VERSUS // Film Grain Simulation HP5+

Here is a straight forward comparison of the different aesthetics of film grain emulation using VSCO Film's Ilford HP5+ preset using Lightroom's grain simulation vs the grain in Google Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. We also provided an example of the full film and grain simulation created by DXO Film Pack 5. Below are a couple of examples to have a look at.

The image above was taken with a Leica M 240 sporting a Leica Summarit-M 35mm f/2.5 lens. The colour image at the end is the original raw file with standard Lightroom settings. As you can see, the overall effect of the grain simulation between Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro is subtle at full size above, but if you look deeper, you can see just how much more accurate it is as a film grain simulation.

Lightroom tends to just add grain everywhere without trying to simulate how film actually works whereas Silver Efex Pro does. Not only that, Lightroom's "grain size" actually blurs the image depending on the setting! I've never understood this and frankly, the grain simulation in Lightroom leaves a lot to be desired, short of shooting actual film anyway.

Silver Efex Pro simulates the different levels of grain seen at different densities. Above you can see that most of the effect of the grain is in the mid-tones and tapers off in intensity as the image gets brighter and darker. It's not as noticeable at full size, but it keeps the image sharp while actually simulating film grain accurately.

What do you think? Write a comment below. Is the difference important? Does anyone care?

One might say, just shoot film if you want real grain!

VERSUS // Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5 vs Leica Summarit-M 50mm f/2.5

Another quick comparison of the Voigtlander Nokton 50mm and the Leica Summarit-M f/2.5 both at f/2.8, 1/60th, ISO 400 on the Leica M Typ 240.

We were surprised to see just how incredibly close they are in contrast, colour and bokeh quality.

Portrait processed with VSCO Kodak Portra 400 and Tri-X. All settings neutral otherwise. There's almost no difference.

VERSUS // Leica Monochrom vs. M246

Leica's recent announcement of Monochrom Type 246 is taking the world of black and white photography by a storm. I see much debate over the merits of making the switch to the new CMOS sensored M246 and those who feel that the previous version of Monochrom is perhaps the better choice of the two. 

Just yesterday, I had numerous inquiries about the new Monochrom camera asking if it would be a wise decision to buy one. I said 'it depends on your goal in photography' which is the reason why I am writing this comparative review to shed light on the differences between the two cameras.

Firstly, let's talk about the previous version of Leica Monochrom. It features a CCD sensor that is 18 megapixels which simply means in that the sensor will use more 'energy' to capture images compared to a CMOS sensor. Getting back to the 'goal' in photography, if your aim is to do a lot of shooting the new version will serve to give at least twice the amount of images per charge of a battery. This is additional image capturing is also partly due to the larger battery size of the M246 as well as the differences in the sensor size.


VERSUS // Leica M 240 Classic vs. Advanced Metering

Like most digital cameras these days, the Leica M 240 was the first Leica to provide Live View as well as sensor-based advanced metering, unlike the classic metering found on all other Leica M cameras.

I found that the Classic metering was easily fooled by back lighting so I turned on Advanced metering which opens the shutter and allows the sensor to do full image-based metering.


It was able to handle complex lighting much better, being anywhere from 1-2 stops brighter than the classic metering, which was significantly underexposed.

Below are the resulting images, both with corrected exposures in Lightroom. The black and white preset used was VSCO Kodak TriX.

VERSUS // Ilford HP5+ Preset Showdown

Mastin Labs vs. Alien Exposure 7 vs. VSCO vs. DXO Film Pack 5

Another battle, this time between the different film simulation software that provide the Ilford HP5+ preset.

You can see DXO Film Pack 5 has quite a different look than the others, with a very flat look. The others, Alien Skin Exposure 7, Mastin Labs & VSCO Film 01 are nice and punchy.

Each to their own, but it's really a matter of preference with "simulating" film on digital files. Without having the same photo on a real film negative, it's hard to know who really is the most accurate.

VERSUS // 35mm Summarit vs Summicron

Simon and I own the 35mm Leica Summarit and Summicron lenses so we decided to do a quick test to compare the two.

You can see they're pretty close! Only the depth of field is slightly shallower on the 'Cron which is to be expected since it is 2/3rds of a stop wider. For half the price of the Summicron, the Summarit is definitely no slouch.

While you're here, check out the Australia Leica Collective.