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Would you buy a camera that can only shoot in black & white?

Discussion in 'Weekly Poll' started by Damien_Demolder, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. Damien_Demolder

    Damien_Demolder Well-Known Member

    I’m a big fan of black & white photography. I like its simplicity, and the way the absence of colour can make us concentrate harder on the graphic elements of a scene and the tonal transitions that describe form and texture. I actually shoot a lot of my work in monochrome, and I like to tint and tone to help the viewer to develop an emotional response to the situations in the frame. I still shoot on black & white film, and I also like to load Ilford Multigrade in my plate cameras. I tried a few times in the dim and distant past to make mono prints from colour film, but the results were never really satisfactory.

    When digital cameras came along, with software that allowed the best of both worlds – to shoot in colour and to convert to black & white afterwards – I was delighted. In fact, for me this was one of the greatest benefits of shooting digitally. With post-capture filtration delivering literally a million combinations of red, green and blue sensitivities, I thought I’d died and gone to Heaven. Now Leica wants me to get my glass filters out again for a camera that can’t shoot in colour. And I’m still undecided about how I feel. Is the M Monochrom progress, or just a luxury that few people can afford?

    Take part in this week's poll Would you buy a camera that can only shoot in black & white? by clicking on the link.

  2. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    I own four monochrome digital cameras.
  3. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I only own one monochrome-only DSLR.
  4. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    I'd certainly consider it, but the M-Monochrom is too dear for me. A 40mm equivalent fast aperture fixed lens compact with mono-only sensor would be quite attractive for travel etc.
  5. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    I could be tempted if it was IR and a lot cheaper than the Leica...
  6. spangler

    spangler Well-Known Member

    I agree and hope that a manufacturer grasps the nettle and makes a B&W compact.

  7. Graham_RM13

    Graham_RM13 Well-Known Member

    Our B&W films had variations in the tone & range they produced and we could load for different assignments. This sensor will provide us with a "uniformity" of imagery that may prove boring... :eek:

    Ok we can post process, but that seems to offset the whole idea of the camera.

    Even if funds permitted, I doubt that I would go for one.
  8. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    Sorry but digital imaging only works at all because of post-capture processing. Sometimes, well very often actually, it's done (badly) in the camera.
  9. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Presumably it would be relatively easy to produce a dual purpose model (if one was doing it at all) that used a R72 filter for IR work and an IR blocking filter for the visible spectrum.

    Personally I would only be interested if it was part of the mFT or FT system so that I could use my full range of lenses with it, but it would be very tempting to have a a high definition B&W option in my quiver. Price would of course be a major consideration

  10. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    By strange coincidence, the same applies to film. ;)
  11. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    A black and white only camera would be very useful, but not at £6000 a pop. A compact with a monochrome full frame sensor and a fixed focal length lens of about 40mm, like a digital Trip 35, costing about £120 would be very acceptable. Please....
  12. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    In the days of film it was possible to print colour negatives on Black and White paper but monochrome film was easier to handle. In this digital age I don't see the value in a camera dedicated to B and W when it is possible to create images from colour with different characteristics, similar to using the various different types of monochrome film.
    It was the differing responses to the different colours of light that made one film better for landscape and another for portraits.

    Remove the colour information and you lose this differing response and the ability to create it. Colour information is as necessary for good Black and White as it is for colour, it just isn't explicitly displayed.
  13. MartyG

    MartyG Well-Known Member

    I like the idea - just not at Leica money and not if it doesn't give me anything better than in-camera or post-process conversion.
  14. Old git

    Old git In the Stop Bath

    a) I could never afford it


    b) Even if I could, I wouldn't, becaused I see no real point in it
  15. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    The whole point is that the sensor responds to a whole range of wavelengths - from the near ultra violet at ~300 nm to infra red at ~1100 nm - not just a subset of the visual from about 400 - 650 nm. You supply the filter you want to give the passband that you want ... and you get the whole resolution, not 1/2 or 1/4 as you do when shooting "monochrome" with a Bayer filtered one-shot color camera.

    So, more resolution, more sensitivity, capability to work in wavelengths that OSC cameras can't ... it's win/win/win, the only downer is if you really want to image moving objects in colour with a mono camera as there will be shifts in position of the object between the seperately exposed colour layer frames.
  16. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    Digital colour has not yet progressed much beyond the Ideas of Dufay Colour that had a riseau of ruled red, blue and green lines on a black and white emulsion.
    the pattern is not random and like the bayer pattern leads to problems.

    Even earlier (1895) the Lumière brothers introduced Autochrome which used a spread of dyed starch grains in a random pattern, which gave extraordinarily beautiful detail and colour, again with a monachrome emulsion.

    I rather feel that neither Black and white nor Colour digital photography, will reach its potential untill it can either uses a fully random pattern or find a way of describing light levels over a plane surface, with out a pattern at all.

    I was fortunate to have used Dufay colour in the late 40's and saw a number of Autochromes taken by my step father.

    It fells like deja-vu with digital photography. It has a long way to go.
  17. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    It's easy to do tri- or multi-chromatic imaging (with a non moving target) with a monochrome camera, just change the filter & re-take the image. If you're very careful about image alignment the effects can be very good indeed, even when the saturation is deliberately overdone to show up small changes in tone.

    Here's an example. The Moon is not flat grey! This image was made with a monochrome camera, using deep blue, green and near infra red filters to generate the RGB layers of the image.


    You can get something of this effect using a Bayer filtered one-shot camera, but not easily and not with as smooth tonal and colour gradations.
  18. andrebogaert

    andrebogaert Well-Known Member

    Yes I would buy the B&W M9, if I could afford it.
    The opportunity to use an M9 at high ISO and not get all the issues associated with high ISO is VERY VERY attractive thought...... And "only" having the B&W option is only like using film and I don't remember that being a big issue back in the day.
    Will I sell my M9 to help fund the Mono? Well no...so I will not be putting my name down with my supplier.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2012
  19. Old git

    Old git In the Stop Bath

    Forgive my naive, if not stupid opinion. Shirley, what we see is the best approximation of what we expect to see. Showing an image of the moon that we see as grey is the most realistic interpretation of the real image. Showing it under UV, IR and god knows what filters is not what we see.

    I accept that the moon shot as you show it is beautiful, but not natural...
  20. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    In weaker moments I have considered the acquisition of a secondhand Nikon D70 body for conversion to an IR mono camera body. :p:):rolleyes:

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