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Why Nikon, Canon and Fuji still don't make Monochrom Digital Cameras?
Old 02-20-2016   #1
pan
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Why Nikon, Canon and Fuji still don't make Monochrom Digital Cameras?

It's a mystery why Nikon, Canon and Fuji still don't make Monochrom Digital Cameras?

I'm sure there is a market for these cameras. Many people cannot afford a Leica Monochrom and are waiting that a camera maker does the job for a decent prize

So why?

Pan
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Old 02-20-2016   #2
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Fuji X-Pro2 does offer Acros simulation

Primarily, very limited market.
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Old 02-20-2016   #3
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The Leica crowd is peculiar in that there are many of them that won't switch the brand when they switch devices. But that is a less common sentiment among users of other brands, so the competition with film (and medium and large format film as well) will be even bigger. Apparently too big to make such a camera profitable, at the lower margins (and corresponding higher number they must sell) compared to Leica. The mentioned makers will doubtlessly have researched the possibilities, with negative results...
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Old 02-20-2016   #4
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The difference between shooting the M9 black and white and the Ur MM is quite significant.

On a modern CMOS sensor, like in 240 vs 262, the difference is minimal.

In other words, there wouldn't be a technical benefit to converting a modern Nikon, Canon or Fuji to B+W only. The 262 is mostly successful due to Leica marketing.

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Old 02-20-2016   #5
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I have been thinking about this myself.

I think the obvious point is it is too simple to convert a color photography into b&w. Most say "Hey b&w is so wonderful" but they would not like to have a camera that cannot also do color (and video and and and...). The quality difference (because one would not have a Bayer filter) is not too relevant. I have b&w converted shots from my D700 (11 MP "only") that are sharper than b&w film.

Today, who would buy a telephone that does not take photos or a radio that does not show the time or a wrist clock that does not measure the puls. I am sick of this but it is how people think.

Even if you like landscapes, why not also have a fast motor drive and flash build in - maybe I will need it some time. So, to buy something that is not fully equipped for everything that may come handy once in ten years - impossible.

To me, the strong thing with b&w film is that I know I am set to b&w. The alternative is the MM, which is too expensive.

But by the way, I would not buy a b&w D610. I do not need the build-in flash
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Old 02-20-2016   #6
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Because b&w is an aquired taste?
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Old 02-20-2016   #7
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Really a very limited market due.. How many people would want a dedicated monochrome camera. Though Leica definitely felt that there was enough of a market for their monochrome to justify it..as much as feel I if others could do one at a price that is more competitive, there would be enough of a market. But as far a the big two is concerned, what is really enough of a market? Fuji is already a niche player w/ a unique product.. They don't have the budget of Canon and Nikon to go after this type of limited market even if they felt it was doable at the price they could sell it at. I for one, would jump on a Fuji made monochrome camera..first in line if I could afford it.

The limited market currently is being handled a several different ways
- the Leica monochrome (of course)
- those same specialty houses that do ir work, are doing monochrome conversion of Nikon and canon dslr (haven't seen any offer Fuji yet)
- sigma Merrill foveon sensors in monochrome mode provide images which IMHO are close to the tonal quality as seen from as monochrome if u can accept its limitations
-- I for one would love to c a foveon sensor on a Fuji X series or m43 camera

Gary
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Old 02-20-2016   #8
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Canon had several, well before Leica did: EOS-DSC1m, 3m and 5m.

But in general, these makes are looking at large numbers, not niche products. Of the makes you mention, Fuji might be tempted, but their film business was colour centred, so, I wouldn't hold my breath. Sony is another contender, if they think they can sell a few - they already did unexpected things with the RX-1 and A7s. But Canon or Nikon? Unlikely.
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Old 02-20-2016   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pan View Post
It's a mystery why Nikon, Canon and Fuji still don't make Monochrom Digital Cameras?

I'm sure there is a market for these cameras. Many people cannot afford a Leica Monochrom and are waiting that a camera maker does the job for a decent prize

So why?

Pan
Because despite your certainty, the market for mono is minute.
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Old 02-20-2016   #10
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All of the headaches of managing separate model numbers and inventory for such a small niche market device seems improbable.
The voltage controlled low-pass filter in the RX1R II is a great idea. No need to physically remove the filter if you don't like the effect.
Perhaps some sort of voltage controlled Bayer filter could be developed.
If you want mono, just turn off the filter. Is this technically possible?
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Old 02-20-2016   #11
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Maybe for the same reason they don't make cameras that take black and white film and not color film, ya think???
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Old 02-20-2016   #12
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Probably for the same reason(s) that digital camera sales are tanking
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Old 02-20-2016   #13
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I am still waiting for a full frame mirrorless digital camera from Canon/Nikon.
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Old 02-20-2016   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splitimageview View Post
Fuji X-Pro2 does offer Acros simulation

Primarily, very limited market.
Simulating b&w with a Bayer sensor and real b&w is a totally different experience.
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Old 02-20-2016   #15
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I think our best bet for future pure monochrome cameras is with one of the smaller players:

Ricoh have in the past bought small batches of customized sensors , specifically the GXR with offset lenses tailored for M lenses.

A semi-cult camera like the GR could support e.g. a 5,000 set monochrome run.
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Old 02-20-2016   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faintandfuzzy View Post
Simulating b&w with a Bayer sensor and real b&w is a totally different experience.
It's not a Bayer, but there is someone pushing digital B&W.

Are other manufacturers doing similar?
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Old 02-20-2016   #17
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I still make black and white photos mostly with film and print with my analog darkroom.

However, a few paths can be taken with photoshop to convert color to black and white.
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Old 02-20-2016   #18
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As the camera market saturates and sufficiently expands, niche products will be inevitably created. I would give it a couple of years before at least fuji gives Leica mono some competition.
Personally B&W sensors are not that important for tonalities (which is easier to create with a color sensor + filtering in post) but more for their higher sensitivity and the nice looking noise. It is the easy way of improving a camera with current sensor technology.

P.S. I still hope for a X100bw with a monochrome sensor and a trully manual focus lens.
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Old 02-20-2016   #19
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Quote:
Nikon, Canon and Fuji
None of them have nothing to do with BW.

Even Acros is nothing to write to home about it.
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Old 02-20-2016   #20
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The Acros simulation isn't even released yet, so that might be a bit premature.

In any event, if the market were large enough for dedicated B&W, there would be other players.
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Old 02-20-2016   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spavinaw View Post
Maybe for the same reason they don't make cameras that take black and white film and not color film, ya think???
OMG, you really don't get how much rez advantage you gain with MM vs M9?

All the high astro cameras are monochrome CCDs.

Obviously, Canikon should be offering monochrome versions, since it would be so easy to keep everything else and just swap out the sensors. They would sell plenty, though of course it would be a small percentage of the color sales.

Why don't they? They don't care.

On the other hand both offer huge AF lens systems with mostly reasonable prices.
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Old 02-20-2016   #22
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Canon and Nikon are making astros-cameras. That's a niche market too.

I was thinking maybe niche-players like Fuji and Ricoh could make Monochrom digtal cameras.

A Ricoh GRII Monochrom would be really cool and I would certainly be tempted to buy one even if I'm DSLR guy.
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Old 02-20-2016   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uhoh7 View Post
Obviously, Canikon should be offering monochrome versions, since it would be so easy to keep everything else and just swap out the sensors. They would sell plenty, though of course it would be a small percentage of the color sales.

Why don't they? They don't care.
If it was easy and they could sell plenty, they would care.....
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Old 02-20-2016   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uhoh7 View Post

All the high astro cameras are monochrome CCDs.
For entirely different reasons - for one, you often want narrow band filters there, and these don't mix well with the wide band filters in a Bayer grid. For the other, you want to maximize light sensitivity, and a Bayer grid takes off two or three stops of absolute sensitivity.

Similar reasons apply for other niche uses. At least Nikon, Canon and Olympus made or modified digital SLRs to monochrome, for industrial, medical or scientific purposes, and will sell these to anybody who he asks the right people (that is, medical/industrial support - consumer camera shops and even the consumer sales people at the manufacturer probably won't even know these exist). But expect to be several generations behind the latest and greatest consumer and pro cameras - at least by the catalogue of the biggest German hospital supplier Nikon still offered a b&w modified D100 well after the D300 was state of the art...
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Old 02-21-2016   #25
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Nikon and Canon have no interest whatsoever in niche market share.

That's all there is to it.
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Old 02-21-2016   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willie_901 View Post
Nikon and Canon have no interest whatsoever in niche market share.
For the Astrophotography and forensic/IR markets, niche cameras like the D810A with specialized H-Alpha pass filter and X-T1 R with wide-spectrum filter exist.
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Old 02-21-2016   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrozenInTime View Post
For the Astrophotography and forensic/IR markets, niche cameras like the D810A with specialized H-Alpha pass filter and X-T1 R with wide-spectrum filter exist.
Forensic, probably enough police departments have made request to buy. So though a niche market, they know what they develop will be sold eventually vs the consumer market where it is a crap shot given the niche market.

Slightly off subject ...

The truly dedicated astrophotography sensors are very different. I have a friend who is an amateur astronomer, his eye pieces for his telescope cost more than most Leica lenses. Anyway, what he showed me was the dedicated sensor are placed in units that keep the sensor temp from causing unwanted noise due to exposure time being used. They look like the a variation of the Olympus air a1, but more like a box that attaches directly to the telescope.

Surprisingly in the end after looking at the dedicated setups, he went for a Sony a7mk2 converted to astrophotography instead..wanted a more versatile setup.

Gary
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Old 02-22-2016   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uhoh7 View Post
...

All the high astro cameras are monochrome CCDs.
This statement is out of date.

http://www.open.ac.uk/science/physic...ips/SI%203.pdf

http://www.andor.com/scientific-came...-scmos-cameras

http://connect.physicsworld.com/cate...01041.category

http://www.photonics.com/Article.aspx?AID=48569
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Old 02-22-2016   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pan View Post
It's a mystery why Nikon, Canon and Fuji still don't make Monochrom Digital Cameras?
Perhaps they feel that if you really want great B&W images then you should invest in b&w film.
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Old 02-22-2016   #30
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I think most people would see a digital black and white camera and respond with "that's stupid". The differences between converting and shooting b&w natively are minimal compared to what they were.

Also, if Canon/Nikon made a b&w camera they could afford to lose money on it and kill the other competitors. A B&W Canon 6D at around $2000 would take a lot of the M Monochrome sales, or more likely, potential sales.

That being said, Cypress makes a really nice monochrome/infrared sensor.
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Old 02-22-2016   #31
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Besides the small niche market, high ISO and resolution performance of the latest FF sensors are already so high that the benefit of a monochrom version would be negligible in ordinary use.
Moreover, lacking the possiiliy of PP colour filtration before converting to BW, which can be handy.

Think of a Monochrome Nikon D5: 6 or 10 millions ISO... what for?
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Old 02-22-2016   #32
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I believe the M 246 is the current Monochrom.

Having recently picked up the 246, I would say the difference between its files v. 240 files converted to B&W is more than minimal. Perhaps not as significant as the difference between M9 & original Monochrom files (don't have any personal experience there), but still an easily noticeable difference. On ISO alone, the 246 is at least 2 stops faster than the 240. If your point is that the high ISO capabilities on the current Nikons, Sonys, & Canons make a mono option less compelling on that criterion, I would agree; I have a friend who routinely converts (much larger) A7RII files to B&W & they do resemble 246 files.

I'm not sure how "successful" the 246 is compared to the cult-like status of the original Monochrom. I would have to agree w/others in this thread that the market is miniscule for companies like Canon, etc., though I suspect Fuji might be able to get away w/making a monochrome-only "Acros" body.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ferider View Post
The difference between shooting the M9 black and white and the Ur MM is quite significant.

On a modern CMOS sensor, like in 240 vs 262, the difference is minimal.

In other words, there wouldn't be a technical benefit to converting a modern Nikon, Canon or Fuji to B+W only. The 262 is mostly successful due to Leica marketing.

Roland.
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Old 02-22-2016   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 13Promet View Post

Think of a Monochrome Nikon D5: 6 or 10 millions ISO... what for?
I hear this argument quite frequently. Its not (so much) about shooting under the moonlight but to be able to have large DoF and fast shutter speeds at not so bright conditions.
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Old 02-22-2016   #34
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I hear this argument quite frequently. Its not (so much) about shooting under the moonlight but to be able to have large DoF and fast shutter speeds at not so bright conditions.
Of course, but a B/W camera for shooting action in the dark with large DoF is even a much smaller niche of an already tiny niche.
Moreover, isn't 3+ MLN ISO already enough for that?
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Old 02-22-2016   #35
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Probably for the same reason(s) that digital camera sales are tanking
I agree...

Cameras after cameras, Canon and Nikon improve their technologies but where is the fun, the change?

It seems that they don't want to go out of their paradigm.

Do they really want to do something "out of the box"?

In the nineties, Nissan industrialized a concept car, just for fun , the Figaro. It was completely out of the box.

Why not today the same achievement in the concept for a camera?
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Old 02-22-2016   #36
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Originally Posted by 13Promet View Post
Of course, but a B/W camera for shooting action in the dark with large DoF is even a much smaller niche of an already tiny niche.
Moreover, isn't 3+ MLN ISO already enough for that?
No doubt it is a niche market. But there not enough cameras that even capture that.

For example I would like a X100x style B&W camera that is 1-2 stops better at low light. I would pay more than the current X100x prices and I am sure other people would want such a camera too.

Eventually camera companies will have to diversify and occupy every niche possible, if they want to survive in a dying "Quality is good enough on any current camera" market.
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Old 02-22-2016   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olakiril View Post
No doubt it is a niche market. But there not enough cameras that even capture that.

For example I would like a X100x style B&W camera that is 1-2 stops better at low light. I would pay more than the current X100x prices and I am sure other people would want such a camera too.

Eventually camera companies will have to diversify and occupy every niche possible, if they want to survive in a dying "Quality is good enough on any current camera" market.
I own and use an X-E2, same sensor as the 100x: what I really miss for low light is more capable AF and/or EVF rather than better high ISO. But YMMV, of course.
Anyway, I agree that - at this exact stage - a monochrom sensor would make sense in smaller formats like APS-C and m4/3. Much less in FF for the reasons stated before.
But in a few years, when the X100whatever will get the same sensitivity of the current D5 or better, it will be useless as well.
I fully agree that niches will be large part of future photography, I'm just not sure monochrome to be one of them.
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Old 02-22-2016   #38
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Originally Posted by Mephiloco View Post
I think most people would see a digital black and white camera and respond with "that's stupid". The differences between converting and shooting b&w natively are minimal compared to what they were.

Also, if Canon/Nikon made a b&w camera they could afford to lose money on it and kill the other competitors. A B&W Canon 6D at around $2000 would take a lot of the M Monochrome sales, or more likely, potential sales.

That being said, Cypress makes a really nice monochrome/infrared sensor.
Agreed that most people would c a dedicated b&w as stupid. But the difference IMHO is not minor. Each pixel in a monochrome sensor need not interpret a Bayer color point which not only can lead to a possible false,color,at that point but even w/o an aa array, can lead to either aliasing or a fuzzy representation of that point. A monochrome sensor only has to interpret one thing the intensity of the light at that one pixel. Thus u will c more detail.

As Bayer sensor go up in mp (36 mp and above sensors), the advantage of a monochrome sensor appears to start to disappear to the point IMHO only a pixel peeper would care. But on the other side of that ledger, the cost of lenses goes up in order to support the better resolving quality of that said sensor. The personal computer horsepower and storage requirements also go up in order to process those big files.

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Old 02-23-2016   #39
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Originally Posted by furcafe View Post
I believe the M 246 is the current Monochrom. Having recently picked up the 246, I would say the difference between its files v. 240 files converted to B&W is more than minimal. Perhaps not as significant as the difference between M9 & original Monochrom files (don't have any personal experience there), but still an easily noticeable difference. On ISO alone, the 246 is at least 2 stops faster than the 240.
Yes, I meant 246 of course, thanks.

I don't own one and can only judge by published tests - which compared to your personal experience is limiting of course. Anyways, the tests I read document 1 bit/stop more sensitivity, and 2 bits/stops less dynamic range (246 vs. 240).

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If your point is that the high ISO capabilities on the current Nikons, Sonys, & Canons make a mono option less compelling on that criterion, I would agree; I have a friend who routinely converts (much larger) A7RII files to B&W & they do resemble 246 files.
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