6 Reasons Why Micro 4/3 Cameras are great for Black & White Photography
Black and white photography differs from color photography.
Not only because it has no color, but because it reveals a different story and meaning. It’s a work of art for those who want to express themselves and stand out from the crowd.
There are many reasons why some professional photographers choose micro 4/3 cameras to shoot in black and white.
I want to mention a few in this article and give you a better understanding of the advantages and overall use.
Micro 4/3 Camera Advantages for B&W Photography
- Small and Lightweight
- Image Quality
- High-Quality Lenses
- Customizable Monochrome Modes
- Quick Auto Focus
- Firmware Updates and Connectivity
Small and Lightweight
The micro 4/3 camera interchangeable system is small, lightweight, and perfect for carrying with you.
Whether your photography interests are landscape photography, street photography, architecture photography, or wildlife photography, you’ll find this camera system a pleasure in your hands, and a breeze to carry in your bag or backpack.
Back in the day, most photographers used SLR film cameras to capture black and white images.
Camera brands like Olympus and Panasonic have created stylish digital cameras to match the size, shape, and dials of a film camera.
This way, you get the same feeling as you’d be holding an SLR in your hands with today’s modern state-of-the-art technology.
DSLR cameras are heavy, bulky and their lenses are even heavier, not to mention eye-watering expensive.
To some, this is not a big issue, but if you’re holding the camera in your hands for more than a few hours, it becomes twice much as heavy.
On the other hand, Mirrorless cameras are lighter and easier to carry with you. Combined with the right lens can be half the size and weight of a DSLR.
The image quality depends on how good the camera sensor is. Micro four-thirds cameras incorporate advanced technologies with high dynamic range and high-resolution mode.
They produce high-end images up to 80MP in size, and Ultra HD 4K video up to 60 fps. The Panasonic GH5 is the most popular camera in the world, and most professional videographers use it to capture 4K video.
The camera sensors also have become more sophisticated. It’s not only the amount of the megapixel that counts but the technology behind it.
Newer sensors can be more sensitive in low light conditions allowing you to take photos by raising the ISO to 6400 without losing detail.
Also, the latest updates have improved the quality in the JPG format, so there’s no need to do a lot of photo editing.
Furthermore, High-Res mode can increase the resolution of an image of up to 80MP! It’s called “Pixel-shift mode” and enhances the sensor’s megapixel by eight times.
The result is a superfine high-quality image. Although, if you want to have excellent image quality, you shouldn’t rely only on the sensor. The choice of the lens is important too. Lenses are what we will talk about next.
When you’re looking to buy a new camera system for your photography, you must know what it offers. One of the biggest advantages the micro four-thirds system offers is lens quality.
Most recent cameras do have the latest technology and provide great image quality, but what about their lens lineup?
The lenses are as equally important as the camera itself. The quality of the lens will determine the image clarity and sharpness of your photograph.
The more you know which lens is the right one for you, the better the results.
Especially in black and white photography, you will need good lenses that provide corner-to-corner sharpness, less distortion, and less vignetting.
When it comes to micro four-thirds lens lineup, we come across two of the world’s best lens manufactures, Leica and Olympus (M.Zuiko).
These lenses are top of the class and provide exceptional optical quality, performance, and sharpness. You would never go wrong if you had to choose one of those lenses.
Customizable Monochrome Modes
Olympus and Panasonic, which are primarily the top micro four-thirds camera manufacture, provide unique monochrome modes and custom features for black and white photography.
Their latest camera lineups include these unique modes.
Monochrome modes can create a different kind of black and white images. The pre-installed monochrome styles are the regular photo styles, not the creative filter modes.
Contrast, sharpness, noise reduction, color tone, and filter or grain effect are customizable for every photo style.
The color filters (for B&W photography) affect the black and white tones. By changing the tonality, the black points and white points, you can create your black and white style.
You have many options to play with until you find the style that defines you.
Custom Monochrome Mode Settings
- Contrast +3
- Sharpness -3
- Noise Reduction 0
- Orange Filter to darken the sky (red will make it even darker and yellow makes the sky less dark)
- Grain effect OFF
- Highlight Control (Shadow)
- Highlight +2 or 0
- Shadow -1 or +4
Find the right settings for yourself and your style might take a little bit of trial and error until you get the results you want.
The EVF (electronic viewfinder) in Mirrorless cameras, makes shooting black and white relatively easy. You can see directly from the viewfinder the final image you’re taking.
You can also see all the adjustments you make. For example, when you change the aperture or shutter speed, you instantly can see the exposure compensation changing (becoming lighter or darker) within the EVF.
The Panasonic Lumix GX9, G9, GH5 and GH5s have the new L. Monochrome D Photo Style. This new “L Monochrome D” photo style is not as flat as the regular “Monochrome” and not as heavy as the “L. Monochrome.”
It sits somewhere in between those two and gives more punch to the photo without having heavy blacks.
The latest technologies in Mirrorless cameras are taking them to a higher level over the last five years. A camera needs to have quick autofocus. If you can’t focus quickly enough, then you might lose capturing the moment.
There are a few elements in a camera that make this possible. It is a combination of the camera’s processor, the points of focus, and internal communication between the lens and the camera.
The quality of the lens is quite essential too.
Micro four-thirds cameras have advanced Auto-Focus technology with contrast detection and low light capabilities.
With “Post Focus” and “Focus stacking,” you can easily change the depth of field by using just one button. You can also take photos down to -4 EV with accurate focusing.
Firmware Updates & Connectivity
Most camera brands lately release numerous firmware updates. These updates are significant for photographers who want to have the latest features installed on their cameras.
These updates include better camera stability, support of newer lenses and features.
Connectivity is also important. The latest micro four third cameras feature Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
The proper app can be downloaded on your Android or iPhone device and transfer all your photos or videos instantly from your camera to your phone for easy social media sharing and Instagram posting.
Also, Wi-Fi camera connectivity is used for remote control purposes. You can take control of your camera through the mobile app when you want to take long-exposure shots and avoid camera shake.
Are you looking for a new camera system for shooting in black and white?
If so, then you will be blown away by the style, features, and image quality that micro four-thirds cameras offer.
There are plenty of options to shoot in black and white with those cameras. Most of the JPG images are great coming straight out of the camera.
You won’t always need to shoot in RAW except if you do a lot of image post-process and photo editing in Photoshop or Lightroom.