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Friday, 12 August 2022


I hear you: I’m currently shooting with old film cameras and even bought stuff to develop film, while part of me is thinking that this is just a phase and I’ll soon be back to 100% digital. Is it nostalgia? Does it make sense?

Actually, it’s similar in the digital world as well for me. I know I don’t need the Canon R5 anymore as my specialty shifts, but I find it hard to give up FFM for micro-four thirds, even though I prefer using my MFT gear.

Hi Mike, can you explain what’s attractive about the monochrome Leica, or for that matter any black-and-white-only camera? I shoot only RAW, most of the time people, but print mostly B&W. One of the great advantages of digital over analog - to my experience - is the flexibility in translating color to gray-tone in post. Especially when working in Lab-colorspace you have the luminosity (the L-channel, the image in luminosity-values) plus two channels (a and b) of separately workable color-information with which I decide which color will be converted to which greytone. But even in RGB: why throw away two-thirds of your information and limit your B&W-conversion to the one that’s baked into the chip in your camera?
My favorite guide in this matter is Versace's From Oz to Kansas: Almost Every Black and White Conversion Technique Known to Man.

Can you explain?
Hans van der Molen, TOP-fan from Holland.

The camera that I bought when I took up photography again as an adult was a used N8008s ... I had the 35/2 lens that you were maybe waiting for, and the storied 75-150/4 manual focus zoom lens.

I had two of them for a while, and still keep one as a nostalgia piece. Lent it to a co-worker when his son had a darkroom class in college, which was interesting.

What I don't understand about modern digital cameras is why even the mirrorless ones are bigger than the 8008s. The m4/3rds are about the size you'd expect digital cameras to be ... but everything else is just so chunky.

Anyway, it was a nice machine. Great viewfinder. Too bad the AF only worked sometimes.

Also, with regards to this question

>>> the monochrome Leica, or for that matter any black-and-white-only camera

The theory here is that the monochrome camera does not need the Bayer, or other filter for color reconstruction, so overall the sensor might be more sensitive (since the Bayer filter blocks light) and there might be a small improvement in overall sharpness and resolution since you have less plastic/glass in front of the sensor.

The other theory is probably that B&W converted RGB files are not as nice to work with as monochrome.

And, finally, some people have trouble interacting with pictures in black and white if they have seen them processed for color, which can be hard to avoid with RGB cameras. I have had this experience, but sort of learned to power through it.

Lumix G100 with 20 mm f1.7 lens or 17 mm Olympus F1.8 lens. L Monochrome D.. Cheap, discrete, great viewfinder, great touchscreen. 20 megapixel sensor. Forget re video credentials.

If you have means to buy it, get it used and sell in a 2-3 years. Your total expense would maybe 1/3 of the original cost, and it will be cheaper than buying and processing film for sure.

Mike, I print and show black and white work and it has been well received. So I wondered if I should get something like the Q2 monochrome. So, I have researched these monochrome cameras. I think they would be fine for shooting Jpegs, but with Raw? I would not want to give up the B/W color sliders in Lightroom. I agree with Hans van der Molen above.

Weren't you going to get a Pixii loaner camera to review? I will be interested in your take on it once you get to use one.

I used to have a Minolta 7D and I agree that it had something special. It did have a ccd sensor though, which, on long exposures, suffered with something called "amplifier glow". Your night pictures would acquire an uneven purple cast. Mine gradually died after I got it wet in a heavy rainfall.

The marketing bullies seem to have convinced most buyers that full frame has some kind of special sauce. Fuji have been very canny in not going for it, but jumping straight into "medium format". Anyway, although mft might wither due to lack of sensor development, I don't think that apsc is going to die. My advice is abandon the search for the impossible perfect camera, set up your Fuji to be as simple as you like and get out to enjoy taking some pictures.

Re Steve Rosenblum’s Pixxi comment, above, you should try it. They now have a B&W mode in the latest firmware.

I really enjoy reading when the author conveys a true insight, honestly. It inspires me to be more honest with myself. Thank you Mike.

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