Leica M10 Field Report 2: Under The Sun

All previous reports on Leica M10 were limited to either studio, or available artificial lighting. Realizing that this is somewhat outside of what most Leica M shooters are used to, now we are conducting a series of tests with natural light.

Shooting under the clear skies in the middle of the day (2:30 p.m.) is an ultimate test for such things as the dynamic range and color fidelity. To push M10 to its limits, I did not use any fill light, not even a reflector. In addition, colors were all over the place: both cold and warm, with high color contrast.

Technical data: Leica M10, Summicron-M 2/90 Pre-ASPH, f/2, 1/2000, ISO400

The results are outstanding:

  • Colors: color rendition is spot on, skin tones are 100% accurate. Reflexes from color surfaces also look natural.
  • Tonal contrast: obviously, with the scene of such high contrast it would not be possible to render shadows with so much detail while preserving the sky color with no post-production. All it took, however, was a slight decrease in highlight and about 20% boost in shadows.
  • Dynamic range: it was safe to assume that at ISO400 M10 delivers its full dynamic range. As established earlier, to preserve detail in the upper part of the tonal spectrum, M10 should be exposed for highlights, just like the slide film. So, exposure compensation for the shot below was -2/3EV against a value obtained by center-weighted metering. It was enough to make sure that shadow details were still retrievable (look at the shoes of the sitting woman). A highlight on her forehead is still a little hot, but it could easily be fixed with a brush. Our goal here was to see what was possible to salvage using only general Lightroom CC controls (exposure, contrast, highlights and shadows)

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