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03-05-2014, 08:39 PM   #1
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Anyone wish for FF dedicated B&W

What I would really like is a 36MP dedicated B&W camera from Pentax,I know Kodak had one yrs ago but not many were ever made.Anyone else here hoping for the same??? I'm sure there is a market for it,Fine Art,Science,Astro etc... the only one now is Phase 1,at insane prices...
Lets hear your views people....

03-05-2014, 08:53 PM   #2
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I think a full 14 bit, 36mp sensor could be pretty spiffy (though I would probably prefer something like 16-24). As a B+W chip - you could do away with the color filter (that is used to define the Bayer Matrix), so that the effective pixels you'd have available with a color 36mp sensor would actually be 4 times that (144mp). You'd be way waaaay beyond practical resolving limitations at that pixel pitch - so, in reality you could have much larger photosites, with extremely high S:N, and likely a crazy high dynamic range.

I think Leica did something cool like this a while back - their monochrome camera has incredible output. The register distance on those cameras is ridiculously short (like half that of the k-mount) - so you can essentially mount any piece of glass on it via an adapter. Noctilux f0.95? Yikes.

Astro would be the ultimate - I think the digital collectors on some telsecopes are BW - cooled via helium to nothing - so there is essentially no relevant noise.
03-05-2014, 09:54 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Yes, that would be nice. For now, I am content with 35mm B&W film.


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03-05-2014, 10:26 PM   #4
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To my understanding of things, a true B&W sensor would be impossible, just based on how digital technology works. JPEG, for instance, is incapable of storing anything but color images. A B&W conversion merely zeros out some components of the color channels. For example, if you look at component video, the Y (green cable) is the luma channel; it basically carries a black and white copy of the signal. The other two, Cr and Cb (or Pr and Pb for analog) are chrominance channels. Zero those out and you can reduce the image to B&W.

But the issue is all digital images are stored as RGB, not as Y'CrCb. If they were, then we could have actual B&W images. The reason YCrCb (YPrPb) exists is to save cable bandwidth. In an RGB signal, green has the highest amplitude, so you'd need to a high bandwidth cable to carry the signal. This bandwidth is wasted on the less intense B and R signals, so the solution was to take the RGB and split it up more evenly. The result is Y'CrCb.

Even going to CMYK won't help you. We'd need a sensor and image format that capture and store in Y'CrCb. I'm pretty sure that has not been invented yet. It may never be; the interest in a native B&W sensor is limited. It's more effective to improve conversion technology.


Last edited by MadMathMind; 03-05-2014 at 10:38 PM.
03-05-2014, 10:34 PM   #5
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I think they call this B&W film don't they?
03-05-2014, 10:46 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by MadMathMind Quote
To my understanding of things, a true B&W sensor would be impossible, just based on how digital technology works. JPEG, for instance, is incapable of storing anything but color images. A B&W conversion merely zeros out some components of the color channels. For example, if you look at component video, the Y (green cable) is the luma channel; it basically carries a black and white copy of the signal. The other two, Cr and Cb (or Pr and Pb for analog) are chrominance channels. Zero those out and you can reduce the image to B&W.

But the issue is all digital images are stored as RGB, not as Y'CrCb. If they were, then we could have actual B&W images. The reason YCrCb (YPrPb) exists is to save cable bandwidth. In an RGB signal, green has the highest amplitude, so you'd need to a high bandwidth cable to carry the signal. This bandwidth is wasted on the less intense B and R signals, so the solution was to take the RGB and split it up more evenly. The result is Y'CrCb.

Even going to CMYK won't help you. We'd need a sensor and image format that capture and store in Y'CrCb. I'm pretty sure that has not been invented yet. It may never be; the interest in a native B&W sensor is limited. It's more effective to improve conversion technology.
Not quite. The sensor itself recognizes luminance data only. This means the sensor sees black, white and various shades of grey. By including a Bayer matrix over that sensor, and adding software in the camera so it can understand whether the luminance pixel it is seeing is red, green or blue, the camera begins to recognize color information. There are other sensor types, like Sigma's Foveon, that work differently but this is how most sensors in use work today. If you remove that bayer layer from the surface of the sensor it sees things only in those black, white or grey luminance values again. That is what Leica did with the Monochrom, along with changes in the software the camera uses to decipher the data coming from the sensor.

The upshot being that any camera that uses a Bayer Matrix can theoretically be built as black and white only.
03-05-2014, 11:03 PM   #7
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In astronomy, a B&W DSLR, without IR-UV filter can get enough interest. Doesn't matter if is FF, or APS-C (maybe even better and APS-C, because special filters, like Oxygen III, Hydrogen alpha, and others, are much cheaper at 1,25'' format, that 2'' format, used in astrophoto). What's matter, is large pixels. So, not a 36Mp sensor, but a 16Mp for FF, and 12MP or lower for APS-C, for very low noise at very high ISO.
03-05-2014, 11:23 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by spade111 Quote
the effective pixels you'd have available with a color 36mp sensor would actually be 4 times that (144mp)
I agree with your other points, but you've got this once backwards. A 36 MP Bayer filtered sensor has 2 green, 1 blue, and 1 red pixel for each 2x2 grid. Thus, luminance resolution is 36 MP, but colour resolution is only 18 MP in the green channel and 9 MP in the other two. Without the Bayer filter, resolution would be 36 MP and sensitivity would quadruple.

The Leica M Monochrom is very interesting. Unlike colour CCD sensors, it compares favourably to CMOS sensors even at very high ISO; a B&W CMOS sensor would be even better.

03-06-2014, 03:23 AM   #9
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I'd be happy with a 16MP B&W only DSLR, either FF or APS-C, so long as there were plenty of adjustments to tweak the output. Even shooting RAW, I don't always want to fiddle with PP.
03-06-2014, 06:02 AM   #10
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There is zero chance of Ricoh coming out with a B&W FF camera or B&W anything.
03-06-2014, 11:31 AM   #11
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https://www.maxmax.com/b&w_conversion.htm

I think that this company did black and white conversions by removing the bayer matrix filter from the sensors on Canon digital cameras. Not sure if they still do but you can certainly check it out and perhaps get more information if you want.
03-06-2014, 11:56 AM   #12
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CTRL+SHIFT+U (Photoshop) ... ... for quick and dirty B&W

or...

Black & White layer mask - then adjust in Properties window for your liking
03-06-2014, 01:03 PM   #13
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If you read my post i mentioned the Phase 1,why so negative about Pentax? its a niche brand for enthusiasts..a B&W would fit in perfect in the lineup
03-06-2014, 01:04 PM   #14
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Would be nice but the Pentax crowd, in general, is frugal enough as it is to be buying an expensive second FF digital camera just to shoot BW. You can still get the real BW film look today if you're not lazy. And people here on PF are posting them daily too.
03-06-2014, 01:07 PM   #15
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Also I thought that a true B&W sensor could maybe come close to 8x10 film,PP is not the same..it must be possible with all the tech out today,at a realistic price (under $3000) as Leica or Phase 1 is never on sale
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