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Wednesday, 11 January 2017


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"What I'd like to see (but, as I'm acknowledging, never will) would be a mid- or low-level variant of an existing mirrorless or DSLR camera, with a sensor with no color filters, which would enable it to simultaneously have a lower pixel count and higher DR and resolution. "

Mike: the Sigma sd Quattro (and sd Quattro H) tick most of the boxes you have here. The beauty is that you also can get color out of the system, when you want. The only thing I see lacking is 'higher DR'---I'm just not sure how to measure this. The Quattro can be set in monochrome mode and used just like a B/W camera.


Is this short enough?

[Well, no. It's short all right, but it's not a comment. :-) --Mike]

Fuji's Acros setting on the xt2 and xt2 shows that they'd know how to deliver an excellent B&W camera image.

I treat the flip up screen on my xt1 like a hassy experience all the time - camera on tripod at about 1 metre high, peer down into the screen. Have to make a chimney out of cupped hands to block light outdoors, but I primarily use this technique for architectural interiors anyway.

Mike, you shouldn't forget the ingenious solutions of the Rollei SL 66, with its extensible and upward/downward swiveling lens mount, allowing close-up/macro focus and Scheimflug extension of depth of field with all lenses. That would be my dream digital camera for landscape, nature and product photography. And it could be just one module on your square camera


Computational photography is inevitable. Much as mirrorless reduced the parts count in the camera and digital sensors moved image review hours, days or weeks later to image preview, computational photography reduces the parts count in those complex, delicate Rube Goldberg devices called lenses. Multiple, fixed, simple lens/sensor combinations will be possible at ever-decreasing prices, and combinations of them in cameras will scale in cost linearly, no geometrically as with today's comp,ex and ever-bigger lenses. Rather than previewing, we'll have the flexibility to select a range of outcomes after the fact.

Interesting, these sensor/lens modules might be modular and changeable as technology progresses. If makers can see a way to be more profitable by offering that feature.

Still waiting for "Part II"... ;-)



Thought of that same "modular camera" idea myself many years ago. In my mind, the sensor could attach to the rear of the SLR body much like a Polaroid back on a Hasselblad. Need to change resolution ? Swap out the sensor.

Try keep short: So mostly I agree with it all, Computational, B+W, square, and modularity all go hand in hand in my book---and we've already seen whiffs of it here and there. I advocated this on DPR years ago and got laughed at/trolled. But I think it's coming eventually if not sooner.

But also what's coming is a whole new idea about what photography is, given VR, video, drones, the new Sony large screen tiles, all the social media wireless &etc stuff. I saw a demonstration of a Rico Theta recently---something I thought I had no interest in whatsoever---and came away impressed. Photography has been something we looked AT. now it will become immersive.

The one thing I disagree with you about (although I didn't read the Apple stuff....once I see the word Apple I stop paying attention anymore...) is that B&W is over or that it suks in digital. Strongly disagree with that one.

... we probably just need to accept that B&W's day is done...

No we don't. Not while black and white film is readily available. Even 400TX for you. :-)

You hit three of my five wish-list camera ideas. And why in 2017 are we still stuck, by and large, with 2:3 aspect ratios?

I can't think of the last time I printed a 4x6, and it is an imaging *circle* after all, which means a square sensor should fit nicely inside it. In an age where the size of the imager is a major selling point, I'm not sure why we're ignoring unused surface area that's available.

Consider, a full frame standard sensor is roughly 24x36 = 864 square mm.

A 36mm x 36mm gives you 1296 mm^2, which is somewhere around 90% of the total surface area of a medium format 44x33, but would still be able to take FF lenses.

At least, I think my maths is right ...

[A friend tells me that lenses designed for 24x36 only cover a 43.26mm image circle at minimum, in which the largest square is 30.6mm on edge. That 1:1 ratio image then has an area of 936 sq.mm, or only 8.33% more than the 24x36mm format. --Mike]

Modular - I’d say wait a few years on this. “Bus speed,” the rate at which the camera (or shell in this case) passes information from one component to another, is improving year by year. That should level off in a few years as processor speeds stop increasing.

Square with a hood - “Twister” digital cameras of years past came close to this. They could certainly be used from the waist. Nikon had the Coolpix 990 and similar cameras. There was a Kyocera/Contax model, the SL300R, and a followup SL400R (with 4 megapixels!) from Kyocera. I enjoyed my Kyocera, and took quite a few photos from the waist with it.

Computational Camera - Apple is not the only phone company doing computational photography. Huawei’s Leica phone got a very nice review from Robin Wong. Huawei has since released more phones without the Leica branding but with the similar 2 lens and sensor system. I expect we will see computation show up first in scene modes in dedicated point and shoot cameras (if it hasn’t already).

Apple Camera - Historically, “the world’s impassioned and deeply involved enthusiast base,” trash talked every innovation that Apple introduced to photography. Apple’s success in photography has come by ignoring the conventional “wisdom” of the established power users. As has Apple's success in computers. And phones.

Black and White - I am waiting for the Instax Square camera. I think that will be just enough B&W for me.

Mike, the "lens style" (what a dumb name !) QX1 from Sony and Olympus AIR 01 poke around the edges of modularity, the "box camera" and the Apple camera.

Each is a lens/sensor unit that relies on a smart phone for both display and control.

My daughter is a freshman in high school and joined the robotics club and I've volunteered to help out (lots of learning on my part, too, as a newbie). The robot has a controller that can read input signals and send output signals to a variety of devices and the team writes code that gets put on the controller to run the robot. Then there's a device on board that communicates back to the robot operators who run a "dashboard" on a laptop connected to various controllers. Most teams use joysticks in various ways, to move the robot as well as to perform tasks (moving various parts up & down) but operations could also be controlled by buttons or switches or whatever you like.

It almost seems like we need a from-the-ground-up camera platform based on a controller that can be programmed to work with various sensors, displays and communications devices, but that would almost have to be part of a "developer kit" that could then be used by ambitious kickstarter types to develop end products. It's one thing to prototype with components wired together, another to package it all up in an ergonomic camera that's a pleasure to use.

I'm with you on both a native square sensor and a B&W only camera. Personally (and you've heard this from me before) I'd like to see a digital Mamiya 6. I suppose a Hasselblad style body with a flip-up finder for when you wanted to put the camera at eye level would be okay too.

And I second Ranjit's comment on batteries. It is truly annoying to have two cameras with batteries that are only fractionally different in size and the same configuration so I have to test which charger to use. Grrrr!

I wouldn't assume no-one would buy a B+W-only camera. I listened on the radio this morning about the resurgence of vinyl records, so a resurgence of B+W digital photography, aided by the presence of a wonderful B+W camera, might just work...

I have struggled mightily to understand while somebody would want a square aspect ratio, and have failed. I can understand why some would prefer the 3:2 and wider formats, usually landscape photographers; and why some like myself would prefer 4/3, great for portraits and general photography, but the square format seems like it might have been invented simply to maximize film real estate for expensive lenses, and has little to do with the final image. IMHO.

I'd like to see modular cameras, but I think they might be difficult to make and maintain. I think every time you upgraded, you'd also have to reprogram, which could create problems, because the first camera's memory banks would have to anticipate later cameras' needs, and so on. I also suspect that the parts of the camera that you'd keep when upgrading would be the cheaper parts...it'd be the more expensive parts that you'd discard.

I think the profit in a stand-alone camera would be too small to interest Apple. Apple is getting further and further from a professional-service company (for any kind of professional.) It now concentrates purely on mass-market products, which is why their computers are falling behind. Apple (IMHO) is no longer interested in people who pound keyboards for a living, any more than they are interested in people who make outstanding photos for a living. They are a lifestyle company, period.

My suggestions were two APS-C (or FF), mirrorless/RF style cameras: one with a stellar 20-40mm(e) zoom, and another with a 50-100mm(e). Nikon has come out with something somewhat similar, except they only have 1in sensors and lack proper VF's.

The camera I would really like is a digital Nikonos. a underwater camera that works great on land also. I carried my first Nikonos for three years in Viet Nam. It was a great small, full frame camera that withstood rain and mud. When it got dusty or muddy you just washed it off. Years later I replaced the body with the Nikonos V but used the same 35mm lens that still works great after 50 years and many diving trips. How great would it be to have a totally waterproof camera the size of my D750. Maybe with 2 or 3 interchangeable lens.
Cheers, Jim

A black-and-white-only camera -

What about the Huawei P9 phone? The one with the Leica-advised optics, and Sony (I believe) sensor? I'm still thinking about getting one, to use just as a monochrome camera.

Rollei also offered their 35mm 3003/2000 family of cameras, which showed, at least, how you might put together such a modular camera system.

Too bad it was so horribly marketed and priced in the U.S. Along with almost everything else Rollei-related here.

I really liked the system when I had one, but at the time couldn't afford to bring it up to cover everything I needed to be doing at the time.

It would have been killer with a digital back.

1. a fixed-lens camera with a 50mm (equivalent) focal length, a la X100 or RX1 (i.e. with viewfinder, please).

2. a fixed-lens 1" camera nested in between the pocket sized RX100 and the bulky RX10, with an actually useful focal range. 70mm is not long enough to make a camera an all-rounder, and 400, 600 or even 200mm adds unnecessary weight. The pocket cams are too small, and you should be able to get good handling from something more compact than the super-zooms (or use the bulk for something actually useful : brighter lens or larger sensor). And definitely a manually-coupled zoom ring, not a ring that activates a motor ! Not to be mean, but preferably not a Sony :-) In short : a X30 with a 1" sensor !

After years of using Rolleiflexes, I turn the wrong way when using the rotated up LCD screen on my digital camera to compose a photo. I don't want to break that habit though. I still regularly use my Rollei TLR's.

So...possible? Of course. But shhh, the camera companies don't want to invest in the engineering, and it's more profitable for them if you throw away your whole camera and buy a whole new one each time you want to update your sensor or processor or AF.

Or ...

maybe this is NOT something most camera users want. Maybe this is a niece product for people with GAS? Or maybe engineering for modular produces other compromises (bulk)? Medium format sensors are larger then 35mm sensor which are larger than APS-C sensor which are larger still than micro 4/3 sensors. So ... you'd have to build a shell that could accomodate the largest possible sensor even if the user just wanted to start with a micro 4/3 sensor.

People in user space who don't understand product engineer are always wildly speculative about the reason manufacturers don't make their "ideal" product and they are often quite WRONG.

I'd love a B&W-only camera. But since individual tastes and situational needs vary, I'd really like to see one with settings for Tri-X, Plus-X, Acros and, say, something by Ilford.

With the latest firmware update, the K-1 now offers a square crop. When you tilt up the crazy, but cool, LCD screen to 90 degrees on the back, it reminds me of the old days. And when I put the cropped sensor, 18-55mm, kit lens from my K10D on it, the square crop eliminates 95% of vignetting and I get the Hasselblad Super Wide feel with an 18mm lens on a full frame camera. It's fun.

Sure, Mike. I agree. I'd like to echo B. Collinson above - the cinema people love lens character, modularity, and black and white. I mean, that community insists on having access to 35mm cine film stock from Kodak, AND invents things like the Red system on a regular basis. I think maybe you should talk to them directly. They make things, after all, that's their job.

As regards computational computing and arrays of lens modules, I think the maker community is already interested in getting ahold of such commodity parts and building neat things.

Both of these things are much more in the spirit of small-scale (dare I say "artisanal"?) pro and hobby builders of large format cameras.

One of the reasons I continued to develop my FrankenKamera beyond the two versions you featured last year (I'm now up to v. IV and at a friend's suggestion, rechristened it with a slightly different name) is to make it even more flexible in the face of what appears to be a very uncertain future.

In its latest version, I can now use any one of several digital bodies as a digital back, instead of dedicating it solely to a Sony A7R (a project I commenced the day after Fuji announced its GFX, even though I'm not yet convinced its larger sensor will work well for my purposes and buying one is quite likely beyond my present budget limit.)

I am also in the process of revising the other side of it to accommodate lenses besides the Contax N and 645 series I initially chose to build it around, further increasing its future flexibility.

While I know there are many performance benefits to be had by integrating the lens and sensor -- I love both my Sony RX1 and Fuji X100S cameras! -- I have decided that as a consumer, I will no longer be held captive to just one brand of camera or lens. Instead, I will preserve the option for me to move freely among them, mixing and matching as my needs and their performance dictates.

B. Collinson beat me to it. Red describes their modules as "Brain, Lens, Power, Media, and Monitoring". In most cases, you'd probably add a support rig and external control points as well, but these "modules" were already standard for cinematography.

To me the concept resembles the field camera, where you're expected to add a Lens, choose a ground glass and a loupe (Monitoring), and film holder or back, and film (Media), with the assumption that you're the Brains and the Power.

I wish Nikon would bring back the F2 with DP 1 Finder. Film is not dead it is just developing.

For me the ideal sensor aspect ratio is 1:√2 (1:1.414). Then I wouldn’t have to waste any pixels printing on A series paper.

Mike, am I correct in thinking that the Pentax K1's "Super Pixel Mode" pixel shift technology (taking four exposures - RGGB - with a full pixel shift each time, and combining them to one DNG or PEF file) will produce a true bw image?

A modular camera exists as the phase one line. You have a couple bodies, lots of backs (and yes even a bw only back) and lots of lenses.
The apple camera will not happen as Samsung tried this and pulled out. They had android cameras, full connectivity, the works and just when it looked to working, jumped ship.
Also I remember seeing a kick starter for a fully modular camera in the not mediumformat size. So may be coming.

A few minor comments on an interesting post...

Firstly, a B&W sensor is an atheist. Each pixel just records light intensity. Generally it requires IR filtering and some some spectral balancing to equalise RGB response to the human eye response.

In other words, a 'good' digital B&W image is an entirely computational exercise.

IMO, the real issue with digital B&W is that most printers do NOT have very good greyscale depth. Only pigment printers with dedicated B&W ink-sets come close, and they are expensive.

Secondly, colour monitors are also limited in greyscale depth, to 256 shades of grey, and very few have a good 'neutral' grey balance. B&W prints just dont look good on colour monitors, on the whole.

So its not the camera, its the workflow.

Nor is there any reason (in theory) why a colour sensor cannot be used as a B&W sensor by simply disabling the demosaicing step and adjusting the different colour pixel luminance values according to WB or filtering preference. Voila. A B&W camera with no resolution loss from demosaicing using any sensor on the market today.

As for modular cameras, the issue is very simple. The sensor and processor are closely connected and have a very high-speed bus linking the two. The rest of the camera is just packaging, and not a major factor in the overall cost. So it makes little sense to keep the packaging and replace the internals. You may as well get your new sensor in a new box, as most of the parts in the box wear out over time.

This is of course the opposite film cameras, where the camera WAS just the box. You had to put a film in it.

As for a computational camera, the possibilities are endless, but the processing power required increases as the exponent of the number of modules. Not unachievable, but of no interest to the camera-phone market.

A dedicated product would be aimed at pros, who wanted a high-resolution high-DR camera in a compact format, not people who post on FB.

I suspect neither market is ready for the leap, but a lot of emerging photographers will have had their first experience on a phone camera, and they may be the early drivers.

Too early to tell yet, though I could see a clip-on module that used an app on your phone to control it, even if the phone was just acting as the screen and control interface. I don't think phones yet have the required processor capacity to deal with high-res computational photography. I don't even think most desktop processors do. Heat/battery drain would be the biggest issue with such a fast parallel processor.

One more future item, not a camera but a sensor back for my OM-1 (Talk about pie in the sky!)
At any rate, I'll settle for 18X24mm (can you tell I love half frame?). The package includes a all matte screen with the sensor area outlined. Ha! Seeing outside the frame not just the purview of rangefinders only. Anyway, about a thick as the old data back, battery power/processor/card holder screws on the bottom, say 10mm thick and with a hand grip to have room for the battery. Two backs of course, a choice of color or native B&W. Old OM mount Zuikos not 'ideal' for a digital sensor? So what! You'll live!

I tend to agree that much of the digital B&W
"sucks". What is the 10% that you think doesn't suck? Sigma Merrill, a particular style, grain (noise)or what?

Mike, one day I will come visit you, or you meet up with me if you ever make it out to California, and the first thing I will do is let you try out my Leica M Monochrom, which can be had for a "reasonable" price on the used market. The M is so easy to get used to when you can chimp for the first five or ten thousand exposures. By then you intuitively know what you are getting, and photography is pure joy. You really, really need to try a Monochrom.


Almost 7 years ago I wrote an article,
The Time Has Come for a New DSLR Paradigm
, requesting a modular camera. You and I both are still waiting...

Much as many of us like the Idea of modularity, the economic feasibility may be decreasing. With the sensor and related electronics being such major part of the cost of cameras, new sensor modules could easily be close to the cost of a new camera.
This would probably be a tough sell.
Specialization is the enemy of volume production.
Historically, photographers were blessed with an almost incredible number of specialized choices, we still have many choices, but increasingly they are more similar than different.
What we give up in choice has been somewhat balanced by quality of results and convenience of use.
I'd be surprised if that changed direction.
For all the wonderful benefits that digital has brought us it has also brought the feeling that photographers are not in charge of what Photography IS.
Perhaps that has always been the case, but that's not what it feels like.
So we make the most of the choices given.

Dear Mike,

Apple did in fact manufacture a line of standalone cameras: the QuickTake. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the first in the series, the Quicktake 100:

"The QuickTake 100 was released in 1994 as an easy-to-use digital camera that connected to any Macintosh computer by way of an Apple serial cable. The camera was capable of storing eight photos at 640×480 resolution, 32 photos at 320×240 resolution, or a mixture of both sizes. All photos were at 24-bit color. The camera had a built-in flash, but no focus or zoom controls. Other than downloading the photos to a computer, there was no way to preview them on the camera, nor was there any way to delete individual photos from the camera (though there was a recessed 'trash' button which would delete the entire contents of the camera)".

Needless to say Steve Jobs axed the whole QuickTake line in 1997.




Currently two Kodak DCS 760m dedicated b&w cameras for sale on the Bay. Probably the only time in world history that this will ever occur. One seems to be in very nice shape for only $3999.00 and sixty five bucks for expedited shipping!

Take the plunge into 6 megapixels of unique black and white goodness.

I loved "hull-down on the horizon."

Your mention of modular systems resonated with me because I would like to get the Fujifilm XPro-2 but I really would prefer a 16MP sensor. My original was for both XPro and the XT cameras have both a 16MP sensor and a 24MP sensor versions.

But your modular system suggestion put me in another direction and that is for Fujifilm to convert most of their x-series cameras to modular system. There would be three parts to all the cameras. The body, the sensor and the lens.

This way someone could start out with version of the XT10 and then when they want to go to some other body but keep the sensor. Or someone could have both a 16MP and 24MP sensors and use the one that best for fits photography they're currently doing.

Can it be done? Would it be worth while? Would it help to drive down costs? I have no idea but maybe Fujifilm knows the answers.

How about it Fujifilm?

If one were to build the basics into a camera body, then the handle grip should be modular too so that it could mount either right handed or for southpaws -- on the left. If the sensors could swap out, they need to be a plug and play sealed unit so they do not need to be cleaned (if possible). Besides a black and white sensor, add a good sensitivity infrared one too. I cannot see a good need for an ultraviolet sensor as it requires quartz lenses.

BTW, Kodak, apparently, is bringing back Ecktachrome film, and is investigating the possibility of also reviving Kodachrome.

B&W only camera? Sorry, but while I like and do mono, I also do color. Back in the bad old film days, I used to carry two cameras, one B&W and the other color. Some shots required one, some the other, and some were hard to determine on the spot. And since some shots were on non-stationary subjects, I missed my chance while changing lenses or just deciding. Then I went AHA and did all in color slide film, and did internegatives in the darkroom for B&W. Now that's all history. I shoot in color with my DSLR and convert into B&W in post (or not), with more control, no fumbling with filters and lenses, and without the delays of deciding. Maybe I'm just lazy in my old age, but I much prefer this process.

[A lot of people agree with you. --Mike]

Not a camera, but Megavision made a B&W medium format back in the mid- 2000's and Phase One makes one now

Instead of a modular camera, I want an "open source" camera. Provide the software with documentation and let users build their own options and customize the operation.

What about a sort of open software camera? think of it as a Linux for cameras that would allow (given the necessary skills) to customize the user interface, modify the image after it has been taken, create a backup copy somewhere in the Internet and so on.
The nearest things I am aware of are CHDK and Magic Lantern.

I still think it odd that nobody makes a digital camera with a screen that articulates enough that you can still compose on it while bracing the camera against your body. I used to do tourist trips with handheld 6x6, and the ability to cuddle the camera into your chest while still composing made a huge difference to handheld sharpness.

Dream camera: a digital Rollei 3000. Not so much for upgradability, but with alternative mid-sections. One for rugged everyday shooting, one with full movements for tripod-based fine art. It would be square 4x4 format with optional multishot capability, and the screen would be on the top. Rectangular types could be accommodated with a range of backs.

...didn't read all the comments, but I will say as a guy who manages an e-comm photo department, you can make that "square" camera shutterless as well! I don't know why they still have shutters in a lot of the mirrorless (which are prone to 'shutter shake' because they are working twice as hard anyway). But high-rez image, frame capture is the way to go for us. 24 megapixel, mirrorless AND shutterless, square frame, ability to shoot jpeg, raw, AND tiff, or any combo. Ease of 'live image' use, because it's mirrorless! Add on eye-level finder.

The number one "fail" point in using cameras for e-comm, is broken shutter/mirror, and then they are rarely repaired correctly, because when you use it in "live view" the shutter is working like a mirrorless shutter. I can't tell you how many broken Nikon shutters I have, then when I get repaired, they have too much blurring shake while using in "live view", that they didn't have before. And when you send them in again, they answer is "we don't get it".

Shutterless please.

Rather than build a new better camera or hardware of any kind, Apple may be more interested in content.

Apple is planning to build a significant new business in original television shows and movies, a move that could make it a bigger player in Hollywood and offset slowing sales of iPhones and iPads.

They can sell a camera only once. Content can be rented and licensed for ever.

Fun topic. I'd like to see more high quality, slightly slower lenses available rather than the popular 1.4 behemoths. Regarding black and white, My wife gave me a Ricoh GR ll for Christmas and it's the first digital camera I've used that seems to produce nice black and white tones easily in raw. Not sure why, but maybe it's the lens.

I think modular makes sense the more expensive things are, but perhaps not at the consumer level. However, I think it would be cool if we could make cameras like we can make PC's, ordering the case and other parts and then putting it together. It would have to be kind of large, though.

I've demoed the Leica Monochrom twice. While it was nice, there was something about it that didn't speak to me the way Tri-X does through my M6. (Or, even more so, my Pentax 67.) While B/W film still exists, I'm happy to either shoot that or convert color shots from my digital cameras.

Folks who really really want a waist-level camera should pick up an Olympus Air A01, which can be had for less than $300 new. Make a little box to hold the body and stick the smartphone on the top: instant TLR form factor. Do your proof-of-concept in black matteboard and your final version in 4mm model aircraft plywood.

Huawei P9 (a phone) has a black and white camera aside a color one. That's also it's problem, you can always switch to color. My P9 just arrived, so it's a bit too early to say anything else. But if there's interest I could do a small review in a month or so.

Where's the "sensor in a film canister?" I'd have a bunch of digital cameras overnight.

I think we all like to look at a picture that has been isolated by a "frame", regardless of where or what that would be in the image perception process. And, as long as there is a image recording device of some form or another available, I think we'll probably accept this isolation function of the device as the artist's view, no matter what or how the recorded event exists in the production workflow. Hence, the wide spread technology that's available to do this. Everyone will find their close-to-perfect device(s). And, it's human nature to want more, I think. We probably still have a long way to go in technological development of this.

For the moment, I'll stick with a black and white analog camera.

A truly modular camera

How about a modular phone? Maybe one made by Google which has half the money in the world.

... yet throughout Ara's evolution there was always a missing piece. "Consumers don't care about modularity." said the source who worked on Ara. "And even today I'm still not sure that it's something that consumers want."

That was a big project aimed at a big market. A modular camera (like those TOP readers buy) would be a big project aimed at a small market. And it would have to be developed by a company much less wealthy than Google.

The promotional video is intriguing.

I just want a full 6x6 sensor in a Mamiya C330 body. Customer is always right. I'm right! I want it.

"Shutterless please"

That's one of the things that is great about CMOS sensors compared to MOS sensors. CMOS sensors have a global shutter by default, and MOS do not. MOS sensors can only clear and read one row of pixels at a time whereas CMOS can clear and read the entire sensor into a buffer at once. That's why the old CMOS Nikons could have flash synch at a very high speed and why CMOS cameras have "rolling shutter" artifacts. I suspect that is also why the electronic first curtain on my Sony A7 underexposes the bottom of the sensor (top of the image) at 1/8000.

A medium format back with a global shutter is my dream camera. The rest I could cobble together myself just like in the film days.

The multi-lens computational camera suffers from the same problem that rangefinders and TLRs have: parallax. It may not be significant for most work, but for close-ups and macro, it's a death sentence.

Samsung sort of did what you want Apple to do with their Galaxy K Zoom.

It's not exactly the black and white camera you describe here, but try the app Hueless for iPhone. It shows and captures the image in black and white, as well as giving exposure and filter controls. I think it also lets you change image size

Whatever camera there is in the future, it MUST have a simple GPS in it like the one in my Panasonic FT4 and many travelcams. Doesn't have to be fully featured, fast, or whatever, just able to get a lock at some time to allow you to take reference pic with the position recorded in the EXIF. Then you switch it off and get busy taking photos in that locastion. A GPS that's useful for photographers, in short.

Cheers, Geoff

It's still a smartphone, but the Kodak Ektra is being marketed as a camera first, smartphone second. A bit weird, but maybe a step on Apple?

I would expect Fuji to be the most likely candidate for a b&w only camera. Their monochrome film simulations are worthwhile.

What we need is either a GX8 with a APS-C sensor, or a GH5 with a full frame sensor. Panasonic can shock the world, (and scare the cap out of Canon, Nikon & Sony) and claim a unique space, by providing excelent stills & video quality, with ibis, evf and touch screen.

"The multi-lens computational camera suffers from the same problem that rangefinders and TLRs have: parallax. It may not be significant for most work, but for close-ups and macro, it's a death sentence."

Paralex is the whole point. What the computational cameras can do is reconstruct the scene in space from the multiple images using the parallax , then remap the higher resolution images derived from the cameras onto the 3d model that has been constructed. Then a "software camera" takes a photo of the 3d model and can apply DOF effects or even relight the scene from the side. These techniques can even remove surface reflections or make a matt surface object shiny.

The Globus Brothers were working on fly eye cameras using film in the early 1980s in their studio on 24th street. but there wasn't any way to extract the information at the time. The ideas have been around for a long time, the tools to do the work have just been showing up now. Even I was doing some multiple exposure work on film in the 1970s that I have been only able to merge into panoramas recently using a computer.

If I were truly devoted to B&W, I'd look at a used, original M Monochrom because of its CCD sensor, which I think is in most ways superior to CMOS for B&W. If you could manage to find one in the $3500 range I think it would be worth it, but I don't know how likely that is. Personally, I wouldn't want to pay more, but then I'm not truly devoted to B&W.

The other options aren't really options because of cost: the Phase One IQ2 Acromatic (also CCD); or, a used drum scanner.

I think Hugh may have missed my point. Parallax is fine for reconstructing a 3-d object. But parallax alone doesn't allow for DOF effects. To construct an accurate 3-D image, you need at least two sharp images of each subject point. If none of the multiple lenses has a sharp image of some subject point, then it can't be reconstructed. This is a particularly acute problem in macro work, which was the subject of my original comment. DOF is extremely shallow - sometimes less than a millimeter, so to create an accurate 3-D image may take dozens or even hundreds of frames with a range of focus distances and points of view. It may be practical in future, but it's a much harder problem than reconstructing a 3-D face from half a dozen lenses & sensors spaced a few centimeters apart.

I have always thought that a bad camera would be a good way of producing a small mirrorless system utilising a legacy lens mount. Put the screen on top and mother board on the bottom instead of behind the sensor to keep size down to not much more than the mirror box dimensions. Only question would be balance with massive f2.8 legacy zooms.

I had to drag my camera out to check this, but with two quick settings (in the QS menu, 'natch), and my Sigma sd Quattro is set to a square format monochrome camera (what shows on the viewfinder/LCD screen). it's the current generation foveon chip---which many Merrill fans will decry---but I will say that this has been my favorite Sigma to shoot (starting with the SD10).

I still owe you a review of it, but I'm still getting familiar with getting the best images out of it.

Fuji seems the most likely to make a B&W only camera that is affordable. An X100 or X-E B&W would sell pretty well I think.

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