A few colourful observations.

2021, Inspiration, Q&A, Teaching point

As is well known by now, I loved the colours coming out of the M9/M9P/M-E (and M8) series of Leica cameras.

I disliked the colours from the M240 (note: I am being polite with my language).

I found the colours of the M10/M10P to be a significant improvement over the M240, but still short of the M9 and M8.

The colours coming out the new M10-R are a step down from the M10/M10-P.  Something weird is going on there.

Interestingly, I find the colours from the Leica SL line of cameras to be superior to their M counterparts, and also to the Nikon Z line of cameras I’ve previously owned.

I’m telling you this because I have nothing else to share, photographically speaking.  We’re in another Covid-19 lock-down and in my M2-R sits a roll of Portra 400 that I started a month ago.


25 thoughts on “A few colourful observations.

  1. Any thoughts regarding the SL2-S. I’m seriously looking at pulling the trigger on that one. Hope everyone, including Honey, is doing well.

  2. WestCoast here—just wanna say I got no fight with the 240-series colours…especially in the later iteration cameras (262, M-E 240).


    (That’s the closest I could come to a “W” emoji…)

      1. I don’t think anything has been officially confirmed by Leica (but I and many others online) saw subtle changes and evolution in the colour science of the various models.

  3. Hi Peter
    I am interested in your thoughts about the colours from Nikon Z. I currently own a Leica M9 which I am not reliable with on focus and a Hasselblad X1D, which can be frustratingly slow. I believe both to have good colour rendition. I was thinking of trading them in for a Nikon 7 or Canon R5 mirrorless and feel from the few photographs examples I have seen on the web that Canon and Leica seem to have more pleasing colours than Nikon? As a past Nikon user I thought you would be well placed to comment.
    cheers Richard

    1. Hi Richard!

      The Nikon Z7 has generally great colour, but I find it leans a little too warm for skin tones. I know people will chide me and say: “but you can post-process the colour to whatever your want”. Well, yes, I’m well aware of that. It’s just that it’s a hassle to wrestle with the files… and sometimes the tones still don’t look quite right.

      I haven’t used the R5 but from what I see the skin tones look good.

      Now, if I were a landscape shooter, I’d have no quarrel with the Nikon. Colour aside, their S lenses (for the Z system) are fantastic.

      1. Thanks Peter
        I will look into Leica M10 with a Visoflex or the SL first.
        Do you have any experience with an M and the Visoflex?
        cheers Richard

  4. Thanks Peter
    Leica Australia are willing to give me a $3000 AU trade in on my M9 for a Leica SL2 which makes it very attractive. From what I have seen from Jono Slack’s review the SL2 looks to have excellent colour. I partly mention this as I imagine you have a lot of M9 owners who read your blog.

    1. That’s a great deal. Different camera experience though, so you’d have to be certain you want to make that switch. If I were going to make that move — and knowing myself, I’d probably not (because of my love of rangefinders) — I’d probably opt for the SL2-S.

      1. Dear Peter, I actually own M-E220 and SL and indeed both exhibit nice colors. Still M-E is better. I use C1 but somehow can not reproduce such good colors with my M-E comparing to your results which are really marvelous. Superb.
        Thank you for all your comments and pointing out M240 and M10 color problems vs M9. I saved much money due to your helpful info you post on your blog.

  5. Interesting how we see some differently, I agree M9 and first SL are nice I also agree M10 not so good, I disagree on M240 it is great to me and disagree about Nikon I think your images were nice but looked a little flat and lacked something. Fuji is the one looking best your images from the GFX50r were great. Just another thought how expensive are new cameras now.

    1. Interesting indeed re: seeing differently. I would have never thought the Nikon images flat, especially with that 50/1.8S lens which was probably one of the most micro-contrast-packed lenses I’ve ever used; and the Z7 sensor is fantastic. Perhaps I just didn’t produce anything noteworthy with them (i.e. the fault was with the photographer, not gear).

      Regarding the Fuji GFX50R, I agree. It’s the one modern camera I’ve used where I didn’t have to fight with the output to produce suitable skin tones. Looking forward to learning more about the new GFX100s; the image quality will be great, so it will come down to usability.

  6. Nothing wrong with your images (there never is) just something about cameras Canon vs Nikon – Fuji vs Sony and Leica vs Everyone it’s just the fun of cameras and photography.

  7. If I may, I would say the best looking images you’ve ever put on here were from the Mamiya RZ67. I went to look again, and yup, still think so. It’s not even a contest really.

    1. Ike, don’t hold back man! Tell me how you really feel, LOL!!!

      I agree 100% with you by the way. The Mamiya RZ67 was amazing. But I don’t intend to go back.

      I’m determined to find a suitable replacement in the digital realm… it won’t be the same of course, but it will be a worthwhile alternative. I’m set on making this happen.

      1. I might have missed it, but did you ever talk about how you scanned those?

        What’s the issue with going back? The size of the camera? I see you are still shooting 35mm film. I find the inconvenience factor to be about the same, but the payoff to be much different with medium format.

        By the way, I have the Z6, and in a case of YMMV, find the skin tones easier to work with for the subjects I want to shoot the most; my family. We are darker skinned and I’ve wondered if the warming tilt to the Nikons plays to that. My biggest issue with the Z6 is that I really don’t find it inspiring to use, but the files always remind me why it’s worth it.

        Don’t have a Leica, but have thought hard about it. Your rankings of the M cameras gives me pause. An SL, I’m afraid won’t be any different enjoyment-wise than the Nikons.

        1. I was first using an Epson V700 and then switched to the Plustek 120 (see discussion here: https://prosophos.com/2014/02/07/epson-v700-vs-plustek-120/ )

          The issue with going back is more an issue with investing in a discontinued camera with electronics that may fail and would likely be impossible to repair (and purchasing an RZ67 these days is a more costly affair, by a factor of 2 or 3, as compared to a few years ago). I wouldn’t be out just the camera cost, but also that of the scanner (which I’d have to get to scan the larger film strips; currently, I’m using the little Plustek 8200i for my 35mm film).

          I certainly agree with you re: Nikon Z6 vs. SL… I would choose the Z6 as well. And I also feel as you do about dark skin tones benefiting from the warmer bias of the Nikon files.

          The Z line doesn’t inspire me in use either, but — as you note — one cannot argue with the quality of the output. Incidentally, the only cameras that I ever enjoyed using are rangefinders and, not surprisingly, the RZ67. It’s such an individual thing though, so different people will have different opinions.

  8. Peter, I have the same opinion re colors on new M10-R – that’s why I did ot get it.

    Last week I received SL2-S and while colors seem more natural, I still prefer tne rendering of M10. Maybe because I don’t have any SL lenses (using M lenses with adapter).

    I do like the ergonomics nad big EVF on the SL2-S which makes focusing a lot easier.

    Best regards from Poland,

    1. Thank you for your observations Marcin!

      Interesting that you prefer the colours from your M10. As you say, maybe this is because you are not using native SL lenses. Are you using Leica M lenses, or Zeiss/Voigtlander/other?

      Either way, please update us on your experiences with the SL2-S after you’ve had some more time with it. Stay safe!

      1. Peter, I use Leica M lenses: 50 lux, 50 apo and 24 lux, but 90% of the time 50 APO.

        It’s not the colors I prefer on M10, but the rendering is different, it’s more 3D on the M10 while ‘flat’ on the SL2-S. This is very obvious with portraits.

        For landscapes I seem to prefer the SL2-S.

        Like I said, my preference could be because I have only M lenses here.

        BTW – working in post with SL2-S files is so much easier compared to M10. For instance: I can push ‘texture’ in lightroom all the way to 100 and the file still looks natural. This is impossible with M10 files.

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