My Sony cameras all seem pretty well set up to do most of what I want from them; what I expect from them. Whether I'm shooting serious commercial work with the A7Rii or making fun motion projects in 4K with the RX10iii all the cameras deliver what I consider to be a tremendous value for the purchase prices. There is just one area (besides the complexity and irrationality of the menus...) that comes to mind when I'm shooting personal work that I would appreciate Sony fixing.
Their internal controls for black and white or monochrome imaging, in camera, are severely limited. And it makes me a little testy. All I want is what I've had in many of the other cameras I've shot with in recent years. I want Sony to add a color filter simulation to their black and white sub-menu. That's it. That's all. I'd like to dial in a yellow filter in order to intensify the difference between blue sky and white clouds. I'd like to be able to dial in a red or orange filter to make skies go dramatically dark and have human skin go nearly white. But most of all I would welcome a green filter simulation to add a bit more contrast and structure to skin tones. Panasonic can do it. Olympus can do it. Even Nikon can do it. I have to pat Nikon on the back for not only including the filter simulations but also including a mid-range contrast control (clarity) to the menu as well. Fuji takes it up even one more notch with actual film simulations based on traditional film favorites.
There are times when I want to shoot black and white in the way we did with film. We added control at the shooting stage to the whole black and white image process by making good choices of filters. It's a way of controlling tonal differentiation and it's powerful.
Now, before you jump in to teach me all about cameras and stuff I do understand that I can shoot my images in RAW and have total control right there in my post production software. I can use the Nik filters, the hue sliders, the Silver FX tools and many other plug ins to get exactly what I want. I know that but I want to make judgements in the field and then carry back the info to the "darkroom."
If I have to shoot RAW wouldn't it be nice to have the subtle controls for the Jpeg files I can shoot alongside the RAW files? Then I could reference what I was trying to achieve in the field as I sat in my chair drinking Diet Coke and eating delivery pizza (shoot me now). But, alas. Sony's implementation of their black and white color setting is nothing more than a 101 desaturation.
Still, in the big picture it is a small thing. Not a deal killer. Not a "meh." If we had to juggle features I'd rather live with the limited nature of the B&W setting than to lose something more vital, like a headphone jack, or zebras.
I'm pretty sure it doesn't have to be an "either/or" choice. I think Sony just overlooked this because maybe I'm the only person buying their cameras who would like to have this feature.
I like the look of images in good black and white. Not so enamored of images that have merely been desaturated. But t's not enough to make me switch systems again.
Posted by Kirk Tuck, Photographer/Writer at 13:00