A B&W Leica may be coming soon?

Started May 7, 2012 | Discussions thread
Joseph S Wisniewski
Forum ProPosts: 33,927Gear list
You argue in favor of color...
In reply to Mark Scott Abeln, May 10, 2012

Mark Scott Abeln wrote:

I find that my exposure is often limited by color. Very often, I’ll have a broad area of color — a blue sky for example, or bright flowers — and to avoid color shift, I’ll have to keep the exposure lower than I’d like to. We find the same thing at the low end of exposure, where a significant color channel will be forced to black if we reduce exposure too much, harming texture. Color noise is also a significant issue with low light.

I often use monochrome conversion in order to get a greatly expanded dynamic range. Since I don’t care about color shifting or color noise, I can over and underexpose more with monochrome. So while a Bayer sensor may have the same dynamic range as a monochrome sensor, the practical or aesthetic dynamic range will be much greater for monochrome.

Actually, that argument only applies to color images converted to monochrome. They get a dynamic range boost whenever what you're photographing isn't close to monochrome (as seen by the sensor, which is usually a pale greenish color, long story, that) because the dominant color's pixels saturate soon, but pick up more shadow detail, while the least exposed color's pixels have the most highlight latitude.

I.e. in the green parts of a scene, the green pixels are the ones most likely to be overexposed, so the raw processor reconstructs green from the red and blue channels that aren't blown. So you have the great shadow detail of the overexposed green, but you've still got highlight detail from the red and blue.

Remove the color filters entirely, and this dynamic range boost goes away. Although you do pick up more shadow detail, because the shadow noise on a monochrome pattern is easier to eliminate (and less distracting when you don't try to eliminate it). But it's not as big a boost as you get from a color sensor. Adapting the Fuji SR system, like Andreas suggested, would really give you incredible dynamic range.

I can do far more editing on a monochrome image, since I won’t be concerned about color. I can do severe tonal changes with impunity.


A monochrome sensor would be more sensitive to light, since it wouldn’t have filters in front of it. These filters cut the amount of light hitting the sensor by roughly 60%, right?.


And you can shoot at a higher ISO, because the noise is less offensive. The monochrome D100 does well at ISO 16oo, when the original color D100 fell apart at that level.

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Rahon Klavanian 1912-2008.

Armenian genocide survivor, amazing cook, scrabble master, and loving grandmother. You will be missed.

Ciao! Joseph


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