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Thread: Monochrome Black & White Digital Camera, is there such a beast ?

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    Monochrome Black & White Digital Camera, is there such a beast ?

    I am looking for a Monochrome Black & White Digital Camera, is there such a beast ?
    Secondhand & Point & Shoot is preferable, but not a requirement.
    Low Megapixels is OK say 2 to 5, should be fine.
    Were any cameras like this ever made ?
    Cheers
    Col

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    Its All in the mind

    Hi Col,
    to the best of my knowledge there is no such thing in recent incarnations of the digital camera. The best camera for you may be a compact such as the Panasonic LX3 or LX5 both of which are compact cameras with superb lenses but with the option of recording the RAW data from the camera's receptor. Add to this the Leica lenses! Superb. Once you have the raw data in your computer it can be readily interpreted without colour channels, with only one (Red,Green or Blue) channels de-saturated which produces results such as you might expect with the equivalent traditional RGB filters for Black & White photography.If you can visualise it as a silver image you can reproduce it from the raw data from your camera. As always the imagination reigns supreme.
    Cheers pcbermagui

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    I don't think they make black & white cameras, specifically. Almost any camera can be set to take black & white photos. Just buy one that fits your needs and set it to black & white.

    Or better yet, take colour pictures and convert them to black and white on your computer. That way you can control the conversion to black & white manually to get a better picture.

    Theres' a tutorial about it here: http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...lack-and-White
    Canon EOS 500D camera
    Canon lens: EF 50mm, EFS 18-55mm, EFS 55-250mm
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    Thanks gents
    Are you not throwing away three out of four pixels in the conversion ?
    Col

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    Just set it to take black and white photos, pretty much every camera has this option. These images will be monochrome by definition, ie: no colour information. Of course you're losing information, there is a lot less digital information in a black and white digital file, however there are still just as many pixels, and just as much detail
    Canon stuff 5Dmk1 w/ 24-70 f2.8L, Canon 5Dmk1 w/70-200f2.8L, 100mm f2.8 macro, 50mm f1.4, 580exII
    Alienbees B800, Lumopro 160, Manfrotto 155XPROB w/ 498RC2, Lowepro ProRunner X450AW
    Phew!

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    Quote Originally Posted by colinbm View Post
    Thanks gents
    Are you not throwing away three out of four pixels in the conversion ?
    Col
    I was actually toying around on converting images to black & white using Helicon Filter yesterday. I clicked on "convert to black and white" and the sample image became black and white... but I could still play around with colour temperature and spectral sensitivity on the unsaved image to change how the image looked. So the information from all colour channels is used when converting to black and white.

    (I use Helicon Filter because I don't have PhotoShop and GIMP isn't up to the job of post-processing. The best thing is that version 4.93.2 is completely free, and can be downloaded from the official Helicon website here.)

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    Just like film, where you chose to put either mono or colour film in, digital cameras are the same, there is no such thing as a specific black and white digital camera. My question is WHY? With film we had the choice of a huge range of mono films, all providing a different result due to emulsions etc. This we can now do in the digital dark-room. I see zero benefit in not taking a photo in colour and converting it to mono in photoshop etc, with all the variable options available to create the end result you want. Even in film days, what we did in the dark room determined how the final photo looked. If you really want to get into mono photography, either go get a film camera and some mono film and learn about dark-room techniques, or use your existing digital camera and learn about mono digital darkroom techniques.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    there are monochrome digital cameras, but they are a rare thing. HERE is one that has been reviewed. There would be advantages to a dedicated B&W camera, but it is obviously not viable for the manufacturers to produce. For example, a 12mp dedicated camera would contain far more information than a converted shot from a 12mp raw file. I would buy one if it came in at the right price. I think there are a couple of dedicated backs available for medium format, and I recall reading somewhere that at least one was developed for medical photography.

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    Thanks Gentleman for the help & advice.
    I can see that I will just have to learn to use the programs. Not an easy process for me these days with short term memory strain
    I guess I was hoping to get a camera to do it for me
    I take Infrared photos too with a converted Canon S2IS camera, so I was hoping to get down into the B&W visual range, as well, instead of converting in the computer.
    Cheers
    Col

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    Hi Tom & all
    There is a camera converter MaxMax who will sell various converted Canon 500D's for just under USD2,000.
    http://www.maxmax.com/monochrome_camera_order.asp
    I only wish I went down this road a year ago
    It will be a long wait
    Col

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    Quote Originally Posted by colinbm View Post
    I can see that I will just have to learn to use the programs. Not an easy process for me these days with short term memory strain
    I guess I was hoping to get a camera to do it for me
    Col
    You can still get your camera to do it for you. On my Canon EOS 500D I just press the Picture Style button and select monochrome. You can probably do something similar on your Canon S21S.

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    What I do is set my camera to monochrome but shoot raw. This means I get B&W playback on the camera LCD screen but also leaves plenty of scope for adjustments in software later - even restore to a colour image (which I often end up doing ).

    If you are looking at older / low-end P&S many will shoot B&W in camera but will likely only store jpeg files. This leaves less scope for processing images later (e.g. recovering blown highlights, etc). Strictly speaking the camera still shoots colour but converts to mono before saving the jpeg. I don't think you actually lose any quantity of pixel values in the conversion - you would still have RGB values, they would just be the same (R=G=B).



    Cheers.
    Phil.

    Some Nikon stuff. I shoot Mirrorless and Mirrorlessless.


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    stumbled across this article

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    Very interesting Tom Thanks
    Yes that is why I am interested in a mono only camera, but not at that price.
    Cheers
    Col

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    I checked out DP Review, and though they list the Kodak DCS 760, they have not done or mentioned the M version. However, in the DP Review forums you will find a lot of mentions of the M. Am.
    http://search.dpreview.com/?q=Kodak+DCS+760m
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Just another thing you might consider. The Sigma cameras, of which I use a DP1 (See Review), has the 3-layer Foveon sensor system. Each layer records a full 4.6 Mpx of light, one each for R, G and B. There is NO Bayer filter at all. I don't know enough about how they convert to monochrome, but since the sensor setup is rather film-like in its 3 layers, it might give you a full 4.6 Mpx of "pure" monochrome, ie, without "throwing" any pixels away.

    The RAW files from the APSC size sensor can be saved either as 4.6 MPx or 14.6 Mpx images.

    And lastly, they cost "only" in the $100s.
    Am.

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    Colinbm - You can do rather better with a conversion from colour to greyscale/mono than just 'desaturate' in Photoshop or Gimp, etc. Doing that loses a lot of range and shadow detail, so on.

    More folk have Windows and Photoshop than other combinations, so I'll assume you have those. You can start with a JPEG or pp'd TIFF, but if using JPEG convert to a lossless format first - PSD, TIFF, etc.

    With the colour image open in P/S - open Channel Mixer. (I'm using P/S-7 in Wine, in Linux, alongside Gimp and other apps.) Later versions of P/S will be similar to, but better than, version 7.

    In the Channel Mixer dialog, check the box marked "Mono". The Output Channel field will change to Grey. Use the RGB sliders to adjust the image, paying attention to depth, shadows, highlights, etc. There is a "Constant" slider to vary the range of the Channel combination.

    Once satisfied that you have the most out of the image that you can achieve, save it. Close Channel Mixer, then open the image, and use Levels, Curves, etc, as suits. As you'd know, leave Sharpen until last - and small amounts of USM seem to work best.

    Dave.

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