Leica Leica T monitor "blackout" / file write time questions.


New York, USA
I have a couple questions for those who have owned or had experience with both the T and TL bodies. Even when auto review is turned off on my T body, the captured image lingers on the screen for a second (the equivalent of "blackout" on other cameras), prohibiting me from immediately composing my next shot. I admit that's not a lot of time, but it can have an impact on my shooting workflow. So my questions are 1) do the TL and TL2 also have this issue, and 2) does using a faster memory card decrease the time it takes for the monitor to become live again? For reference, I'm using a Panasonic SDHC Class 10 UHS-3 card with a 45 MB/s write time, and I'm shooting RAW (DNG) with 1.8 MB jpeg files.
Hi Jon,

I haven't tried faster SD cards in my T to see what they might do for the lock-out time. (I'm a static scenic shooter for the most part, so I don't care much about responsiveness. Every once in a while a live performance.) There will be a "diminishing returns" for faster SD cards, but I don't know where that is.

The TL2 has a faster processor now, it's going to have a shorter lock-out. I'm digging through reviews to see if anything comes up toward that. Mostly the autofocus improvement gets the focus though. One mention of "shot-to-shot time is greatly improved" (Leica TL2).

My prediction: If you like the T, and have TL glass, you'll be really happy with the TL2. Pretty sure about that too, heh.
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Thanks for the link. His findings are encouraging. My work is mostly photojournalistic, which is where that extra second can matter. I think I'll try a faster memory card first since they aren't much of an expense. Likely, the camera processor is more the limiting factor than memory card write speed. I can't really utilize the larger file size of the TL2, in which case it's really just a burden on processing and hard drive resources so I'm going to hold off for the moment. If I notice any significant differences in lock-out time with the new memory card, I'll report back. In the meantime, maybe some other folks will post their experiences.
Jpegs size can be tailored from the menu - can raw file size be tailored as well? If so, perhaps have the TL2 save in the lower resolution format, which should further speed-up its performance.

By the way, which T lenses do you have? I always have to tell myself that I have great M lenses that I can mount to the T or the SL, and so I don't need to buy further T or SL lenses. Awfully tempting, though.

The T lens that I have is the 11-23mm (unsurprising given that I shoot a lot of scenic) , which is superb. Bought used, along with the T and the Visoflex. Buying used Leica seems to be a theme for me ...
RAW images are full resolution only, at least on the cameras that I've used (Nikon, Panasonic, etc.). Good thought though.

I don't have any T lenses yet, only M lenses. They adapt so well that I don't have much use for anything else, especially considering my preference for manual focus. It's nice being able to move glass back and forth between my M8 and the T. I've read nothing but rave reviews of the T lenses though. Glad to hear you like the 11-23mm. I often buy used as well, although usually from the Leica stores or established dealers (Tamarkin, Red Dot, etc.). There are only a handful of Ebay sellers that I really trust.
Have you tried DNG only, turn off the JPEG? JPEG processing is computationally intense, would require holding the image in the buffer while the calculations are made. I know on certain cameras that it really slows things down. Would be interesting to experiment with the different modes.
There are so many compromises to discover and optimize for in photography. Along with a faster card possibly allowing faster operation, a faster card might possibly increase noise in dark sections of images. Might be worth investigating, depending on what conditions you need to shoot.

The TL2 now allows for lossless compressed raw images. This would likely allow for faster response: my guess is SD card write times are more limiting than the compression speed within the processor.
That's interesting - I hadn't heard that faster cards could potentially increase noise. I'd be interested in reading more about that, if you happen to have a link to some info.

I was thinking the opposite with regard to write times, but perhaps you're right. Of course, older and slower cards would be a limiting factor but I'm wondering if the camera can really take advantage of the increase in speed of memory cards that are newer than the one I'm using, especially considering that the camera is a couple years old now. Difficult to know for sure I suppose.
After decades of working with "Digital Imaging Devices":
"Basically" imaging sensors are analog devices that apply thresholds to the signal: in the case of the Leica T, 4096 thresholds, in the case of my M8, M9, M Monochrom- 16384 thresholds. Cameras and memory cards are analog devices, computers are analog devices- the difference being that they threshold to 2 levels. The latter creates electrical noise that creeps into the analog to digital convertor of the sensor. Two ways of "creep"- direct digital noise and instantaneous load on the power supply and DC-DC convertors. A fast memory card will drain the buffer faster than it is filled, stop, start again as the buffer fills- "not a steady state". This puts more of an instantaneous load on the camera. A slower memory card will drain the buffer more slowly, no "start/Stop"- less of an instantaneous load.

I quit using 10x cards in the M Monochrom when noticing banding at high ISO, went back to 4x cards. I also use slow cards in my Nikon Df for high ISO shots. I did one quick test years ago, saw more noise with the fast card, keep 4x cards for it in the bag for High-ISO.
Thanks Brian, great explanation.

Ideally, the sensor power will be regulated separately from the SD card power. They likely are, and the designers tested with the SD cards available at design time. But since both powers come from the same battery, heavier current spikes from a new/faster SD card could draw voltage down below what the sensor regulator can regulate for.

Jon, the important part is that this type of thing might occur. So do your own testing with your equipment to see if it does for your shooting conditions.

Hmmm. One other thing: Such a problem would likely be worse when the battery is not full. It would also occur more in freezing conditions, when the battery's internal resistance shoots upward.
Thanks gentlemen! I appreciate all of the information. I'll probably purchase a faster SD card and do a little testing to see if speed increases and if there's a corresponding noise penalty. I mostly shoot at ISO 100, so I suspect I won't see too much difference. First, I'm going to email Leica and beg for a firmware update that allows DNG only shooting. Fingers crossed.