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Reader Comment: Black-Dots-White-Spots “pimples” with Leica M11 vs M10m

re: Leica M10 Monochrom
re: monochrome and diglloyd Monochrome

Leica M11 Monochrom

re: Will the Leica M11 Monochrom Avoid the Nasty Black-Dots-White-Spots Issue of the M10m?

UPDATE: see my detailed analysis in Leica M11: Black Dots on White Spots aka Pimples.

...

In reponse to my post, reader and Swiss photographer Jost von Allmen writes:

I have just sent you some files from the Leica M10M and Leica M11M.

My conclusion is clear: The “pimple” problem from the M10M is solved. I had also found out about the problem, but it really only mattered to me when I printed very large.

In fact paired with the best lenses, the technical qualities of the M10M and the shooting experience were so convincing, that I ended up selling my whole Fujifilm GFX100S system.

But the main reason for selling it was the advantage of the Sony system. I preferred the handling of the Sony A7R IV and Sony A1 to the Fujifilm GFX100S. The Sony AF is in another league and really all the new Sony fixed focal lenses are stellar.

I have worked with the M10M since it’s introduction and really liked it. But now I just traded it in for the new M11 Monochrom.

DIGLLOYD: I have carefully examined both the Leica M10m images and the Leica M11m images that Jost provided in DNG format (f/4, 5.6, 8, 11 and unfiltered and with orange filter, ISO 125).

I agree that the level of capture detail is technically impressive indeed unprecedented, at least with the Voigtlander M 35mm f/2 APO-Lanthar (is the Leica 35mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH as good or better?). Few to none of the other M lenses can perform anywhere nearly as well.

Scaling up 2X using Gigapixel AI delivers an impressive 240 megapixel image good for billboard-sized prints. And so my statement that the Leica M11m is a “compact digital back for ultra-high resolution monochrome image capture” seems to be borne out.

Pimples not gone

UPDATE, April 28 2023: I have confirmed that the M11M I am using also has “pimples”, and at a similar level to Jost’s camera.

As far as the black-dots-in-white-spots “pimples” issues, I am sorry to say that the M11m is not free of pimples. They are there and look just like those with the M10m, though there appear to be fewer of them and far fewer relative to the sensor pixel count.

I can see some spots randomly, but to a much lesser degree than with the M10M. Like this now with the M11M it really doesn’t bother me anymore….

During last years Leica Summit in Berne, Switzerland, the Leica reps publicly confirmed that this is indeed the Sony 60MP BSI-sensor, which is also used in the A7RIV and now (with upgraded electronics) in the A7RV.

You know the same sensor technology is also used in the 100MP sensor of the GFX100 / GFX100S and the Hasselblad X2D. And also in the Phase One IQ4 150. All these sensors are made by Sony and are the same generation.

Only field usage across many scenes and lighting conditions will tell us whether the pimples are a significant issue. Note that the Nikon D850 monochrome has no such issues.

What is causing the effect and why has Leica never acknowledged it, let alone fixed it? it does not appear related to dead pixels because the pimples do not stay in a fixed location. Is it a firmware bug?

If you’re buying a Leica M11 Monochrom, please buy through the links on this site when it becomes available at B&H—thanks!

CLICK TO VIEW: Leica M system

CLICK TO VIEW: Leica M11 Monochrom top lens picks

Below, I can count at least 10 “pimples”.

black-dots-white-spots aka pimples
crop, 2X enlargement for ease of viewing. Image courtesy Jost von Allmen
f5.6 @ 1/320 sec, ISO 125; 2023-04-18 11:11:06
LEICA M11 Monochrom + Voigtlander M APO-Lanthar 35mm f/2 Aspherical

[low-res image for bot]
black-dots-white-spots aka pimples
crop, 2X enlargement for ease of viewing. Image courtesy Jost von Allmen
f5.6 @ 1/320 sec, ISO 125; 2023-04-18 11:11:06
LEICA M11 Monochrom + Voigtlander M APO-Lanthar 35mm f/2 Aspherical

[low-res image for bot]

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