« Random Excellence: Sunflower Wedding | Main | Sunday Support Group: B&W Camera »

Friday, 04 December 2020

Comments

I definitely see the appeal. Sometimes I look at the sample images from a testing site like DPR and think the images look sterile, but then when I see samples from users I'm much more impressed, so I have to assume that the images respond well to some adjustments. Perhaps B&H would loan you a Q2 Monochrome for review purposes. I'm sure we would be interested in your impressions.

A big part of the Fuji experience though is film simulations, and giving up the color informations might make it difficult for Fuji to make good ones that rely on color luminosity adjustments. Of course I could be wrong--it has happened before.

The monochrome is an amazing camera, with beautiful tonality that Leica seems to hide where advertising the beast. They keep showing high contrast, black/white work, which is one look, but a limited subset of what the camera can do.

I'd love a Fuji monochrome, it seems like a natural fit for an X-Pro or X100 variant. One could argue that Fuji has the experience in customizing chips for their needs?

This is the least original comment of the day but why not shoot b/w film?

Every time I see a Lartigue photo from the '20s, I want to start shooting b/w on 120 with an old uncoated lens. I have a feeling I could do it for less than $8,295.


The Olympus Pen F is an ideal candidate for a monochrome camera. It could be bundled with a pair of their primes.

On many things you are wrong: on this one you are extremely right.

I own two similar guitars: both originally were made for jazz players – semi acoustic archtop body etc. One in fact is made by very famous maker, many famous players used it, one is made by less famous maker who, by chance, employ many of the people once employed by famous maker, working in building once owned by famous maker. Is very similar guitar. Both are good-quality instruments, similar quality build.

One has two pickups (neck and bridge), one (less famous one) only a neck pickup. For playing much jazz only really need neck pickup.

So, well, I could play the two-pickup one by the famous people, just not use the bridge pickup. But I do not do that: play instead the single-pickup one because there is no bridge pickup. Not because of small difference in tone (perhaps because no bridge pickup so resonance of body a little different etc): no, because playing a guitar with no bridge pickup is different, makes your mind different, and that makes what you play differently.

Same thing with FX (effects) pedals: many guitar players have huge fancy FX board or use huge fancy simulator that can do anything. Some can even do good things with them: I can not, I get lost in the space of possibilities. Instead I must use small number of FX which I do not change often and which do not have vast control space and downloads, and single real amp (well, I have more than one, but I use only one for a week, also have selection of FX but only use one set at a time). This is not really different in what it can do – if you have big fancy setup you can just use only small bits of it, surely that is better as you do not have to buy expensive hardware if you want to change? Guitar players of course like to think that some bits of equipment contain special magic, but that is not really so: the magic is in your hands and your head not the gear. Hendrix did not sound like Hendrix because of the gear, he sounded like Hendrix because of the Hendrix. But for me me and for many others I think, the big fancy setup is not better, just because of what it does in my mind.

Whole point is to have a restriction put on you by the tools you select to use. That makes a change in your head and that makes you do a different thing. And for some people that different thing is also a better thing.

And if only rich people can afford the thing that lets their mind work properly, like with a Leica (sorry, if you can afford almost $10,000 for a camera and one lens you are rich if you are not a professional: this is 5-10 times the cost of my nicest guitar which will last me my life and my children's and their children, which a digital machine will not) then this is a bad thing. There should be cheap ones.

My Fuji X-E3 is, in fact, a B&W camera. Choosing the Acros simulation will cause the camera to "see" in B&W. The viewfinder and screen will just show a B&W image not in color. I think that other cameras will do so as well. This may not be what you had been thinking but short of $10,000 (Camera & lens) it is acceptable.
Happy painting! My wife would never stand for such a building...

What’s your opinion of solutions like these?

These Fujifilm Monochrome Cameras Are $4,800+ Cheaper Than Leica’s:
https://tinyurl.com/y26y9dm3

Monochrome, B&W conversions of Sony mirror-less cameras :
https://tinyurl.com/y5huymtg

"it would depend on making a dedicated sensor"

Not even. We rely on in-camera firmware to decode color data from color-sensitized monochrome sensors. That firmware could just as well subtract the effect of the color filter array. Granted, it wouldn't be "pure", in the sense that it's a workaround for a workaround, and it may not work like our favorite films, but dedicated hardware isn't required.

A manufacturer could make this as difficult as a firmware branch or as easy as a mode accessible by menu. Or it could be a third party firmware hack like Magic Lantern.

It's extra frustrating to know that our digital cameras have monochrome sensors at heart that have been cleverly modified to sense color.

In fact, Mike, I would go further in my ask, since you're wishing for a digital camera that largely simulates monochrome as we know it from film (i.e. a cheaper version of the Leica). What I want, rather, is access to the native response of the sensor sans filters or algorithms. I don't want it to simulate film or the human eye. It may not be anything appealing or usable in the end, but I'd like the chance to explore it as a medium and decide for myself. Talk about a limited market, though!

As I commented earlier, the Q2 Monochrom is a RELATIVE bargain (at $5995) in the Leica stratosphere, given that the lens is included. By comparison, the M10 Monochrom you pictured, along with a 28 M Summilux ASPH f1.4 lens (at $7295) totals $15,590! Another RELATIVE Leica bargain in the Monochrom series (there are now four: 3 M bodies and the Q2) is a clean used original M Monochrom (based on the M9 with CCD) or the M246 (based on the M240 with CMOS). But then one also needs a lens (although even some inexpensive third party lenses and vintage Leica lenses play very well with the Monochroms). Some reputable dealers have used bodies in great condition, sometimes with recent Leica service and warranty. And, yes, I know this doesn’t alter any of your well made points.

Mike wrote "Do you like his tones?"

Not really. I prefer a longer tonal scale and open shadows, although his high-contrast photos are a legitimate choice. Schaller is good at handling the graphics that fit with that tonality. But to me, the tones feel dated, like someone revisiting the pushed-film look of the 70s. Because the work is featured on a Leica page, I'm sure that they are strumming a chord for nostalgic followers.

If I were to consider the Leica, I would need to verify that it could produce the longer tonal scale I desire. With today's sensors, it probably does, but I'd still check - especially at that cost.

Me too, Mike. I like having made the choice of a black and white image prior to taking the image rather than having the choice later. Yes, I could get a B&W image out of the settings, but if you shoot RAW as well, the choice comes back.

I understand that there would be a premium for one of the manufacturers to make a monochrome model of a camera (Hello Fuji!). I have no idea what minimum quantity that they would need to produce for it to be a worthwhile effort. If they ran a pre-order program contingent on their hitting the minimum, it may give all of us an idea as to whether there is demand out in the world for this unicorn camera.

I just know that I want one. Quite badly.

On the one hand I think a B&W digital camera would be cool (I could get out my contrast filters again!), but on the other hand, there is a lot of flexibility in being able to adjust the levels of different parts of the color spectrum in Lightroom to produce just the B&W you want.

Thank you, Mike! I would be first in line for a Fujifilm X100v Monochrome.

Fuji are the only camera company I could see making one.

Incidentally, I have just begun my free loaner Fuji GFX 50R plus 32-64mm lens, from Fuji UK, today. So far, very impressed.

Mike,

Often things only the 1% can afford, subsequently pay for the development costs or market proof so the item becomes available to more than the 1% as costs decline. The first digital camera was what, $25,000, and it was only B&W.
Leica has demonstrated that a mono camera would have enough demand that they have now done it for three iterations. But Leica has an ethos of SIMPLIFY. Simplify the controls, and in their mono, simplify the choices even further. Most camera makers go the other direction, more buttons, more choices. So for others, restricting the camera to just B&W is not offering MORE.
If you want a B&W camera, you can get one for less than the price of a Leica. Just take one of your current digital cameras with its many controls and set it on B&W capture. The screen shows only B&W. Your brain then sees in B&W. You go out shooting in a B&W mindset. I totally agree with you that if the tool in your hands only shoots B&W you will look for structure and expressions rather than color. And you should try that approach well before you spend money on a Leica mono. Then the only reason to buy a Leica mono is if you know all you want is B&W and you know the most advanced B&W sensor sans Bayer filtration, is in that M10M, and maybe you are Peter Turnley and like rangefinder cameras.
Or yes, you can convert your color image to B&W in post, with post B&W filtration, but I strongly agree with you that your mind will need a twist to see B&W ahead of time when your camera screen pops up a colorful image after every shot, or your EVF is in glorious color.

Jack Mac

Many digital caneras have a B&W setting. Does this engage your B&W seeing?

I know that that they are not dedicated B&W cameras but Fujifilm cameras let you preview in B&W which helps a lot. You can also bracket three different B&W simulations when you shoot if you like. If I am bracketing I usually have it set for these simulations; Acros, Acros+Ye and Acros+G.

I shoot B&W a lot and love being able to see in B&W. Currently if I am shooting landscapes I usually use the Acros+R (red filter) and love the results.

The flicker link shows a older example of mine using an X-E1 and the built-in B&W+R. Feel free to use the photo if you like in TOP. https://www.flickr.com/photos/10025089@N05/21937256531/in/dateposted-public/

Mike, from time to time I lust for a Leica as well. I tend to look on eBay and BandH used site for them. What I do see is a lot of the used Leica's are monochrome. What that tells me is that people buy them and find them too limiting? I am sure camera companies look at the same sites as I do to gauge the used supply of cameras, and see what is selling and what people are getting rid of as well. I would think that it would be part of the product management at any large camera company. Just my two cents. Eric

Back when you were shooting Tri-X, you were looking through the viewfinder and seeing a subject in full color, but you were thinking in black-and-white. Okay. I get that.

[No, actually I was looking through a yellow filter permanently mounted on the lens. But go on.]

On my Z6, I can select Monochrome and the viewfinder and back screen also come up in Monochrome, so I no longer have to convert in the wetware. You get may more effective resolution with a monochrome camera with the same number of pixels as a color camera, but if you got (in the Nikon world) a Z7, you'd still get get more than enough effective pixels to blow Plus-X off the road. If you buy a Z7 (and I suspect the same is true of all the major camera systems) you can also get excellent filter effects without filters, and, if you choose, which I don't, such options as "sepia," etc.)

Honestly, I'd regard any pure digital monochrome camera as "Veblenware." I mean, are you saying that the problem is that when you have a color camera in your hand, even though everything you see through the viewfinder, as well as the end product is B&W, the **very fact** that the camera is capable in a different mode of shooting in color, that sort of derails the way your mind works? That's a little...strange. 8-)

For B&W skeptics, I'd point out that some seriously heavy-duty artists (think Rembrandt and Goya) chose to do some of their very finest work in B&W, while they were also great colorists. They chose B&W for some subjects because it was more effective. Look at Goya's Disasters or War as one example.

I've taken to setting my wee-Sony NEX and A-series cameras up for BW. The LCD/Viewfinders can be setup to show BW and I never see color anywhere in the process. I can "see" in pure BW.

... and... there's a beautiful wrinkle in all this. Sony, it seems, has implemented the human perception model (you posted something about the human perception model and provided links to Tim Soret's concise explanation) when converting in-camera to BW.

Why is this beautiful? I think you mentioned a few times the importance of tonal separation and how simply de-saturating a color image leads to little good and more often to a muddled mess of an image. Leica's BW-only sensor implements... what?... exactly? That's right. It de-saturates a scene. No human perception modeling in that camera. Nope. None.

So, out of the box, if you know what you're seeing and if you know what you're doing, the potential for coming up with a BW image more beautiful (or certainly easier to process) than something out of a BW only dedicated camera (ie: Leica) is actually rather great.

Which leads me to something you said about the Sony A7 being a wonderful BW camera. I see you were correct. The human perception implementation of their BW "style" is really quite wonderful.

I don’t see your request to be that much of a financial or technical leap. Color sensors have a Bayer filter layer between the micro lenses and the actual photo sensor. It doesn’t seem like such a big deal to run a batch with clear vs color filters. Probably cheaper actually. Otherwise camera assembly is exactly the same except for some software changes. Again changes are actually simpler since you’re eliminating the demosaicing algorithm. Pick a camera you like and start a write in campaign or maybe a go-fund-me to run a batch of sensors and get someone to modify cameras like the do for IR.

The Micro 4/3 cameras that I use - Panasonic and Olympus - have monochrome modes with several choices of contrast and simulated grain. I believe that Fuji and Ricoh GR have similar capabilities. Select your mode, and you will see nothing but black and white, in the viewfinder or in the file, from then on. (Until you decide to switch back to color.) So what's the problem, and where's the lack of choice?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't most digital cameras have a gray-scale only capture setting? My Fuji X100F has 3 of them. Is it just that you can't resist the temptation and need the manufacturer to impose a hard limit for you? Also, what do you mean by "affordable"? Is it in the sense that because there is a monochrome sensor, that will allow the maker to boost the number of features on your "affordable" monochrome camera into the range of a more expensive camera with a full color sensor because a "monochrome" sensor will somehow be cheaper? I don't quite see your point. If it were a film camera you would buy your camera of choice and just shoot B&W film. You wouldn't call it a monochrome camera.

...I see like the camera sees. If the camera records color, then I see color...I have trouble seeing in B&W when I know the camera is seeing in color...

Does this personal challenge extend to knowing what the sensor's doing, or just what's presented by an EVF / live view?

In the comments to a recent post I mentioned that my D810 gets used like a view camera, namely, on a tripod, live view, magnified for precise focus. When engaging in actual view camera shooting with black and white film I was never distracted by the ground glass image being color. Nor were you, I suspect, ever distracted by the color scene visible through a film rangefinder or SLR camera's viewfinder.

Nonetheless, I just checked shooting menu options on my D810, and "monochrome" is one of them. While not familiar with the many digital cameras you've used, I expect most of them offer a similar option that likely does the same thing to both their EVFs and live view screens.

Would choosing that option and making what you're using to compose and shoot be black and white help?

Just saying: Olympus Pen-F, the digital one: Turn the switch, choose Monocrome 2, tweek if you like (a lot of fast possibilities), enjoy seing and shooting rather high quality OOC black and white.

Given unlimited time and unlimited resources, any enterprise that doesn't violate the laws of physics is possible. The fact that nobody sells a brand new black and white only camera with some specification for (say) $2,000 (US) doesn't mean that the market has failed. It means that the resources necessary to develop, manufacture, market and support such a device will not be repaid by expected sales of the product. And therefore, nobody invests the resources necessary to develop, manufacture, distribute and sell such a thing.

Or maybe the timing for a $2,000 black and white only camera is wrong. General Motors built and sold the first electric car (in recent history) in 1996 -- the EV-1 -- and failed. But electric Teslas are selling well. Quite well.

So perhaps the affordable black and white camera will require a brilliant and fabulously wealthy Elon Musk clone to get it off the ground. We can only hope. And wait. But I won't be holding my breath.

I'd love a Mono Leica, but can't justify it. So I've got 4 Fuji Xpro2's all shooting Acros jpg simulation - well, one has given up the ghost and is unrecoverable for less than the cost of a new body and another is showing signs of overuse (card 1 only stays in the body because the card door still latches). But I love them and the stable of lenses I use with them. Sadly after 40+ years in the business I know any Leica I'd buy would outlive me just as surely as I'll outlive my Fujis - they're just not quite robust enough for daily pro use.

The lack of B&W only cameras is a complex problem, because the market isn't equipped to deal with something so different for the average photographic consumer.

Those who want a B&W camera aren't beating on the gates to the manufacturer's castles. Manufacturers conduct surveys based on questioning randomly selected people, or god forbid spending time on internet forums. (I'll say this again. With the exception of Mike, Kirk Tuck and Thom HOgan, the internet is a megaphone for stupidity.) As an example, we are awash in a sea of photographers who are convinced that dual card slots are essential, god forbid they should have tried to be photographers in the pre digital era.

So we are at a place where it would be, in the grand scheme of things, fairly easy to make a B&W only camera. Fuji would be a good candidate. But they don't see a market, because, although there would be one, it would require care and feeding to get off the ground, and those who would like it are going unheard.

And this cause wouldn't suffer from a few real photographers at the manufacturer's offices, to offset the rather narrow view of the engineers.

No, I don't like Alan Schaller's tones. At all. Looks like he's trying too hard to mimic Ralph Gibson's graphic look, without the minimalism. But that's just me. I'm a sucker for carefully judged lush tonalities, like Clyde Butcher's beautiful cypress swamp images.

I know there are folks who thirst for monochrome digital cameras. I just don’t get it. I see one of the great advantages of monochrome in the digital age is the ability to apply an infinite set of color filters a posteriori (in post processing) to achieve wonderful tonal separation. If you shoot B&W film or shoot a monochrome sensor, you are limited by 1) your ability to see the lack of tonal separation between two hues that have the same luminosity, thus causing you to apply a color filter before image capture, and 2) the finite and small number of physical color filters available. Yes, I do get the argument that there is some degradation when we have to interpolate the Bayer color pattern that is solved by a monochrome sensor. But, I would argue that we have more than enough resolution in our digital sensors today.

Be careful with those fumes!
Some acrylics can get you a bit whoozy.
As to B&W, wouldn't the monochrome option on mirrorless EVF get the job done for shooting purposes?

Years ago, when I shot far more than I do today, it was mostly (at least 75%)black and white film. I was able to "see" in black and white to some degree. Years later (now)I use a Fuji X100T set up so that I am seeing a black and white image in the viewfinder - this, with the B&W film simulation has become my "low cost" approach. A Leica Monochrome would be nice, but I wouldn't use it enough to cost justify (rationalize) it. Given the Fuji approach that is available I'm not sure I'd go for a dedicated B&W camera, but this is because my frequency of use is not high enough.


Hi Mike,

First off, I’m happy for you that the shed project is going so well. An especially good project to pursue in these times. I don’t lack for space for my hobbies, but there is great appeal in a dedicated personal-size space (sanctuary?). Must be why kids find it so satisfying to build forts and playhouses. Our three pre-school grandchildren got a year’s use out of the cardboard box our water heater came in, and save for the door I cut in it for them, it was totally their domain.

On to monochrome cameras. I totally get the idea of a dedicated tool tailored to be exceptional at producing a specific result. Maybe that’s all I need say; that I agree with you that an affordable (to be defined?), dedicated, monochrome camera would promote a simplified and satisfying photographic experience. Like an OCOLOY project. For me anyway, options breed choices, and the choice-making too often foils, or at least complicates, the development of what I think of as the “spiritual” side of the image-making craft: being mindful of the moment, the subject, the light, framing and timing.

That might be the end of this as a rhetorical discussion. But practically speaking, as a photographer, is there something you are missing from the B&W shooting experience that you can’t get from your Fuji setup and its B&W film simulations?

Like you, I spent many years shooting both B&W and color film (I’d be in the middle of your “Film Years/Digital Years” Sarge graphed; 40yrs/15yrs for me), under the dark cloth of a 4x5, as well as medium format and 35mm. Until I bought my first Fujifilm camera in 2014, I had never seen a B&W preview in a viewfinder or on the ground glass. With the Fuji cameras I’ve tried previewing in B&W film simulations (even using the filters I preferred for B&W film) and found it quite distracting. My “craft” photography project has been in B&W for several years, but I still am most comfortable previewing the image the way it has always been - in color. Go figure.

Thanks for all the thought-provoking discussions, Mike. Wishing you as much enjoyment from using your shed as from building it.

-- john merlin ...

I’m having trouble understanding what you’re putting down here. I know you to be a Fuji user; when I set my X-T2 to Acros, I get B&W in the viewfinder and on the LCD. Thus, I can “see” without color even when shooting RAW. The fact that I could later extract a color file is just an added bonus. So, what am I missing? There are numerous affordable cameras that accomplish this feat. Is it that you’re not happy with the image file produced by this approach?

Leica Q2 Monochrom? Yes please! As intimated way back on the 1st of January this year, in a comment to your "Best Cameras of 2019" post, when the possibility of a Monochrom version was but a mere rumour.

I hear ya, but ... couldn't we meet your needs detailed in your second paragraph with today's cameras by simply having an EVF that is switchable between color and B&W? Rather than having the camera software do the color to B&W conversion as the manufacturer sees best. This would allow the user to do that conversion in post in a fashion that best suits his/her vision.
John

I'm totally with you. No reason there should not be a good B/W camera for $1500 or less.
eolake

Ricoh GR BW?


Tones, a bit harsh

Nope, not alone in the desire for a less expensive (new) b/w-only camera. It could be interesting (for me) were Nikon to bite that particular bullet, but I guess that I'd still be pretty much forced to consider Z lenses which, as I have all that I want already in F mount optics, would still cost me more than just a new camera.

Perhaps the current Z range of bodies really will find itself candidate for such a venture. I hope so, and that they don't just imitate Leica and use it as a way of going even more into high prices. It would certainly give the Germans a jolt; they are probably feeling invulnerable right now. Interesting that a relatively small manufacturer would take the plunge first.

I don't think that the Nikon dslr range will last much longer, because otherwise, I think that they would be making vertical grips for more cameras such as their newish D780. That they don't, makes me feel that they see the dslr as a stop-gap until they get all their regular fans into Z mode, and the F system is not worth the development candle any longer.

Rob

A FujiFilm X100"M" (after all, one of the few letters that hasn't been used on the X100 series yet :-) seems like the most obvious choice at first glance, and they already make "small volume" IR sensor cameras which are even more niche than B&W, but I expect that Fuji would think that they already "do this" as a concept very well via their Acros film simulation on most all their cameras so seems very unlikely... Otherwise, A Ricoh GRIIIM might be a good candidate... Beyond that, most other camera manufacturers are already too niche-averse so unfortunately Leica is gonna be it, six months of "rice & beans" and it's potentially doable... (unfortunately, carrying around a $6K camera as a regular item would simply spook me too much anyway - drop it, lose it, etc. fear in the wild...)

Couldn't a camera company make a special firmware version for a monochrome camera? With color filters built in and other creative tools? And saves monochrome RAW files! It would foster having an extra body for the monochrome FW, which would add to camera sales. Why the heck not?

...I also agree about "having trouble seeing in B&W when I know the camera is seeing in color", not at all the same as shooting in color and then deriving B&W, much the same as aspect ratios - Shooting in a square format is very different than "trying to visualize" square and then cropping afterwards, "up front" matters...

I just looked at Alan Schaller's work via the link that you posted. It is indeed very nice as one might expect from cherry picking the best work from the near 20 thousand dollar body/lens combo.

However, I wonder how close one could come to these with a mear mortal, pedestrian class camera in the 2 thousand dollar range? I shot B&W film for decades, but never without dozens of errors in the trash produced anything as nice as what I'm getting SOOC from my Fujifilm in Acros simulation. The tonal range and contrast is stunning when I work the exposure and shadow/highlight settings.

They were nice pictures at that site, but the difference in price from the Fuji could allow for multiple trips to foriegn countries to allow you to actually get some photos.

I routinely shoot my m43 cameras with the EVF in monochrome as it helps me see the final product better.

I would absolutely love a m43 B&W only camera. I think the m43 ecosystem is large enough and varied enough that it could support such a niche product.

I would absolutely buy a monochrome GX-8 or PEN-F body. Especially if it offered meaningfully sharper details and smoother tones than I can get from my bayer sensors when shooting under LED concert lighting (which completely saturates individual colour channels and leaves me with flat purple blobs for faces).

If you want to see in monochrome, why not just set your camera accordingly, so that the display, EVF, and jpg's all display in black and white? The Nikon Z6, for example, allows this.

"Besides, if the concept of a B&W-only camera is so irrational and senseless, then why does Leica make them and why do experienced, accomplished photographers like Peter Turnley shoot with them?"

Mike I can think of many reasons why a professional photographer might align himself with a particular brand of camera maker other than the quality of the photographs these cameras produce, all sorts of inducements spring to mind too numerous to mention, also I find it strange that a well established and successful pro should feel the need to comment on the make of device they employed to produce their work, I'm sure well known painters and sculptors don't feel this compulsion to advertise what brushes or chisels they used.

With regards to the need to use a monochrome only camera to help to see in b/w surely most digital cameras can be set up to shoot b/w and with mirrorless evfs the image is portrayed in b/w, one can shoot jpeg/raw and have the best of both worlds.

I believe we all have the right to use whichever device we choose to follow our hobby/profession and I fully endorse the maxim "to each their own" but I've yet to come across a rational reason for using a Leica digital camera other than imagined subjective differences that are only apparent to their owners and I would doubt they could identify a Leica print from a similar one produced by another brand shot by a competent b/w photographer.

It's an interesting dynamic. I recently used a Leica Monochrome on loan for a few weeks. (I shot Nikon for 22 years and switched to Sony for the last two. Currently using Sony A9II's.)

I loved shooting with the Monochrome, but it's a completely different process with many sacrifices. Coming from the luxury of supremely accurate eye-autofocus on the Sony, it's a bit difficult to go back to using a rangefinder, especially when using fast lenses almost wide open.

That being said, I loved the images. I also enjoyed, since I was using it for personal work with no pressure, the experience of shooting slower. The gradation of tones was great. The images did seem special. But to be honest, I was left wondering what was the "difference?" The beautiful, very expensive 35 and 50 1.4 lenses? Or was it the monochrome sensor?

Seeing the gradation of tones lead to a dramatic change in taste for me in terms of bw conversion on the Sony files. The camera monochrome setting on the sony is actually somewhat close to the smooth gradation of the Monochrome. Even better is the Scala 200 film simulation in silver Efex Pro 2.

It might be an interesting exercise if you wanted me to upload a couple of images from the Monochrome and the A9II processed in that manner?

In the end, I found them to be close enough that I would be very hard pressed to give up that AF. But a Sony A7 Monochrome sounds quite appealing! Like you, I also settle into seeing the way the camera sees. And maybe there is value in committing to the BW. Sort of like committing to a certain lens or focal length.

Yes, I have a dedicated Leica M B&W camera that does not cost $8,295. It's a Leica M6 loaded with Kodak Tri-X. And I get a clean sensor with every shot. My negs are archival and I scan them to play with .jpg files. Once in a while, I go to the "red light" district to make some real photo prints.

Since we’re asking for the moon, I’d like my monochromatic, mirrorless, interchangeable-lens, digital camera to have in-body-image-stabilization and autofocus because I’m getting too old to drop a pallet of cash for something I can’t use 10 years from now. Recently, I considered a used Leica M Monochrom (Type 246) that was priced to instill just enough courage in me to make a business case to my CFO. Then I realized I would be buying a device that offers great image quality, but without the infrastructure that I’ve grown accustomed to over the last couple of years. Say what you want about the superfluous technology behind today’s cameras, but those advanced features become more than “nice to have” the way smart phones became “necessities” to so many people. If Nikon ever makes a Z monochrome model, I’ll be asked to justify another lunar mission.

Hi Mike! True. Perhaps the market would be too small for a pure B&W camera, at least for the "big ones"? Leica might be special, but the prices are too.
This might help a bit:
https://www.moosepeterson.com/blog/black-white-help/
Seeing in B&W is not yet a corona symptom ;-)
Stay healthy!

Whereas I'm pretty sure there 'is' no one else like you.

Clearly, the ball is in Fujifilm's court for all the reason's discussed. You'd think with all the most basic of entry level, "amateur" models they have introduced (and have long been forgotten), they would have stopped to produce a (most memorable) B&W only- again as mentioned, even if it didn't sell (which I think unlikely) it would still bring that increased attention to the rest of their product line.

PS- Not a general fan of high contrast imagery (as the enclosed)- or digital B&W for that matter. There are the rare exceptions, like Peter Turnley, who makes more than acceptable film approximations, as well as those, such as Matt Black, who deals with it more on its own unique technical terms. But those who put in the necessary time and effort to come up with high quality, digital B&W are few indeed- the B&W software preset crowd being the equivalent of day old fast food. Generally, digital B&W can produce exquisite results in open shade, contrasty/direct sunlight- hats off to those that can make it work!

I hear you on B&W. I have a couple of Sony's, an a6000 and an a6300. How hard could it be to change the viewfinder to grayscale when the cameras are set to shoot B&W?

Quick look at some cameras I have:

Panasonic GX9

MENU→ [Rec] → [Photo Style]

[Monochrome] Setting that creates a picture using monochrome shades of gray
only, such as black and white.
[L.Monochrome]* Setting that creates a monochrome picture using rich shades of gray
with deep solid black tones.
[L.Monochrome D]* Setting that creates a dynamic monochrome picture with
emphasized highlights and shadows.

Sony A7 II

Camera Settings:
→ Creative Style
Black & White
→ Picture Effects
High Contrast Mono
Rich-tone Mono

Olympus E-M1 II

Art Filters Grainy Film I & II and Dramatic Tone II have various sub effects, including Monochrome.
_____________________

You may not like this idea, but it is possible to walk out the door with a camera that shoots monochrome and displays monochrome on the LCD as it does so.

Is it likely to be as subtle in tonal transitions as a Leica Monochrom? Possibly not, depending on subject. Is it as pure? Well, of course not.

Is it imperfect? Sure. The effects are delivered only as JPEGs; Raw files are unaffected. OTOH, if a photo is special, the same effect may be achieved in the brand specific Raw conversion software.

Or, of course, the many, many choices in Raw conversion in post may be used.

This way answers the desire for a mono camera in use. If the specifics of the results outside of the camera(s) don't please, alternate conversions are available, and automatable.

So let's summarize:
Leica M10 Monochrom "Leitz Wetzlar", $8,295.
Camera you already have, $0

Just sayin'


RAW + JPEG in a black and white simulation is a close approximation to what you are talking about. It does several beneficial things:

1) You see only a B&W image on the LCD preview/review (my experience is with Fuji).

2) If your set the pair to be stacked in your editor, you see only the black and white image when browsing images.

3) The RAW image allows you to have full control over B&W filtration choices--really much nicer than using physical filters for this purpose. Also, if you are doing the colored ones in post you'll have fewer stacked filters if you use a polariser or diffusion or IR filter, too.

If there some way to automatically apply the B&W simulation to the RAW by default as a layer that would be even better--you'd never have to see the color image *ever*.

4) No need to carry two cameras (or to buy two cameras) if you have mixed use.

5) No need for your color work to suffer if you suddenly need to shoot color--just shoot in B&W and correct those images into color later. Maybe a button can be assigned to switch from color to B&W?

Or just shoot the Fuji Acros simulation and be happy. :)

--Darin

I have my Panasonic LX100 MKII set up so my default view is black and white and rarely change it back to color. And, thanks to the magic of one of the latest Lightroom updates, the RAW files are imported with the cameras monotone profile. This is the camera I’m most likely to carry when out and about. Lots cheaper than $8000. I think I paid $1200 when it was first introduced a few years ago. This LR update also allows me to see and shoot black and white with my Olympus cameras too - without having to generate a jpeg for BW and a color RAW file

I'd like to hear from someone here who understands camera sensor construction. Is a black and white sensor the same thing as a color sensor, just without the color filter array sitting on top of it? If so, I wonder why a company like Cosina couldn'ask a sensor manufacturer to make a run of sensors without the color filter array attached. And then build a small affordabe B&W digital camera... like the affordable Cosina Voigtlander rangefinder cameras?

From time to time I feel the same, but when I do, I ask myself would I actually buy one? And if I wouldn't, would enough people buy it, or would they be like me and just like the idea? If there aren't enough actual buyers, then there isn't a viable market. The reason I probably wouldn't is I have close to that now. Set a recent Fuji model to one of its B&W modes and you're seeing and seemingly shooting in B&W. Open the RAW file in a recent version of Capture One and it automatically applies the Fuji B&W mode. So you won't see colour unless you choose a colour profile in C1. That seems to give you what you want, doesn't it?

So what value does a monochrome only camera have over this? In theory more sharpness, but I don't feel in need of any more, and as we all know, sharpness is a bourgeois concept. I once read a review of the Monochrom by a Leica-ophile that claimed its real advantage was not more sharpness, but a big increase in dynamic range and shadow detail, and a big reduction in noise. If that is correct, and if that is something that would apply to any monochrome-only camera, not just the Leica sensor, then I could be seriously tempted. You can never have too much shadow detail.

Regarding Alan Schaller's photographs: When looking at photographs online, my eye cannot discern any real difference between a B&W image made with a Leica Monochrome or a Fuji camera or a Sony camera... I can only see interesting composition and competent processing. I've often wondered what I'd see if I could see prints on the wall of the same image made by the same photographer made with Leica, Fuji, Sony, Nikon, and Canon cameras. Would I see any difference then?

I can't afford a classic Porsche. So, I drive my car and imagine it's my Porsche. Not the same, but it's dangnabbit near enough.

I have a roll of B&W film in my digital camera. It takes the discipline of setting it all to B&W jpeg output only - and imagine that it's a purpose built B&W digital camera. It's not the same as what you want. But it might be just dangnabbit near enough. Costs nothing to try.

Making a variation of a camera costs a lot, because it needs to be designed, manufactured, marketed, stored and shipped and supported. However, now the BW camera can be done in software. Many cameras permit a BW mode and if that is not enough, a design could be done that could more thoroughly enforce BW throughout the camera.

All that is needed is for a camera maker to release a b&w only firmware. It will be like loading a different film. When you are done with the roll, you can switch.

Fuji?

I’m almost certain you’ve covered this before, so sorry if that’s the case, but what’s the issue with changing the viewfinder to show in b&w? Not saying there isn’t something wrong with that, just curious to understand the difference. I imagine there’s a fair bit of flexibility in how the b&w can be set to look these days with many cameras(?) I may be wrong however.
Feel free to simply point me to the explanation if you’ve already explained it!

Cheers. I have been arguing exactly this for a while on DPR forums. I'd go a bit further. A camera like the M10 mono is really a tool for street photographers. Street photography is a genre for real enthusiasts, many of them young and likely to be in the game for many years. Gaining brand identification with them has to be good for a manufacturer. Sony for one suffers from still being dismissed as a tv maker. Bringing out a mono camera specifically designed for street shooting and selling way below the Leica would be a very good marketing strategy.
The Leica suffers form a street shooter omission that others could address. It has no viewer for waist level shooting. While not all street shooters want waist level finders, many do. I'd make a point of including a flip down screen and I'd make sure it was high quality and viewable in bright light. And I'd promote this feature in the advertising. I'd slim the menus and arrange them and the controls specifically for street shooting needs.It would have fast af and tracking and also enable fast switch to manual focus. Prefereably I'd want butter smooth focussing and Fstop control on the lens barrel.
It ought to be kept small. Olympus would benefit from such a camera in their range. The Sony A7C or 6000 series or even the RX100 series would be good foundations.
Whoever, the thing should be marketed with lots of promotion of B&W and the advantages of the mono sensor for B&W. I'd also be talking about prints in the promotion. Get onto the radar of the young, long term enthusuasts.

Mike,
Although my, like your, digital camera shoots in raw color, I am delighted that at least I can turn the viewfinder to a monchrome setting to help me preview the light. By the way, if it doesn't look good to me that way, I rarely shoot. I turn all my raw color shots into monochromes in Lightroom later and then print them as monochromes. That being said, I agree with you - there should be an affordable camera that shoots in monochrome even if it is a niche market. I'd be first in line (or just behind you if such good news came our way!)

Alan’s photos are superb and for me a lesson in light. I do wonder how much of that fine tonality might be created in post. I recently obtained an open box Olympus Pen F for an amazing price. I thought I was done with M4/3 but I read to many testimonies about the camera’s B&W abilities. There is a dial on the front of the camera let’s let’s the user quickly switch from color/monotone modes. I am using B&W mode #2 with yellow filter. Looks great. Especially when it saved me $7,600 by not buying the Leica.

Of all the arguments I've read for a monochrome sensor camera, I think the ones like yours are the most sensible.

I really am the other way (and that's not a challenge to your argument in any way). I could set my camera to show me a monochrome world in the viewfinder and on the LCD. However, I leave it in colour because when I'm not looking through the camera's display, I see the world in colour. I need to be able to see the potential black and white photograph with my own eyes and brain before I make the image for black and white. It's completely personal.

By the way, I've made one of your arguments many times. I don't want a monochrome sensor camera, but I am delighted that they exist for the people who do want or need them to do their work. Choice is good.

Since digital cameras sales are in decline, by large numbers as I have read. I still can’t believe that the marketing teams at Nikon, Canon and Sony have not yet launched B&W digital cameras, What the heck !!!. It’s not that late in the game to start development, I would imagine it’s not that difficult to manufacture. There are a handful of companies that will remove the bayer color dots off your current color digital sensor. I would buy a dedicated B&W cameras tomorrow if they were available and not incredibly expensive (aka) LEICA. Good marketing means you “create the need” but in this case the need is already there. I am quite bored with digital color these days and wish digital B&W was an option.

but, Mike, when I set my Fuji X-T2 up to shoot in Acros, a custom recipe, or even the standard monochrome, and I look through the EVF or use the LCD.... everything is in black & white...

why would I need to drop $8k on that 'status symbol'?

Admittedly I know nothing about running a company. But the fact that Leica has enough success selling monochrome versions of their camera (the fact that they have iterated tells me it met their sales needs) suggests there is room for someone else.

The Leica ones (for me it would be the Q2 Monochrom) is ideal but for 4500 problems, which is the number of dollars more than I could spend.

I would buy either a monochrome Ricoh GR, or a Fujifilm X100 in a heartbeat. I'm confident that either would be perfectly good for me.

But alas, they don't seem likely to make them. Le sigh.

Patrick

Personally, I love the thought of a black and white only digital camera. I'd buy one, but Leica's offerings are well and truly out of my price range. I like shooting black and white very much. I'm colour blind, so it makes things much easier, but it's more than that. The vast majority of my favourite photos are black and white. Monochrome simplifies photos. The best photos are simple, so in my mind, monochrome is a close ally of good photography.

By the way, Alan Schaller is, to me at the moment, possibly my favourite living photographer--and I generally don't even like street photography. His best photos are simple, elegant and purposeful, and he takes them from the chaos of the streets. "Takes" is the wrong word. He creates photos from the everyday scenes around him. It takes focus, imagination and discipline. My photography is nothing like his. I have to change that.

It might be useful to make a distinction between the camera allowing the user to see in BW and the camera itself actually "seeing" and recording inherently in BW by using a sensor that doesn't have a set of colored lenses in front.

As an example, when its front mode dial is turned to "mono", the Olympus Pen-F makes a BW JPEG and displays in monochrome to the user on both the EVF and the rear LCD, but it still records the RAW data as a full RGB color image that requires later de-mosaicing and BW conversion with post-processing software.

It would seem that the only fundamental difference between a regular RGB sensor and one that inherently records as BW is the lack of the color lens layer in front, along with modifications to in-camera and post-processing software.

Technically, this would not be difficult and would result in better BW images, but it would seem that cameras makers have generally concluded that it's not economically feasible to make BW-only models at this time, at least not for most product lines.

Along with the simple minimalist digital camera, the digital B&W camera is a bit of a blind spot for camera makers. Except Leica, of course.

It's the seeing in colour that's the problem, but perhaps a yellow filter on the lens would help you see more easily in monochrome. It wouldn't be a viable colour photo, that's for sure.

I have no idea if lens filters for B&W are practical on digital cameras or not, but it's worth a try.

Also not present, as far as I can see in the lens ranges of the DSLR makers, are fast, compact, wide-angle primes for APS-C cameras. By compact, I mean not much more than two inches long, and no bigger than a 58mm filter thread.

If you need a 24mm f/1.8 or f/2, if there's one at all it'll be the big bulky one for full frame. But if you need a fast, compact 18mm (say f/2) there's nothing. I'd love one of these, for low light work in crowded pubs. Using bulky relatively slow wide angle zooms in such places makes it nigh impossible to get through the crowd.

And no, I have no intention of changing to a mirrorless system.

I really think Fuji would be the ideal candidate to produce a mono camera. I think it would fit into their range perfectly.

I like his work but I wonder how much post processing he did to make those very high contrast b&w images. Showing them against a black background accentuates this.
Since he uses a 24mm lens and an iPhone has a 26mm equivalent lens maybe he could have saved himself a ton of money by just using his phone

I agree with you and I suspect a lot of people do. Many of us have been hoping Fuji would make a mono version of the X Pro 3. I know you can get the sensor modified to shoot only mono but the resolution you get won't have the high resolution a mono Leica would. Not even close.

I think the market for monochrome only digital cameras would be big, at least by the current state of the digicam market. The market for digital rangefinders is miniscule by comparison, so the unobtainium nature of Monochroms is also driven by lower demand as well as Leica’s pricing structure.

I don’t see why Fuji (especially) or the other majors couldn’t do it, even if their net margin per unit were vanishingly small. Getting a good b&w raw straight out of the camera would appeal to not only serious “amateurs” but to prominent photographers of many genres. I suspect this is a case driven as much by the “product managers” being money men rather than hard core photographers first.

I don't know, but I assume, that a custom B&W camera would render tones, etc., better.

But if you're just looking to see in B&W when you take a photo, why not set the JPG mode to B&W? Your viewfinder and LCD will display according to the JPG settings, i.e. in B&W. The RAW file is of course in full color, but if you set the RAW software to the same B&W profile in the camera, it will already approximate what you see in the viewfinder.

Hear, hear. A Lumix GX Monochrome, a no frills, stills only camera. A poor man's M monochrome. Sign me up for it!

I'm slowly coming to terms with the realization I'm enjoying using my iPhone 11 Pro camera (which actually is 3 cameras, 3 lenses and 3 sensors) more than my Nikon gear. So easy to use, and the results such good quality, at least for me. I'm adapting.

At the same time I lament, or am frustrated that my Nikon does not have an internal 128gb or 256gb of memory, why am I saddled with a memory card? Or a cable? Why is the wi-fi, bluetooth, etc. so cumbersome? And slow.

Why is the processor in the camera old technology? And while the rest of the tech universe is moving to toward slim, compact devices which actually have some sex appeal, we are left with cameras getting larger and heavier, or at the least status quo.

Don't get me wrong, I am still fond of my Nikon gear, but the love is waning slowly over time.

And so I agree, why are there not more choices? Why are cameras not more modular? Why not a "build your own" feature in which you could choose the sensor (including a monochrome option) and AF system for the camera? The memory space? Viewfinder? And so on.

Rant over. I'm getting older too, next year I hit 60. And so I agree with Mark b, I may need to get used to it, or go iPhone full time except when I need a telephoto zoom.

Personally I see camera gear going the way of high fidelity music equipment, a niche upscale market. The smartphone cameras are the greatest snapshot device ever, and all most people need, and by a lot.

I do understand your argument, when we went out with a camera loaded with Tri-X, we knew it was B&W or nothing. There was no 'weasel room' to think "oh, this might be better in color'. It solidified the commitment and 'seeing' to monochromatic interpretations.
B&W records the world differently than color and we need to be able to see tonal mergers that wouldn't be an issue in color.
Obviously some very fine photographers agree with you.
Interestingly, we had to shoot Tri-X with a 'color' viewfinder and now Monochrome Digital cameras have provided the first ever total monochrome process as both the viewfinder and the resultant images are monochrome.
If the camera business were 'healthier' I think we would have seen a more affordable B&W only camera by now.
But the state of the camera manufacturing business is so difficult even Photokina has been cancelled, (probably forever unless the industry bounces back in some unforeseen way)
So while there is no doubt that there is some small market for more affordable B&W only cameras, I think the probability of seeing one is not very good.

The best alternative my be to "Trick yourself" by setting up your older Fujifilm camera as a B&W Only camera with a B&W viewfinder and use some of Fuji's fine JPEG Film Simulations as a dedicated B&W camera.
You might even want to tape a Trip-X box top to he back...........
Then shoot it for a month or two exclusively until the 'mental muscle memory' of B&W returns.
If none of that works, Rent a Monochrom for a month as a Christmas gift to yourself.

Hi
I have enjoyed your site for a few years now, first time I comment.
It seems to me that there are a few solutions to the issues you describe.
1. There are 2 companies that I know which can remover the Bayer matrix color filter from a Sony digital sensor and make the camera true monochrome. MaxMax.com and monochromeimaging.com.
2. Most digital camera can be set so you see in B&W trough the EVF and also record B&W JPEGs.
3. B&W film simulation by Fuji primarily.

What are your thoughts?

I would like a nice reasonably priced monochrome digital camera. Right now I have the alternative of doing conversions using software (although I think my Canon digital can produce mono jpgs). My understanding wife allowed me to purchase a Leica M7 a few years ago when it was selling as a starter kit with a 50mm lens for around $5K -- a ridiculous amount of money but a terrific camera. It is devoted to b+w film, and I switch off between the film and digital on a regular basis (digitize the negatives with an ancient Minolta film scanner and process in Lightroom).

Had I been more economically minded, could have bought one of a variety of Voigtlander 35mm cameras for a lot less before they went out of production. M7 also out of production now.

My solution, Mike, is my Z 6 with $15. adapter for my collection of older Leica M and older lenses. Setting the camera to b&w and focus-peaking works quite well.

One of the unintended consequences of my Z 6 is that I can use my "collection" quite easily. Though I love the process of using the M4 bodies and film, it's the hassles of having to process the film then to digitize the best frames. I'm old and impatient and shoot too much to be encumbered with the film process any more though I wish I did. But I don't like dwelling eloquently about the past and need to forge onward.

The two or three lenses I use regularly with the Z are usually in color, in the darkness and using peaking as I can. However, when the Z is set for b&w, the files are pretty nice! Once advantage to shooting this camera in monochrome is that with the RGB-filtered sensors, filters can be dialed in within the file and those I need to give it a try, so should traditional Wratten-numbered filters.

The "built-in" filters seem a little week compared to shooting similar real filters and Tri-X, but the advantage is wysiwyg b&w to confirm one's visualization.

Visualization is how I worked for the early part of my photographic journey until the late 1980s shooting from Panatomic-X (with my last rolls purchased in Juneau, Alaska, in the early 1970s when it was discontinued) through Verichrome-X at its end (purchased just before a second trip there) through Tri-X and P3200. In all those years, Tri-X seems to be my most used film if my memory isn't too polluted ;-p

Out of the camera even higher-quality jpeg b&w files are quite nice and I hate trying to recreate them from the raw data in ACR though I'm sure I could learn how...

Part of my evolution to this point was that some of the images from my m43 shot in Hail Mary lighting just lost it as to color. However, extracting the essence of an image for pure emotion and spirit of the moment rose though simple and expressive processing to b&w and the images were successful. In all reality the quality of the color under these situations is of minimal importance to the essence of the photograph.

Recently, Snapseed on my iPhone has opened a new avenue of simplified b&w thought it's part of post-processing rather than capture directly to b&w. As I told some, It's somewhat like shooting my Rollie or H'Blad, but with only with two lenses and makes me work a little for the photo.

I would recommend that if you do have a b&w setting on your current frame-grabber you give it a try and see what you think. After all the best camera....

However for me, although I like the in-camera b&w, I'm still lazy and will simply visualize the image, making a mental note to do conversion in post with the luxury of time to craft my image my way remembering that like Ed Weston realized, there's another image around the next bend in the road.

Happy snapping!

On my attached web page link, examples of both in-camera b&w and post are showcased

Perhaps someone with more scientific know-how than I can figure out a filter that removes color or something along those lines.

For your B&W camera, there’s my 35mm shift lens. Still, at least the Contax fit Zeiss still takes good images and is more affordable than a current TS-E would be.

Could you pressure Fuji into a B&W model? I use my Fuji cameras in Mono settings and they seem just about OK but I feel forced into taking in colour and converting in RAW a silly situation as Fuji's jpgs are so very good.
Please a B&W camera with no RAW just the options of coloured filters and approximations of Kodak, Fuji and Ilford roll films.

Very best wishes for the Season and 2021 and keep painting
Ian Castle
Orford
Suffolk
UK


My imaging with cameras has evolved to shooting color with digital, and black and white with film. I usually bring a digital camera along that you can change to black and white on the screens for reference to a shot I’m taking with film, if not for the exposure information, but also for a fair representation of the tones and depth, There are a lot of cameras that one can carry to do this, even the iPhone. I like the option of having a jpg or raw color that I can compare with later, too.

I prefer a longer tonal scale and open shadows, although his high-contrast photos are a legitimate choice.
I do too, and don't love Schaller's pictures on screen, but I saw them in print at the Melbourne Leica gallery and they were spectacular.

Mike — I think the closest you can get is to set the camera up so that it gives you a B&W preview on preview screen, and then set up Lightroom so that automatically applies a basic mono profile on import.

If everything goes well, you'll never see the colour image. You'll know it's there, but the longer you resist the temptation to peek at it in LR, the sooner you'll forget about it.

"But I have trouble seeing in B&W when I know the camera is seeing in color". This really resonated with me.

With film I mostly shot in B&W as I preferred the aesthetic and I had full control over the results in the darkroom. I remember the horrors of trying to work with Cibachrome and such.

When I "went digital", two things happened. I knew I would have to learn to see in colour and at last I had much better control over the results.

I am often told that this or that shot would be great in monochrome, but the idea of making a monochrome image of an image born in colour just seems wrong to me.

I must admit that looking at B&W images produced today has an air of pictures that cling to the photography of "yesterday" and with rare exceptions look dated. I have moved on with my photography.

I have no interest in B&W photography anymore, I just love the fact I can now work in my home "computer darkroom" in colour, which is probably what I always wanted to do.


The Sigma SD Quattro is (or can be) a true black and white camera, which produces b+w raw files if that's what you want. It can also produce colour raw files, and you can convert one to the other since there is no colour filter on the sensor, but rather three stacked sensors each recording one of r,g, and b. Of course it has other limitations, but this is a big plus for me.

Hi Mike, while most camera manufacturers don’t make dedicated monochrome cameras, there is an active after market industry in modifying DSLRs for IR, UV and monochrome (debayering of the sensor) photography, plus adding coolers for astrophotography. Yes, you lose manufacturer’s warranty, but technically you can buy a monochrome camera that doesn’t cost the price of a small car.

Something to remember here, if you use capture one for your raw file processing what you shoot is how capture one opens it. So if my Fuji is set to shoot black and white of course I see it as black-and-white on the camera and when I open the raw file it also is black and white. All your JPEG settings are not applied but you’re not seeing it in color first and then having to make it black-and-white again. And of course the black-and-white isn’t so baked and you can’t change it after that you can go from Acros to black-and-white and apply all the filters
And there is also the Fuji X-raw software which while isn’t ideal really applies all in camera settings to a Tiff or jpg for final output.
You really can’t shoot black-and-white see black and white and never have to work with it and color at all.

"But I have trouble seeing in B&W when I know the camera is seeing in color." So which camera ofthe film days didn't 'see in color'? Can't think of a single one with a black a d white viewfinder.

[Recording in color. I have no problem looking through a viewfinder window to make a B&W picture. In fact I don't even like B&W EVFs, because they usually don't show very good B&W. --Mike]

Following up on the question regarding "do you like Schaller's tone?" I certainly like his photography. I "like" the tones I guess. Certainly, for viewing online, there is nothing magical about the tones that couldn't be recreated with any camera. It is possible that the tonal range of the M may show some visible difference in prints if the prints were produced to show off those advantages. But my guess, seeing that the "tones" in the images have been tweaked quite a bit from what would have come SOOC, is that the benefits of that long gradual Leica M tonal range have probably been removed from these files? Were any of the images on that site "made possible" by the fact that he was using a Leica M? Certainly not. They were made possible because he's a great photographer.

Alan Schaller makes some highly interesting images, has managed to travel extensively and, to make matters worse, seems to be making a reasonable career out of his Leicas. He's also an accomplished musician. I can understand he raises some hackles. :-)

Exposing for the highlights and letting the shadows do as they see fit does not automatically imply soot-and-whitewash photography; there are lots of valuable tones available within that recorded range, more than enough to get interesting photographs.

I've used that technique on quite a few pictures in my Viillage Highlights slot that lives under the Projects gallery in my website.

A technique worth trying out, if only to provide something to do with all these wonderful cameras.

Rob

Mani Sitaraman wrote:
'As an aside, while very expensive monochrome sensors are a choice, as far as I know, there is no monochrome monitor to match. Much digital photography relies on the transmissive medium of LCDs which are three-color arrays. Would monochrome digital images look nicer on an LCD designed without a color matrix filter layer? Or would it make no difference?"'

IIRC, there are specialized monochrome LCDs made for the medical imaging industry (think X-Rays, etc.), but I think in addition to being pricey on their own (possibly they are 10 bit) they require graphics cards also designed for mono. At least I think there used to be. Perhaps 'progress' has obviated the need. Or also, I may be completely mistaken.

Patrick

There are workarounds for those folks who like Fuji Acros jpegs and but like to control tonality through color channels in post:

1. You can always shoot RAW+jpg and choose to work from the output that will work best for that shot.

2. You can bracket 3 film simulations to include Acros and color (for conversion) and choose depending on what will work best. There is a cost in battery drain, storage, and buffering time, though. Wish Fuji would let me toggle down to just two simulations.

I assume similar possibilities exist with other manufacturer's cameras.

I never shot Acros film, but the Fuji simulation reminds me a lot of Verichrome Pan, which I loved.

Fascinating! These posts show more about how our brains work than how cameras work. Somehow I suspect your desire, Mike, is tied to your preference to manual transmissions.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Portals




Stats


Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007