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Lesson 4 from: Leica M10 Fast Start

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

4. ISO

Lesson Info


First major area on this camera I want to talk about is the exposure system. We're going to talk about getting shutter speeds, apertures, ISOs, and so forth in this section here. One of the big notable changes on this camera versus previous cameras is the ISO dial right on the top. This is great because now you can set your ISO even if there's no batteries in the camera, if your camera's are turned off, you can really start to get your camera set up the way that you want it to before you even turn it on. On here, we're going to have some pretty obvious settings, where you can change it between 100 and 6400. 100 is the native, or base, ISO of this camera, but there's going to be some interesting information about this I'm going to talk about here very quickly. We also have an M setting. This is a manual setting that you can go in and select and choose. It's kind of a custom manual, if you will. It's to a particular manual setting that you like to have. It can be any one of those lower n...

umbers, or it can be a higher number. For most people its going to probably be 12, because that's the next one beyond 6400, but if you wanted something in between, you can also do that in many cases as well. Just dive into the menu system, page one, under ISO Setup, go into M-ISO and you can select which number you would like to have in there. We do have an A setting on here as well, so you can have the ISO automatically selected for you. There will be some additional parameters that you can go in and control as well on that, that we'll talk more about in the menu system. Now I like to go in and test the cameras to see how good they are at different ISOs. I ran it through my standard little test. We'll blow this up to take a close look to see how much noise we are getting. This is the Leica camera that has probably had the greatest level of improvement over the previous generation of camera. They've made some great strides in this camera. I think using ISOs up around are still very, very usable. It does, of course, start getting a little bit grainy in there and it starts going a little bit off the cliff, if you will, as we get up to 12,500, 25,000, and 50,000 is very, very rough on this camera, I would say. But I think using this under relatively low light at 8, 16, and 32, you're going to be getting some pretty good results. As I was doing my research on this camera, I was finding some information and discovering some things about the camera at shooting 100 versus 200 ISO. I wanted to do a test to really check the dynamic range of this camera, so I shot a standard test subject that had some color on it. I shot it everywhere from -5 stops to +5 stops. Obviously it didn't handle the overexposure very well. Then what I tried to do is tried to go in to post-production and correct for those mistakes that I had intentionally made to see how much recovery the camera could automatically do on itself. The corrected images you can see up here, and you can see that if I captured an image that was too dark, I could correct for it by lightening it up pretty well, but if I overexposed, there was kind of no recovering it. I found at ISO 100, you have to be exceedingly careful about overexposing your image. Be very, very careful about not recording any information that is too bright on the sensor. As we look into the shadowed regions here, it does get a little bit grainy there when you go down to the -5 EV, but -3 and -4 is surprisingly good. For anyone who's trying to lift the shadows in post-production, the camera does a very good job. I did the same test again at ISO 200, going from minus to +5 stops EV with the expected results of under exposure and over exposure. I then corrected for them in post-production in these images here. What I found is that ISO 200 appears to have a bit more dynamic range, especially when it comes to overexposing by a stop. In this case, overexposing by a stop didn't really affect the overall image quality, so it was a bit more tolerant in that case. The detail was virtually identical to ISO 100. When we look at the shadowed areas, it was about the same as well as ISO 100. Where the big difference came is if you overexposed an image. In ISO 100, by one stop, you were really starting to blow some of your highlights out. When you were in ISO and you were overexposed by one stop, it didn't seem to affect things too much. Having learned this lesson, I'm going to say that, most of the time, I'm going to stay in ISO 200 or higher, and I will only use ISO if I'm really desperate for a longer shutter speed and there's no chance of overexposing. I think you're probably better off at ISO 100 for most things, and then bumping up from there on out. As you change the ISO, you'll be able to look through the viewfinder and see that information, so if you are holding the camera up to your eye and you can lift that dial up, or if it's already up, you can just rotate that and not take the camera away from your face. You can make these controls very quickly and easily. On the dial, of course, if you want to change it, you need to kind of pop it up, which comes up relatively easy, but not too easy. If you want, you can leave it up all the time and just simply adjust it. It's got some very nice click stops in there. It does have a little red indicator to indicate that you are in the changing mode, and then wherever you like it, you can push it down and lock it into place, or you can leave it in the upward position so that you can quickly change it. It's a very handy dial, very easy to work with in my mind.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Leica M10 Recommended Settings

Ratings and Reviews

Guy Neal

I am migrating from the Leica Q to the Leica M10. Though I know my way around a Leica digital camera, the Leica M10 is my first rangefinder. I wanted someone to quickly walk me through the front/back/top/bottom of the M10. John Greengo was the perfect guide. This class is "as advertised - a "fast start" for those who prefer not to page through a fairly dense owner's manual. I especially appreciated that the lessons were broken into small chunks - so I could skip the lesson on the wifi setup, for example. And kudos to the person who prepares the amazing slide decks. While there are two dozen free Youtube videos that review the M10, they do not convey the helpful information you get in this excellent class.

Simon Johnson

John does a great job of going through every aspect of using the M10. There's not a dial, stitch button or menu item that isn't comprehensively covered. He uses simple, but effective graphics to explain what's happening. He also touches on the fundamentals of photography and throws in some tips and secrets. I can't imagine anyone doing a better job than John. I'm a Leica Q owner, that's just about to upgrade to an M10 so this course has been very useful indeed.

Sylvia Hoke

John is an excellent teacher. I am so amazed how thoroghly he goes through everything in the menu, about the various lenses, how best to use them and so much more. I am keeping my fingers crossed John gives a class on the Leica SL2-S as there is not much out there at all about the camera and is very much needed. I would be the first to buy the class.

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