Raw Mode on the Leica M8- Uncompressed DNG uncovered and Tools available at m8raw2dng.de

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Brian, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    http://m8raw2dng.de/?page_id=31

    Too Cool For Words...

    A website set up to support Raw mode on the Leica M8. Firmware for the M8 supports compressed DNG only, meaning the 14-bit data (0:16383) is compressed to 8-bits (0:255) using a square root function. A lot of quantization goes on. The M9 has compressed and uncompressed DNG, the M Monochrom has uncompressed only.

    Check the above site on how to unlock uncompressed raw mode on the M8, and download utilities to convert the Raw format to DNG.

    I have not done an extensive side-by-side test of the uncompressed vs compressed DNG files, but a quick look at the Histograms show a smooth intensity distribution.
     
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  2. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    Minolta 50/1.4 MC Mount on the Leica M8.

    RAW Mode, converted to 16-bit DNG files, and exported using Lightroom 3.6. No post-processing corrections applied.
     

    Attached Files:

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  3. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    I've been playing with High ISO settings- takes more work, the RAW image is really raw. BUT there is a lot of information there. The histogram is about 1/2 populated, but still has a lot more intensity values than the compressed DNG.

    ISO 2500, F1.4. Processed in Photoshop CS2. I believe a baseline blue-cast can be subtracted out, then the histogram can be normalized. No noise reduction done on this image.

    I need to get some of these RAW files onto my DOS computer... with my image processing codes.
     

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  4. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    In camera JPEG, reduces in size.
     

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  5. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    Arvid has made a new version of the Raw to DNG convertor available, is addressing issues with Lightroom.

    I'm still experimenting, the question is which is better- leave at Base ISO and underexpose, boost in post-processing OR set the ISO up in the camera. Most A/D convertors have an analog pre-amp in them, basically boost the analog signal before converting. I'm not sure of the M8 uses that, or simply bit-shifts the values.

    One thing for sure, the RAW files have more shadow detail than the 8-bit DNG.

    Leica should have included a 16-Bit DNG with the M8.

    This is with the camera ISO2500 and the 1.05 version of software. Post in LR3.6 to stretch the histogram.
     

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  6. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    One more- again, a quick test shot at ISO 2500.

    Some noise reduction, LR preset for orange filter. I did not clip the blacks, and used a minimum of noise reduction. for anyone shooting B&W with the M8, you really need to get this RAW convertor!
     

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  7. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    Last Winnie the Pooh and Tigger too! I promise.

    Edited the B&W converted image above, using Curves in 16-bit mode, then converted to 8-bit JPEG. Again started with the ISO2500 RAW image.
     

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  8. Paxnobiscum

    Paxnobiscum Leica Place Regular

    30
    Oct 10, 2013
    Kopasker, Iceland
    Petur Thorsteinsson
    This is incredible - shooting B&W @ISO 2500 on M8 sounds too good to be true!
     
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  9. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    One more test, then I am opening a new thread for Leica M8 images made from RAW files.

    ISO 160, Minolta 50/1.4 at F5.6.

    Original image, +3ev exposure, then stretch black on histogram 4 stops.

    From the RAW image, converted using the raw to dng tool.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    The same processing using the 8-bit DNG file generated by the standard M8 firmware, latest release.

    To me, the shadow detail is far better in the RAW image. Pulling out shadow detail impresses me with the M Monochrom and M8 uncompressed DNG. NOW, M8 users can have this benefit.
     

    Attached Files:

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  11. TraamisVos

    TraamisVos Leica Place Regular

    50
    Mar 30, 2013
    I'm stunned that we have this option on the M8. I've always known that the DNG file was 8bit but I thought it was a technological limitation seeing as the M8 is now seven years old.

    Why would they limit the DNG this way in the first place?
     
  12. TraamisVos

    TraamisVos Leica Place Regular

    50
    Mar 30, 2013
    I was having a look at Arvid's website, I'm afraid I don't quite understand what the convertor is for. Do we not import the new files into LR in the normal way? What sort of file sizes have you been getting with the new 14bit DNG?
     
  13. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    Lightroom is not capable of reading the ".raw" files. Arvid's software uses the ">raw" file and ".Jpeg" file to create a new uncompressed DNG file that Lightroom can then read.

    So- put the camera into the "diagnostics mode" using the key sequence as listed. 4-right arrow, 3-left arrow, 1-right arrow, and "Info". press the shutter release, and then use the set command to select "JPEG+RAW" on the Compression Option. JPEG+RAW does not appear without putting the camera into Diagnostics" mode. I love stuff lie this. Note that RAW is not DNG files. It is full resolution. Download and unzip Arvid's software. It is command line driven, or just copy ot to the directory with the Raw and Jpeg files, and click on it.

    Let me know how it goes.

    As to why Leica did not put uncompressed DNG into the M8 originally, maybe worried about write times and image size. remember that when the M8 came out, SD cards were much more limited in size and speed. It does make a difference- maybe of Leica had put it in from the beginning, the improved high-ISO performance in the uncompressed mode would have belayed some criticisms.
     
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  14. TraamisVos

    TraamisVos Leica Place Regular

    50
    Mar 30, 2013
    I'm on my laptop at the moment and not near my LR workstation, I will have another look at this later today* although I must admit that anything to do with DOS-like command line instructions intimidate me.

    Do you find that the 14bit files can handle the higher ISOs better? That photo you posted of Winnie the Pooh at ISO2500 is stunningly clean of noise (especially compared with ISO2500 on my 8bit M8.2)

    Do you think there is any chance Leica would ever possibly include this in a firmware update? Probably not I guess.

    *It is also almost 8am here, I haven't slept all night. I'm sitting here half asleep and still stunned that the M8 can produce 14bit raw files.
     
  15. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    The High ISO is improved, the compression scheme tends to favor highlights over shadows. Pulling detail out of the shadows is what High-ISO needs.

    Give it a try, I'm amazed.

    The only way this will get into an M8 firmware update is if a third party such as Arvid creates a new load. Until then, using this uncompressed mode is quite easy. Copy the m8raw2dng.exe file to the directory with the files, and just click it.

    Arvid is really doing the M8 community a big favor with this- I'm sending him one of my J-8's modified for close-up use as thanks. Then he can use a Hacked lens with the "hacked" firmware.

    I grew up on DOS...
     
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  16. TraamisVos

    TraamisVos Leica Place Regular

    50
    Mar 30, 2013
    I will try it later today, I need to get some sleep first at some point. I'm sitting up in bed on my laptop feeling tired but not able to sleep. :)

    I grew up on DOS too but it's been such a long time that I can't remember much anymore. I remember the old green monochrome screens and the DOS prompt with very basic command lines.
     
  17. TraamisVos

    TraamisVos Leica Place Regular

    50
    Mar 30, 2013
    It would be amazing if the ISO is improved close to the M9's performance.
     
  18. TraamisVos

    TraamisVos Leica Place Regular

    50
    Mar 30, 2013
    That is really awesome of you to do that.
     
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  19. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    I took the M8 out to Thanksgiving Dinner at the Bavarian chef, these are with the 35/1.7 Ultron wide-open.

    ISO 1250 and ISO2500, No Noise Reduction. Colors adjusted using Levels in Photoshop CS2.
     

    Attached Files:

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  20. TraamisVos

    TraamisVos Leica Place Regular

    50
    Mar 30, 2013
    The noise levels are really amazing. I've had my M8.2 for a number of years now and ISO 1250 and 2500 are completely off limits because of the extreme noise. But your photos are amazingly good.

    I've downloaded the zip file but haven't extracted it because I don't really understand the information in Arvid's website, particularly the command prompt codes.