A beautiful picture in black and white, taken with the Best Camera for Black and White Photography.

Sometimes, we as artists, like to return to something classical as black and white photography (B&W). Though simple in theory it is much harder to master in practice. There are many aspects we must consider as professional photographers in order to create truly stunning pictures. It involves technical and artistic skills, good camera equipment, and most importantly, creativity. The same holds true when it comes to black and white photography, where we use no colors, but rely on only different shades of black, white, and gray.  In this article, we will look at some of the best digital cameras for black and white photography.

To take photos of the highest quality and achieve the desired artistic effects, owning the right camera is also an essential part of a professional’s arsenal. At first, it may seem that any camera can take great B&W photos. That may be the case up to a certain extent, but if you want to excel to the level of the best black and white photography artists, there are some things that need to be considered.

For those of you who have no time to continue reading, we have compiled all our thoughts & conclusions regarding the best digital cameras for black and white photography in the next section. For those of you who would like to understand our decisions, make sure to read the article till the end, where we look at every important factor that makes certain cameras better candidates for B&W photography.

If you want to read about our camera of choice for B&W photography click here.

Our thoughts & conclusions regarding the best digital cameras for black and white photography

The most important factor to consider, when buying a camera specialized for B&W photography is, to make sure the camera does not use a color pass filter. To put it in simple words, most of the cameras are made to take colored photos, and therefore capture all the colors of the spectrum. So, in order to convert the colored input to a monochromatic color range, a special process takes place that translates all the color spectrum down to a monochromatic range. This process hinders the quality of the picture and therefore creates a picture that may lack in sharpness and contrast.

But there are cameras that do not have a color pass filter and therefore transalte the captured light to a sigel tonal range. Light transaltes into white and shadows transalte into different shades of gray.

In the table below, we have compiled a series of cameras that do a great job of producing black and white photos.

Our camera of choice: If we have to pick a camera that is the most suitable for B&W photography, we would definitely choose Sony Alpha A7 III.
It has all the needed features that are required to produce quality B&W photos and its price is quite affordable compared to its counterparts. The camera is well known for monochromatic photography. Another feature that really stands out for this camera is its autofocus feature. It vastly outperforms other cameras in the same price range.
RECOMMENDED
Ricoh GR III Sony Alpha A7 III Canon EOS R Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Nikon Z7










Total megapixels 24.24 25.30 31.70 31.70 46.89
Sensor size 23.5 x 15.6 mm 35.6 x 23.8 mm 36 x 24 mm 36 x 24 mm 35.9 x 23.9 mm
Max. image resolution 6000 x 4000 6000 x 4000 6720 x 4480 6720 x 4480 8256 x 5504
Buy on Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Amazon

What is the Best Digital Camera for Black and White Photography?

You may think that just about any high-quality camera can do a good job at shooting great black & white pictures, but that just isn’t always the case. Imagine an oil painter trying to paint an oil painting with watercolor paint and bristles. No matter the skill of the painter, the watercolor painting will have no chance to achieve the desired oil style. So the style that we want to achieve is strongly dependent on the tools that we use. And this holds true for photography as well. If we want to achieve great black & white photos, we need to consider some key features & components of the camera.

The most important factor to consider, when buying a camera specialized for B&W photography is, to make sure the camera does not use a color pass filter. To put it in simple words, most of the cameras are made to take colored photos, and therefore capture all the colors of the spectrum. So, in order to convert the colored input to a monochromatic color range, a special process takes place that translates all the color spectrum down to a monochromatic range. This process hinders the quality of the picture and therefore creates a picture that may lack in sharpness and contrast.

But luckily for us, there are some cameras available on the market that do not use a color pass filter, and are therefore a perfect fit for the best digital cameras for black and white photography.

Our team handpicked the best digital cameras for black and white photography. In the following paragraphs, we will look at 5 different cameras that fulfill all the necessary requirements needed for a great B&W camera. The cameras are listed in ascending order by quality/price ratio.

Ricoh GR III


Product description

Ricoh GR III is a great camera for beginners when it comes to the field of black and white photography. It’s a super small package, has a fantastic APS-C sensor, and the layout and button placement is top-notch. The touch screen is pretty nicely implemented as well. Snap focus is the highlight of the GR cameras and the inclusion of the touch to focus makes it much easier to use. The lens is super sharp as the macro mode is improved to as close as 6cm.

Another great benefit of this powerful little camera is, that it fits in a small bag and therefore it is very easy to carry around. For its size, its performance is quite impressive.

Some downsides of the camera are that it doesn’t have a flash, the battery life is subpar, and that it doesn’t have TAv (Time and Aperture value).

PROS
  • fantastic APS-C sensor
  • phase-detection
  • small and effective
  • the lens is super sharp
CONS
  • poor battery life
  • camera body will heat up pretty quickly
  • mediocre video quality

We highly recommend this camera for anyone who is looking for a great beginner’s camera. Ricoh GR III is a sort of jack of all trades camera, that can easily fit in any bag.



Product description

Reliable and professional are the words to describe Sony Alpha A7 III. For less than 2,500 euros, it provides a 24-megapixel 35mm image sensor that records ten images per second and has a whopping 693 phase-detect autofocus (AF) points covering 93% of the frame. In addition, the sensor-shift image stabilizer promises up to 5 exposure value (EV) longer exposure times without blurring. The camera is also capable of recording astonishing 4K videos.

The camera is made out of magnesium alloy and therefore offers robust protection against dust and water. The camera is not fully water-resistant, but compared with the previous models, Alpha 7 III has a waterproof seal covering the battery compartment. Despite its compact size, the camera feels good in the hand. The handle is conveniently large, and therefore offers a great grip so you can easily hold it with one hand.

With the 2.36 million pixel resolution viewfinder and the 921,000-pixel resolution folding touchscreen, the camera can compete with some of the higher end cameras. Thanks to the proximity sensor, the viewfinder is activated automatically as soon as it identifies an object of interest.

This camera has all the necessary features that make it a perfect fit for the best digital cameras for black and white photography.

PROS
  • Amazing autofocus that covers almost entire frame
  • Large battery
  • Improved color over previous gen
  • Amazing lowlight performance
  • Improved ergonomics
  • Improved ergonomics
  • Touchscreen focusing
CONS
  • Touchscreen limitations, can only be used for focusing
  • Only one Ultra High Speed 2 (UHS2) SD card slot


Canon EOS R


Product description

Canon EOS R is a great mid-price range camera with a resolution of 30 megapixels. YOu can immediately notice that the camera is of high-quality, as its housing is made out of a robust and lightweight magnesium alloy. The housing is protected with several different seals that protect the camera against water and dust. The handle is perfectly shaped so you will have no problem holding the camera in one hand, even when you have a big lens attached.

The shortest exposure time the shutter can achive is 1 / 8,000 of a second. In contrast to the competition like Sony and Nikon, Canon EOS R does not have a movable image sensor for image stabilization. You will have to rely on the optical image stabilizer of the lenses, which Canon does not build into every lens.

Canon EOS R records moving images at a maximum of 4K resolution at up to 30 frames per second. In Full HD and HD, the possible frame rates double to 60 and 120 frames per second, respectively. The dual-pixel CMOS autofocus from Canon works really fast in the new EOS R. With the appropriate lenses it can autofocus within approx. 0.2 to 0.3 seconds. Canon EOS R autofocus is faster than that of Sony Alpha 7 III, but both cameras are beaten by Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and Nikon Z 7. Nonetheless, In practice, the autofocus still feels really fast.

PROS
  • Great picture quality
  • Great singlepoint autofocus
  • Silent Shutter
  • Great face detection
  • Great battery life
CONS
  • A bit of lag to see the images after the shot
  • Cropped 4K video


Canon EOS 5D Mark IV


Product description

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is a high-end camera that will satisfy almost any photographer. All its features are of high quality, but where it really stands out is its whopping 30 megapixels with a resolution of 6,720 x 4,480 pixels. The images are razor-sharp and very rich in color.

The shutter feels soft and quiet compared to many other cameras of the same price level. The viewfinder phase detects AF has no problems with lenses 24-70 II, 70-200 II, 135 or 85 1.8 at maximum apertures. The new metering sensor enables great face detection and tracking through viewfinder AF.

The camera’s autofocus works flawlessly. It works especially well with lenses such as the Canon 16-35 mm L, the 24-70 mm L, and the 70-300 mm L.  The autofocus works very well even in difficult lighting conditions.

Up to ISO 1,600, the noise is virtually non-existent The camera can also be used at ISO ranges between 1,600 and 6,400, as the noise is so minimal, it can easily be removed with post-processing methods. These traits make it a great candidate for black and white photography.

The camera enables 4K video recordings with up to 30 full frames per second or  Full HD video recordings with up to 60 full frames per second. For me this is completely sufficient for what I need.

One downside of the camera is, that in the case of 4K recording a crop factor of 1.7. This causes a lot of the captured view to be lost.  5D Mark IV is not a pure film camera. We, therefore, recommend the Full HD mode. It is completely sufficient and allows you to record great videos.

The ergonomics of the camera are great as with other Canon cameras. 

PROS
  • Great low light performance
  • 30MP sensor shows a lot of detail
  • Great Touch screen
  • Fast Focus speed
  • Has GPS support
CONS
  • No HDMI 4K out
  • Average battery life


Nikon Z7


Product description

And last but definitely not least we will loot at Nikon Z7. This is definitely the best digital camera for black and white photography. It fits all the mentioned criteria that we have talked about. It does not have a color pass filter and therefore it translates light and shadows so well into black and white photos.

It is a mirrorless, full-length camera that works perfectly with almost any lens. Nikon Z7 is a high-end camera, as it offers a sensor with 45.7 MP that can push 9 FPS and an autofocus system with a total of 493 focus points. The 45 MP sensor is perfect for shooting landscapes because it can make large prints. The files do become very big though. The Nikon Z7 only has one memory card slot – two are common in this price range. 

The camera comes with a high-resolution viewfinder that works with 1280 × 960 pixels. Viewfinder has about 3.69 million pixels. 

In the previous Nikon cameras, the image stabilizer was in the lens, but in Z7 it is in the camera housing. Therefore, the lenses can be a bit smaller. As a result, the image stabilization now works with all lenses, regardless of whether they have a stabilizer built-in or not. 

We believe Nikon Z7 is a fantastic product, that outshines all its competitors in the same price range. We would, therefore, without second thoughts recommend it to users who are seeking high quality and are willing to spend a little bit.

PROS
  • Autofocus is fast and accurate
  • In-Body-Image-Stabilization (IBIS)
  • Great Manual focus
CONS
  • Currently only three native lenses to choose from


Conclusion

All these recommended digital cameras will do a great job of taking black and white photos. There is no wrong decision, it is merely the question of quality that you want to achieve. One simple rule I apply many times in my life is, you get what you pay for.

Have fun taking great B&W photos, and make sure to enjoy it, as the best shots usually happen when we are in a calm and playful state.

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