Monday, March 25, 2013

Whole Lotta Leica - March's Summilux 35mm with Acoustic Burgoo at the Opera House

Rudy, Erik, and Melissa of Acoustic Burgoo, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Leica Summilux 35mm f1.4 Lens
iso 1250, f 1.7, 1/60 sec
I don't usually get out for live music on weeknights, but The Acoustic Burgoo, one of my very favorite local bands, is the Artist in Residence at the Shepherdstown, West Virginia Opera House this month. They're playing a show every Thursday in March.
(Click Here) to go to the Burgoo's website. If you live near DC and like live music, you've gotta see them. They have a wide musical base (most of the first set was Hank Williams tunes last night), and are incredibly talented.
(Click Here) to see the Opera House's website. A great little venue.
Before the Show, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Leica Summilux 35mm f1.4 Lens
iso 1250, f 2, 1/60 sec
Dedicated Fan, Rachael, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Leica Summilux 35mm f1.4 Lens
iso 1250, f 1.4, 1/180 sec
This was a show where I really needed the fast aperture of the Summilux f1.4. You can see that the Summilux is a little soft (also known as the "Leica glow") at f1.4 and f1.7. I actually really like that look for some images, not for others. By f2, it's quite sharp.
Shooting the M9 at iso 1250, which I consider to be about the maximum truly useful iso for the M9, always presents a little challenge. I found an interesting set of forum discussions about the M9 being essentially an "iso-less" camera. The idea is that the amount of light hitting the sensor (number of photons) is not affected by iso settings. It is only determined by f-stop and shutter speed. Raising the iso setting only increases the gain of the sensor, which also increases noise. So, some people believe in keeping iso low, underexposing, and increasing exposure in post-processing (in Lightroom in my case). Here's a quote and source:
"This is not actually the case with the M9. The M9 is essentially an ISO-less camera. Pushing ISO 160 three stops in Lightroom 4 yields as good, if not better, results than using ISO 1250. Of course, the more light you get to the sensor, the better, but raising ISO in camera is not actually necessary, in terms of IQ. Granted, if you don't raise ISO in camera, you won't have a usable review image on the camera's LCD, so it may not always be practical."
(Click Here) to read the thread on this subject on getdpi forums.
I shot all of my images last night at iso 1250, but even at f1.4, I had to underexpose some to get the shutter speed I wanted. So, I had to increase exposure in Lightroom on most of them. The third image was the most extreme example. Shooting where I was literally in the dark, I didn't notice that my shutter speed was set at 1/180. So, I really underexposed that shot. I boosted it 2 full stops in Lightroom, and don't think it suffered too much.
One of the things I find is that adjusting the blacks in Lightroom so that you have some true blacks in your image, significantly reduces the appearance of noise.
In any case, it was a blast seeing the Burgoo and shooting the M9 and Whole Lotta Leica lens for this month. More to come with the Summilux!
By the way, on the way home I was pulled over for doing 68 mph in a 50 zone. The officer told me he was going to his car to write the citation, then came back and told me since I had a good driving record he would reduce it to a warning. Thank you very much, officer! I got home feeling like it must be my lucky day.