Leica created the SL and changed some of the information that was previously present with every new Leica M lens.  For example, we no longer see distortion curves with the SL lens brochures.  There has been plenty of banter back and forth on this issue, and I’m not here to rehash that – however, I was curious about the magic that Adobe has cooked up with Leica when an image is imported.

This weekend I was reviewing some images I took at the Morris Island Lighthouse view at the end of Folly Beach.  After pulling in some of the images into On1, I wondered if I had done something wrong.

So, I took a look at some more images I took with the Leica SL 24-90 ASPH zoom and the Leica SL 90-280 ASPH zoom.  I pulled them into On1.  Then, I looked at the same DNG from my hard drive in Adobe Lightroom (CC 2015.10.1 if you must know).  The differences were striking, but once I realized why, they were not all that unexpected.

First, I was shooting at 24mm and with many wide angle lenses, you get some corner light falloff.  This is especially true when you have a filter attached on the end of the lens, like I did.  So, no great surprise when On1 showed me the following image.

2017-6017 On1 Import

24mm image imported through On1.

Notice in this image the dark corners.  I had an 82mm UV filter attached and the lens hood.  Really no adjustments, but I assume that On1 applies some adjustments, no matter how small.  Then, the image below is what I see in Adobe Lightroom.

2017 0620 Builtin Profile

24mm image in Lightroom with Built in Lens Profile applied.

I applied a little exposure adjustments, but none more that a few steps in either direction. The interesting take away is that Leica clearly crops the image to remove the outer lens issues in the full fame.  Again, I believe Leica tells us that they process the image for things like this.

This is an example of Leica taking over some control in the imaging process, post camera shutter press.  Some will thoroughly detest the lack of complete control.  On the other hand, I like that Leica’s close work with Adobe gives me an image ready to use after importing.  The On1 image needs cropped before I can begin work on it.  The Lightroom image does not.

I am sure there is other ‘Magic’ that Leica imparts on the SL images as they make their way from SD Card to Hard Drive.  I for one, am glad for it!

About The Author

David taught film photography and development for 3 years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1989-1991). He began using Leica cameras in 2000 and still shoots 70-100 rolls of film through a Leica M3 and Leica MA while enjoying the challenges of the Leica Monochrom and the new Leica MD 262. David has written about photography and is working on several volumes documenting changes and artistic merit throughout Old Town in Rock Hill, South Carolina, USA. His full-time job is as a CPA, but spends free time with a camera at the ready.

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2 Responses

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    • dknoble

      Thanks for taking time to post a comment! Im slow at times to write more here as I spent the last 10 months writing a work on Haiti to help raise money for an organization down there. So, I’m glad you enjoyed it! My best…


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