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Heresy: Canon 5DS R as a Black and White Camera Better Than Leica M Monochrom Type 246?

Get Canon 5DS DSLR at B&H Photo

I previously showed that the Canon 5DS R can perform well as Leica’s latest monochrome nothing-new-but-the-sensor camera, so much so that I deem the Leica M Monochrom Typ 246 dead on arrival without special reasons or money to burn or some RedDot cognitive defect. There are some valid reasons of course, like len sharing with the M240, lens compactness, high ISO (maybe), etc.

For the cost of the Leica MM body alone, you can get a Canon 5DS R and a Zeiss Otus, which beats any and all Leica M lenses in every way except size/weight. So that is a valid reason to go Leica MM, certainly (size/weight). But the general PITA self-flagellation of the MM, and hugely constrained final baked-in results are a cognitive dissonance challenge for some shooters. Look at reality, then make a decision.

For a comparison, see Canon 5DS R is a Sharper and More Versatile Monochrome Camera than Leica M Monochrom Typ 246.

So now I repeat and emphasize that heresy. Want monochrome quality better than Leica? Get a 5DS R, shoot in color, convert to B&W after the shot with a staggering number of approaches that can bring out tonal differences that the MM cannot (it cannot record color differences at all, a filter or no filter bakes-in the tonal mappings between colors). Downsample to 24 megapixels just to make the point (the Leica MM resolution), go gaga at the incredibly detail and quality.

The more I look at the 5DS R and what it can deliver at 50 megapixels, the more I like it for black and white (maybe because all the current ACR profiles suck). I’ll be showing some examples of black and white conversions from 5DS R images. IMO, it rocks. Not that the Nikon D800E or D810 doesn’t also, as proven nearly three years ago. But 50 megapixels bumps it up, noise or not (downsampling to 24MP from 50MP is the only fair comparison as it equates to print enlargement, so don’t forget that if comparing to a Leica MM).

Toggle to compare, and check out the actual pixels crop from 50MP. This image is a trivial conversion (about 2 seconds of effort); many other variants are achieved with virtually no effort.

Cabin interior
f5.6 @ 30.0 sec, ISO 100; 2015-06-24 20:16:22
Canon EOS 5DS R + Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM @ 24mm

[low-res image for bot]

 

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