Leica recently launched the gorgeous (and overpriced) M Monochrom. It's designed from the ground-up as a black & white camera so the sensor records true luminance values instead of colors. This results in stunning sharpness and dynamic range. I've been looking at some of the sample photos and was inspired to try some monochrome photography with my X100.
It turns out that the Fuji X100 is a natural at this. The camera offers multiple film simulation modes for monochrome with Ye, R, and G filter options. Traditionally, I've shot exclusively in color. After a week of experimentation, I realise how crisp, deep, tasteful and smooth monochrome can be.
Wide open at f/2.0.
Light and shadows. Nothing else. The purity and simplicity appeals me.
If you get too close to the subject with the aperture wide-open, the photos do get quite soft. Pulling back to f/2.8 or so does the trick.
By the way, these photos only have some slight exposure work on them. The natural vignetting here is nice.
The more time I spend with the X100, the more I realise how versatile the 23mm focal length is. It's equivalent to a 35mm lens on full frame camera, the standard for photojournalism.
Focusing on the luminance makes you notice things that would have been easily missed. The textures in particular.
The X100 is already a great low-light camera but it's even better in B&W.
More shots at night/dusk.
Due to the lazy focus of Fujis, shots like this are normally impossible. This one was purely by luck.
This is when I wish I own a M9 with a Noctilux 50 mm f/0.95.
So much fun.
So the question is this: am I going to regret having shot in monochrome in the future? Tough question. I tell myself that people have lived perfectly fine with black and white photos for ages. In the end, it really comes down to the fact that I love the minimalism of capturing only luminance data. It gets you to shoot in a completely different style. Then again, it seems dishonest to be using a color sensor to do this. Man, I sound like such a hipster.
By the way, these were all shot in the Los Angeles / Pasadena area.