Leica Monochrome vs ........
Old 07-18-2019   #1
Alentejo
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Leica Monochrome vs ........

The Leica Monochrome is out of reach for many amateurs.
Which digital camera comes close in black & white to the Leica Monochrome sensor?
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Old 07-18-2019   #2
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There's a couple of companies that will now convert your digital camera inot a Monochrome only digital camera

https://maxmax.com/maincamerapage/mo...uji-monochrome
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Old 07-18-2019   #3
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A friend, a professional, highly recommended the Fuji X cameras to me for black and white. He switched to an XPro2 from a Leica Monochrom. This was just uploaded from today - it's from an XT30 using the 27mm f2.8 Fuji lens and the Acros film emulation with red filter option. This is a jpeg straight from camera, absolutely no post processing at all.

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I do all my own black and white developing at home.
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Old 07-18-2019   #4
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In addition to Fuji, Sigma Foveon cameras are excellent at black and white.
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Old 07-18-2019   #5
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The Olympus PenF has fantastic monochrome implementation.
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Fuji X....
Old 07-18-2019   #6
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Fuji X....

But it's no converted Fuji X? Like from MaxMax?
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Old 07-18-2019   #7
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Sorry - not sure what you are asking?
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Film amateur with a few rangefinders - Leica III, M2/M3, Werra 3 and Zeiss Super Ikonta 534/16 medium format.

Apart from that have a Rolleiflex 3.5F, the odd Minolta XD7, Hasselblad 500cm, a Topcon Super D and an Intrepid 5x4 large format (not the half of it but I am clearing them out, honest).

I do all my own black and white developing at home.
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Old 07-18-2019   #8
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Done this a hundred different ways, and the runner-up was the X-trans sensor. And by runner-up, that means #2, not that it was close to an M246. The problem with color cameras is that they do lose resolving power in the translation. It's not 100%, it's more like 20 by the numbers, but the affect of an M246 is like TMY with a light green filter. So it is brutally sharp.

The other piece is that wavelength cuts are far easier to do with glass than software, especially when you get into the equivalent of orange filters. You end up with halos and aliasing if you do it in a raw converter like Lightroom. Fuji's X series internal filters are pretty mild; Charles' picture above is indicative of how these look; if you are a midtone fiend, it is kind of meh.

That said, a Sony R converted for realsies to monochrome and processed that way should be good, and the test pictures show it, though requiring care in conversion. The problem is that it's not that affordable of Monochrome Services does it and super-not-affordable if MaxMax does (LDP).

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Old 07-18-2019   #9
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This is a no brainer. Just buy an Epson or an M8 and enjoy. Those two make the best B&W digital files I've ever seen.
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Old 07-18-2019   #10
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I second the Foveon suggestion. I own the DP Merrills and XPro2 and much prefer the sigmas results.
The XPro does deliver nice images and I do use it a lot when taking several pictures (eg Holidays) but for a more selected Nr of images, I always prefer the Foveon but need to spend some time post processing.
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Old 07-18-2019   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alentejo View Post
Which digital camera comes close in black & white to the Leica Monochrome sensor?
I cannot make a direct comparison because I have never owned or used a Leica Monochrome. However, I have been very pleased using the Canon G15 compact and the Olympus micro 4/3 as monochrome cameras.

I use the G15 as a black & white test camera when shooting with a 4x5 view camera because the G15 can give me a 4x5 aspect ratio for composition.

The Olympus micro 4/3 camera with Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 normal lens, Olympus 45mm f/1.8 telephoto lens, and Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 wide-angle lens produces excellent monochrome images.



Digital Monochromes by Narsuitus, on Flickr
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Old 07-18-2019   #12
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I can say the only digital B&W that I really ever warmed up to are created by the MM. The files are just amazing.
https://www.red.com/red-101/color-mo...camera-sensors
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Old 07-18-2019   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alentejo View Post
The Leica Monochrome is out of reach for many amateurs.
Which digital camera comes close in black & white to the Leica Monochrome sensor?
Any Ricoh GR digital.

Some of the most striking OOC jpegs I've seen.
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Old 07-18-2019   #14
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The look of bw is just as color. Very subjective. Some likes M8, some GR. I like Q bw.
Just how it looks on the screen, at typical forum sized picture.
I have seen just very few good pictures with Monochrome. The rest is nothing special to ugly (to me). But those very few good ones, I never seen this good from other cameras.

Also, every time I look at Monochrome large pictures at 1:1 this is where Leica is not surpassed. Maybe Sigma is same or better, but it is not the camera for regular use (IMO).
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Old 07-18-2019   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james.liam View Post
Any Ricoh GR digital.

Some of the most striking OOC jpegs I've seen.
I've never shot a MM, but the B&W output from the old Ricoh GR Digital IV is surprisingly good, especially for such a small 10 megapixel, 1/1.7" sensor. Like the MM, it uses a CCD sensor.







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Old 07-19-2019   #16
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A lot of us have film cameras and you can buy a lot of B&W film for the price of these digital paragons...


Regards, David
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Old 07-19-2019   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
A lot of us have film cameras and you can buy a lot of B&W film for the price of these digital paragons...


Regards, David
This is true...but somehow the Monochrom is its own genre. Its different than film.
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Old 07-19-2019   #18
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Quote:
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This is true...but somehow the Monochrom is its own genre. It’s different than film.
Actually, the thing you quoted is 100% not true.

Quote:
A lot of us have film cameras and you can buy a lot of B&W film for the price of these digital paragons...
"These digital paragons" mentioned in this thread will cost less than money spend on film withing couple of years.
If you are into photography, not just into owning of film camera.
In fact, initial cost (scanner and developing kit) will surpass the cost of some digital cameras mentioned here.

And if you are not developing, scan, print by yourself then the thing you quoted is 100% false.
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Old 07-19-2019   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post


"These digital paragons" mentioned in this thread will cost less than money spend on film withing couple of years.
If you are into photography, not just into owning of film camera.
In fact, initial cost (scanner and developing kit) will surpass the cost of some digital cameras mentioned here.

And if you are not developing, scan, print by yourself then the thing you quoted is 100% false.
I'm kinda onboard with KoFe here.

I paid about $8K more than 5 years ago for my MM. I know that this camera has a crappy LCD, a small buffer, not the best High ISO, no video... but for me it is the one digital camera that is most like a film camera because it is so basic, simple, crude and raw. That is its charm.

Leica overhauled it for me for free, and I had the sensor replaced for free. Happy-happy. I used my MM so heavily that I wore the covering smooth. Also the edges of the top plate are "silvering" because I'm wearing through the black anodize.

I figure that today this camera is well paid for and is now a "free" camera. I know that $8k is a lot of money, the plan when I bought it was to use it a lot, and it does seem like over time it has proven to be very valuable.

In a way the MM made me a much better photographer and also a better printer. Know that I use to be primarily a B&W film only guy who went to art school in the 70's.

Buying the MM (still a great camera) was some of the best money I ever spent. Of course YMMV.

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Old 07-19-2019   #20
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Quote:
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I'm kinda onboard with KoFe here.

I paid about $8K more than 5 years ago for my MM. I know that this camera has a crappy LCD, a small buffer, not the best High ISO, no video... but for me it is the one digital camera that is most like a film camera because it is so basic, simple, crude and raw. That is its charm.

Leica overhauled it for me for free, and I had the sensor replaced for free. Happy-happy. I used my MM so heavily that I wore the covering smooth. Also the edges of the top plate are "silvering" because I'm wearing through the black anodize.

I figure that today this camera is well paid for and is now a "free" camera. I know that $8k is a lot of money, the plan when I bought it was to use it a lot, and it does seem like over time it has prove to be very valuable.

In a way the MM made me a much better photographer and also a better printer. Know that I use to be primarily a B&W film only guy who went to art school in the 70's.

Buying the MM (still a great camera) was some of the best money I ever spent. Of course YMMV.

Cal
+++++1 Well Said and I agree. I also have the original and have no plans to upgrade. Well lets see what the M10 version looks like if one ever is made.
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Old 07-19-2019   #21
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It becomes clear how subjective this discussion becomes choosing a camera that fulfills the OP's quest. When I first saw this thread yesterday and Charles posted his case in point using Fuji, I had already before scrolling to his post thought of Fuji (for me X Pro 2). Then I thought about some images that worked particularly well in B&W taken with Leica or my Sony RX1R.

All that aside, I agree with oldwino that MM is another genre altogether! For me it is the MM that comes close in satisfying the desire to shoot B&W film in a way that nothing else does, even though the output and look is different.

David
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Old 07-19-2019   #22
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Originally Posted by airfrogusmc View Post
+++++1 Well Said and I agree. I also have the original and have no plans to upgrade. Well lets see what the M10 version looks like if one ever is made.
Allen,

Even better for me a SLM or SL2-M.

I think the MM one day will be a cult camera. The CCD sensor has an interesting rendering.

The M246 is a far more advanced camera with basically better everything. Perhaps the only thing the original MM has as an advantage is the vast midrange I can get to transcend formats.

The original MM remains a very crude camera, but that really is its charm that makes it most film like.

We are lucky dogs. LOL.

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Old 07-19-2019   #23
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My first choice for monochrome images is medium format or large format film images.

My second choice is small format digital images.

My third choice is small format film images.

I have never tried medium format digital cameras or Leica monochrome small format digital cameras.
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Old 07-19-2019   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
Allen,

Even better for me a SLM or SL2-M.

I think the MM one day will be a cult camera. The CCD sensor has an interesting rendering.

The M246 is a far more advanced camera with basically better everything. Perhaps the only thing the original MM has as an advantage is the vast midrange I can get to transcend formats.

The original MM remains a very crude camera, but that really is its charm that makes it most film like.

We are lucky dogs. LOL.

Cal
Ha ha I like crude simple cameras.

I love film to. Silver gelatin and platinum prints, if printed properly are still the gold standard. narsuitus I agree the large and medium format film and those old 500 C/Ms or 8X10 Deardorff's are just wonderful crude machines. As are film Leica Ms.

But for digital B&W I don't think you can beat a B&W sensor and if you are like me and don't like a lot of stuff on your camera then the original MM is a real gem.

I also like the M 10 for it's simple menu and very simple operation (no video) so it makes me really curious what the M 10 Mono will look like if it indeed comes. And if it were an MD(no LCD) M10 monochrom I just might have to open the wallet.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #25
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Allen,

A Leica Q2 Monochrom with the new high MP count sensor would be a step more towards medium format digital IQ.

My guess is that this daydream of a high MP count Monochrom might likely happen in the Q2 or SL2 that is rumored to have the big MP count of the "Q2."

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #26
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I'm kinda onboard with KoFe here.

I paid about $8K more than 5 years ago for my MM. I know that this camera has a crappy LCD, a small buffer, not the best High ISO, no video... but for me it is the one digital camera that is most like a film camera because it is so basic, simple, crude and raw. That is its charm.

Leica overhauled it for me for free, and I had the sensor replaced for free. Happy-happy. I used my MM so heavily that I wore the covering smooth. Also the edges of the top plate are "silvering" because I'm wearing through the black anodize.

I figure that today this camera is well paid for and is now a "free" camera. I know that $8k is a lot of money, the plan when I bought it was to use it a lot, and it does seem like over time it has proven to be very valuable.

In a way the MM made me a much better photographer and also a better printer. Know that I use to be primarily a B&W film only guy who went to art school in the 70's.

Buying the MM (still a great camera) was some of the best money I ever spent. Of course YMMV.

Cal
A roll of B&W film: ~$5-7.00
Processing & scanning: ~$15-20

If you've shot >250 roles of film, you've more than broken even for a new MM.
By a camera used at ~$3.6k, you break even at 100 rolls.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james.liam View Post
A roll of B&W film: ~$5-7.00
Processing & scanning: ~$15-20

If you've shot >250 roles of film, you've more than broken even for a new MM.
By a camera used at ~$3.6k, you break even at 100 rolls.
Kind of a different note here, but who pays for the above?
I roll my own 35mm and at best it's $1-2 a roll.
I process and scan my own film, which again comes to maybe a $1-2 a roll.

And I own a Monochrome, because it's low light capacity can't be handled by film.
And it's low light capicity is better then vast majority of color sensor camera's too.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #28
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A lot of us have film cameras and you can buy a lot of B&W film for the price of these digital paragons...

Regards, David
The OP asked about a digital camera.

And a lot of us live in places where B/W film development is either a) not available, b) expensive, or c) environmentally questionable. I love film, but the MM is another thing - it does some things film cannot do, and vice versa. To get close to the MM output you need 120 format, and than you have a completely different aspect ratio (that is a big deal for me), costs and limitations due to 10 - 12 shots/roll.

It takes some time to master the MM, also in post-processing. It took me over a year to understand the potential of this camera, and process the files properly. Now I have, I think - at least to the point I say good-bye to 135 format. 120...perhaps, but again, its square or 6:7, and that is very different from 3:2.

I tested the M246 for several months. Now saving up for a MM1. Alternatives may be the DP Merrills. No Bayer is key.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #29
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Agreed and since the Leica new is about six thousand pounds here, plus a few lenses, I think/thought my point was obvious.


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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #30
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Yes, sure. Its just that film (I still shoot it) is easy to develop in some places, no so much in others...I do it in Austria and Norway, but not in Georgia, where the chemicals go right into the sink.
In Austria and Norway used MM1s are down to 2900-3500 EUR now, which seems a tad higher than a year ago. Still expensive, I guess, but a good medium format camera with lenses and a scanner costs too. My Bessa III and Coolscan together costs me 2600 EUR, and I got the Coolscan for a bargain. Yes, you can have it cheaper...But a Mamiya 645 is a whole different beast and shooting experience (a nice one, at that, I miss mine).
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #31
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Originally Posted by james.liam View Post
A roll of B&W film: ~$5-7.00
Processing & scanning: ~$15-20

If you've shot >250 roles of film, you've more than broken even for a new MM.
By a camera used at ~$3.6k, you break even at 100 rolls.
James,

At one point I was shooting 150 rolls a month (135 and 120) on average. I developed it myself just making negatives to create an archive of a changing NYC. Back then Acros in 120 was just about $3.49 a roll and rebranded Tri-X from Freestyle just $2.89 a roll. I even got rebranded Acros in 135 for $1.89 a roll in 135 that was short dated. Was not uncommon for me to shoot twenty rolls in a day.

Pretty much was shooting film as if I were shooting digital. Back then I knew the prices one day would be about double.

Truth be told is that I once was a film die-hard, and if Leica did not come out with the Monochrom I never would have evolved of made the jump to digital.

Photography is expensive at a certain level. Didn't matter if it was digital or analog.

To me what is the most costly is printing. Of course I do my own to lower cost, but right now I sit on just negatives that I will edit and print one day. In my case it seems that time is the best editor. This archive I created is now very valuable. The redevelopment over the past decade involved demolition and much of the old NYC is now gone.

BTW I still shoot film. I don't argue with myself which is better like some here at RFF. I just keep them as separate mediums. I'll be wet printing those negatives one day. Right now no darkroom, I live in Madhattan, and I'm busy shooting.

The buying of film when it was cheap was also money well spent. No regrets.

Cal
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #32
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The OP asked about a digital camera...

True but a balanced response would be best surely? There's both for and against...


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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #33
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True but a balanced response would be best surely? There's both for and against...

Regards, David
Absolutely, David. I should have worded that differently, apologies. Those of us that use film KNOW that it can be an alternative, for many its just not an option and an alien concept.
The other day I guided a photo excursion here in Norway. The girl had, to my surprise, a film camera. I asked "did you ever use B/W film"? Answer: "No." I gave her a few rolls FP4 and HP5 and borrowed her a yellow filter for the rest of her trip. She will never buy a Monochrom. But she is among the exceptions.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #34
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I bought my XT30 for colour work as I hate developing colour and found the ratio of decent pics to cost of film unrewarding. That it gives a black and white capability that I enjoy was an added bonus. Half a years film and developing paid for it and lens. And I have more time to nap as I don't have to scan everything.

I'd love a Monochrom but realistically I can't justify the expense. The XT30 was a lot easier!
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #35
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Kind of a different note here, but who pays for the above?
I roll my own 35mm and at best it's $1-2 a roll.
I process and scan my own film, which again comes to maybe a $1-2 a roll.
"Maybe" is the key word. Maybe if you have expired cinefilm, it is 1$ per roll. Here is no 30 meters bulks of normal bw for this price. Maybe you roll 14 frames instead of 36.

The film argument was pushed not just against Monochrome, but "those" cameras mentioned in this thread.
Four bulks per year at current prices will cost more than some of digital cameras /used/ mentioned in this thread.
And, IMO, if you are not shooting at least two bulks per year, it is nothing but keyboard warrior wisdom.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #36
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"Maybe" is the key word. Maybe if you have expired cinefilm, it is 1$ per roll. Here is no 30 meters bulks of normal bw for this price. Maybe you roll 14 frames instead of 36.

The film argument was pushed not just against Monochrome, but "those" cameras mentioned in this thread.
Four bulks per year at current prices will cost more than some of digital cameras /used/ mentioned in this thread.
And, IMO, if you are not shooting at least two bulks per year, it is nothing but keyboard warrior wisdom.
No doubt that film is a great medium loved by many.

Like I said, if Leica did not come out with a Monochrom I would of remained a film die hard.

As for bulk discounts our friend Phil got me a 400 foot roll of Kodac 5222 at the student discount price.

Rollie 400S in 70mm allows me to bulk load medium format and shoot baby Linhofs like as if shooting a Leica for about $3.00 a 120 equiv.

The money has to come from somewhere. I contain costs AMAP. My costs per roll I figure is about $3.00 using just these two films.

Cal
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #37
james.liam
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Originally Posted by filmtwit View Post
Kind of a different note here, but who pays for the above?
I roll my own 35mm and at best it's $1-2 a roll.
I process and scan my own film, which again comes to maybe a $1-2 a roll.


And I own a Monochrome, because it's low light capacity can't be handled by film.
And it's low light capicity is better then vast majority of color sensor camera's too.

If you roll your own and develop too, sure, it's a minimal cost. Not everyone can or wants to.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #38
David Hughes
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Originally Posted by james.liam View Post
If you roll your own and develop too, sure, it's a minimal cost. Not everyone can or wants to.

True but I mentioned the price of the camera a while ago, add in a few (say 3 or 4) modern Leica lenses to use the 24 megapixels and the costs start going wild. Then there's a printer, I don't know what a decent printer and the specialised software to get B&W done costs these days. And I guess it's not going to be a supermarket model as 24mp calls out for something much bigger and better dedicated to B&W. (A tripod would be a good idea too but that's not a popular opinion.)

I am using that well known and proved logic that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link; so everything used has to be as good as the Leica.

For the cost of that lot you can buy a lot of B&W film.

Regards, David

PS An aside do they still do those black and several shades of grey inks to make dedicated printers for B&W or has the world moved on?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #39
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PS An aside do they still do those black and several shades of grey inks to make dedicated printers for B&W or has the world moved on?
Piezography still exists.

https://piezography.com/
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #40
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Thanks, very interestng.


Regards, David
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