I know of the Leica Monochrome (black and white) camera, but it is too expensive for me (my budget is about $1,200). Is it there a service that will modify the sensor of a camera to make it truly a B&W camera? Has anyone had experience with that conversion?

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    \$\begingroup\$ It would be nessesary to remove a very close filter layer form directly above the photodiodes...which is probably nearly impossible. (Especially for this budget, but if somebody know better, let me know) If you don't want exactly the better sharpness, then convert the color photo into a monochrome digital. and setup the displayed saturation on the ca display to 0. \$\endgroup\$
    – Horitsu
    Apr 20, 2018 at 4:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Many cameras allow you to apply a monochrome picture style in camera, or if shooting RAW as a post process? Why on earth would you fork out extra money just to have a dedicated monochrome cam? \$\endgroup\$
    – Crazy Dino
    Apr 20, 2018 at 11:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @CrazyDino Because the Bayer filter and the algorithm to decode the reading into a colour image affects image quality. Colour is interpolated from that output. Fuji's XTrans layout has a different pixel layout to avoid problems like moiré without using more filters that softens the image, IIRC. So there's some value that if all you cared is black and white, ditching the filter can yield better results. \$\endgroup\$
    – Calyth
    Apr 20, 2018 at 14:34

2 Answers 2


A monochrome conversion is not feasible (it would require removing of the Bayer filter and a major rewrite of firmware).

But it is not really necessary, as the monochrome conversion can be easily applied in post processing, and any increase of sharpness is - in context of modern sensors, which are not resolution constrained - Leica marketing hot air.

More to the point: a major aspect of monochrome photography work is tweaking intensity of different colors / wavelengths. In the olden days of film this was done with color filters (yellow, orange, red and what not... ).

In digital workflow it is done not in camera but in post process, but you require a color raw file to start with. Your flexibility increases, as you are not limited by the range of filters available, and you can make multiple final images out of original raw file just by changing settings - it is actually quite educating to learn about filter effect.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What (theoretically) is not made-up marketing is the increased sensitivity of up to 2/3 stops. Still: It's not feasible. \$\endgroup\$
    – flolilo
    Apr 20, 2018 at 10:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ What is also not made-up marketing is the sharpness gained by not having to de-bayerize the recorded image data. \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Apr 20, 2018 at 14:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ I do not dispute that a B&W camera would have (slightly :) improved sensitivity and sharpness compared to full color one. My argument is that sensitivity and image sharpness are not major constraints for modern sensors, and thus the improvements you describe would be negligible in most use cases. IMHO the potential for manipulation of full color image in post process is much more important from creative point of view. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 20, 2018 at 14:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JindraLacko That's a judgement that is primarily opinion based that depends on which is more important to a particular user: increased sensitivity and resolution or increased flexibility in post processing. For some, the former is more important. For others, the latter is more important. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Apr 20, 2018 at 19:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ The other thing to realize here is that using a de-Bayerized sensor with an actual color filter over the lens has the same effect on sensitivity as using a Bayer mask directly over the sensor. The stronger the color filter, the more the light reaching the sensor is reduced. That's not much different from monochrome images made using Bayer masked sensors, where the the further the WB (on all axes, not just CT) is shifted away from a 'neutral' amplification the lower the effective sensitivity of the sensor is. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Apr 20, 2018 at 19:43

maxmax.com can replace some Fujifilm digital cameras' sensor with monochrome one.

There are rumors that Fujifilm considered monochrome X100*, but got enough positive feedback from opinion polls.

(consider also switching to film camera with B&W film, as I did :) ).


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