Great picture Peter……if I may, one comment about your gear; film is great, your M9 was crisp and nice, the df has a great sensor but probably even with a camera obscura you could produce harmony and beauty!!!!! My best wishes from sunny Greece!
Ahhh, sunny Greece… beautiful.
Thank you for the kind words, but just out of curiosity, if you had to pick my M9 work vs. my film work, which would you choose as your favourite?
In fact, I’ll open the question up to everyone who cares to answer. I’m testing whether I am engaging in self-delusion.
I “met” you and your inspiring site while you had your Leica M9. I am nothing but an amateur photographer, and what I admire in your photography is that you capture a whole story behind a simple look, face or image. What I mean , is that in the very end, the outcome is of the essence and not the medium, at least for me.
If I have to answer specifically to your question, I think I really love your M9 images. Nice, crisp, but also dreamy photos, both colored and black and white. But then it is just me, with my inexperienced eye!….
With my warmest regards
I couldn’t pick a winner Peter. If I said film, then I’d be ignoring some stunning colour photos you have posted to this site from the M9. I love the end result of both on a technical level, so I’d say use whatever inspires you to keep taking photos right now, as that will almost certainly lead to your best images.
Very difficult question to ask. Both! Just depends what you’re going after. Sometimes a message is best conveyed with a smooth look, sometimes a situation calls for a gritty look.
However, for color work, it’s even more difficult. Still prefer what you’ve done with the M9. Since I don’t have a digital M, I have found that slide film produces a look closer to a digital M than print film, maybe due to the more limited dynamic range and microcontrast? The grain is fine even in 35mm (Provia) and I like how colors pop but not overly so. Try some!
In response… 🙂 I’d say it’s an unfair question Peter. Both works are truly beautiful there’s no right or wrong, best or worst in this matter. Just different — indeed not so different, both have same soul. At the end the only issue would favor in the technical aspects I guess — for instance how large you can (or need) print / display your images.
Film. Without a doubt. Nice as the digital pics are your film work has an extra something special.
film is film.
digital is digital.
peter is peter.
I am inclined to agree with both Koskour and Gavin. In truth film and digital is different. It is not just a case of one being better. They can happily coexist side by side. Film looks intrinsically more correct and in a lot cases digital pictures look both over-processed and over-sharpened.
A few of my friends are using 5D Mk3s and have graduated from 1Ds Mk2s. ( I moved from the 1Ds Mk 2 to leica M 6, M7 and the M9 and M Mono.) Perhaps surprisingly all of us (we agree) feel the 1Ds Mk2 produces nicer more natural looking images than the 5D Mk3, despite its newer sensor, better high ISO etc.
For some pictures, film is better and for others digital wins. I do think the M9 produced your best digital images, but I would not say they are better or worse than your film shots. I did not really like the D800/Otus shots. The Df has lovely laid back / organic looking output.
An aside: A while ago the Mag Amateur Photographer ran a comparison between the D800 (or e) and a Hasselblad HD 31.
Now The Blad is Mf CCD and the Nikon is of course CMOS. The Nikon absolutely wiped the floor with the ‘blad EXCEPT for one thing, Image quality where the ‘blad simply beat it flat. And that is how I feel about the M9. In most respects rubbish. But for image quality simply in a class of its own.
Oh, I forgot (sidetracked by life!) I do like this shot a lot. I also like the tonality a lot! Peter: NICE!
Film for black and white. M9 for colour. However id like to see some colour film a bit more re the M9 comment.
I read a rumour the other day Leica “might” be speaking to Truesense Imaging since CMOSIS was taken over.
Hey, maybe my “Open Letter to Leica” ( http://photographsbypeter.com/2013/11/16/an-open-letter-to-leica/ ) is making a small difference… I really hope that “rumour” turns out to be true…
Truesense itself was just purchased by ON Semiconductor who specialize in commercial applications. They also emphasize the energy efficiency of their devices, and that does not describe CCD chips. I’m not at all sure I’d see it as a positive development for a possible advanced CCD chip for consumer imaging applications.
Yes I suspect you are correct Greg rather than reading too much into that rumour. I just can’t see Leica moving back to a CCD sensor!
Film for B&W – M9 for colour although 120 film in colour if processed and scanned correctly is exceptional. By the way what rumour.
Portra film (35mm, 120, or otherwise) is IMHO difficult, for any digital sensor, to beat with respect to colour.
I’ve noticed the same as John and wonder if its not a time/generation thing. When the first digital cameras came out the engineers where trying to replicate the best of what they where familiar with, film. In Leica’s case Kodachrome. As time goes by and the engineers get younger I wonder if they simply are no longer familiar with film or no longer try and match it. Also the new market is Asia, and tastes may be different. Look at the default for a Sony TV it is always brighter. Light is different in different parts of the world and it would be no surprise if different interpretations of vision evolved.
Finally to reiterate whats been said already your composition is your real key. If pushed to answer your question however, what I would say is your Black and White film processing is superb but matched by other very good photographers. Your colour M9 work is however the best colour digital work I have seen. If Kodachrome film and processing were still in existence then it might be a different story, but as it stands your M9 work is the closest yet to making digital look pleasing (pretty even). Leica could do worse then ask you to assist in setting up their colour processor at least that way we’d get a definitive answer as to whether its the sensor, CCD vs CMOS, (theory of many who visit your site) or the processor (Leica’s recent view) that determines the look.
As for my M9 work, I’m flattered by your comments.
I’m currently working on a Portra shot taken with my M3 yesterday, and the final result reminds me of many of my M9 photographs… which speaks highly of the M9.
Just popped back up to the image posted here and may have short changed your B&W your tones are excellent.
After following your recent test/evaluation phase with digital cameras, the real moment of resonance and excitement for me was the idea that you might commit solely to film. I think your M3 and Mamiya coupled with the iPhone as your digital fail-safe could work perfectly.
At this point, that’s the plan.
The trouble is, I have an elaborate photo shoot coming up for an important client. It could either be a complete success or a complete disaster (I don’t foresee a middle ground). Guess which I fear will happen…
Ahhh…..the beauty of film. It makes us a little vulnerable as photographers in certain situations in this day and age!
If it’s good light load the Portra or Tri-X……you know the rest will take care of itself!
The trick is to carry more than one Leica – one with B&W, another with Colour and another raged for high contrast B&W
At the moment my M5 is stocked with Tmax400@1600. My M6TTL with Portra 400. Should cover all bases.
I’d love to be able to say that I love your film photos more, but on average, your M9 images are my favourite. I’m not taking into account image quality, just photographic quality (i.e. how much do I love the photos).
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