XZ-1 -- a Leica Monochrom for the rest of us?

Started Oct 22, 2012 | Discussions thread
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jon404
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XZ-1 -- a Leica Monochrom for the rest of us?
Oct 22, 2012

After a year with my XZ-1, discovered the Monotone settings today. Decided to make Monotone my C Custom mode, to easily take B/W pictures. And yes, I know that taking the image in RAW Monotone means that you can't later turn it back into color. But you sure get one smooth image when you turn it from a 12-bit RAW file into an 8-bit JPG! And hey, the Leica Monochrom doesn't take color pix, either. So we're in good company here.

To start, from your normal color Program mode (I leave mine in RAW), change the color setting from Vivid or Natural or Portrait to Monotone.
Then, from the Menu button, on the Camera Menu, go to Picture Mode > Monotone, and set Contrast to +2, Sharpness 0, B&W Filter=Orange, Picture tone=Neutral, and Gradation=Auto if you like ESP exposure averaging, or Gradation=Normal if you want to have the choice of Spot metering.

Then, go back to the Main menu, and go to the Setup Menu (the wrench icon). To Custom Mode Setup, click OK; then Set; click OK.

Lastly, go back to P Program mode, and change the color setting from Monotone back to Vivid or whatever you normally use.

The next time you use C Custom, the XZ-1 will be in Monotone... with your settings retained and ready to use.

Like the Leica Monochrom, the XZ-1 warms the hearts of photographers who loved black-and-white film. Notice the Orange filter setting above? Oh boy. Or Red to really darken blue skies, or Green to lighten faces. I just leave mine on Orange, like I left an orange filter on most of the time back when. And you can change the Contrast -- I leave mine on +2, with Sharpness at 0 since increasing contrast adds a sharpening effect anyway. In-camera darkroom!

But there are no formulas here. We all have different tastes, and the joy of an XZ-1 or Leica Monochrom is that you have choices, wonderfully traditional choices. And the amazing ability to see that black-and-white image on the LCD screen!

These images, viewed at the Dpreview Original Size setting, are 50% of the actual XZ-1 size. You can see the progression from 'soft' to 'hard'. Choices! For me, the third one, because I really like to Spot meter... even at the risk of overexposing/underexposing parts of the picture. Auto gradation helps with that, but you get a 'flatter' image.

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Jonathon Donahue -- Olympus XZ-1 tips at http://jon404.com

Olympus XZ-1
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