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Black and White and all that...


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I love using the Merrills, but they area bit limited (lens choice, ISO, no viewfinder, and probably the worst choice of software for any camera), but taken under controlled lighting circumstances the Merrill prints up to 18" x 24" I get in B&W easily match or better anything I ever did on 5" x 4" film in the decades before 2008. When that is the end use it doesn't matter that low ISO has to be used - the subject matter is usually stationary and I treat the setting up just as I would a 5x4 shot.


Unfortunately for the Merrill the quality of the print is impossible to show on the Internet, so a lot of people are missing out on the benefits of these little cameras, but I'm happy using mine all the same! :)

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  • 5 years later...
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2020....And how things change...

Re-reading my article brought back memories of how the magnificent tonal gradation and resolution of the Sigma DP series cameras with their Foveon sensors was a revelation compared to previous results of converting cameras with Bayer sensors to B&W of the typical 12-24 MP resolution at the time. I was convinced that this was my way into a future of using B&W as my main form of expression in photography, but never foresaw what Sigma themselves had in mind for the future.

I had assumed that a proper interchangeable-lens mirrorless system camera system would follow with a more developed Foveon sensor of higher resolution or larger physical size (or both). I never foresaw that Sigma would in fact back-pedal with the following sd Quattro sensor to the degree they did.

Apparently the volume of data transfer required, along with accompanying battery drain and heat build-up were beyond their ability to control, so what is effectively a hybrid sensor resulted, still with the Foveon three layer sensel layout, but with the two lower layers responsible for capturing the green and red colour components of the spectrum had sensels four times the size of the upper-most layer which remained responsible for the blue and overall luminance information, which in turn meant that interpolation (as in Bayer sensors) reared its ugly head again.


I bought an sd Quattro H camera with the intent of using it with vintage lenses as it is easily adaptable to M42 lenses with a simple adapter ring, but the hoped for continuation of the revelations that the DP Foveon cameras had brought to digital B&W reproduction failed to materialise.


So.... as can be seen from my later posts, I have now both retired from a working life in photography (which means I have more time on my hands) and returned to using film cameras of various ages, centred around a comprehensive Pentacon Six outfit along with both Olympus OM-1 and Minolta SRT-101 outfits to cover 35mm and 120 formats, and late 19th and early 20th Century field and studio cameras for large formats.


I am still using the sd Quattro-H as the intermediate step in digitising the resulting negatives for inkjet prints, but eventually I'll probably be printing larger prints the old way again since my Epson  7800 expired after 12 years of hard use and I couldn't justify a new A1 printer without a commercial workload to make it viable, so I bought an A2 Epson P-800 printer which effectively confines me to a print size of 16.5" on the short dimension, and which is plenty for almost any print needs I can foresee with me now having re-entered "hobby photographer" status after 48 years of being fully involved at a professional level.


So, yes, this is a retraction of my final conclusion of the initial article's conclusions, and my darkroom is now actively humming away with the smell of stop bath and fixer permeating the air once more. :) 

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