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Leica Monochrome vs Black and White Film


Anthony MD

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I sold my Monochrome1 in favor of working with my M7, although had sworn to never sell it. I do not regret. I prefer the analogue look and the big advantage is that there are so many different B&W films these days to experiment with. My most used film for general work is Delta100 developed in FX39ii. I do not see how a Monochrome1 can deliver the drawing I get with this combination, wet printing on fiberbased paper. Although there are a lot of possibilities to mould the Monochrome1 to your likings, the images just stay digital. Which is not to say that I did not make unique photo’s with it. If landscape is your main interest the Monochrome1 is the way to go, you can’t beat it with a 35mm film camera. 

Edited by otto.f
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On 10/3/2023 at 8:05 AM, Anthony MD said:

Do Leica monochrome digital cameras compare favorably with black and white film...!

an image from a monochrom sensor is still at the end of the day a digital image. you can play around with the files to make them look for film like, but it's not the same. 

that said, i wont be shooting BNW film over my 246. the flexibility and convivence outweigh the benefit (at least for me). colour film on the other hand is completely different for me. the differences between digital and film are more obvious. at least to my untrained eye  

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10 minutes ago, sometimesmaybe said:

an image from a monochrom sensor is still at the end of the day a digital image. you can play around with the files to make them look for film like, but it's not the same. 

that said, i wont be shooting BNW film over my 246. the flexibility and convivence outweigh the benefit (at least for me). colour film on the other hand is completely different for me. the differences between digital and film are more obvious. at least to my untrained eye  

Funnily enough I feel the exact opposite - colour film (to me) does nothing special that I cannot achieve with digital, just with less resolution to play with (in 35mm). BnW film has a magical look that I am still chasing, and while I am yet to pick up a Monochrom I'm not really sure that is the answer either.

I still have my enlarger and all the good stuff, the convenience of digital really has its claws in me at this stage in my life though and it is hard to imagine going back to film, as much as I like the romance of it.

Your portraits with the 246 absolutely have a vibe to them that I adore though!

Edited by tedd
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On 10/2/2023 at 10:05 PM, Anthony MD said:

Do Leica monochrome digital cameras compare favorably with black and white film...!

This is a question for which there is no meaningful answer unless / until you, yourself, understand precisely what it is that you require from your photographs.

Best of good fortune working out that particular conundrum!.........:lol:.........

Philip.

 

Edited by pippy
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2 hours ago, tedd said:

Funnily enough I feel the exact opposite - colour film (to me) does nothing special that I cannot achieve with digital, just with less resolution to play with (in 35mm). BnW film has a magical look that I am still chasing, and while I am yet to pick up a Monochrom I'm not really sure that is the answer either.

I still have my enlarger and all the good stuff, the convenience of digital really has its claws in me at this stage in my life though and it is hard to imagine going back to film, as much as I like the romance of it.

Your portraits with the 246 absolutely have a vibe to them that I adore though!

I’m switching from color to B&W film using my Nikon F2 while shooting color with the Leica M-D…!

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2 hours ago, pippy said:

This is a question for which there is no meaningful answer unless / until you, yourself, understand precisely what it is that you require from your photographs.

Best of good fortune working out that particular conundrum!.........:lol:.........

Philip.

 

I’ll be shooting B&W film with my Nikon F2 and color with the M-D…!

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7 hours ago, Anthony MD said:

I’ll be shooting B&W film with my Nikon F2 and color with the M-D…!

As it happens, Anthony, I shoot B'n'W film with a Nikon F whilst also shooting monochrome with a Monochrom and colour with the M-D Typ262. Perhaps 95%+ of images from the latter are also processed-out/printed as B'n'W.

FWIW my own answer to the question posed in your OP is a resounding 'Yes'.

:)

Philip.

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10 hours ago, sometimesmaybe said:

an image from a monochrom sensor is still at the end of the day a digital image. you can play around with the files to make them look for film like, but it's not the same...

This raises a very interesting question. Why do some photographers try to make a digital print look like a wet-print from a film negative?

:-k

Philip.

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On 10/2/2023 at 10:05 PM, Anthony MD said:

Do Leica monochrome digital cameras compare favorably with black and white film...!

In what context do you mean by 'favorably' ? Film comes in many kinds, in many formats with many options for processing it, not to mention alternative processes.

Digital black and white capture offers two options: either use a camera with a dedicated 'black and white' sensor or convert a 'colour' image in post processing. 

You can also kid yourself that you're replicating the film aesthetic by spending your money on presets and plug-ins, but you'll never attain true black and white photographic fulfilment.  

 

 

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On 10/2/2023 at 10:05 PM, Anthony MD said:

Do Leica monochrome digital cameras compare favorably with black and white film...!

The original Monochrom M could look a lot like film, the M246 didn't, and that's when I stopped buying the Leica Monochrom's. I far prefer the look of film rather than the bland clinical look of Monochrom files, and it's not that with post processing I couldn't get the digital files to look like film fairly easily (Silver Efex Pro). But I have five film Leica's, ten Nikon's, and there's a lot of exciting film stock out there. I enjoy crafting an image and even making a B&W photograph from a digital colour image offers more control than a dedicated B&W camera, you can play with software filters with a similar effect of using lens filters on B&W film, whereas the Monochrom's are fairly weak at responding to lens filters.

If the question is keeping you awake tbh I'd rush out and buy a Nikon FM (or similar Nikon) and a couple of types of film and try it, worst case at least you'll end up with a great Nikon to scratch an itch with, best case you'll add to a suddenly burgeoning Nikon collection with an M6 etc. 😁

Edited by 250swb
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2 hours ago, Ouroboros said:

In what context do you mean by 'favorably' ? Film comes in many kinds, in many formats with many options for processing it, not to mention alternative processes.

Digital black and white capture offers two options: either use a camera with a dedicated 'black and white' sensor or convert a 'colour' image in post processing. 

You can also kid yourself that you're replicating the film aesthetic by spending your money on presets and plug-ins, but you'll never attain true black and white photographic fulfilment.  

 

 

I will shoot B&W film with a Nikon F2 while shooting color with the M-D…!

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3 hours ago, 250swb said:

The original Monochrom M could look a lot like film, the M246 didn't, and that's when I stopped buying the Leica Monochrom's. I far prefer the look of film rather than the bland clinical look of Monochrom files, and it's not that with post processing I couldn't get the digital files to look like film fairly easily (Silver Efex Pro). But I have five film Leica's, ten Nikon's, and there's a lot of exciting film stock out there. I enjoy crafting an image and even making a B&W photograph from a digital colour image offers more control than a dedicated B&W camera, you can play with software filters with a similar effect of using lens filters on B&W film, whereas the Monochrom's are fairly weak at responding to lens filters.

If the question is keeping you awake tbh I'd rush out and buy a Nikon FM (or similar Nikon) and a couple of types of film and try it, worst case at least you'll end up with a great Nikon to scratch an itch with, best case you'll add to a suddenly burgeoning Nikon collection with an M6 etc. 😁

I do in fact own a Nikon F2 which I plan using it for B&W photography and use the M-D for color photography.

I’m having difficulties choosing from so many B&W film…!

Edited by Anthony MD
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On 10/3/2023 at 1:28 AM, otto.f said:

I sold my Monochrome1 in favor of working with my M7, although had sworn to never sell it. I do not regret. I prefer the analogue look and the big advantage is that there are so many different B&W films these days to experiment with. My most used film for general work is Delta100 developed in FX39ii. I do not see how a Monochrome1 can deliver the drawing I get with this combination, wet printing on fiberbased paper. Although there are a lot of possibilities to mould the Monochrome1 to your likings, the images just stay digital. Which is not to say that I did not make unique photo’s with it. If landscape is your main interest the Monochrome1 is the way to go, you can’t beat it with a 35mm film camera. 

Well, I decided to use my Nikon F2 for B&W photography and the M-D for color photography.

The biggest hurdle I’m facing, there are so many B&W films to choose from…!

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3 hours ago, pippy said:

As it happens, Anthony, I shoot B'n'W film with a Nikon F whilst also shooting monochrome with a Monochrom and colour with the M-D Typ262. Perhaps 95%+ of images from the latter are also processed-out/printed as B'n'W.

FWIW my own answer to the question posed in your OP is a resounding 'Yes'.

:)

Philip.

We have a lot in common, Philip, I will be shooting B&W film with the Nikon F2 and color with the M-D 262…!

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I can only answer for myself with this type of question and for me, film has an aesthetic that is more pleasing than any digital camera can produce, whether it be colour or b&w but the original Leica Monochrom renders an image that I find immensely pleasing without the inconveniences of film.

Flickr and the Monochrom image threads on this forum may help you with your decision making. Alternatively, used Leica Monochrom m9's or m246's have pretty much reached their depreciation limit in my opinion, so you can try one and sell it for a similar amount should it not tick your boxes.

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1 hour ago, Anthony MD said:

I will shoot B&W film with a Nikon F2 while shooting color with the M-D…!

That's a plan!

Add another Nikon Fxx or two at some point for different film stocks and/or colour film.....then medium and large formats for all that these other formats can bring to your photography and enjoyment.  No digital camera can ever come close, see you in I Like Film.  ;)

 

Edited by Ouroboros
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9 minutes ago, Ouroboros said:

That's a plan!

Add another Nikon Fxx or two at some point for different film stocks and/or colour film.....then medium and large formats for all that these other formats can bring to your photography and enjoyment.  No digital camera can ever come close, see you in I Like Film.  ;)

 

I like “simplicity “ one camera for B&W film and one for color, digital…!

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21 minutes ago, Stephen.s1 said:

Why must a digital image look like film?:  Because it precedes that (rather ancient) system? This seems like the old Photography Is Not Art argument.

my two cents

Actually I like the digital images I get from the M-D also, very crisp and detailed…!

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