Digital B&W?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by jon_k, Jul 12, 2007.

  1. jon_k

    jon_k TPF Noob!

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    Hi,

    DSLRs and any digicam can be set in B&W mode. Is there any advantage to this, any extra data stored? Or can you accomplish the same?

    I'm thinking it's just a feature there for people who can't post process images. I'm assuming the image is taken by the CCD in color and then some processing software in the firmware desaturates the image. Is this correct?

    OR

    Do the pixels in the CCD somehow get used to a better potential for generating a B&W image?

    I ask this because B&W generated from digital color images just don't look as great as stuff taken from black and white film. Perhaps I'm just not good enough at post processing. I haven't experimented with the B&W option in the camera to see if there's any technical difference.
     
  2. gizmo2071

    gizmo2071 TPF Noob!

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    Get results 100% better from converting Colour to B&W your self, but I sometimes use B&W setting just because I like to have an idea of how the tones look and I can convert it back to colour in RAW process and then revert back to B&W with my own techniques.
     
  3. Chas

    Chas TPF Noob!

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    Ouch! I'm about to convert to digital B&W and this is disappointing to hear. Let's hope it's to some extent a post-processing issue ..... Gizmo's post gives one hope, but to what extent can prints from ASA (oops) 100 4X5 film be approximated with a 10 meg digital - maybe it's a silly question and I don't want to hear the answer.
     
  4. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you know how to use PS - converting images to B&W - DYNAMIC B&W (the default b&w conversion in PS is crap) is a snap.
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I agree with gizmo...it's much much better to do the conversion yourself in the post processing stage. My camera, for example, even has options to simulate the effects of different color filters for B&W shooting...but why would I do that when doing it in post gives me the ability to simulate practically any filter effect...to any degree, with extreme ease?

    I think it's certainly possible to get outstanding B&W images...but to get the best quality output...requires proper printing equipment. Most printers are not set up for optimum B&W printing.

    That being said, digital capture doesn't have the latitude of B&W film and it's hard to beat the look of a good silver halide B&W print.
     
  6. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    If I could show you examples of poorly done or inexperienced traditional BW work would you be disappointed with film? :) Send most beginners into the darkroom, and the stuff they come out with is usually less than top quality. As long as even one photog can figure out high quality digital BW, and I think there are plenty of examples, then anyone can. It's almost all a matter of skills, and the great thing about skills is that anyone with some time can get them if they apply themselves. Having nice gear, software, and printers helps too, but in the end it's mostly about the skills.
     
  7. jon_k

    jon_k TPF Noob!

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    At this point I think I agree with everyone here that post-conversion beats the software conversion in-camera.

    The best bet seems to shoot raw and postconvert to B&W.

    The big question here is digital sensors don't have the great dynamic range of film, especially B&W film. What type of post processing techniques do you guys use to bring out more dynamic range?

    The only option I know in photoshop is Image>Adjustments>Black&White

    This lets you slide around the brightness fo each color channel (RGBCYMK)

    Any other tips?
     
  8. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    one thing that hasn't been mentioned. ONe needs to think in black and white , it will make a great difference . Not all color photos convert to beautiful black and white images.

    It is not just a matter of converting. ONe needs to understand the tonal values and how they can merge together.
    Using all black inks in a printer will be very helpful in producing a more netural black and white inkjet print.

    Printers are getting better with providing several shades of gray and black inks to help avoid the orginal problems with using a color printer for black and white.

    The paper your using will also make a very big difference in what the final output looks like.
     
  9. Chas

    Chas TPF Noob!

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    :drool2:........ after this and the other posts (including ann's), I'm feeling much better already.

    Lead on, Macduff .....
     
  10. THORHAMMER

    THORHAMMER TPF Noob!

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    yes correct, even with film you need a filter to bring out the right colors, its no different with digital, just you can apply the color filter afterwards.
     
  11. Jon, The Elder

    Jon, The Elder TPF Noob!

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    In-camera B&W takes away the option of color, should you change your mind later.
     
  12. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Not if you shoot raw.
     

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