Rat Rods, Leicas and the DNG Format

by | Dec 7, 2021

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

A rat rod is a style of hot rod that imitates (or exaggerates) the early hot rods of the 1940s, 1950s and early-1960s. … It goes on to say that most rat rods appear “unfinished”, as only the vehicle’s bare essentials are driven.—Wikipedia

The below image combines two of my favorite things: Photographs of cars and Leicas. While I am not a connoisseur of rat rods, I particularly like this one for lots of reasons. The foremost is that unlike a typical rat rod whose color schemes seem to be mainly composed of black or brown primer and rust, of course, this one had a smooth matte black finish with splashes of real color on both the beautifully painted fathead engine and wheels. I thought the combination was tasty.

How I Made this Photo: I’ve always enjoyed the whole Leica mystique and their impeccably produced cameras. While I own a Leica M6 TTL film camera and old Jaguar-themed Leica film point-and-shoot I don’t own any digital Leicas, at least not yet (and maybe not ever.) To make this image, I borrowed a Leica M8 from a friend in order to test the impressive and expensive ($5.819) 24mm Summilux-M f/1.4 ASPH lens. Exposure for the above image was 1/125 sec at f/16 and ISO 320. Image processing of the DNG RAW file was done using Vivenza.

DNG or Digital negative is a patented, open lossless raw image format that that was created by Adobe for digital photography and is based on the TIFF/EP standard that mandates significant use of metadata. In addition to Leica, several other cameras shoot DNG as their native RAW format and some like the Pentax K-1 Mark II that I tested for Shutterbug supports both the Pentax-specific PEF RAW file and DNG formats.

Adobe’s free DNG Converter is a utility that smoothly converts files from lots of different cameras and can be especially useful for people, like me, who stubbornly refuse to participate in Adobe’s monthly subscription program for Photoshop and Lightroom.


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