Compact camera with B&W in mind

TNcasual

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Tennessee
If you were to look for a compact camera with the idea that you mainly want to shoot in B&W, what camera would you look into?

That is basically where I am right now. I am on the very, very front end of searching for a new-to-me camera. I want something that would be easy to have as an everyday camera - better than a smartphone. But I would like it to be something I primarily shoot with B&W in mind. I have researched some of the different options. I am just not sure which direction to go.

I am not looking specifically for a point and shoot (GRiii, X100, Q) or specifically an ILC (Pen F, GX9, CL). I would like it to be significantly better (IQ, DR, ISO) than using my E-M10i with a pancake prime. Or if nothing seems better for a reasonable price, I may just grab a Panny 20 1.7 for that old camera.

Price range can be pretty flexible. While I would like it to be as cheap as possible, I am willing to stretch and save for something special.

Maybe also keep in mind, I like weird cameras. Something like the Sigma FP and one of the Contemporary primes looks interesting to me. :)

Any suggestions? Other than an X100?
 
Heh. Reading the title, my first instinct was an Olympus M4/3 camera with a compact prime. The SOOC B&W presets are pretty nifty.

The obvious other candidate is the Leica Q 2 Mono.

Given that B&W shooting masks a lot of problems associated with high ISO, what is that you don't like shooting Olympus, IQ wise?
 
Heh. Reading the title, my first instinct was an Olympus M4/3 camera with a compact prime. The SOOC B&W presets are pretty nifty.

The obvious other candidate is the Leica Q 2 Mono.

Given that B&W shooting masks a lot of problems associated with high ISO, what is that you don't like shooting Olympus, IQ wise?

I am not against just going with the E-M10. But I mostly moved on from the 16mp mft sensor because I felt it lacked DR and color depth when compared to other sensors. (I went with the K1.) Granted, using it specifically for monochrome will mitigate some of that. But that 16mp sensor seems really, really old now.
 
Check out MPB (US) as they have a few Leica X1's for sale at the moment and I tend to use mine set to Monochrome and I'm happy with the results.
Interesting, that's a camera that I know nothing about. How does it handle? What is the interface like, both physical controls and menu?

I am browsing a flickr group for it now...
 
It's pretty simple as it is more like using a film camera. I think there are three pages of menus so once you have set it up for your use it doesn't really need any changes. I have the external viewfinder on mine which makes it a lot easier to use in bright sunlight as there is no EVF on the body. I have an X2 as well and that uses an external viewfinder too but it is the Olympus evf2 type.
I did the Single in July challenge in 2022 and it performed very well.

This is the camera with it's grip and viewfinder so it is quite pocketable.

leica x1 29 june 2022.jpg
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... I am not looking specifically for a point and shoot (GRiii, X100, Q) ...
You mention a Leica Q as an option. If you go that route, I'd advise to go for the Leica Q3 even for B&W, like I did myself. The theoretical slight loss in detail and dynamic range aren't important to me.

The reasons why I wouldn't want to have a monochrome camera:
  1. No color ever. Duh.
  2. You'll need filters to influence color rendition in B&W, like yellow/orange/red/green/blue/what-have-you filters. Personally I hate messing about with filters and they also detract from the gain in dynamic range, especially heavy filters like red ones. With a color sensor you can achieve this in post, with much more flexibility.
  3. Adobe's AI masking options don't work well with monochrome raws, according to Hugh Brownstone.
  4. Monochrome raw files cannot be corrected for lateral chromatic aberration nor color fringing. Depending on the lens this will result in less sharpness away from the center.
I switched from a Fuji X100V to a Leica Q3, Main reasons for that are the X100V's unreliable AF, especially for smaller apertures; couldn't get colors to my taste, too bland; I wanted 28mm-FF-eq. instead of 35mm and the wide converter didn't cut it; less cropping ability; less ideal handling. Must add that I want a camera for street photography that is also capable of high-quality photos of static scenes.
 
I agree with the above suggestion re the GX9 and preset, alternatively of you don't mind its fixed focal length (a bif "if" I know) then a Ricoh GR II (not III) if you can get one does B&W files that can't be replicated in PP, that's the view of me and one other member here.
 
If you were to look for a compact camera with the idea that you mainly want to shoot in B&W, what camera would you look into?

That is basically where I am right now. I am on the very, very front end of searching for a new-to-me camera. I want something that would be easy to have as an everyday camera - better than a smartphone. But I would like it to be something I primarily shoot with B&W in mind. I have researched some of the different options. I am just not sure which direction to go.

I am not looking specifically for a point and shoot (GRiii, X100, Q) or specifically an ILC (Pen F, GX9, CL). I would like it to be significantly better (IQ, DR, ISO) than using my E-M10i with a pancake prime. Or if nothing seems better for a reasonable price, I may just grab a Panny 20 1.7 for that old camera.

Price range can be pretty flexible. While I would like it to be as cheap as possible, I am willing to stretch and save for something special.

Maybe also keep in mind, I like weird cameras. Something like the Sigma FP and one of the Contemporary primes looks interesting to me. :)

Any suggestions? Other than an X100?
Considering that you have already thought about the Fujifilm X100, (an excellent choice) what about anX-T1? Then, of course, you could have any of their fantastic lenses!
 
I agree with the above suggestion re the GX9 and preset, alternatively of you don't mind its fixed focal length (a bif "if" I know) then a Ricoh GR II (not III) if you can get one does B&W files that can't be replicated in PP, that's the view of me and one other member here.

I am not sure what you mean about the GRii. Does someone convert them to monochrome?
 
I am not sure what you mean about the GRii. Does someone convert them to monochrome?
The hi-contrast B&W profile in the GRII was a bit different than the GRIII, and many think it's better; I'm not quite sure whether I agree or not, because the GRIII profiles have a lot more individual settings and parameters. I suspect tweaking the RGB sliders in the color filter setting could more closely approximate the GRII. In fact, I did that back when I first got the GRIII, and it was more or less to my liking. Old GRII's are hard to find, expensive, and a lot more likely to have sensor dust due to age alone - I personally don't think they're a good buy unless you're able and willing to follow some guides to clean dust from the sensor yourself if it shows up. The GRIII series is so capable that I've never felt a strong desire to go back. Also, while the 16mp sensor and lens on the GRII are sharper than any M4/3, the resolution still limits things, and the dynamic range isn't miles ahead of M4/3.
 
If it was me making this choice, the Fujifilm X-Pro3 would be at the top of my list:

-Rangefinder styling
-Metal construction
-Weather resistance
-Hybrid EVF OVF viewfinder
-Hidden/protected LCD panel with core settings displayed, like old film cameras with the film type/rating
-Lots of customisable film simulations.

The main off-putting factor is lack of image stabilisation, as I'm used to Panasonic and Olympus IBIS - even my little, dated Fujifilm X30 compact (2/3" X-Trans II sensor) has it, and it makes nice monochrome photos with its sharp, fast manual zoom, too.
As others have suggested, GX9 with a short prime is a nice, mid-range option. I still like my P20mm, but the PL15mm looks very tempting for more $$$.

If IQ wasn't such a high priority, you could have fun with a cheaper old compact - the 10yo Casio Exilim EX-100 I got recently uses the same 1/1.7" sensor as the Olympus Stylus 1S, and has a similar Grainy monochrome filter which has a certain magic when I go out to shoot casually. Another forum member has been having fun with a Pentax MX-1, a quite covetable old compact that I wish I owned!

Looking forward to seeing what you end up with, and the photos you make together!
 
I am not sure what you mean about the GRii. Does someone convert them to monochrome?
You can convert to monochrome via PP, shoot B&W or edit the raw file to B&W in camera, either way the B&W/ mono output is distinct. Probably best getting a boxed or lightly used one though, I agree with @agentlossing there. But as I said, this really is only applicable if your comfortable with the one focal length, albeit the camera has 35mm and 50mm as well as square crop modes.
 
I am not looking specifically for a point and shoot (GRiii, X100, Q) or specifically an ILC (Pen F, GX9, CL). I would like it to be significantly better (IQ, DR, ISO) than using my E-M10i with a pancake prime. Or if nothing seems better for a reasonable price, I may just grab a Panny 20 1.7 for that old camera.
Leica ones come to mind.

The Lumix cameras with l.monochrome.d, like the GX9, have lovely Tri-X 400 renditions. The 20mm F1.7 is and has always been a killer lens. It just punches above its weight.

If you a Lumix, you can just convert any photo in RawTherapee with the l.monochrome.d DCP.

If you like the GRs, with either the 28mm or 40mm EFL, there's a person on the For Sale section who converts Pentax DSLRs and Ricoh GRs to pure monochrome. Cheers.
 
Thanks for all the input so far. It looks like everyone is reinforcing most of the options I already had in mind.

The GRiii has already been at the top of my list. It will probably stay there.

The GX9 seems like a really interesting option. It also keeps me in mft, so that is a plus.

I seriously contemplated the Q @MountainMan79 had in the Classifieds. I just couldn't swing that cost before it sold. To bad for me, great for whoever bought it.

I look forward to any more input.
 
The GRiii does seem like it fits the bill. I’d second, or third an x100 variant. Gives you the best of both worlds with the OVF/evf, which I may be in the minority but enjoyed the OVF, and has great B&W film presets. I’d say look for an x100f and save a few hundred on an ‘older’ model. Totally capable, unless you really want a tilting screen.

After selling my Q, I may someday go back to an x100f if one presents itself for the right price. I really enjoyed the camera and made some of my favorite shots with it.
 
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