All Black & White to me….By Jason Howe

All Black & White to me……..

By Jason Howe

Hey Steve

Hope your well, I’m sure many will agree with me when I say your site continues to be an amazing source of inspiration and information and is the first website I browse each day.

Some of your readers may be familiar with my photography but for those who aren’t, every now and then I throw something Steve’s way from down here in Middle Earth!!! New Zealand is such a beautiful country and landscapes make up a large part of my photography, however……….

At the start of the year I made a decision to try my hand at a few things I had not previously attempted, one of them was to arrange shoots with models. It’s very early days in this process but I thought I would share some of my initial images with you. I’m always looking to put posts together for my blog so I had several combinations of camera and lens in mind to shoot on this occasion, specifically these were –

Leica M9 and Canon 50/1.4 – I’m of the opinion that this lens is one of the best you can buy in the “inexpensive” ltm lens bracket and particularly suited to images of this nature. Leica MM and Konica Hexanon 60/1.2 – I was fortunate enough to acquire this lens just before Christmas, I’ve messed around with it but this was essentially the first time I’d used it at length. Contax 645 and Zeiss T Planar 90/2 – A recent addition, I’m still getting to know this camera but I wanted to at least shoot a roll or two through it, film of choice Fuji Pro 400H.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of B&W, it accounts for most of what I shoot, I am pushing myself to shoot more color this year though, honestly!! I had a specific look in mind for these images before I shot them, you can see those versions HERE. The truth is though, no matter what I do or how I attempt to view my subject matter it almost invariable looks better to me in B&W.

Here are a few of those images taken on the Leica M9 with Canon 50/1.4 this time converted in Silver Efex Pro 2 and LR4. I have always been happy with the B&W conversions I was able to achieve with the M9 files and they definitely are not inferior to the MM files when shot in these conditions, the MM for me is really about shooting at higher ISO’s, that is when it comes in to its own.

Model – Alicia Sim

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In the next couple of weeks I’m going to be posting a full set of images taken on the Leica M Monochrom with the Konica Hexanon 60/1.2, here are a small selection of those. Again these images are converted in Silver Efex Pro 2 and LR4. The Hex is incredibly sharp at f/1.4 and equally superb in these conditions at f/1.2 with the edge just taken off the sharpness. I’m delighted with it for sure although I would never defend the purchase price I took the decision to buy this lens over the Noctilux because quite simply I will always be able to get hold of one of those.

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I did get the chance to use my Contax but despite liking the images shot on the Fuji Pro 400H I still could not help myself converting them to B&W, this may be sacrilege……..

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Things really are “All Black & White to me” when it comes to processing, well mostly……..




You can keep up with my photographic journey down under here –



  1. I just packed my Canon 50/1.4 in LTM, sold it off to a friend that was trying to find a good one…

    This is one of the few 6-element F1.4 lenses ever made, Canon had a new glass that made it possible. Not so long ago, the 50/1.4 sold for more than the 50/1.2 and 50/1.5. These days, the Canon 50/1.4 is a bargain.

    When looking for one: make sure the inner surfaces of the glass on each side if the aperture blades are clean and clear. Canon used a lubricant that reacted badly with the new type of glass used in the lens. It could produce Haze, then coating damage, and finally Etch the glass. So if buying used, make sure you have a return policy.

    I ended up converting a Canon 50/1.4 FL mount lens (SLR lens) to RF coupled Leica mount. Big, but beautiful. Goes well on the M Monochrom, RF coupling to 0.65m

  2. Great set of images, Jason, and very imspired, regardless of the gear…I love how we are all developing our own styles with the MM….it truly is all BW, all of the time 😉

  3. Beautiful shots Jason! Could you shed some light on where I can find the Hex 60mm/1.2 lens? I’ve been looking for it for the longest time…

  4. Personally I see nothing wrong with converting color images to b&w. I have even done it with some of my old Kodachrome images. Wonder if there will be any “sacrilige” comments to that……

    • The only thing that matters is the final image. As far as I’m concerned, it makes no difference at all how you arrive at it.

  5. I love the shots. It’s surprising to me that these were taken with an M9. The low contrast makes them look like they were taken with the MM.

  6. This is a smokin’ hot set here Jason and I’m not talking about gear! I think you’ve done some homework as you branch out into a new area of photography for you!

    I’m curious why you’ve chosen the older Canon LTM lens? You’ve worked some serious magic with it in these shots! And you’re telling us you actually processed color film to B&W? I can’t wait see the responses to that!

    • Hi Duane, thank you. I am under no illusions with these images I have a million miles to go to get any level of expertise when it comes to shooting models, but it’s a start.

      I chose to use the Canon 50/1.4 to gather some material for a future User Report on the lens, I really rate it and I felt I could link subject matter/location and the lens to get an eastern feel to a series of shots. I guess also because I like to try and get something out of the lenses that are either less fashionable, underrated or in some cases overlooked. This being the case in point with the Canon 50/1.4, Jupiter 3 and 15mm VC Heliar as examples.

      With regards converting the film, well I was just being honest…..:-)

      Cheers, Jason

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