Conventional internet wisdom states that the Leica M8 is a better camera than the M9 for B&W file conversion — True or False?
The answer: True… but barely.
My old B&W conversions with the M8 were more pleasing than the ones I subsequently obtained with my M9/M-E, but now I realize that the less pleasing M9/M-E conversions were mostly secondary to my use of Silver Efex Pro. Lately I’ve been doing straight de-saturation of my M9/M-E files, and they look more natural and almost as good as my M8 files. The M8 still wins because of its greater IR sensitivity — this allows for slightly better B&W output.
For all practical purposes, however, the M8 and M9 sensors behave almost identically (for both B&W and colour). This shouldn’t be too surprising, given how the sensor in the latter evolved from the former.
Which makes me want to re-state something I’ve been saying for years: the M8 was the most under-appreciated and underestimated digital camera ever.
If there’s anyone from the original Kodak KAF-10500 (APS-H 10.3-megapixel) CCD sensor development team reading this, I sincerely thank you for your fine work.
[Upcoming Insight: Film vs. Digital].