In-camera B&Ws and related thoughts

I have mainly been shooting RAW with my X-Pro1 lately largely because of improved RAW support by LR 4.4. But I tested again (did this already with my earlier X-Pro1) in-camera B&Ws and this time exclusively in 1:1 format. Very cool indeed. I have adjusted highlight tones to +1, shadow tones in +2, and sharpening to +1. These settings increase contrast quite a much and give also additional punch to sharpening. Square format is very interesting one for the compositions. When doing this I am not cropping in LR at all and also otherwise use only very minimal adjustments. For example, I am not so worried about clipped highlights or shadow areas (of course I try to get the right exposure). It seems that little bit of a clipping give that certain wanted character for the shots. This approach may seem to be very limiting but actually I find it very nice approach. It gives more space to breathe. It is not limiting me at all. It frees my mind.

When shooting using the approach mentioned above led me to think cameras. This could be very dangerous thing to happen, I know. But anyways. I would be very happy with a very limiting camera. For example, a digital camera with a fixed prime lens having a B&W-only sensor. I know there is Leica Monochrom but it is way too expensive (and it uses interchangeable lenses which too are way too expensive for me). I would like to go one or two steps further from the Monochrom when speaking about limiting factors. Yes, B&W only but fixed prime lens and fixed image format (e.g. 1:1). Yes, just crazy. But I feel that kind of a camera less limiting than those with huge amount of customization. Just take the camera in your hands, compose, expose, and shoot.


  1. Sounds like you’re going to order the X100s and set it up for this. Personally, I don’t do any of this stuff in camera, preferring to have more flexibility downstream but I understand why you want to limit yourself as it gives you some given structure so you can think about other things.

    The image of Titus is spectacular.

  2. Richard, thank you very much for compliments and comment. I think I am not going to get X100S. I may get a new lens for X-Pro1 (even if I stated the above things), presumable the coming 56/1.4.

  3. Jonne, I ordered the X10s but over here the wait is very long, as much as two months. Maybe you can get it faster over there.

    Last week a friend and I rented a Fuji XE-1 and the 35mm f/1.4 lens and while I did not like the EVF and I’m no fan of Fuji’s menu system we got some spectacular images. So, I think the X100s is worth a try for me. My friend isn’t sure he wants a fixed 35mm (equivalent) lens so he might go for something else but I’m fine with it for this camera.

    I also bought (and returned) a Canon EOS M and its 22mm lens (35mm equivalent) and the images it produced were spectacular as well. It was on sale at Amazon for $545 so I couldn’t resist knowing I could return it easily. It’s slow AF is an issue but interestingly what made me return it wasn’t that, it was the touch screen. While I like the menu layout and ergonomics (much more than Fuji) using a touch screen in the field is problematic.

    When I rented the RX1 I stupidly did not rent its EVF and it is said to be one of the best around (it better be for the price) so I’m not sure if I don’t like EVFs period or I just didn’t like the XE-1’s. No matter, the X100s will have an OVF which people seem to like.

    So, we will see when it comes. Until then I’ll continue to shoot with the RX100 which is a lot easier to use now that the weather has warmed up and I can use it without gloves!

  4. I just read some articles about the Leica Monochrom, and while the price makes it ridiculous to buy, the idea is interesting. It made me wonder how much a B&W raw file differs from color converted to B&W. If it is better, and by how much. Might have to experiment. I like your idea of being limited. I think we have the right camera for that experiment, the X-Pro 1, and the X100s even more so. I hope to get the 100s in the near future. I have had the XPro for about a year and am still getting used to all that it does.

  5. Yes, I agree, it would be very interesting to test the Monochrom. But that could be a very expensive testing because after that we would be graving for that camera!

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