Make sure you read and vote on Part 1 of the Great Debate: CCD vs. CMOS before venturing on to this test.

In the first installment, I published various sets of images, each containing one shot from the Leica M9 and one from the Leica M (Typ 240). The premise was to see if I could use basic post-processing techniques in Lightroom to make an image captured with a CMOS sensor (M240) match one taken with a CCD (M9). Many have stated that there is a defining “CCD Look” and that it was impossible to achieve this with a CMOS sensor, even with processing. So, I put it up for a vote.

So far, as of this writing, the results have been very interesting. Counting statistical margin of error, almost all of the images are running at a 50/50 ratio or very close to it. Of course, the images I first posted were taken in conditions favoring the M9: natural, directional light at lower ISOs. I didn’t want the comparisons to be about dynamic range or low noise or artificial light performance. This was just an exercise to see if there was indeed a “CCD Look” and if such a look was only inherent in CCD-based cameras. Some have requested that I publish images under more challenging lighting conditions and with skin tones.

In this second (and final) round of testing, I’m putting forth a selection of single images shot with the M9 and M240. The test this time is to see if, without a direct comparison, the “CCD Look” can be identified. Please note that I didn’t take comparison shots for any of these images. I shot normally, just with two bodies.  And, I didn’t attempt to match to a particular look. Instead, I merely processed each file to my taste.

Without further ado, please cast your votes below. Yes, I know that there are a lot of images. I wanted to give a wide variety of scenarios to gather the most accurate data possible. Answers for both Part 1 and Part 2 will be revealed, along with my analysis, in Part 3.

Cigar Store Cafe

Cigar Store Cafe

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Julie on Cable Car

Julie on Cable Car

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Yellow Tulips

Yellow Tulips

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Two Guys at the Pier

Two Guys at the Pier

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Red and White Fleet Sign

Red and White Fleet Sign

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Red Light Gauges

Red Light Gauges

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Old Dial on Sub

Old Dial on Sub

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Sub Engine Gauges

Sub Engine Gauges

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Battle Telephone

Battle Telephone

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

SS-383 Conning Tower

SS-383 Conning Tower

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Leaving Museum

Leaving Museum

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Pier at Sunset

Pier at Sunset

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Ghirardelli Square at Night

Ghirardelli Square at Night

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Sunset on the Beach

Sunset on the Beach

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Sophia with Hat 1

Sophia with Hat

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Angled Street

Angled Street

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

City View out of Round Window

City View out of Round Window

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Coit Tower Windows

Coit Tower Windows

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Coit Tower Looking Up

Coit Tower Looking Up

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Red Car

Red Car

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Modern House on Lombard

Modern House on Lombard

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Loading Bay

Loading Bay

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Parking

Parking

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Hallway

Hallway

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Fishmonger

Fishmonger

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Drydock

Drydock

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

The Embarcadero

The Embarcadero

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Roll Your Own

Roll Your Own

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Red Door

Red Door

Which camera was used for the above image?

 

Shadow Tree

Shadow Tree

Which camera was used for the above image?

Update (3/9/15): Part 3 is now online. Check out the answers and my analysis.

About The Author

Profile photo of David Farkas
Leica Specialist

David Farkas is a self-admitted Leica junkie and an avid photographer since he was seven years old. He also owns and operates leading Leica dealer Leica Store Miami in beautiful Coral Gables, Florida with his wife Juliana. David has years of experience shooting with just about every Leica camera and lens made within the last few decades.

7 Responses

  1. Tom Campbell

    No clue re above, but nice set of shots!

    I wonder how any of the GMBH engineers might fare? I doubt most owners can reliably pick out the characteristics from an image on a screen.

    So good show at debunking the “CCD look” myth.

    Reply
  2. Tom Johnston

    great shots! I’m coming from the M9 experience with no direct experience (yet?) with the M.
    favorite spots to visit.
    Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Shop is always a must for caffeine and sandwich…

    Reply
  3. Godfrey DiGiorgi

    Yes, there are differences. But the images are SO similar after appropriate adjustment that the sensor differences are at most a very insignificant part of the rendering.

    G

    Reply
  4. Paul Ferrante

    David,

    I like your test shots with the M9 and 240 very much. But the choice between the two “looks” to me seems trivial. While there may be some difference, there is not enough to decidedly choose between them. I suggest that what you have really demonstrated is that the ultimate choice in sensors is still film. The choice of “looks” is virtually endless. And each roll of film installs a brand new sensor in the camera. I say, bring back a film based M.

    Best,

    Paul Ferrante

    Reply
  5. JD Dawson

    hi David,

    Great job and very interesting. Will be fun to see how I did on my guessing! However, I think I would have done perhaps a little better if you had included shots from a MonoChrom…

    Thanks again and much appreciation for your work.

    David too

    Reply

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