B&W Photography

Started Jan 27, 2014 | Questions thread
michaeladawson Forum Pro • Posts: 11,558
Re: That's not the way it works...

michaeladawson wrote:

user_name wrote:

Lord Mox wrote:

I've for long been an admirer of b&w photography. In the last few weeks, I've been thinking of buying a second camera as a back up to my main one. I am not a professional nor will ever be (lack the creative talent, and have a decent career that I love).

So, for a camera that will be used mainly (about 90% of the time) for black and white, what are your recommendation? I am asking in Nikon forum, because I will be using Nikon glass. I have 5 of those currently and my main is d600.

Or may be, I should approach the question from a different angle. Does black and white photography requires different features (e.g. dynamic range, resolution etc...) than color? What should be my focus in trying to find a suitable b&w camera?

(Film is out of the question as I barely can understand digital, and there are not many developing sites in my area).

I hope I made my question clear and have not confused you in anyway.

Thanks all,


You can have a digital camera converted to a monochrome camera.

Why would you do this? Removing the color filter array (RGB filter) significantly enhances the resulting picture's sharpness and resolution.

You can't achieve this resolution by simply converting the raw color file by any post processing.

One company that does this modification is MaxMax.com. Check out their website to see just how much of a dramatic difference this can make.

I don't know what your budget is, but you buy a used camera such as the D700, an inexpensive DX camera, or maybe even a used D600. The result should be very, very good. You just can't take color photographs with a converted camera.

If you are really serious about B&W then NEVER do this. Just my opinion. But B&W is something to be done in post processing. You want all the color data at your disposal to be able to have full freedom of the output. Again, my opinion, but the higher resolution you would get by doing a sensor filter conversion is more than offset by the creative freedom you would lose in post.

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Mike Dawson


My understanding is that the color data is still there (all photosites are still working and used), but the Beyar filter film (color filter array) is removed on the sensor.

Obviously, doing this to a camera makes it a single use camera, but if you followed the link to Maxmax.com you will see some of the gains in image quality you get with respect to a modified camera compared to that same unmodified camera with only post-op B&W file conversion.

Everything is a trade-off, but some people are serious black and white shooters and this modification may make sense for those people.

Sorry, but if you remove the Bayer filter there is no color data. All you have is grey scale data. Yes, you get an increase in resolution and detail. I would rather keep the color data to allow for greater post processing options. With today's cameras having 24 and 36 MP I have plenty of detail. I think these conversions had more utility back when 6-12 MP was the norm.
Mike Dawson

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