I shoot black and white. Why? Because in a black and white photo with a person's face in it, you can connect with them emotionally without distraction. In a color photo you start to connect emotionally but then are quickly distracted, "hey, is that a purple flower in their hair?". Our eyes are drawn to human faces, but also to contrast and color, so while you may notice the person first, your eyes will quickly wander the scene. If you shoot in a controlled environment you can make sure every element in your scene adds to the photo, rather than distract from it. In street photography it is hard enough to find a good subject, focus and frame them, hope the background is ok without having to also worry that the person behind my subject has a really bright red handbag. So, I shoot black and white. It removes an entire variable from my photography and makes getting the result I want much easier. Plus I personally like the look.
That is why I went to this workshop to borrow a Phase One Achromatic, a 100mp black and white only camera! The Leica Monochrom is the only other black and white camera available. But the Phase has over 5x the resolution, so why wouldn't I want to play with it?
Ok, we get it Chris, you publish black and white, but why not shoot a color camera and convert? That gives you a bunch of color channels to fine tune your image and add/remove contrast in specific areas! Well, to get technical for a moment, a regular color camera has something plastered over the sensor called a Bayer Filter (or X-trans for you Fuji folk) which only allows a subset of the wavelength of light in to each sensor pixel. So one pixel only detects reds, the one next to it green, the one next to that blue, etc. etc.. Very smart software then uses that data, and the proximity of the pixels, to guess what the actual color coming in for each pixel was. What should then be apparent, is in a sense the camera is not using every pixel to its full potential.
By removing the Bayer filter every single pixel can just capture how much light is hitting it. The result is a very impressive increase in sharpness. If that matters, and personally I think it does, then having a monochrome sensor is more valuable to me than being able to post process color channels in a converted b&w. The other, possibly more important, side effect of removing the color filter is that a LOT more light gets through to the sensor. This is reflected in ISO sensitivity. Monochrome sensors tend to have nearly double the ISO range of color sensors. That is a whole lot of leeway to shoot faster shutter speeds in lower light.
From that terribly long winded explanation you can see why I would want the Phase One Achromatic over the Trichromatic. Funny thing is, the resolution is so insane on both that I actually think that is a wash, whereas the difference between the Leica Monochrom and its color counterparts is quite apparent. The real difference for the Phase is usable ISO. The Trichromatic started having ugly color noise at 1600, where the Achromatic was chugging along fine at 3200 and only started getting a noticeable, but still pleasant grain at 6400+.