Monochrome M - Silly Idea?

Started May 1, 2012 | Discussions thread
Truman Prevatt
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Re: You raise a good point... but...
In reply to DRabbit, May 10, 2012

You pay a huge price for a CFA. The max resolution is based on the Nyquist frequency the channel with the minimal spatial frequency, which is the red and blue in the Bayer CFA arrays. Every digital camera has Moiré unless they have an AA filter. However, in a Bayer this results in color Moiré since the Nyquist frequency of the green channel is twice that of the blue and red channels.

Granted the current algorithms are pretty good but they can't defeat basic physics. The upper bound on resolution of best for a B&W converted from a 18 MP CFA camera like the M9 is 9 MP (which is the resolution of the green channel). Strip off the CFA and shoot monochrome - you get a true 18 MP image. BTW that is the maximal resolution you can get in B&W from a 36 MP CFA such as the D18.

Secondly, the color filters in a CFA camera cause a loss of sensitivity of the camera. In other words you lose some of the sensor sensitivity because of the array. The loss is between 3 and 6 dB. That is why the ISO of the Leica monochrome camera is quite a bit better than the M9. The dynamic range will also be better.

The Foveon fan boys are right about one thing - there are many compromises associates with the CFA and Bayer processing. If you are primarily interested in B&W - you should be shooting with a monochrome sensor.

Granted you will have to shoot the same way you shoot with B&W film, i.e., using a minus blue (12) filter or dark yellow (15) filer to even a red filter to darken the skies. However, at the end of the day what you get with B&W film is what you will get with a monochrome sensor.

Is there a market for Leica. Basically this camera was easy to build since it was already built. There will be some. I have been eyeing the D800E, but I am going to wait now to see how Leica camera fairs. While the D800E has 36MP, at the end of the day for B&W - the upper limit is dictated by the green channel with is 18 MP - the same as the Leica M monochrome. Plus with the Leica I have the use of Leica lenses and all the other advantages, weight, size, etc.

DRabbit wrote:

Peter Sills wrote:

Sure, would be great. But wouldn't I want access to the full color image as I am sure I could do much better and have many more choices if I were to work with the image on the computer?

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