Color photography with Monochrome Leica

Jun 10, 2006
Denver, CO
Jul 21, 2007
Interesting. “Why did you climb Mt. Everest? Because it’s there.

It seems a convoluted way of getting a color image, and the article raises more questions than answers.

Changing filters for the actual photography, and then using Photoshop to combine the images with corresponding color overlays is not as easy as using a camera designed for color, i.e., every other camera available save for the Red Epic-X (or -M) Monochrome.

Ehm, well, or the Achromatic+ Back from Phase One that has been on the market for a while. But maybe he's not into medium format photography? Oh wait. “I’m still, in every sense of term, a medium if not large format photographer. ” So why switch to 35mm smallfilm format if there's a medium format B&W back available? I know, so many questions...

And call me old fashioned, but why the difficulty mixing the layers together? This is basically Photoshop 101 channels, and if you insist on doing it outside channels then why come to the revelation of using mode “lighten” which perplexes me as “screen” would be the obvious choice here. At the very least I expected him to explain why using the screen mode didn’t work. I surely like to know. I know, so many questions...

And finally, and I know that one should not be asking this in art, but why, why, why? “Rather than parsing out the photograph into thousands of tiny mosaic pieces (hence the need for de-mosaicing software and anti-aliasing filters), the combination of three sharp and detailed Monochrom files accomplished in Photoshop might yield acceptable results.” If demozaicing the Bayer pattern is that bad, why not use a Foveon sensor?
Even the writer is aware that the cure is worse than the sickness: “First, it’s got to be a still life or scenic without much movement unless being used for some special effect.” an even a still life isn’t always still: “you can see where the flowers moved slightly leaving evidence of a three-color process. The foliage in the arbor photograph shows movement. Distributed across three pictures, the trees look out of focus, but not in a pleasing way.” And this would be better than the horrors released upon us by the Bayer filter?

I think he missed some very obvious solutions (or did not mention what was wrong with them in his eyes) that make the reader wonder why this experiment was pursued. Suggesting that the Leica M Monochrome is the only way to get past demozaicing (aside from the RED sensor) when alternatives jump to mind immediately doesn’t help me to empathize with his quest.

Still, I will always applaud experiments just for the hell of it. It might not be practical, it surely looked like fun!

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