Monochrome Conversion

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by MikeR_GF1, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. MikeR_GF1

    MikeR_GF1 Guest

    A while back, Amin posted a call for M43 bodies, to help a company develop a monochrome conversion. He referred to a company called MaxMax ( who currently offer converted Canon DSLR's only. These are ones that they acquire and modify. They do not offer a conversion service for customers' cameras.

    A few nights ago, after reading a TOP piece on the Leica M Monochrom, I did a search on monochrome conversions, and found THIS site - - mentioned in several astronomy and/or astrophotography forums (fora?). I did a search on our Mu-43 forum for any references, but couldn't find any. This apparently is a single person operation in Florida. He charges a little over $400 to monochrome convert an M43 body (he prefers the Panasonic G series).

    I thought I'd pass this information along. Note: NOT an endorsement - I have no experience with the quality of his work. But, I am weighing whether or not to send my GF1 to him to make it a GF-1-M "Monochrom" :biggrin:
  2. Sounds like a gimmick. There is a lot more differences between the Leica M9 and the Monochrom than simply removing the on sensor IR filter (which is what it sounds like MaxMax are doing)

    Please correct me if I am wrong.. but to duplicate what Leica has delivered, it would require a change in the internals of the camera. Rather than relying on Bayer color filter array to "interpolate" color with the use of 4 filtered RGBG photosites, the camera would need to read the luminosity of each individual photosites. Not sure how this can be accomplished... perhaps via a firmware hack or something.
  3. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    I looked at both sites and MaxMax is removing the Color Filter Array (CFA). It looks like the other guy is offering that as a service along with several other filter options including removal of the AA filter.

    I don't know how you get your raw converter to not do the interpolation needed with the Bayer filter.

  4. That's what it sounds like...

    I am skeptical if you can remove the color filter array. I was always under the assumption the color array was built on chip while the IR and AA filters are resting on top of the sensor. That and as you mentioned, getting the raw converter to not do the interpolation.

    Just sounds like its not going to be cost effective.....
  5. MikeR_GF1

    MikeR_GF1 Guest

    Very good points, and considerations that I did not think about.

    I once did a (VERY clumsy) conversion to IR of an old D100. Once you get to the sensor stack, you just need to remove the AA/IR glass. In the overall scheme of things, I think anyone with the right tools, manuals, and practice, could do that part successfully. Both MaxMax and LifePixel, as well as a number of one-person companies, offer that kind of IR conversion service.

    For the monochrome conversion, LifePixel doesn't do them, and MaxMax has a narrow offering. Their website explains the difficulty, but does not reveal the method. One has to wonder whether the microlens array is part of a sandwich of elements, and perhaps it can be peeled apart? Regardless, I suspect that they do not change any of the electronics, nor the firmware, which perhaps Leica has. So, perhaps the raw converter is still just mixing things down, oblivious to the absence of the Bayer array? I wonder whether pulling it out of the sandwich gains you a stop or so of sensitivity?

    Back to HyperDSLR mods: It seems that Brent Oliver's main customer base comprises hobbyist astronomers, astrophotography. I know nothing about that area, but it may have different requirements, ones that we don't care about, and they maybe don't care about what's important to us. I recall that the CHDK hack contains a number of esoteric astrophotography features, so I assume the needs are pretty unique.

    Things to think about.