This is the Camera I Would Buy if I Could Afford It (but I Can’t)

I recently wrote about the two cameras I use: the Fujifilm X100F and the Olympus Pen-F. They are both very good cameras, each with their own features, and each with their negative points. They are priced at what I would call the high end of affordable; each of these brands sells cameras that are cheaper and more expensive, and other brands of camera for the enthusiast use can be much more expensive.

But if I had an unlimited budget, the camera I would buy is the Leica M Monochrom (Type 246), in black, of course. As the name suggests, this is a camera that shoots black and white only. And it’s a Leica. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK)

Leica

I know, the gear doesn’t make better photos, but still; Leicas are among the finest cameras made, and this one in particular is special. I very much like black and white photography, and the standard way of shooting is to take a color photo and convert it to black and white (either in camera, using the camera’s own JPEG conversion, or in post production). But the Leica M Monochrom has a sensor that records no color information, so there is no conversion.

The Leica M Monochrom has a 24-megapixel resolution on a monochrom CMOS sensor similar to the Leica M. As the M Monochrom has no need for color filters, it needs no interpolation for the calculation of luminance values. This results in brilliant images which have 100% more details and contrast than what is possible in color photography.

With 24 Mp in full-frame size, this camera makes photos that give you plenty of latitude for cropping, even if you plan to print them at large sizes.

It’s also a minimalist camera; there are no fancy options, it’s essentially a manual camera, with a rangefinder. It’s old-school photography (except that it’s new-school digital).

I know, it’s expensive. With either a 35mm or 50mm lens, it would run at least £7,000. (Funny, my bank sent me a letter yesterday offering me a personal loan at a killer interest rate… No, I’m not going to do this.)

I wish other manufacturers would make monochrome cameras. There’s not a huge demand, but there are probably enough people who like black and white photography that it would be viable. The X100F in a monochrome version would be ideal, because of the nature of that camera.

In any case, I bought a lottery ticket; you never know…

Camera Review: Fujifilm X100F

Shortly after I bought the Olympus Pen-F, I decided to buy a second camera. Having been an Olympus user for many years — in fact, when I shot film some decades ago, I used Olympus cameras — I wanted to try a different company’s system. In addition, I wanted another camera with a different feature set because I’m writing more about photography and I’m working on a book about editing photos.

So I decided to pick up the Fujifilm X100F. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) This is a very different camera from the Olympus; they have many similarities, and they are complementary, because of their differences. Most people won’t want or need two cameras, but comparing these two shows the strengths and weaknesses of each one.

X100f

The Olympus Pen-F is a mirrorless micro four-thirds camera with a resolution of 20 Mp. Like standard DSLRs, it allows you to use a wide range of lenses, making it a versatile camera. The X100F, on the other hand, is a fixed-lens camera. It has a 23mm f2 lens built into the camera body to make it extremely compact. This can obviously be an advantage or disadvantage; I will address that later.

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Camera Notes: Fujifilm X100F and Conversion Lenses vs. Olympus Pen-F

This article is a response to a lot of comments I’ve seen on forums about the Fujifilm X100F. It won’t interest you unless you own are are thinking of buying the X100F. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) I bought this camera a month ago, to complement my Olympus Pen-F. (I’ll post a more thorough review of the X100F soon.)

X100f

It’s important to note that the X100F is a fixed-lens camera; it has a 23mm (35mm equivalent) lens. This limits its usage somewhat, making it an ideal camera for certain types of photography but not for all. In order to extend the use of this camera, Fuji sells two conversion lenses: the TCL-X100 II Tele Conversion Lens (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) and the WCL-X100 II Wide Conversion Lens (Amazon.com, Amazon UK). The former converts the camera to a 50mm equivalent, and the latter a 28mm equivalent; neither of these are a big change. If they converted to, say, 70mm and 20mm, then the difference would be a lot more obvious, and useful. But it’s possible that conversions of that magnitude would require add-on lenses that are even bigger and heavier.

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