The Classic Look: 3 Cameras That Capture Black and White Beautifully

Better black and white images start in the camera, and these three deliver some of the best that we’ve seen.

“Black and white creates a strange dreamscape that color never can,” is a quote by photographer Jack Antaonoff. And if you’re smitten with black and white photography, you know this to be true. Even the process of thinking in black and white is an entirely different one that engages your brain like no other. There are super pricey black and white cameras out there that are especially designed for it. And then some cameras shoot both color and black and white. Except that with their black and white simulations, it seems like there’s just an extra layer of charm. So we went through our Reviews Index to scour for a few cameras that we positively adore for their black and white simulations, which begs the question: why do you need these cameras? Well, you don’t. But photography as a hobby is all about passion and adoration. And what better way to fuel your passion than with a camera that does black and white, right?

Olympus Pen F

compact cameras Olympus Pen F

Who should buy it?: The photographer who wants the smallest package possible.

Why is it awesome?: The Olympus Pen F has a literal dial on it for controlling black and white toning. For the most dreamy effect, use it with a vintage style lens like a Voigtlander. But it also has a rangefinder-style body with an EVF built-in. You can take this camera and a few of Olympus’s small prime lenses out for a photo walk and have a lot of fun. When we tested it, it was tough to get out of the black and white mode: more so because we just didn’t want to.

Unique Feature: The Micro Four Thirds system has the really cool benefit of doubling your depth of field. So at f1.8, you’ll get the light-gathering abilities of f1.8 and the depth of field of f3.6. That’s great for candid shooting!

Buy Now: Amazon / eBay

“To that end, the Pen F gives the user an incredible user experience after you’ve customized it to do what you want.” – Our review

Sample Images

Pro Tip

If you love black and white photography, you’ll enjoy our original Photography Cheat Sheet.

Fujifilm X Pro 3

Who should buy it?: The photographer who needs a real workhorse.

Why is it awesome?: The Fujifilm X Pro 3 can add clarity to the image. Combine this with Acros to really make your Black and White photos pop. In addition to that, there’s also full weather sealing, that controversial hidden LCD screen, video features if you need them, Wifi, and a user experience that’s designed to keep you shooting like no other. By far, the X Pro 3 is one of my favorite cameras to have come out in the past few years.

Unique Feature: The Fujifilm X Pro 3 has a titanium top plate. So it’s incredibly durable. There are also two different, albeit more pricey finishes. It would have been super cool if the top plate were brass, and it would wear away after some time.

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“When it comes to prints, we made an image at ISO 6400 on the Canon Prograf 1000 with Pro Luster paper. The image was from the same shoot we did with the Sony a6600. In comparison, the Fujifilm X Pro 3 makes an ever so slightly cleaner print when making 17×22 images.” – Our review

Sample Images

Leica M10 Monochrom

Who should buy it?: The expert looking for a challenge and a way to rewire the way they think.

Why is it awesome?: With the Leica M10 Monochrom, there is no reason to worry about high ISO noise. You’re just be embracing it anyway, and it’s going to look gorgeous. Plus, you’ve got all that resolution from the 40+ MP sensor.

Unique Feature: The Leica M10 Monochrom is the highest resolving M series camera at the moment of publishing. There no sensor like this in the market. Unlike the predecessor, you’ve got full control over the dynamic range and all. It’s truly the most liberating camera that we’ve used in years. Oh yeah, and it only shoots in Black and White.

Buy Now: eBay

“The truth is that, with a Monochrome sensor, there’s no reason for me to not use any ISO I choose. And this liberation is one of the best things about the Leica M10 Monochrom.” – Our review

Sample Images