do think the M240 suffers in comparison to the M9M’s sharpness and tonal output. Plus its a cool camera, period, the first digital M that really feels like an M4.

What you see above is essentially the same photo, taken with the same lens (VC 35mm 2.5 LTM) and parameters (ISO 2000, f4, 1/60) – one with the M240, one the M9M – both unedited except run through Silver Efex at identical settings. I see a difference. You can right-click on them to view them in a new window.

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I really enjoy publishing this blog. The amount of feedback I get from readers is really fulfilling, and people have been incredibly kind in wishing me well since I’ve been sick. I can genuinely say that I’ve made friends here, which is something the old, cynical version of me would have scoffed at; but it’s true. Lot’s of good people have shared lots of good things with me, both via the comments section and behind the scenes. I appreciate all of it. I’ve especially enjoyed publishing work that readers have submitted- Shuya Ohno’s homage to his father being a recent example of a beautiful piece of work that probably wouldn’t have found a wider audience if not for the blog.

Unfortunately, I’m completely devoid of inspiration to be posting interesting or thought provoking content myself. I’m battling a serious case of cancer that had laid me out. I went from someone who literally never had an illness, someone who acted and felt a good 20 years younger than I was, someone who could ride 100 miles on a bike at an 18 mph pace, or row a 2:04/500m pace for and hour, to a frail man who needs his wife hold his hand to walk around the block. It’s been a humbling experience. What’s helped tremendously is the wife….and all the well-wishes I’ve received from so many of you. Thank you.

Plus, I’ve chosen to stay enrolled in my graduate history program, which I’ve been lucky enough to do given COVID has precluded having to travel to Boston to attend classes in person. So I’ve been able to do a lot of work online, which, of course, takes up much of my free time, although it’s a pale substitute for walking through Harvard Yard on a beautiful Spring day. When I complain, as I’m want to do, my wife rightfully reminds me this is a first-world problem at best. Plus there’s my professional career. All of which is to say that it’s improbable you’re going to be getting much from me in the way of interesting content for a bit. Expect more useless photo comparisons until such time as I’m up and on my feet and at least walking the neighborhood without having to hold my wife’s hand. A ride around the block on my bike probably is going to have to wait for the time being.

18 thoughts on “Another Pointless Photo Comparison

  1. Andrea Taurisano

    No, Tim, I don’t think we’ve run out of things to stay when we, no longer young, more and more often point our lenses to our family, pets, homes as well as ourselves. Age makes us (well, many of us..) more humble, day by day, even before sickdom sets in and does it brutally. And as we get more humble we see clearly. We see that we may have been excellent photographers and shown touching stories in pictures, but the only life and story we could ever know and therefore truly tell in honest pictures, is or own. Once ambition to be a great photographer fades away, we see that the only thing that ever counted, that ever was worth focusing on and that ever deserved saving for later days, was memories of our own life and those who meant most to us. Robert Frank’s best images are to be found in “Good days quiet”, IMO, not in the book that made him a star. Likewise, your recent images are greater than ever, Tim. Please stay strong, we need you for many many years ahead.

    Reply
    1. Daniel Castelli

      Hello Andrea,
      You hit the nail on the head with your insightful comment.
      What has driven my photography is not greatness nor accolades; rather to use my camera to make sense of the world that I occupy. My photography is like me breathing, I need to do it.
      I recently found out that Elliott Erwitt (a photographer I have admired for his personal, quirky photos) has published a book looking back on his lifetime of work. The book is on my birthday list. The publication of this collection perfectly illustrates the point you’re making.
      Tim, hang in there. Just hang in there.
      -Dan

      Reply
  2. Keith Laban

    Tim, there’s nothing quite like a serious illness to help reevaluate priorities, please take your time. In the meantime this blog is an admirable resource for us all.

    On the subject of the images, the second appears sharper, has more contrast and hence more texture. FWIW I would imagine this is the M9M.

    Reply
  3. Dogman

    I was surprised I like the first (M240) photo better when viewing in a separate window. Go figure.

    As for pictures of your wife. I’m all for it.

    I’ve been taking an awful lot of photos of my dog and my wife recently. Keeps me in practice, I guess.

    Take care and get well. We need you.

    Reply
  4. Brian Sweeney

    Writing about the situation you are now going through is thought provoking.

    Seeing pictures with the M Monochrom next to the M240- keeps it a Photo Blog.

    SO- what filters are you using with the M Monochrom? Green filters are supposed to be good for Skin tones. I end up using a Yellow-3 or Orange most of the time. I need to Go Green…

    A friend of mine just sold his M10M and went back the the M Monochrom.

    Reply
    1. Leicaphila Post author

      Hi Brian: Nice to see you here. You’ve very generously worked on a few of my Sonnar lenses along the way. Your knowledge and expertise is greatly admired. My knowledge of optics basically is limited to how to screw them onto my Leica bodies.

      I’ve got a Yellow-1.5 filter on the Mono. Don’t see that it makes much of a difference, frankly. I suspect you’ll start seeing a difference with an orange filter.

      Reply
      1. Brian Sweeney

        Yellow 1.5- is a light yellow, or Y1.
        I use a Y3 on a Nikkor 10.5cm F2.5, Orange on a classic uncoated Sonnar.
        When I want a lot of contrast- pop on an R60, red. I typically use +1 on the exposure with red, the exposure meter sees a bit differently than the CCD in deep red.

        Reply
  5. Dan Newell

    The older I get the more I resemble my dog. Slow to rise and need of a stretch.
    Sitting on the grass watching the younger dogs running around engaging in mindless gerbil activity.
    When we’re done being slow and steady it’s back to the house to prepare our food bowls.
    I haven’t become afraid of vacuum cleaners so I’m still in the game……

    Reply
  6. Rob Campbell

    As you know, Tim, only fools rush in, so take your time and pace your own race.

    As for content for this site, why not start a thread where folks can post suitable links to the sort of images that we think others may enjoy? It could fill in until such times as you feel inclined to create fresh threads yourself. Below is one I’ve just found:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=245v6Lpb4pc

    Hoping this is the right link, but using the little iPad, I’m never certain until it’s too late and the bird has flown.

    Reply
  7. Pierre

    I vastly prefer the snap of the highlights in the second shot. I imagine it is the M9M due to the greater detail in the framed photo, your wife’s shirt and the wicker bin. There’s more detail though it’s not overbearing as in most digital.

    Reply
  8. JamesP

    I like the 2nd one better, even before clicking to “embiggen” them. Not sure why, it just looks… nicer. Maybe the whites are whiter, and the darks are darker. Hmm… sounds a bit like a laundry detergent ad.

    Reply
  9. Finny

    For me, the second image seems much more pleasant, more natural. Maybe you can brighten the first image a bit, change the contrasts a bit. But “out of the box” I would prefer the M9M.

    And in relation to what was said before: yes, I can live quite well with pictures from your direct environment! Because: it’s not just the pictures as such, but especially what you said around it. Your thoughts and interpretations. Your thought-provoking impulses. Therefore: keep your blog absolutely. Where else should I read interesting about photography and profound thoughts?

    Sur cette note, prends bien soin de toi jusqu’à ce que tu est complètement rétabli. En attendant, je lis et relis tes articles d’avant en arrière et de droite à gauche. J’attendrai !

    K@y

    Reply
  10. Rob Campbell

    Actually, I think I liked the first pic better than the second, the second striking me as edited too contrasty for my taste. The first one would still allow for a reasonable tweaking of tones, which in the chair-covering material, it looks to have more of than the does the second.

    This contrast is more obvious at the cup, framed photo and wire-bound pad where the differentiation is better, too, in the first. Of course, accentuated contrast is what some photographers prefer, regardless. That said, the detail in the second image, the area directly above the dog, is better revealed, whether through a different intention during editing or otherwise.

    Sometimes, the longer I work at an image, the greater the temptation to scrub it away and start again later when my mind is more clear. First impressions are often the best.

    Reply
  11. Pritam Singh

    Hello Tim
    Just popping in here to wish you well. Thank you for your stories, write-ups and photographs. I wish I could have seen some of your photos in print. I’m sure the experience would be enhanced compared to seeing them here on a screen.
    Whatever became of Car Sick…?
    Regards,
    Pritam

    Reply
  12. stefano aldighieri

    Take care of your health! It is great to hear you are keeping busy, last thing one needs is to add depression to everything else that is going on.
    Your posts are always most welcome, no need to apologize if you feel they are not as good as they could be, it is still great to have a chance to receive them.

    Instinctively, i felt the second image was from the MM – and i still curse selling mine every day. I am back to an M9P now, at least i still have a CCD sensor to work with …

    Reply

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