The best cameras for black and white photography are more desirable than ever. In a world where everyone has full-colour photography at their fingertips, there’s something tantalising about the retro purity of monochrome. It forces you to slow down, think more precisely about composition, and as such it can be immensely rewarding.

This means that when you’re picking a black and white camera, there are certain specs you’ll want to pay attention to. How is the dynamic range of the camera? (This will be somewhat dictated by sensor size). How fast is the burst mode, and how comprehensive is the autofocus setup?

You may want to shoot black and white in-camera using a dedicated mode, or maybe you’d prefer to convert to monochrome using dedicated software. Whatever your mode of choice, one of the best cameras for black and white photography assembled on our list will fit the bill.

Colour vs True Black and White?

We’ve selected a range of cameras, including colour cameras that have a good range of black and white modes (and filters) built-in to the camera, as well as true black and white cameras with a monochrome sensor. As you’ll see, these true monochrome cameras are rather expensive, so you may want to look at the colour options if this is the case. Another option is to have a colour camera converted to black and white, by a specialist who deals with conversion to black and white such as ( – essential if you want to shoot infrared photography.

Some people prefer to shoot in colour, and then convert to black and white later, as it can give you more control over how you adjust your photos. And if you’re looking for a guide on how to convert colour images to black and white, you can get some tips with our article, “How to create stunning black and white photos”.

Let’s crack straight into the best cameras for black and white photography…

Best cameras for black and white photography – overall winner

Leica Q2 Monochrom

Price | £5,000 / $6,195

Best cameras for black and white photography - Leica Q2 Monochrom

Leica Q2 Monochrom. Photo credit: Andy Westlake

At a glance:

• Compact camera
• 47.3MP full-frame monochrome sensor; 28mm f/1.7 lens
• Up to 20 fps burst shooting with electronic shutter; 10fps mechanical
• ISO 100 – 100,000
• 225 autofocus points

While it is easier than ever to convert an image to black and white post-capture, a dedicated black and white camera with a monochrome sensor delivers genuine advantages. You get more detail, better dynamic range, lower noise and high ISOs. If you know you’re going to shoot in black and white exclusively, this model is well worth considering.

The Leica Q2 Monochrom is the best black and white camera you can buy. Sleek in looks and superb in handling, it’s one of the most immersive shooting experiences out there. The autofocus is excellent, though as we mentioned in our review, many enthusiasts will likely prefer to use the superb manual focusing experience that employs the focus ring and a precise focus-peaking system.

With a 47.3MP full-frame sensor and a stabilised 28mm f/1.7 lens, the Leica Q2 Monochrom delivers fantastic monochrome images. It’s ridiculously expensive, obviously, but if you can justify the outlay, it’s a camera like no other.


• Sublime handling experience
• Stellar image quality
• High resolution


• Absurdly expensive
• 28mm is quite wide

Read why we gave the Leica Q2 Monochrom five stars

Best beginner camera for black and white photography

Fujifilm X-T30 II

Price | £769 / $ 899 (body only)

Best cameras for black and white - Fujifilm X-T30 Mark ii

Fujifilm X-T30 Mark II Camera Body. Photo credit: Joshua Waller

At a glance:

• Mirrorless camera
• 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS IV APS-C sensor
• Up to 30 fps burst shooting with electronic shutter (cropped), 20 fps uncropped
• ISO 80 – 51,200 (extended)
• 425 autofocus points
• £769 body-only

The X-T30 II is a refresh of one of Fujifilm’s popular cameras in its mirrorless X series. It’s one of the best-value mirrorless cameras out there and we gave it high praise in our review. The film simulation modes on this camera will be of particular interest to black and white photographers. These fine creations do exactly what it sounds like, and allow you to emulate classic film stocks.

The Acros mode simulates the classic fine-grain film, delivering ultra-sharp images full of detail. Both this and the classic Monochrome mode can be used with red, green or yellow filters for different effects. The tactile, dial-based handling experience of the X-T30 II also feels like a throwback to film cameras of yesteryear.


• B&W film simulation modes
• Lots of physical controls


• Some badly placed buttons
• No in-body stabilisation

Read our full review of the Fujifilm X-T30 II

Best black and white rangefinder camera

Leica M10 Monochrom

Price | £7,000 / $8,995 (body only)

Best cameras for black and white - Leica M10 Monochrom

The M10 Monochrom sports a large, bright optical viewfinder. Photo credit: Andy Westlake

At a glance:

• Digital rangefinder camera
• 40.9MP monochrome full-frame sensor
• 4.5 fps burst shooting
• ISO 160 – 100,000
• Rangefinder focusing

The Leica M10 Monochrom is essentially a supercar. It’s unwieldy, it’s absurdly expensive and it’s only going to appeal to a tiny slice of the population. But if you count yourself among them, then this monochrome rangefinder could be the best buy you’ll ever make. As we said in our review, the experience of using this camera is incredible – that rich, high-resolution sensor captures the finest details, and the focusing experience of a rangefinder, while tricky to master, is immensely satisfying once you get it down.

With tremendous high-ISO performance and impressive dynamic range, this is some of the finest monochrome image quality it’s possible to get. Of course, as this is Leica, that comes at a cost. A quite significant cost.


• Large viewfinder and first-class rangefinder
• Superlative image quality


• Even more ludicrously expensive
• Touchscreen could be better integrated

Read our review of the Leica M10 Monochrom

Best black and white camera for travel

Panasonic Lumix GX9

Price | £600 / $797

Best cameras for black and white - Panasonic GX9

Panasonic GX9. Photo credit: Andy Westlake

At a glance:

• Mirrorless camera
• 20.3MP Four Thirds sensor
• 9 fps burst shooting
• ISO 160 – 25,600 (extended)
• 49 autofocus points

One of the most enduringly popular cameras in the Lumix G mirrorless range, the Panasonic Lumix GX9 is a wonderful take-everywhere camera. It’s got an impressive tilting 1240k-dot LCD screen that makes it easy to shoot from all sorts of different angles and its autofocus system is snappy and accurate – though can sometimes struggle with moving subjects.

In our review, we highly rated the Panasonic Lumix GX9 as a street photography camera. One of the things we praised was its attractive L. Monochrome mode. This features is designed to emulate the look of black and white film, with even the option to add a grain effect. Also available is L. Monochrome D, which can be used to bring out additional detail in the darker areas of the frame.


• Lightweight and portable
• Arty monochrome modes
• Large lens selection


• AF tracking hit-and-miss
• Controls awkward when using viewfinder

Best black and white camera for street photography

Ricoh GR III / GR IIIx

Price | £850 / $996

Best cameras for black and white photography - Ricoh GRIII

Ricoh GRIII in hand. Photo credit: Michael Topham

At a glance:

• Compact camera
• 24.2MP APS-C sensor; 18.3mm f/2.8 (28mm equivalent) lens
• 4 fps burst shooting
• ISO 100 – 102,400
• Hybrid autofocus system

The Ricoh GR III is a photographer’s camera. It’s designed for street shooting, for taking everywhere with you, and for capturing instantaneous moments – and as such, it’s ideal for dramatic, black and white imagery. It has excellent dynamic range, which also helps for monochrome shooting, and its fixed 28mm equivalent f/2.8 lens is versatile in a host of situations.

One thing to be aware of is that the GR III has no viewfinder, and also no means of attaching one. You have to be comfortable composing with the rear screen. Also, as we mentioned in our review, its autofocus can sometimes hunt in low light.

If 28mm is too wide for you, then consider also the Ricoh GR IIIx. It’s essentially an identical camera that has a 40mm equivalent lens. You can read our full, in-depth review to learn more about it.


• Excellent touchscreen experience
• Travel-friendly setup
• 40mm option available


• No viewfinder option
• Poor AF in low light

Our review of the Ricoh GR III
Our review of the Ricoh GR IIIx

Best black and white camera to buy second-hand

Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246)

Price | £4,000/ $4,499 approx. (second-hand, body only)

Best camera for black and white photos - Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246)

Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246). Photo credit: Callum McInerney-Riley

At a glance:

• Digital rangefinder camera
• 24MP monochrome full-frame sensor
• 4 fps burst shooting
• ISO 320 – 100,000
• Rangefinder focusing
• Contemporary second-hand street price around £3,000

We first published our Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) review back in 2015. At that time, it was retailing for £5,750 body-only, but these days on the second-hand market, we’ve seen it going for as little as £2,879. While that’s still a chunk of change, it’s also a hell of a saving on a frankly exceptional camera.

With a dedicated monochrome sensor, this Leica rangefinder is optimised for black and white imaging, delivering exceptional dynamic range and quality. Having the Leica M mount also gives you access to some of the finest lenses money can buy.


• Exceptional dynamic range
• Price has come down since launch


• Still very pricey
• Rangefinder focusing takes practice

Read our five-star review of the Leica M Monochrom

Best black and white camera with a viewfinder

Fujifilm X-Pro3

Price | £1,534 / $1,799 (body only)

Fujifilm X-Pro3

Fujifilm X-Pro3. Photo credit: Michael Topham

At a glance:

• Mirrorless camera
• 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS IV APS-C sensor
• Up to 30 fps burst shooting with electronic shutter (cropped), 20 fps uncropped
• ISO 80 – 51,200 (extended)
• 425 autofocus points

It takes a lot for a camera to surprise us nowadays, so our attention was immediately caught by Fujifilm’s bold X-Pro3. Its reversed, “fold-down” rear screen isn’t visible during normal shooting, encouraging the user to immerse themselves in the viewfinder experience, without the constant “chimping” at the rear screen that can plague digital photography. It essentially provides a rangefinder-style experience without the expense or difficulty of a rangefinder camera.

Does it work? That’s up to you. We loved it in our review, but also acknowledged it won’t be for everyone. There are cheaper cameras in the Fuji stable with similar or identical imaging setups and without the handling quirks. However, the retro experience of using an X-Pro3 feels so perfectly right for black and white shooting that we simply had to include it here.


• Immersive, rangefinder-style experience
• Excellent B&W modes


• “Invisible” screen won’t be for everyone
• Cheap Fuji X options available

Read our full review of the Fujifilm X-Pro3

Best weatherproof black and white camera

Panasonic Lumix S5

Price | £1,600 / $1,697 (body only)

Best cameras for monochrome - Panasonic Lumix S5

Panasonic Lumix S5. Photo credit: Michael Topham

At a glance:

• Mirrorless camera
• 24.2MP full-frame sensor
• 7 fps continuous shooting
• ISO 50 – 204,800 (extended)
• 225 autofocus points

Just like the Lumix GX9, the Panasonic Lumix S5 has the L.MONOCHROME designed specifically to optimise black and white shooting – only now, they’re paired up with a full-frame sensor. The Lumix S5 is capable of capturing images with the kind of hugely impressive dynamic range that’s perfect for black and white photography. It does so in a body that’s both lightweight and weatherproof.

As we mentioned in our full review, the lightness of the Lumix S5 addresses some of the criticisms users had of previous Lumix S cameras. We also had a lot of time for the 20-60mm kit lens you can buy it with, which is an excellent all-purpose optic.


• Full-frame in a light body
• Splash/dust resistant


• Sluggish burst mode
• Rivals have better AF

Read our full review of the Panasonic Lumix S5

Written by Jon Stapley with additional information by Joshua Waller

Are you looking to improve your black and white photography? Read more on monochrome with these articles:

How to shoot stunning black and white portraits
How to convert images to black and white in Adobe Lightroom
Black and white street photography: Tips and techniques from the experts

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