An Open Letter To Fujifilm… In B&W

Fujifilm X100V Acros Edition

Dear Fujifilm,

Please make a black-and-white-only camera. I’m writing this because I want one, but—more importantly—it has become quite obvious to me that many Fujifilm photographers want one, too.

How do I know this? A few days ago I published a Creative Collective article entitled Introducing the Fujifilm X100V Acros Edition, and the response that I’ve received has been overwhelming (in a good way). If Fujifilm made a monochrome model (which I propose is called “Acros Edition”), people would buy it. I have zero doubts about this. I’d buy one. A number of Fuji X Weekly readers would buy one. I’m not suggesting that it would do as well as the X-T3, but it would get a lot of attention. People would talk about it. There is a real interest and demand for a black-and-white-only Fujifilm camera.

I know that it’s not as simple as just removing the X-Trans color array from the filter and—presto!—a B&W-only camera. It’s far, far more complicated than that. Because of this, it’s understood that the camera will cost more than the X-Trans version. I personally think that the X100V or X-Pro3 would be the best base for an “Acros Edition” model, but the X-E4 could also work if you want to reduce the cost of the camera. Even if it was in an X-T3 or X-T30 body, I’d definitely still buy one—just don’t put it into a body with a PASM dial and I’ll be happy.

Unneeded Boat Cleat – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Moody Monochrome

There needs to be some schtick, too, because people will say, “I’ll just use the Acros film simulation, and it’s basically the same thing, yet I can still get color pictures if I want.” There are advantages to monochrome-only, and while it might seem that making such a camera would be enough on its own, it isn’t—there has to be at least one more trick that makes the camera unique, in my opinion. Something that not only further separates it from other Fujifilm models, but other monochrome-only models. What exactly? I have a few ideas. Perhaps a new film simulation: Neopan (based on Neopan 400 Pro, Neopan 1600 Pro, or Neopan 400CN)—the “Acros Edition” camera would have Acros, Neopan, Monochrome, and Sepia (I suppose) as the four film simulation options. I think it would also be cool if there were push and pull process options for these simulations, where the pictures become more or less contrasty and grainy (much like push and pull processing film), depending on the settings selected. Another idea is to have a removable IR filter like Sigma did with their SD Quattro cameras, allowing photographers to easily use their cameras for full-spectrum B&W photography whenever they want. How about built-in colored filters? Since there would be no +Y, +R, & +G faux filters, it would be interesting to have real color filters built into the camera, sort of like the ND filter on the X100V. Adding some sort of extra uniqueness would give the camera even more buzz and would make it even more desirable.

My only point here is that I know for certain that there is an interest in a black-and-white-only camera made by Fujifilm. So, if there’s anyone at Fujifilm who happens to read this, please pass it up the chain that such a demand exists. People would pay a premium for a monochrome model. I personally would.

Sincerely,
Ritchie Roesch
Fuji X Weekly

Now it’s your turn! Would you be interested in an “Acros Edition” Fujifilm camera? Which body would you want it in? What special feature should it have? Leave a comment! I don’t know if Fujifilm will ever read it, but they might, so it’s worth a try!

43 comments

  1. Dr J · April 12

    Monochrome Fuji in a 100 or pro3 body. I’m in. I currently use an xpro1 only for monochrome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · April 12

      X100 or X-Pro series body makes the most sense to me. Thanks for the input!

      Like

  2. Marco · April 12

    Yes please! I would love an X-Pro 3 Monochrome, it would be perfect. And yes please, keep that hidden back lcd panel as it is (with the square sub monitor), since it gives that analog shooting experience i really love about this camera. I think it would be a real contender to the Leica M Monochrom. In the meanwhile, I happily keep on shooting Kodak Tri-X 400 on my X-Pro3, my very favorite b&w recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · April 12

      My guess, if Fujifilm were to ever make an “Acros Edition” camera, it would be in an X-Pro body. It makes so much sense. I really hope they do. Thanks for the comment!

      Like

  3. Randy Pollock · April 12

    It would be risky as the demand just isn’t there, but if they ever do…I’m second in like right behind ya.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · April 12

      It would definitely be risky, and they have to keep their expectations of sales at a realistic level, but I do believe based on the sampling I’ve seen that it would do well enough. I might be first in line and you second, and a few dozen other FXW readers will be right behind you. Thanks for the input!

      Like

  4. Dick · April 12

    I’ll have one and have one yourself ! (Go on Fuji , you know you want to !! We have the motive and the means, you the oppotunity ! I think we just solved this case.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · April 12

      Case solved! I hope that they truly consider making one. Thanks for the comment!

      Like

  5. Roger Solbakke · April 12

    Thank you for posting this great article Ritchie. I will be one of the first buying a Fujifilm camera with sensor developed just for b&w – if the body they choose attacking me. For the moment I use only x100v and have stored 6 b&w recipes and only one with colors. I think it – eventually- will be a niche camera and x100.. with filed lens 23/35 will fit perfect. Or X-Pro.. with lenses matching the sensor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · April 12

      My X100V is set up as b&w only. I plan to keep it that way. But if Fujifilm were to make a B&W-only camera, pretty much no matter the body, it will be purchased by me. The X100 and X-Pro bodies make the most sense for it to be in, so I hope it would be in one of those. Thanks for the comment!

      Like

  6. tim matson · April 12

    yes to bw fuji…! learned in army on leicas in 60s… shot decades of pro work on
    spotmatic loaded with tri x..
    enjoy seeing demos of Leica monochrome by snap chick..
    lets hope!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Michael · April 12

    Talk about “retro” this would be it! I FUji X-100 B&W edition! First the gain ins iso would be a stop or two. With the addition of internal filters, that would push it over the top in my mind. Three primary and an IR? This would truly be a must buy for any photo enthusiast…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · April 12

      That would absolutely be a “must buy” in my opinion. It would be the ultimate. Thanks for the input!

      Like

  8. Xandre · April 12

    I wish. But… is there any place that you can send your camera to get the color filter over the sensor removed? Several months ago I ran across someone on YouTube who had that done to an old (non-Fuji) camera.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · April 12

      You can, but it’s very expensive (like over $1,000) and very invasive (they have to remove glass that is glued onto the sensor to remove the color-filter-array). Even then, the processor isn’t designed for it, so you’re talking about it being a RAW-only camera, I believe. It is possible, but definitely lot particularly practical. I appreciate the comment!

      Like

  9. nickblackburn · April 12

    I’m in.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Barry · April 12

    Great article Ritchie. I would buy one but I’d still keep my X-E3 ready to rock with Agfa Scala settings. If Fuji offered RAW Acros as the base, but still allow tweaking of settings to create different B&W film type jpegs, that would be perfect for me. I would still want Agfa Scala, Ilford Delta, etc. And just maybe… I could figure out Ferrania P30! Picture this, pun intended, low clouds over the Grand Canyon, shooting film type bracketing so you could pick and choose your favorites. (Yet another excuse to have to go back to the Grand Canyon. Oh man!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · April 15

      The Grand Canyon is amazing! And an “Acros Edition” Fujifilm camera would be the perfect camera for it, especially with some clouds. Thanks for the input!

      Like

  11. theBitterFig · April 12

    I’m curious about what Pixii is doing. Their camera uses the same 26mp sensor as the current Fuji cameras, albeit Bayer not X-Trans for the filter. They have a monochrome mode which does “16 bit single-plane” monochrome raw DNGs. From the sound of things, it’s not just a JPEG filter applied to a color RAW, like most color-sensor monochrome images, but some strange hocus pocus where the sensor data is treated differently. They’ve been cagy about how it works exactly, protecting trade secrets.

    I guess what I mean is… there might be a better approach than a pure Monochrome sensor. A pure mono sensor is going to have slightly more sensitivity, since there won’t be those color filters on each photosite, but no option to record color data. Perhaps better firmware and procedures for handling the sensor data might get a lot further, produce better B&W images than current filter sensors, but without excluding the option for color.

    I haven’t used a Pixii, so this is all second-hand, but reviewers suggest that it’s a big step up. I think that’s probably worth a lot more investment for folks like Fuji, than a pure mono sensor.

    //

    As to what camera ought to be the one used for a pure mono baseline… I kinda think a big selling point has to be the video. The market for folks who want something cheaper than a monochrome Leica, but can still afford two or more mirrorless cameras, is pretty small. But an affordable hybrid camera that shoots good video with better sensitivity and dynamic range than color cameras, perhaps a higher bitrate since it needs to preserve less information… well… I bet that’d appeal to a lot of filmmakers.

    I mean, I shoot stills. I think monochrome could be fun, but the technological gains of it… probably don’t really apply to me. I can get pretty far with SOOC JPEGs or converting RAWs in post. A camera designed to maximize any of the benefits of skipping those filters, and only needing luminance and not color data… I think it’s got to put the needs of a video user fairly high up, since they gain the most over just using a JPEG.

    //

    There’s one buzzkill: I can’t get my hands on a color x100v. Backordered everywhere reputable. I don’t want a further split in the supply chains.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · April 15

      The Pixii camera sounds interesting. I have no idea how that would work, but with some “pixii dust” (lol) where the red and blue sensor elements are being used for luminosity information somehow instead of color? If Fujifilm could figure something like that out… maybe that’s why they have no intentions (apparently) of making a black-and-white-only cameras, because perhaps they can computationally do the same thing. Thanks so much for the comment!

      Like

  12. Albert Smith · April 13

    I follow street photographer Alan Schaller on YouTube who utilizes mono Leicas and his advice to get good at B&W shooting is to shoot B&W exclusively. It forces you to “see” that way, and you can’t cheat by switching to color at will.

    I go out often with my Fujifilm camera set to Acros with every intention of shooting only in B&W, only to see a bright red sports car next to a blue wall and I find my thumb hitting the Q button and going to one of my color film sims. So a mono only camera would be a forced narrowness that could really make you get good in that type of photography.

    Fantasy request… if they are building this from scratch, then incorporate one of the benefits of mirrorless and add a more universal aspect ratio. Something that scales up to 8X10 without cropping. I’d give up 16:9 for that as a still only shooter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theBitterFig · April 15

      I’d really love for more aspect ratio options. I know there are folks who like 4:5, but having also something like 65:24, the aspect ratio of the old Fuji TX-1 or XPan film cameras. It’s always possible to crop in post, but Fuji are the folks who put the most effort into JPEGs, and letting us tweak our aspect ratios would be really fun.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ritchie Roesch · April 15

        The 65:24 aspect ratio would be interesting. I think that’s a no-brainer option that should be available for the GFX system, and maybe the upcoming X-H2? Thanks for the input!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · April 15

      Thank you for the input! Black-and-white is best when you can see in B&W, because it’s about tones and contrast. Forcing yourself to only shoot B&W is helpful in this, I think, but it is definitely not for everyone. Right now I’m using my X100V for B&W and X-E4 for color.
      I think it would be cool if you could select a “custom” aspect ratio (any aspect ratio you want)… seems possible, but I’m not certain how simple or hard the programming would be.

      Like

  13. Marc Beebe · April 13

    Good idea. Especially the suggestions about making it ‘as monochrome a camera as possible’: every manufacturer these days tries to make their models be all things to all photographers and it’s a plan that fails. In a world full of “multi-tool” cameras we need more “specialized tool” cameras. The multi-tools end up doing everything not-the-best and nothing exceptionally well. But perhaps only some photographers get this and perhaps that market share is too small for a corporation to address.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · April 15

      I think these “all things to all photographers” can be good… the X-T4 is such an exceptional camera, for example. But I definitely am a fan of tools that are more limited but superior at what they do (X100V comes to mind). Thanks for the comment!

      Like

  14. jenster711 · April 13

    I would definitely buy one.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Tom Hofmann · April 13

    I’m IN!
    Would be happy to purchase and pay a deposit during development.
    Pretty sure ñors of others too.
    C’mon Fuji: I’td probably wouldn’t even cost you for development.
    BTW Excellent article. Congrats and greetings from Argentina

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · April 15

      I think Fujifilm could do some sort of pre-order where you can reserve a camera for when they finally release it, and use that to fund the project. I bet they’d get a few thousand to sign up for this.

      Like

  16. Stephen L. Tyler · April 14

    I love shooting black and white and I love my XPro3. But unless Fuji makes some sort of announcement in the coming weeks, I’m trading in all my Fuji gear except for the XPro3 and 2 prime lenses and paying the balance for a Q2 monochrome. I’ve mulled this over for the past year. I’ll save the XPro3 for times I want to go shoot in color but I can get all my gear traded in for half the cost of the Leica. It’s your move, Fuji…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · April 15

      I don’t think Fujifilm will be making any such announcement. Next month they’ll announce the X-H2 (and X-H2S), but I don’t think any other cameras will be announced.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I´m in !
    Please do it. It would a nice suprise for the 10th year anniversary in an X-Pro4 Body (with IBIS). Great Ideas (removable IR Filter and G/Y/R internal optical filter options). This would set this monochrome Fuji instantly ahead of the game.
    Maybe with the rumored new 40MP sensor, to get maximum details possible out of APS-C.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · April 15

      It would be amazing if Fujifilm surprised us with an unexpected “10 Year Anniversary” camera. That would be such a wonderful surprise!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Lorenzo · October 1

    A x-pro 4 in B&W would be a fantastic addition.
    Making a X-Pro 4 40MP “photo only” shooter would be even better. Reduce to the MAX would distinguish a x-pro from the X-T/H. Maybe skip the OVF to reduce the cost further.

    Like

    • Dick · October 1

      Dear Fuji,

      Let’s cut to the chase..!You want money? I got money! Here take it! Stop being coy and built one! You know we want one! You know we need one! In a V or in a F, a Pro 2 or 3 I don’t care! You want to sell B&W cameras while nobody else does? Come on, you know it makes s(c)en(t) ‘s!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · October 1

      Thanks for the input! I wouldn’t skip the OVF, though, as it is one of the key features of the X-Pro.

      Like

      • Lorenzo · October 1

        You might be right. Having the choice of both worlds is unique.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s