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Sunday, 28 August 2022

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Mike, look at this:

https://www.photonstophotos.net/Charts/PDR.htm#Sigma%20fp,Sony%20ILCE-6600

Decisions...decisions....

Converting the A6600 is $1200 and if you don't like it, it could sink both the value of the camera and conversion cost.

It is easier to decide if one is faced with a Leica Monochrome price. Eventually, I just shoot film with my M6, scan the negatives into digital and kept the negatives as archives. It will take a long time for this hybrid process to reach the cost of a new Monochrome.

By that time, the Monochrome would have gone kaput because it's digital.

Some darkroom work flow is not new to you. You can already scan skillfully. Film always have that endearing analog look to it. Why not, Mike?

If you can get "as-good-or-better" from the color conversion files, why not just go that route and save the $1,200? Spend the $1,200 on snooker cues or whatever... :)

[ I don't blame people for not following along--I've written a lot about this recently and I imagine a lot of it is very easy to skip over. Short version: I want a camera that shoots B&W only, and returning to film is not viable for me. --Mike]

Or you could just pull a roll of film from the freezer on the occasion you want to shoot b&w and save your A6600 and the cash. Film is better in some ways if you only shoot b&w occasionally. Digitizing film at the kitchen table can be a piece of cake with a camera like the A6600.

I was struck by this sentence in your article: "This is just provisional for now, pending further investigation, but it seems that a converted sensor can give results that are as good, in most cases, or at least almost as good, as conventional color files converted in software."

In other words, why convert the sensor of either camera at all? My impression from reading (not doing, I have to admit) is that opinions are quite mixed on whether sensor conversion or software conversion to b&w is the way to go. For example, will DxO's PureRaw plus Silver Effex Pro bundled now at around $250 do what you need, although you would not have a monochrome camera? This is a question, not a suggestion!

[I don't blame people for not following along--I've written a lot about this recently and I imagine a lot of it is very easy to skip over. Short version: I want a camera that shoots B&W only, and returning to film is not viable for me. --Mike]

Is this purely an investment decision to begin with? Factoring in the various costs and resale values might be beside the point. If you convert the 6600 and like it, why worry about its resale value. Just shoot with it. Unless that's not the entire aim of the exercise.

Unless this is part of a proof of concept to do with research for your blog and income stream and you're going into it knowing that you won't keep the camera regardless. That's different.

An obvious downside is if the conversion does not suit you. Is there not a way to find out how good the result is from others who have converted that model?

Mike, I don't think the question is which option to choose, it is whether to spend the money at all. You have a hobby that costs money to pursue, or you have an artistic vision, which takes money to realize. Either way, the question is "spend or not spend?" The $1,600 or so that this will cost you is an entertainment expense, like books or movies. Resign yourself to that, and as the Brits say, "Bob's your uncle."


But that's really the trick, isn't it? I share your desire for a B&W digital camera, but every time I stare that conversion fee in the face, the SilverFX Pro conversions look a little bit better. A glance at Leica's prices sends me right 'round the bend. But that's just me. You have said that neither is really a preferred option for you, but since it is not: resignation and payment?

Expensive modifications are hard. It almost seems easier psychologically to buy an already modified camera. But your Sony-only service looks like a good deal. Over at Max Max, looking in the store, cameras are priced very high.

https://www.maxmax.com/shopper/category/9241-monochrome-cameras

My guess is that ultimately it will come down to the overall experience. If you prefer shooting with the Sony now, you will prefer it after the conversion. Same for the Sigma.

Mike,
Your best move is hope you can keep using the loaner camera as long as you got to use the Reporter. Tell the owner you need to keep it until winter snows arrive. The guy who loaned you the Reporter was told you needed to keep it until late summer last winter.

As another 60-something person that has wants and desires for gear with visions of, "If only I had (fill in the blank), I'd be set." I had to start asking myself, "What CAN'T I do with my current gear that this (again, fill in the blank) will allow me to do?" The answer is usually not much.

Hope you are happy with whatever choice that you make, but if you have to anguish over it, maybe it is not so needed.

[Funny you should mention that question, because this equipment does something that my current equipment definitely does not do. --Mike]

Maybe I’ve lost track of what equipment you currently own, but why is there no discussion of converting a Fuji camera to B&W? You already have lenses with aperture rings in that mount.

[Daniel only converts Sonys and in some cases Sony sensors. He's done fp's and A6600s. He doesn't do Fujis. I gather MaxMax will do Fujis, but their prices are much higher. --Mike]

Hi Mike;
A gentle reminder from "Weigh In", Friday, 23 February 2018:

"I should have explained (again) that the thing I'm looking for that I don't have now is in-body image stabilization (IBIS)... I shoot in low light a lot, and it's a non-negotiable feature for me in the next go-round."

We all evolve based on experience, which is a good thing (as is said: "Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement"). I think I've read this in your posts on a regular basis - but also glad to see you exploring, experimenting, evolving. It will help keep you young.

[Yes, as I said, the Sigma's lack of IBIS is a serious drawback. --Mike]

I accept that so far you have only been able to ‘see’ B&W picture when you have a B&W camera. My practical & cheap suggestion is that while you have the Mono cameras you also set up the Sony A6600 to display only B&W when shooting and B&W when the files open on the computer, assuming this is possible as with other cameras. If you mingled use of the Sony along with the Mono cameras you might retrain your brain to accept that the Sony is a B&W camera. Worth a try?

Of course the ideal setup for this would be to have 2 Sigma FPs.

As a former film/darkroom guy (50 years<>) who has used a wide variety of films, the only obvious differences (in a print) I can see are 1) orthochromatic vs panchromatic and 2) grain. Obviously, I'm ignoring infrared film here.

As Ansel Adams demonstrated with his zone system, contrast and tonal separation could be altered in development and printing. One other exception was Ilford's XP-2 which was dye-based rather than silver-based. The fact that XP-2 dye is translucent rather than opaque like silver grains makes it unique. So, unless you are going with commercial processing, the 'look' of a print is largely in your control.

Even the negative size makes a difference. If I shoot the same photo on the same film with 35 mm, on a 645 Mamiya and with my 4x5 Wista, the resulting 8x10s will look different even if I work in the darkroom to control contrast and tone because I will be enlarging the grain pattern differently.

There are digital processing filters/apps/programs that emulate what most perceive as the characteristic 'look' of a variety of classic films, if that is your objective, and do it at far less expense than converting your digital camera to B&W only.

Didn’t you recently buy a big lumberyard (LF) camera? If simply shooting bw film is “not feasible” it should be sold to help fund this project, no? (And it’s a fire hazard any way! 😆)

I'm not a scientist, but my understanding is the FF sensor has maybe a stop advantage. But I also understand that when you convert to a monochrome sensor that you gain a stop, maybe a bit more. Just thinking the A6600 would still be a good choice since it seems you have always preferred compact cameras and have limits to the size/weight gear you like to carry. And you already know you like the A6600 (with a few quirks, which all cameras have) and it has IBIS, which is essential for your yips.

Your current shooting with the FP proves that shooting with a monochrome sensor is what is really important for your mindset and enjoyment of B&W photography. My guess is you'll equally enjoy the Leica M for the same reason. It's hard to see a reason why the A6600 with a monochrome sensor would not be equally enjoyable.

Glad you're having fun!

I will repeat and refresh the advice I gave a week or two ago. Based on reading almost all of your camera posts over recent years, if I were in your shoes I would:
1) Sell all Fuji gear. You have quite a bit and should be able to recover enough money for the conversion of your A6600 plus the purchase of a second new or used A6600.
2) Convert one A6600 to monochrome, use the other for color.
3) Try that for a year or two and see how you feel. Then write the definitive report on monochrome vs color converted to monochrome in the same (Sony) camera.

Why do I think this is the "best" approach?
1) As I mentioned previously, if I'm going to use multiple cameras I want them to have similar (or the same) controls. In my case, the ancient Nikon D700 and D300.
2) If I'm going to use multiple cameras, I want them to use the same lenses. In my case, Nikon F-mount lenses.
3) IBIS is clearly very important to you, and having it in your monochrome (and matching color) camera will cater to your existing photo practices. Not having it will complicate your photo life.
4) The A6600 is a more compact and ergonomic camera vs the Sigma. Reading your posts it's clear that the Sigma is exciting now, but you've also noted that it is a pain to carry around. You (and Kirk) have convinced me that it would be a fun camera to try, but I am also convinced that I would quickly tire of dealing with such an ergonomic nightmare.

Finally, I'll just pass along some advice that my dad still gives me: "crap or get off the toilet." You're in good health but you're not getting any younger. If you really want something (to the point that you've been dreaming of a monochrome-only camera for years) just go for it. All of my life I have been an over-thinker and over-planner and it has cost me dearly in terms of relationships and experiences. It might have saved me a bit of money. I'm not sure that's a great tradeoff.

How about the converted fp with a stabilized zoom lens? I've thought about that combo myself (minus the conversion).

Mike
Is there something you really, really wish to make photographs of, in monochrome, or something about which you desperately wish to express yourself photographically in the same medium, that’s driving you in your current quest? Or is this an understandable sublimated desire to relive a stage in your life when you were younger and future horizons still in the distance?
If the former, then your current debate is a worthwhile activity for you, and of interest to many of your followers, if the latter then any resulting decision may prove to be unsatisfying, because clocks can’t be turned back.
P.S I don’t mind if you choose not to share my amateur psychoanalysis – we should all have the right to keeping parts of ourselves private.

Why don't you sell the Sony and its lenses now and buy the Sigma? Here's why:

1. You were already ok with not having a color Sony anymore, because you were going to convert it to b&w anyway. This makes good sense, since for casual color shots, a phone is plenty fine.

2. The resale value of the Sony is only going to decline over time. If you hold onto it a few years, you will lose that $600 off the resale value anyway.

3. Resale on the Sony is more than halfway to the price of a new Sigma before the lens and accessories, and almost half with.

4. We're talking about love here, right? You love shooting the Sigma. You like the Sony. The files you get out of a Sigma camera, they are worth the limitations.

As for no IBIS. My Sigma DP2 has poor high ISO (Anything above 400 bad, and honestly 400 is already not good.) performance and no IBIS. What to do? I shoot it at 1/4 second handheld. Does that work? Most of the time, no. But it does sometimes!

Regardless of camera choice think of the expense as a combination gym membership for the walking you will do while looking for "that" perfect photo. Which is also, as someone already mentioned, an entertainment expense. Two birds with one written check.

It seems you are contradicting yourself.
Converting the camera you already own (and apparently like) causes resale value angst, but purchasing a new camera (immediate out of pocket expense) that in your hands, seems a bit clunky and has no IBIS doesn’t trigger that same angst- “It's also okay to dismiss the resale proposition, because I like the camera a lot and I think I can commit to keeping it for the long haul”.

I vote to dance with the one you came in with.

By the way, how did you process the Osprey nest image to get that Tri X look? So much B&W conversion looks like it was shot on a television set.

It can't be just the Yellow filter.

Well...can you maybe get on the other end of a (someone else's) bad decision? Find somebody who converted their A6600 and has to sell it for maybe six or eight hundred dollars—and buy it?

Regardless, it's great to hear you talking enthusiastically about taking photos!

Are you sure the lack of ibis is a problem? I have an olympus omd em5ii which has not the newest version ibis and a panasonic gx-7,
The em5ii has ibis that online "experts" rate only about a half stop difference from the latest, and the panasonic is, well, when used with panasonic lenses with in lens stabilization, several stops less.
I've been taking photos since about 1966. In my younger years, tri-x was the fastest film in general use, anything faster came with problems, so I worked on camera holding techniques as hard as today's photographers work on finding the very sharpest lens available. I believe that what I learned and became reflexive when I pick up any camera has done more than the moving target of ultimate sharpness.
The truth is, ibis gains me in the grand scheme of things almost nothing.
I would expect with your training and education you might be the same.

Not sure if this relevant to any monochrome digital camera other than Leica, converted or not, but from what I’ve read from several sources, yellow filters are far weaker (to the point of not making any difference) when used on digital sensors compared to film days. Leica doesn’t make a yellow filter for their M cameras, only orange and red last time I checked). From memory, the many years ago I shot B&W film, the yellow filter produced subtle but distinct changes. I don’t see much if any difference with my Q2M with yellow filter or not, but I have no way of evaluating that rationally other than what I’m seeing with my 65-year old eyeballs. I’d be interested in your take on this with the M camera you’re using.

Not that you want to hear this - you (like me) are getting to the age where IBIS is a real/special benefit - our hands are not as steady as they were before and not getting any better. As this is a long-tern purchase/decision - go with the Sony and it’s IBIS.

Seems like a no brainer to me.

Just think of the many situations in which the Sony is useful and the Sigma is not.

One is mature and multipurpose designed for what you do, the other experimental and purpose built for what you don't do, and quite cumbersome as well.

You may have a hangup, but it's not likely over which to choose.

Wouldn’t the equipment and/or conversion be a claimable business expense?

"I believe two things will be true: . . ."

I believe one thing will be true. As with all the many enthusiasms that have passed by over the decades here, this one will pass. You will end up with gear that sits on the shelf, declining in value, as you mount your version of Rocinante and head off to find the next windmill.

Might I gently offer the idea that you are addicted to the search for the magic bullet that will make your life, if not perfect, a lot more so than now.

A lot of Eastern Gurus, Western Zens, and so on, go on about how it's the journey, not the destination. What if they are right about it in this case?


Should you recognize this as true, you might be able to enjoy the practically endless research and analysis, then, quietly let that energy sit and almost every time, dissipate.

On occasion, it won't, and one proceeds. Mostly, a new "cause" to pursue will naturally arise.

Follow this route, and you will also save yourself the existential problem of the left overs of the enthusiasm. Doesn't knowing about all those watches you don't wear or even look at anymore cause twinges? (Sell, and admit to the loss, or keep, and pretend it isn't there?)

Ask me how I know . . . Pay no attention to that big box of gear destined for KEH. Sure, I will definitely get around to that project soon. I've got the tools and supplies, so it's going to happen.

Maybe someone has already brought this up, but why are you so certain that converting your camera to monochrome will negatively impact its resale value? I would think quite the opposite. The market for converted cameras may be small, but it exists. And as we’re seeing with automobiles right now, there are people willing to pay a premium to get what they want right away. I’m seeing high end used cars going for more than the same model sells for new. Additionally, I’m certain that there are those who would be willing to pay a premium for the cachet of owning a camera formerly owned by Mike Johnston. Seriously.

Mike. Go to the bank. Tell them you need a business credit card. Charge the original Leica Monochrom on it (~$4,000 for an "excellent" used version at Keh.) Deduct the camera as a business expense, knocking it down to the ~$3,200 range. I think you already have a Leica lens or two. I mean, a Leica is what you really want -- and then pay off the credit card as you can. If it's in a discrete account like that, you never have to think about what you're paying off. You already know. Probably pay it off in a year or so.

I've found out through years of experience that getting something almost like what you really want is always going to be disappointing. And look on the bright side: You could be unable to pay off the credit card, but you get lucky and drop dead and you don't have to pay it off, but you do get to use the Leica in the interim.

I'm also better at giving advice to friends than figuring out what I want to do myself.

You (paraphrasing) said the problem is all in your head (g) in that if you know a camera can shoot color you can't visualize monochrome as well as when operating a camera that can only shoot mono.

Also, you concede that the 3rd party mono-conversion software for color files meets your standard for the look you want, so I would suggest that you could save LOTS of money by going the software route by spending time and potentially money on mindfulness or meditation training to help you overcome the mental bias while shooting.

Secondary advantages are that this would transfer to any camera you use, and you'd have access to the IBIS that you require. You'd just set the camera to RAW+JPG and set the display to mono.

In any case, this could be done as an experiment before committing to large outlays on conversion or purchase of a new camera+conversion. Your local library might even have books on the subject of mindfulness training and meditation that might help.

Patrick

As i wrote the other day, and seconding David D-B above, if the reasle value of a converted one is so low, why not hunt for one and enjoy somebody else's camera depreciation?
In the meantime you have loaners to get by, if it takes time to find one...

Why convert, Mike? Are B&W files from a colour digital sensor so bad, so poor in and to your eyes? Have I missed something in your previous writings?

Why not buy a cheap secondhand camera (Olympus Pen E-P2 or Olympus E-620 come to my mind, I wonder why?) known for its easy B&W conversion and practise your post-processing 'tweaking' to perfection and then get that camera converted to a mono camera if you must.

I don't know why everyone is so hellbent on saving you money. I find that new cameras fit into the old Irish saying about children: "They bring their own sandwiches". If you stretch and buy the camera you really want the photographic universe will deliver the extra income you need to offset the purchase.

After reading all the posts here and every single one of the comments I would suggest buying a new, in the box, Leica Q2M. Your son is already through college and gainfully employed. It's not like you would be depriving anyone else of anything crucial in order to buy the camera you might enjoy the most.

Sure, you might have a tight month of two but stuff comes in. You were able to swing the pool table and the pool table/entertainment center building because of some lucky gifts from the blogging gods. Just have faith that the same luck will arrive right on time to cover the Q2M.

Everyone seems to have a different approach to camera buying. I like the "direct assault/take no prisoners" approach. The ensuing drama is always entertaining. And the immediacy means you get to use the gear right now.

I've made tons of dumb camera buying decisions but I had fun every single time and no one else seemed to be negatively affected. It's scary in the moment to spend the money but a month or two later the expense is largely forgotten and the camera (usually) remains.

But first call up Leica USA and see if they are willing to become a sponsor of TOP in exchange for a Q2M. Weirder stuff has happened....

If you really do want advice (rather than to play a long game of "Yes, but": see: Games People Play) I'd suggest -- having followed your various cravings over the years -- that your real dilemma might be that you're a wealthy man trapped in a poor man's body... (I speak as a tall man trapped in a short man's body).

I know: "Yes, but..." ;)

I'm reminded of the late Peter Goldfield (not a name that will mean much outside the UK, but he ran the best photo workshops in Britain at Duckspool in the 1990s) who, realising he could never afford to take part in the emerging digital scene, decided to use a video camera he already owned as a route into what he called "digital on the cheap", and produced some really innovative work in the years before his untimely death in 2009. An admirable man who knew how to cut his coat according to his cloth.

Mike

Mike, you might consider something completely different:

Purchase a used 42mp full-frame Sony A7R II in excellent condition for ca. $700, convert it to monochrome, and add the nice Sigma 35mm f/2 lens.

You'd get an excellent full-frame, high-megapixel sensor that, in combination with the very nice Sigma lens would give you IBIS, autofocus, the ability shoot at 35mm or crop to your preferred ~40mm focal length, and a good viewfinder, all in a package that should be more compact and both easier to carry and easier to use than the Sigma FP array that you're trying now. You'd also be able to choose to keep your stock A6600 or sell it--and the monochrome A7R II might be resold more easily and at less of a loss than a modified A6600 if your enthusiasm wanes.

See, for example:

https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1686080

https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1770501

This only just occurred to me, and I don't know why I haven't thought about it before. If modifying the A6600 sensor involves removing various bits, doesn't that reduce the mass of the assembly being pushed around by the IBIS? How does the IBIS accommodate the change?

Conversions and microlenses. Still no one has commented on this. It is my understanding that the microlenses are stripped out as part of the conversion process. Mike, what focal length lenses do you intend using with your b&W conversion? If I am correct about the microlens stripping, you may not be happy with the IQ of edges with wider angle lenses. Could you ask the company that will do the conversion about this please?
Micro lenses were added to the sensors on mirrorless cameras to deal with this issue.

[Here's a good simple explanation of the purpose of microlenses on front-illuminated sensors:

https://www.opto-e.com/basics/sensor-characteristics

Note that this relates to telecentricity. The reason Leica made such a big deal about it was because legacy M WA's are not telecentric. Many WA's now are more so, meaning the microlenses may not be as essential on CMOS sensors. But since the sensor in the fp is back-side illuminated (according to Wikipedia), it wouldn't be an issue with this camera. --Mike]

"I don't blame people for not following along--I've written a lot about this recently and I imagine a lot of it is very easy to skip over. Short version: I want a camera that shoots B&W only, and returning to film is not viable for me." --Mike

The heart wants what the heart wants.

Incidentally, Tamron makes a kick-ass 45/1.8 with IS. It's for DSLRs though. I bet it could be adapted to the Sigma.

When running the financials for converting the 6600, let's not forget to include the opportunity costs assocaited with no longer having that camera for color stills. Only you can determine how much that is worth to you.

Mike, I almost forgot to share this NEX-7 image I posted to my blog this past week. It was made in 2013 at White Sands, NM while I was visiting my son. I believe it was converted to b&w with Silver Efex when Google gave it out for free. I was shooting my Sigma DP Merrill cameras during the shoot, but the Sony NEX-7 with the E 16-70/4 ZA OSS lens did a better job. The Sigma DPM cameras did not always do well under harsh sun. This picture was taken shooting straight into the afternoon sun.

John Camp is, as usual for you, almost correct.
He is right for you to get a used Leica Monochrome. But why spend just $4,000 when you can get the “Drifter” version for $23,000. On eBay.
Then, because you must have IBIS, send it to Solms to have it retrofitted with that.

"The sunk cost fallacy is a psychological barrier that ties people to unsuccessful endeavors simply because they've committed resources to it."

Just go for it, Mike!

Today’s post prompted me to do an image search on converted B&W cameras which led me to a site for a magazine named Amateur Photographer which led me to a recent article on the best cameras for B&W photography. One of the cameras mentioned in the article was the Ricoh GR IIIx. It seems you could equip the Ricoh with a generic LCD optical viewfinder (Hoodman ¼’-20 screw mount, Kinotehnik magnetic mount, etc.) and it would look much like a miniature version of the FP you’ve been shooting with. I realize you’re wanting a camera with a B&W sensor but people seem to like the Ricoh’s in camera RAW-DNG conversion to B&W and you did say you wanted to eventually compare converted sensors with converted files. You could rent one for $68 a week just to see what’s what.

As I said the other day, I know nothing about B&W…I also know nothing about the Ricoh so if this is a crazy idea just say so. I won’t be offended. :-)

Ricoh GR IIIx: APS-C 24MP, In-body stabilization (3 axis), 40mm equivalent lens, 2GB built in memory, Exposure compensation lever, USB-C charging, Built in 2 stop neutral density filter, Leaf shutter, Snap distance priority mode focus, and as an extra added bonus, the movie mode button can be customized to do something else!

What about the print?

With your loaner fp and your A6600 in hand, make the same picture. Make your most satisfactory print from the fp, and after B&W conversion, equally the A6600.

Enough of a difference to make it worth the money?

Or ... or .... just go ahead ahead and get the A6600 converted, and quit fretting so much. After all, it's only money, and it ain't gonna spend itself.

Completely off topic - but get back to that osprey nest in the spring. It's likely that the parent birds return each year, and you'll be able to see the hatchlings as almost newborns, being fed by the parents, and eventually as fully fledged flyers.

Mike
Just set your Sony to jpeg + raw, picture mode to monochrome and save yourself a lot of money and embarrassment. Your mantra "I want a camera that shoots B&W only" is only a mental block and comes across as a spoiled brat that wants a new toy.

You wrote yourself that there is no difference between a converted color file and a file from a converted camera. Be sensible.

All the best, Henk

[It's "a spoiled brat WHO wants a new toy." "That" is a pointer word to a thing; "who" is the pointer word to a person. All the best to you too, Mike]

"... much better at advising other people than I was at knowing what to do for myself".

Aren't we all, Mike.

Okay, here's what you should do...

Your pure B&W jpegs look fine on my color monitor.

I think the Sigma FPs are way less on the used market. It's a little shocking how much they depreciated once the "big" FP came out. KEH would only offer me something like $400 for one, I imagine you could get one on ebay in LN condition for $600.

What’s the doubt about the Sony? Since you already own it, you know how much you like the camera. You just don’t know whether you like the conversion.

Hypnosis?
"I have Tri-X film loaded in this film camera I'm holding. I do believe it."

Mike, I'd just ask: When was the last time you *loved* a camera? Just a thing to think about as you consider your choice.

Decisions, decisions, certainly a skill that is not my strong suit, but I think it would be a good idea to make some prints before you make a final decision. You and many others here on TOP have said that an image file is not really a photograph until it’s printed.

Many people have commented on and don’t understand your “mindset” issue. I have the same “mindset” issue you have spoken of when trying to shoot black and white images on a digital camera. I wish I didn’t, but I am not sure that any sort of mental training would help me overcome the issue. I am happy for the majority of readers of TOP that don’t have the same issue, but it is a real thing for some of us.

I number of people have said seeing an image in black and white in the EVF or on the LCD is helpful to them when shooting black and white with a digital camera. I wish I felt that way. I feel mostly uncertain as to what I am seeing when viewing the image on what amounts to a black and white monitor. Mike, you wrote about when shooting black and white film in a film camera the image in an optical viewfinder or on the ground glass is in color. For me, having taken up black and white photography years before digital photography was invented, seeing color in the optical viewfinder but black and white in my mind’s eye feels natural, what I am used to. If possible, I think you should try a camera with an optical viewfinder converted to monochrome before you make a decision.

Your pardner in a specific “mindset.”

Maybe you should do a Go Fund Me project and donors over a certain amount get a free print(s) from a selection of images you make with the new converted camera (whichever model it is). I bet you'd get some takers.

I'm inclined to recommend that you think about the decision you would have wanted to make, and then make that one (avoiding the intermediate steps).

From that perspective, it sounds to me like you're going to like this new outfit a lot, and that it's going to stimulate your creativity in ways that other cameras have not. So you might as well get the one you'll keep and use, even if the up-front cost is higher.

P.S. You can probably tell that I've arrived at the "Life is short, then you die, so you might as well get what you want if you can" stage. ;)

In my opinion the advantages of a converted monochrome sensor make sense, but the cost of doing it should only be done to a camera that you feel is actually worth it. That is, a camera that checks all your boxes. The a6600 is a fine camera, but personally I would prefer doing it to a full frame camera with IBIS, weather sealing, and an electronic shutter option at the very least. Not sure what camera that would be, just food for thought.

Still no IBIS and this means a new model is coming soon but fp is on large sale today. Just sayin'.

And just like that B&H adds to your dilemma by putting the Sigma Fp with the 45 mm Len on sale for $1599 this week.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1510938-REG/sigma_1a900_fp_mirrorless_digital_camera.html

John Camp speaks the truth. Buy the real deal and stop wasting your time and nerves on substitutes; it eats into your sleeping time and will eventually mess with your heart. If you can’t pull the trigger, it means you don’t really have a valid reason to own it.

Best bet: if you can’t have a career in real photography, walk away; the periphery of photography is a mess of wannabe blues.

By the time you hit my age, you’ll understand that photography isn’t the best thing in life, the only game worth playing. In retrospect, the only worthwhile memory photography gives is the memory of the gigs: the tools won’t register in those reveries unless you are forced into it through chatting with rabid photographers who can’t share similar experiences. Inevitably, gear is all they have left with which to force the bonding.

Were I you, I’d get a Miata instead and forget all about snaps and what to make them with: it’s a closed circuit. It isn’t going anywhere. Nobody normal can afford a classic Corvette; give yourself a Route 66 with that little Miata instead and break the chains that bind. I did in 1981, upped sticks, hoped for the best and lived for the moment from then on. The moment, sadly, is all we can ever be sure that we have.

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