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Thread: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

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    B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Hi All,

    No doubt extremely good B&W imagery from a technical standpoint can be achieved from the Leica MM and also from color files from the M240 which although may not quite match the MM for DR or tonality, but apparently does a fine job. It's fairly well accepted that the color files from the M9 although good, are somewhat behind these two cameras. Personally I've worked with files from all three of these cameras and I would concur with this assessment.

    I'm curious if anyone with a M240 or MM for that matte, closely compare B&W with their A7 or A7r against one or both of the Leica cameras? I'm extremely curious about this. Thanks!

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    Hi All,

    No doubt extremely good B&W imagery from a technical standpoint can be achieved from the Leica MM and also from color files from the M240 which although may not quite match the MM for DR or tonality, but apparently does a fine job. It's fairly well accepted that the color files from the M9 although good, are somewhat behind these two cameras. Personally I've worked with files from all three of these cameras and I would concur with this assessment.

    I'm curious if anyone with a M240 or MM for that matte, closely compare B&W with their A7 or A7r against one or both of the Leica cameras? I'm extremely curious about this. Thanks!

    Dave (D&A)
    Perhaps this will make you more curious:

    Sony Supposedly Working on a Full-Frame Camera that Shoots Only Black & White

    Don Bryant

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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Thanks Don, I saw that previously but at this time wanted to know how the current A7 and A7r perform for B&W imagery compared to the M240 and MM from those who have both the A7(R) and either/or a M240 and MM.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Sony A7 with Sony 28-70 lens, Leica M(240), and Leica Monochrom.

    1. Leica M(240), Leica 24mm f/3.8, 1/60s @ f/4, ISO 200


    2. Sony A7, Sony 28-70mm @ 28mm, 1/360s @ f/3.5, ISO 400


    3. Leica M(240), Leica 24mm f/3.8, 1/25s @ f/6.8, ISO 800


    4. Sony A7, Sony 28-70mm @ 70mm, 1/80s @ f/5.6, ISO 640



    5. Sony A7, Sony 28-70mm @ 52mm, 1/250s @ f/8, ISO 200


    6. Leica M Monochrom, Leica 75mm f/2.5, 1/750s, ISO 320


    7. Leica M Monochrom, Leica 50mm f/1.4, 1/750s, ISO 320


    Cheers, Matt
    Last edited by m_driscoll; 13th January 2014 at 22:05.
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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Hi Matt,

    I so thoroughly enjoy your looking at your posted images (including this last set), that I get lost in the images themselves and forget to even look at the nuisances regarding aspects of B&W depth and quality differences between the cameras used. My two browsers to indicate any exif data so not sure which of these images belongs to which camera? I could guess, but there are also the variables of lighting, tonality of the scene and personal post processing applied to each file.

    In addition, could you briefly elaborate a bit on your overall general feelings of converting M240 images to B&W vs. those from the Sony? I have little doubt the MM reins supreme in this regard (B&W imagery) and known for some the M240 often is a good 2nd...but don't have a handle where the Sony fits in.

    Many thanks!

    Dave (D&A)
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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Dave,

    I added the metadata for each photo in the earlier post. I, also, swapped out the last photo. The one before was cropped to much.

    I think the Sony A7 and the M(240) are almost "dead even" with regards to B & W conversion. The variables being camera settings and lens. Each seem to shine with their own lenses. I haven't shot a lot of non-Sony lenses on the A7.

    The Monochrom simply has more resolution then the other two. It, just, looks smoother. My A7r was returned so fast that I can't make a B & W comparison (clunky shutter).

    Here's one with the A7 and the Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8, 1/320 s @ f/1.8, ISO 100. It's an improvement on the Sony 28-70mm.



    Sorry, not a very technical analysis. I wouldn't take the A7 or the M(240) on a shoot based on better B & W conversions. My choice would be based on the camera's operation: i.e. AF or MF, focal length of lens, weather, etc.

    Cheers, Matt
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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Matt very nice! Your comparative assessment is just what I was looking for. When it comes to B&W imagery, especially when converting color files form individual cameras, it often becomes quite subjective. Additionally there are many factors that can sway the output....namely post processing applied, filter use, lens used and it's settings and more. Still when a conversion is successful, it often has the tonality and depth one is generally seeking in a B&W image. Additionally as you say, the camera in use itself often can sway the decision. Shooting a MM along side a M9 is of course far more convenient than say mixing a Leica and Sony..not to mention how each handles under different types of shooting situations.

    I see I'm still going to have a difficult time deciding and that's why I have appreciated yours and others input. Thank you again.

    Dave (D&A)
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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Maybe its a placebo effect but these two look like b&W chromes, the others don't. In my eyes, of course.
    Eduardo
    Quote Originally Posted by m_driscoll View Post
    Sony A7 with Sony 28-70 lens, Leica M(240), and Leica Monochrom.


    6. Leica M Monochrom, Leica 75mm f/2.5, 1/750s, ISO 320


    7. Leica M Monochrom, Leica 50mm f/1.4, 1/750s, ISO 320


    Cheers, Matt
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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Quote Originally Posted by Uaiomex View Post
    Maybe its a placebo effect but these two look like b&W chromes, the others don't. In my eyes, of course.
    Eduardo
    Eduardo,

    No placebo effect. They are cleaner and smoother. I wonder how the A7r might compare?

    BTW: all were converted in Silver Efex Pro I, or, II.

    Cheers, Matt

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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Some very nice looking results out of both cameras, Matt!

    I have a brace of nice Leica R lenses that work splendidly on the E-M1 (with FoVs that are a bit on the long side), likely will work well on the A7, not sure about the A7r.

    Hmm hmm. Is the Sony A7 the Leicaflex SL Digital? ]'-)

    G
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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    I reckon it is actually Godfrey. I am partway through a B&W film in my SL, and have also been using very occasionally the few R series lenses I have on the A7R. Wonderful results. The 100/4 macro is very handy, and I am looking forward to trying the older (2 cam) 50/2.
    I reckon you've nailed it, a digital back.
    Gary

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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    Some very nice looking results out of both cameras, Matt!

    I have a brace of nice Leica R lenses that work splendidly on the E-M1 (with FoVs that are a bit on the long side), likely will work well on the A7, not sure about the A7r.

    Hmm hmm. Is the Sony A7 the Leicaflex SL Digital? ]'-)
    G
    I wish it was Godfrey....just as I wish the Nikon Df was the digital equivalent of a FM2/F3HP.

    I don't own a Leicaflex SL, but I do own several Leicas (R3, R6.2, R8...and seven Leica R lenses), Nikons (F2, F3HP, F100, F5, F6) and Canons (F1, 1V HS).

    The A7, as good as it is, IMHO it's just too small, fiddly and "digital" to be the digital equivalent of a Leicaflex SL...or of any traditional 35mm film camera designed for manual focus lenses.

    Think about what a digital R10 might have been like...as simple to use as a M8/M9 and optimized for manual focus Leica R lenses. I haven't found a DSLR or mirrorless camera yet which approaches that level of "pure photography"....not the Nikon Df and not the Sony A7.

    The results from the A7 are excellent, but the experience of actually using the camera with my manual focus Leica R lenses has left me disappointed. I want to be able to use my Leica R lenses on a digital camera as intuitively as I do on my Leica film cameras, without having to push a bunch of little buttons etc just to focus the damn camera.

    I'm beginning to think that a DSLR/mirrorless camera which matches that experience will never be built.

    Gary
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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Quote Originally Posted by Gbealnz View Post
    I reckon it is actually Godfrey. I am partway through a B&W film in my SL, and have also been using very occasionally the few R series lenses I have on the A7R. Wonderful results. The 100/4 macro is very handy, and I am looking forward to trying the older (2 cam) 50/2.
    I reckon you've nailed it, a digital back.
    Gary
    That's encouraging, if likely expensive, news ...

    I have a '65 Summicron-R 50mm f/2 single cam. It is such a good performer it amazes me. It needs at least a good CLA as the lubricant on the focusing helicoid is well petrified at this point, and I've been debating the sanity of sending it to Leica and having it updated to a two cam mount (they can still do it!). Fun fun fun ...

    G
    Last edited by Godfrey; 14th January 2014 at 22:54.

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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Quote Originally Posted by bensonga View Post
    I wish it was Godfrey....just as I wish the Nikon Df was the digital equivalent of a FM2/F3HP.
    ...
    I'm beginning to think that a DSLR/mirrorless camera which matches that experience will never be built.
    Gary
    I'm sure you're correct, and I also doubt seriously that any true FM or F3 digital cameras will be built. They're different beasts, the expectations of the buying audience are not the same. A few like us who prefer the simplicity and directness of these lovely old cameras do not constistute enough marketplace to make them profitable. I don't believe there are enough like us.

    I haven't actually touched a Nikon Df yet, but honestly all the buttons and dials put me off. Seems way more complicated than I wanted out of a retro-simplified Nikon. I wanted something more akin to an F3. But those that bought it seem happy so far.

    Using the Leica R (and manual Nikkor) lenses on the Olympus E-M1, when I've configured it appropriately, turns out to be quite fluid and transparent for me, not fiddly at all. The only problem is that using them on FourThirds format nets a set of longish telephotos (my lenses are 50 to 180 mm focal lengths, a normal lens is 25mm on FourThirds). Turns out that's just not the experience I really wanted out of the E-M1, which has stunning responsiveness and features with FT and mFT lenses.

    So I'm considering an A7 to use exclusively with the Leica R lenses. I know it won't be quite the same as using the 'flex SL ... few things could be, that camera is a glorious, brute-simple tank ... or an R10 digital (wanted an R8, simply couldn't buy the lenses then). But if the A7 can be set up to be suitably transparent for me, that would be good enough.

    The A7's light weight doesn't daunt me ... the Leicaflex SL is way too heavy, really ... but its size is a bit of an issue. It needs to be taller to be ergonomic, like the E-M1 with the grip fitted, and the battery grip seems to make it a bit too much. Perhaps the RRS tripod mount/bottom plate will do the number.

    Eh. I'll see if and when I acquire an A7/A7r to try this out. We all have different levels of tolerance and satisfaction with respect to camera haptics... No one can tell you what you like best, and what's tolerable or satisfactory. :-)

    G
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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    I completely agree with you Godfrey re what might not work for one person could suit another person perfectly well, so I hope the A7 works for you. I have the vertical battery grip on my A7, which certainly helps. It's just the small buttons etc which I can't get used to...and I should have realized this would be an issue from my past experiences. I've used my Leica R lenses on my Canon 5D and been pretty happy with the results and ergonomics (just wish it was more than 12mp and was a more robust camera), so I'm hoping that Canon will come out with something that I can use in the next year or so. I really enjoy my Nikon DSLRs and only wish I could mount the Leica R lenses on them with an adapter, without having to actually convert the lens mounts to Nikon F.

    The Leica rangefinder users are so fortunate to have a camera like the M9 etc. It is relatively simple and as close to a Leica M film camera as a digital camera could be....I just don't enjoy using a rangefinder.

    Gary
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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    Matt very nice! Your comparative assessment is just what I was looking for. When it comes to B&W imagery, especially when converting color files form individual cameras, it often becomes quite subjective. Additionally there are many factors that can sway the output....namely post processing applied, filter use, lens used and it's settings and more. Still when a conversion is successful, it often has the tonality and depth one is generally seeking in a B&W image. Additionally as you say, the camera in use itself often can sway the decision. Shooting a MM along side a M9 is of course far more convenient than say mixing a Leica and Sony..not to mention how each handles under different types of shooting situations.

    I see I'm still going to have a difficult time deciding and that's why I have appreciated yours and others input. Thank you again.

    Dave (D&A)
    It should be quite difficult to compare those different B&W files and then make a statement. Lots of variables.
    I've made a M240 vs MM comparison once using the same lens/ light/ set for both cameras. Then side by side development of the raw files, giving the closest possible MM look to the M240 files. Then printing them 40" wide (which is a bit too wide for them I think by the way).
    I just did the same process for comparing the Leica S2 files to the Sony A7r ones.
    I think for both MM vs M240 & S2 vs A7r comparisons it is possible to come really close technically.
    Then begins the intellectualization. Let's be rational, there is not enough difference between those files to justify keeping/ buying the expensive camera. The cheaper one is almost as good, this or that part of the files looks even better, and so on.
    But in the end, in all honesty, even having the willingness to save a lot of money, I've never been able to bury deep enough my little inside voice telling me that the MM files are just beautiful and do look like a B&W picture should be. Same for the S2 files, they are just more elegant & natural than the A7r ones.
    In my case I now know that all those comparisons questions can be reduced to this simple equation: How important is it for me to make those pictures (in B&W, at high Resolution, etc) & what my bank account can afford ?
    Period.
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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    So to me the conclusion is that if you put high importance in file quality and have trained eyes it is worthless trying to find technical justification for buying a less specific/less expensive gear.
    The feel (should I say the soul?) of the MM files can't be replicable with an M240 or an A7r. The look of a medium format file can't be replicated by the A7r neither.
    How close they are technically is not really relevant once you realized the feel (or the soul) of the files is not the same.
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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    anGy, I wholeheartedly agree with much of what you expressed and your reasoning. Imagery is part technical and part emotional and each of us can often describe what we observe in terms of these attributes and more when compoaring two similar images taken with two different cameras or systems. Like yourself, I often print very large and when making these comparisons, might find two cameras can often provide similarly sharp images or even similar looking files (when viewed on a monitor) or prints when one or both are converted to B&W.

    I often was even able to do this with highly matched images from the Leica MM and Leica M9. Yet when I spent time with each image, one often had a visceral impact far greater than the other so that even though on the surface I could get these two cameras to produce a very similar B&W image (save for the superior resolution and acuity of the MM), the final B&W print at times from the M9 as good as it was, seemed flat in comparison. Not in a literal sense but in the impact it made upon repeated viewings.

    That's why hearing personal feedback from those who made some B&W comparisons with these cameras "in addition" to seeing the posted images, gives me some sort of idea how they view B&W imagery form each camera. The same of course can be applied to color work and trying to get output from say a 36MP 35mm DSLR vs. a 40MP Medium format digital. Many variables but often I get that same visceral impact from the medium format image that seems just a bit flat with the 35mm one. Of course lenses and other factors come into play not to mention possible CMOS vs. CCD differences that may exist.

    Dave (D&A)
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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    +1, well put into words (sorry for my frenchie english...)
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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    For another perspective on equipment see page three of this article.

    Canon Professional Network - Salgado's Genesis project

    His images seem to have plenty of punch as well as soul.

    -Bill

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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    can't compare like this. A7 and M240 will be just as good 99% of the time. The advantage of the MM lies in it's tonality and DR (not to mention high iso). So it's in the ability to stretch and manipulate the files rather than in the final image. Therefore it's hard to tell the difference in the final Jpeg.

    A good way to tell is to shoot wooden textured objects in dim light while having a high contrast highlight present in the picture. After pulling in the highlight and increasing the shadows, it should be apparent that the MM files would retain the fine texture and tonality of the wood pattern while other cameras lose detail

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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Quote Originally Posted by m_driscoll View Post
    Sony A7 with Sony 28-70 lens, Leica M(240), and Leica Monochrom.
    Cheers, Matt
    Hi Matt, just from initial impression I find the last 2 (MM) are my fav.
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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    I own both the A7R and MM, but I'm currently overseas with only the A7R. My subjective first impression is that the MM remains the king of B&W. Files just look more organic, especially once processed, and where the A7R may just have a small edge on centre for resolution, the MM claws even more back on the edges and in the corners. Its just stunning. The A7R is great, but the images have a more digital look and different tonality. Ming Thein had it right in his D800E vs MM article, which some scoffed at. I have no vested interest and think the MM produces just beautiful files have have a tonality Ive yet to see anywhere else.
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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    It seems to me that the lack of three color channels in the MM for a black and white conversion would be a serious loss in creative black and white images. The same for the rumored Sony version. Basically trading tonal controls for resolution. Would someone familiar with both comment on this?

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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Quote Originally Posted by mmbma View Post
    can't compare like this. A7 and M240 will be just as good 99% of the time. The advantage of the MM lies in it's tonality and DR (not to mention high iso). So it's in the ability to stretch and manipulate the files rather than in the final image. Therefore it's hard to tell the difference in the final Jpeg.

    A good way to tell is to shoot wooden textured objects in dim light while having a high contrast highlight present in the picture. After pulling in the highlight and increasing the shadows, it should be apparent that the MM files would retain the fine texture and tonality of the wood pattern while other cameras lose detail
    I don't understand this statement... Why can't a file from an a7/a7r be compared to an m240 or similar? They are both image files in the end. They can both be applied to the same purpose, meet the same function. They both ultimately can be employed to the same end.

    We're not talking about the "SLR vs. rangefinder" kind of comparison here. That has serious apples/oranges issues that make the comparison difficult. This question was about the images produced. Not the methods needed to produce.

    Finally, if you are comparing JPG files, then you might as well pack it in. 8-bit grayscale has little or nothing to say to inform the situation about tonality in a B&W image.
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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe S View Post
    It seems to me that the lack of three color channels in the MM for a black and white conversion would be a serious loss in creative black and white images. The same for the rumored Sony version. Basically trading tonal controls for resolution. Would someone familiar with both comment on this?
    Joe,

    Think of the B&W sensor cameras as your favorite B&W film (in my case, TXP), except it may have slightly different spectral sensitivity (it seems the MM needs a light yellow to have somewhat comparable sensitivity to many traditional B&W films).

    What you gain in theory is a certain level of sharpness due to the (theoretical) lack of a Bayer filter and demosacing algorithm, and lack of the need for an AA filter. But that's only a part of it.

    You also gain speed in the sensor (the Bayer filters have pretty strong filter factors, around 2 stops generally). This is why the MM is able to go so high on ISO.

    Lastly, you gain in the tonality because each photo site is not (theoretically) based on any interpolation. When you interpolate a photosite to produce a value, as is done with the Bayer filter approach, (but in that case it basically interpolates for 2/3 of the RGB information at each site), you aren't producing unique information from the scene, you are guessing at the value based on the neighbors. That helps with the tonal information in theory.


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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Dave and all, not sure how one is supposed to evaluate images shot with Leica prime lenses like the excellent M24/3.8 or M50/1.4 verses an inexpensive Sony kit zoom?

    Plus, available light quality, quantity and direction has everything to do with how an image renders in B&W verses another shot in different light. I see way to many attributes given to this to that piece of gear that is actually just good lighting.

    I'm in the process of working on hundreds of images shot with the Leica MM and M50/0.95 Noctilux, and A7R with FE35 & 55 and adapted Noctilux. Even though many were in similar lighting conditions, each camera was used to its strengths which introduced so many variables as to make comparing them quite difficult.

    I do not have a handle on B&W conversions with the A7R yet it is a new beast that will take time to figure out. I've worked with the MM long enough now to grasp post-processing work with it more fully. I seriously doubt the A7R will measure up to the MM no matter how good I get at converting to B&W.

    When I had the M240 for two trial weeks of shooting, I found the MM out did it for B&W if for no other reason that it walked away from ISO 2000 onward. In all fairness, two weeks wasn't enough time to get a handle on M240 B&W conversions either. I spent more time trying to get decent color from the M240, let alone B&W. By the time I got a good color rendering from the M240 to allow a B&W conversion I simply wished I had shot the dammed image with the MM in the first place

    If it holds true for the Sony A7R camera, I found that Sony tends to favor mid-tone color response and skin tones for out-of-camera color, which was very apparent with the A900 verse the same sensor in the Nikon D3X yet the Nikon's flater tonal scale tended to make for more easily done punchy B&W conversions in Nik Silver Efex, in a similar manner that the MM files are tonally flat out-of-camera.

    The only color sensor camera I've used that produces as good as, or sometimes better than, MM B&W images is the Leica S2 but only up to ISO 640.

    The MM is unique (for now), and while the B&Ws I'm doing from the A7R work very well, the MM still appears to be that much better in presence and tonal subtleties.

    - Marc
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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Thank you Marc for your insights. When I started this thread comparing B&W imagery for the aforementioned cameras, I wasn't expecting a definitive answer. As you say, there are far too many variables that contribute to a given image and making direct comparisons between each camera, would require very well controlled tests. Even that would invariably introduce variables (different lenses etc.).

    I wasn't looking for whether one camera or the other excelled at higher ISO, or had better acuity and resolution....simply that when each was shot at base ISO, and their respective color files were converted to B&W, what was their overall impression of the richness and tonality of resulting B&W imagery. Obviously files from certain cameras are more malleable and therefore provide a greater pallet to work with, so that's part of the evaluation process.

    I suspect most who shoot their cameras regularly and often convert files to B&W, get a feel for which cameras they favor for conversion. I didn't expect that when all is considered, that any would supersede the MM. I simply wanted those who had a MM, to elaborate a bit as to which of the other cameras mentioned, gave satisfying B&W images where they felt although not a MM, acquitted itself well in this regard.

    Again Marc, your observations are well taken and the variables you elaborated on, most certainly contribute to as much or greater to the look of a B&W image as most any other parameter, including the camera used for conversion of color files to B&W.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Quote Originally Posted by mjm6 View Post
    Joe,

    Think of the B&W sensor cameras as your favorite B&W film (in my case, TXP), except it may have slightly different spectral sensitivity (it seems the MM needs a light yellow to have somewhat comparable sensitivity to many traditional B&W films).

    What you gain in theory is a certain level of sharpness due to the (theoretical) lack of a Bayer filter and demosacing algorithm, and lack of the need for an AA filter. But that's only a part of it.

    You also gain speed in the sensor (the Bayer filters have pretty strong filter factors, around 2 stops generally). This is why the MM is able to go so high on ISO.

    Lastly, you gain in the tonality because each photo site is not (theoretically) based on any interpolation. When you interpolate a photosite to produce a value, as is done with the Bayer filter approach, (but in that case it basically interpolates for 2/3 of the RGB information at each site), you aren't producing unique information from the scene, you are guessing at the value based on the neighbors. That helps with the tonal information in theory.


    ---Michael

    Michael, thanks for the information. If I understand correctly each camera maker would have their own formula, JPEG like, for the tonal interpretations of colors. I suppose it would be possible for a manufacturer to have a choice of several B&W formulas to choose from in firmware although I have not heard of this as yet. One would perhaps go back to using yellow, red etc. filters to alter tonality. If I wanted a darker sky I would need to decide in advance rather than altering the blue channel in Photoshop as I would now. I am not sure I like the idea of giving up the current flexibility for the possible gains. I find the three channels very valuable in creating an image. This seems like an area of great interest I have not heard discussed.

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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Joe,

    That's not quite right... As far as I understand it, the spectral sensitivity of the sensor is the only thing that will determine the response curve coming out of the chip. At that point, the camera manufacturer will make some determination about contrast response curves, but that's about all they can do.

    They could bake a bit of filtration onto the chip in the cover glass or where the AA filter used to be, for example, but that would be the only way to adjust the spectral response. As far as i know, Leica did not do that in theirs, which is why it needs a bit of yellow filtration to match traditional films.

    In color chips, they use a pretty strong adjustment to produce a properly balanced file, (due to the filter factor to get the RGB information from each photosite). Plus, they then probably make a contrast curve adjustment to make a file that looks like we expect. However, as far as I know, that is done for the JPGs only, and the RAW files don't have that baked into them.

    The exceptions to that are the in-camera adjustments for the lens apparently. The RAW file information is modified to correct for falloff and color shifts in the Leica cameras, and presumably in others like the a7/a7r that are capable of identifying their own camera lenses.

    But the big point that you did pick up on is that people are going back to using color filters on the B&W cameras for that reason. The only way to really modify the response to particular colors with the B&W camera is filtration.

    It's pretty clear that the B&W cameras are for a very narrow segment of photographers. You have to be pretty hard-core B&W to want a camera that only shoots B&W! I wouldn't own one as my only camera, but as a second, I would certainly consider one.

    There are rumors of a B&W version of the a7r, so that may be a possibility, but for the time being, I'm happy with my color cameras, and shooting for B&W conversion in PS or Nik.


    ---Michael
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Michael, if I didn't shoot pictures for pay, I'd be content with the M Monochrome as my sole camera or better put my "Soul" camera

    Almost exclusively used Leica M film cameras for 30+ years, and did maybe 6 rolls of color in all that time. Processed all my own B&W film and made my own silver prints.

    Color is highly over-rated. My wife does the color thing with an iPhone when needed.

    BTW, Nik Silver Efex Pro-II is a very sophisticated piece of software. It offers so many curve response versions, film response versions and endless wholesale and local adjustment possibilities, that when used as a PS plug-in you can layer almost any sort of look and feel with practice. Amazing really.

    - Marc

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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Marc,

    For personal work, I've shot far more film in b&w than color, (mostly sheets, 8x10 and bigger). Now, I'm fully digital, and definately could consider going all b&w...

    I'm more of an architectural shooter, so the rangefinder really doesn't suit me well.

    Nik is great, but I dont like the fact that the only way to reproduce a set of adjustments is to save a preset. If you go out and inti PS and then decide you need to re-do for some reason, you have to start from scratch. I set up presets fo consistency when doing a series, but the individual shots always need some tweaks, and those don't get saved.

    Plus, now I worry about support since google purchased them.

    ---Michael
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Quote Originally Posted by mjm6 View Post
    Joe,

    That's not quite right... As far as I understand it, the spectral sensitivity of the sensor is the only thing that will determine the response curve coming out of the chip. At that point, the camera manufacturer will make some determination about contrast response curves, but that's about all they can do.

    They could bake a bit of filtration onto the chip in the cover glass or where the AA filter used to be, for example, but that would be the only way to adjust the spectral response. As far as i know, Leica did not do that in theirs, which is why it needs a bit of yellow filtration to match traditional films.

    In color chips, they use a pretty strong adjustment to produce a properly balanced file, (due to the filter factor to get the RGB information from each photosite). Plus, they then probably make a contrast curve adjustment to make a file that looks like we expect. However, as far as I know, that is done for the JPGs only, and the RAW files don't have that baked into them.

    The exceptions to that are the in-camera adjustments for the lens apparently. The RAW file information is modified to correct for falloff and color shifts in the Leica cameras, and presumably in others like the a7/a7r that are capable of identifying their own camera lenses.

    But the big point that you did pick up on is that people are going back to using color filters on the B&W cameras for that reason. The only way to really modify the response to particular colors with the B&W camera is filtration.

    It's pretty clear that the B&W cameras are for a very narrow segment of photographers. You have to be pretty hard-core B&W to want a camera that only shoots B&W! I wouldn't own one as my only camera, but as a second, I would certainly consider one.

    There are rumors of a B&W version of the a7r, so that may be a possibility, but for the time being, I'm happy with my color cameras, and shooting for B&W conversion in PS or Nik.


    ---Michael

    Interesting times. I only work in black and white but can't imagine giving up the controls available with a 3 channel conversion for a baked in process or going back to filters. I remember many years ago in the shoot film/scan/photoshop era a noted black and white photographer shot color film rather than black and white just for the 3 channel controls.

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    Re: B&W with A7(r) vs. M240 vs. MM

    Ive found that global and local contrast controls, with brushes and gradients (which go miles beyond what you could do with film), largely negate the need for filters. Sure, they can still be useful, but far less so than when working with the limitations of film and paper. Channel mixing is nice, but rarely critical to well executed B&W work. I say this, because IMHO this is where a lot of largely colour shooters go wrong. They're still thinking like a colour photographer when they are shooting and so end up with images that are not naturally strong in mono.... so need to jump on the channel mixers for colour separation.... or they struggle with the sort of intuitive dodging and burning ye olde film folks take for granted.

    Whether you are looking at Ansel or reportage, most great shooters only used one filter most of the time (or variations of yellow in the case of Ansel) and a couple of others in support. Big deviations were the exception rather than the rule and even Ansel admitted that a number of his photos could have been shot with various filters and have looked 'pretty well as good, just different'.

    I feel confident in suggesting that colour and mono are actually miles apart and share relatively little. This perhaps explains why so few masters (if any) shot equally well in both. If mono is what you see before you even frame the shot, colour mixing will feature much less in the subsequent workflow. I'd even go so far as to say colour mixing gets in the way of learning good B&W.

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