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B&W digital camera settings?

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kernix
 
Posts: 2

B&W digital camera settings?

Post Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:08 pm


I have a Canon digital Rebel XTi and I want to shoot some cityscapes in black & white. I set the Picture Style to Monochrome with settings of 3, 0, R, N (that's sharpness, contrast, filter effect [Red] and toning effect [None]). Was wondering if anyone can shoots with different settings and why. I’ll be shooting in RAW.

Thanks!

Jim Kernicky
http://www.jfk-photo.com/

sean_mcr
 
Posts: 493

Re: B&W digital camera settings?

Post Fri Aug 21, 2009 12:59 am


If you're shooting in raw there's little point in using the B&W settings other than to be able to visualise the scene while you're shooting. When you get the raw file back to lightroom etc the file will be in its raw state (In colour) and that's when you'll convert it to black and white. Converting your file to B&W in lightroom etc will give you far more control and options than the in camera settings.

Edit:

Forgot to mention...

Picture styles shot in RAW can be adjusted in Canon's Digital Photo Professional but it just can't compare to having full control over your conversions
Last edited by sean_mcr on Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:19 am, edited 2 times in total.
What uses having a great depth of field, if there is not an adequate depth of feeling? -

W. Eugene Smith

prinothcat
 
Posts: 662

Re: B&W digital camera settings?

Post Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:11 am


Agree with Sean, in camera B&W leaves something to be desired. I still shoot film for B&W. Digital B&W is just not worth my time, since I visualize B&W well. I have a great local lab for development and scanning. If I were to pursue digital B&W I'd learn to work in RAW.

dougj
 
Posts: 2276

Re: B&W digital camera settings?

Post Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:33 am


If you are shooting RAW, the style settings will be used for the JPG thumbnail, the RAW data is not modified. If you use Canon's DPP for RAW conversion, the style settings will be the initial (default) settings for the conversion when you open the file, after conversion by whichever converter you use, the RAW file still contains all of the unmodified data from the sensor. So, there is little to be gained by shooting RAW + B&W. I agree with the OPs, you should do the B&W conversion in post processing for more control, and this would apply if you should shoot JPG.

madlights
 
Posts: 912

Re: B&W digital camera settings?

Post Sat Aug 22, 2009 5:05 am


Yes you do have much more control converting a color image (especially in RAW) to B&W in an editor. Much more...different BW films can even be somewhat mimicked in how they see color....You can add real film grain etc. etc. but there is something in committing oneself to black and white from the beginning. Sometimes shoot RAW in my Olympus in BW since it has an EVF(knowing it's still a color photo) it does help to visualize the contrasts, which are very important in black and white. (Most DSLR's don't give much choice in visualizing - neither did film) ofttimes I even shoot in jpg in BW, and know some others who do also. You can always adjust the contrasts later. It maybe is just me, but there is a certain commitment that's made, when you can't go back. Yeah I know...but sometimes it's fun. I've even used a 'real' red glass filter...and set my white balance on daylight. I know... lost two Fstops...but lots of fun. So it's kind of like whatever makes you feel good, and keeps your interest going...at least to me. Some people develop a style one way, some another....some people like to process, some don't...etc. etc.

sean_mcr
 
Posts: 493

Re: B&W digital camera settings?

Post Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:14 am


You've got very little room for changing contrast on a 8bit jpeg Barri. You're basically letting the camera do you PP for you in a very limited way. As black and white relays on luminosity and tone for it's impact (along with content of course) working with 256 levels of brightenss as apposed to 65,536 levels just gives you less and not in a less is more kind of way but a less is less kind.


"Possibly the biggest advantage of shooting raw is that one has a 16 bit image (post raw conversion) to work with. This means that the file has 65,536 levels to work with. This is opposed to a JPG file's 8 bit space with just 256 brightness levels available. This is important when editing an image, particularly if one is trying to open up shadows or alter brightness in any significant way."

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutor ... iles.shtml

To fully commit to B&W and still have real control over your work I'd get the TRI-X out, pal. But I think a good practice is to choose a subject that lends itself well to black and white rather then colour and to know the difference. You can pick a subject that simply does not rely on nor translates well in colour.

I think digital is getting closer to B&W film but it's not there yet and the only real way to get close to it is to shoot in RAW. Standard film and RAW certainly kicks sand in a jpegs face for latitude, a jpeg is not unlike slide film.

I guess you've never taken two film slr's out, one loaded with TRI-X and one loaded with Provia :P
What uses having a great depth of field, if there is not an adequate depth of feeling? -

W. Eugene Smith

madlights
 
Posts: 912

Re: B&W digital camera settings?

Post Sat Aug 22, 2009 12:46 pm


Hi Sean
No, but I've taken 2 out, one loaded with Tri-X (or sometimes Pan-X) and one loaded with poor old Kodachrome... :) (anything but Velvia ) Hey take a look at Alex Majoli http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/multi_ ... -6468-7844
I never said that shooting in RAW wasn't better. It is. Like has been said there's a lot more to work with...as you know. You can do a lot more with dynamic range, tonal gradations etc. wherever there's more information there's more to work with...what I was talking about was commitment. Some people don't like to process...know I'm getting to like it less and less. Run an action using 250px high pass on an adjustable duplicate layer set to 'overlay' and you can get a lot of contrast, either on color, or jpg BW. Of course there's not the dynamic range of RAW in jpg...but sometimes it's good enough. Some cameras seem to process jpg's better than others too...I have no scientific stuff to back me up on that :D it just seems like it. Mostly I use RAW with my Canon. Mostly jpg with my Olympus even though it does RAW and well (but sl-o-o-o-w). I've seen a lot of good in camera BW with the Ricoh's, C series Oly's and some with the Panasonics, and others at least as far as how they look on the net...which I 'spose isn't a true test really, like a print could be. Think this is apples and oranges. RAW is better by far in a technical way. Jpg's require more of a commitment when you press the button. Either work better if the photographer gets it right, right off...but do agree there's much more info in a RAW file...and if you want to convert to BW much more latitude for adjustment. But for people who have learned to hate processing....well sometimes good enough is OK. and to me the OP is sort of doing the best of both. Making a commitment to BW and using RAW too...and if a shot does turn out better in color "what the heck" it's still there. I would probably do what Kernix does with that particular camera, maybe monkey around with the contrast some, and sharpness...which can be adjusted in RAW anyway...to avoid any more post processing than necessary, but that's just me. Have fun Kernix and watch out - black and white can be addictive.

sean_mcr
 
Posts: 493

Re: B&W digital camera settings?

Post Sun Aug 23, 2009 12:08 pm


Hi Barri,

My issue with Jpeg is that once that info is baked in its gonna be a struggle to drag out info that simple isn't there anymore. But there are plenty of pros that for one reason or another need to shoot jpeg, time constraints being one of them and where the shot will printed is another

I can't say that I'm a huge fan of PP I see it as a necessary evil but doesn't take me long as I'm not in to HDR etc. Once you have a way of shooting and a way of editing the process is pretty straight forward. I think many people will find it handy to shoot in raw and black and white as there's a reference on the screen for them. Not something I do myself, the most important info on the screen is the histogram. I don't think the OP realised that they'd still have all the info still available to them. I do think to that you can't truly make a full commitment to black & white or colour until you have a piece of equipment that is only capable of doing one or the the other. You can shoot a colour jpeg just as easily as a b&w jpeg while you're there. Humans tend to like options ( and can be led astray by them when they're available). The tyranny of choice :roll:

Here's a nice way to spend some time on a Sunday afternoon. Looking at somebody who fully committed themselves to B&W and to his subject

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/18/showcase-36/
What uses having a great depth of field, if there is not an adequate depth of feeling? -

W. Eugene Smith

madlights
 
Posts: 912

Re: B&W digital camera settings?

Post Sun Aug 23, 2009 4:58 pm


Hi Sean
Think Majoli does so because of camera choices and reasons for the choices though, rather than time constraints or printing...but do know what you mean.
LOL at the tyranny of choice...how true. I think it's why I sometimes shoot BW in jpg honestly, even knowing it's inferior in it's ability to be processed as well. You can't go back again, and it commits a person, like shooting film did. Yup once a person has a program like Photoshop, after you get the settings down, and write whatever action (or recipe in DPP)...it can be pretty well automated...for RAW or jpg.
I've written a bunch of BW actions in Photoshop that took me forever. Then after I got them all done, says to myself "why not?" and went out and bought some rolls of Tri-X for my old film stuff....then did what I always did....put them in a drawer and haven't got them developed yet :D
Back to the topic:
I've talked to a few pro's (one sports shooter in particular) he shoots in RAW and jpg at once, sends in the jpgs for review...gets back from the editor which are promising, then sends in the RAWs (this all saves much time). So although it's off subject, it may be applicable in certain ways in this case, find it interesting that even for someone who shoots exclusively RAW, that jpgs are useful in that regard. A person could also do that when shooting, to compare BW jpg vs Color RAW....since the jpg would come out in BW I think. I know it does in my Olympus when shot together. In that way a person could have the best of both...'in camera' and 'out of camera' :wink: It would also give a person something to compare to and find out which look promising. My old clunker 10d doesn't do 'in camera' BW so not sure what the RAW-jpg possibilities are with the later Canons like the XTi. But my Oly will do both at the same time and can even be changed after the fact (bw-jpg, color-RAW), as will the10d(only not in BW and not afterwards) So a person could do both if they wanted, in a later Canon. Sometimes colors can translate much differently in BW and would give a faster preview (especially in certain editors or viewers), even if shot in RAW...and something to compare to after the temporary raw profile files are changed, if so later...say in Photoshop or DPP. (although they can be changed to camera default anyway)...just a thought. I might try it myself...albeit backwards for my 10d.
Thanks Sean...bookmarked that one for sure...great photographs and a link to a larger site.

sean_mcr
 
Posts: 493

Re: B&W digital camera settings?

Post Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:03 am


Hi Barri

My camera shoots in raw and jpeg simultaneously, but haven't needed to shoot that way yet. I'm just about to take some shots of my old 20D which is going on ebay. It'll be shot in doors in a controlled environment using the same aperture shutter and ISO. I then simply open up the one shot in lightroom, edit it then apply that edit to all the other shots with one click. That's the lightroom work done in minutes.

Anyway, what I'm really saying is, please buy my 20D. it's in perfect con, one careful owner :lol:
What uses having a great depth of field, if there is not an adequate depth of feeling? -

W. Eugene Smith

madlights
 
Posts: 912

Re: B&W digital camera settings?

Post Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:09 am


sean_mcr wrote:Hi Barri

My camera shoots in raw and jpeg simultaneously, but haven't needed to shoot that way yet. I'm just about to take some shots of my old 20D which is going on ebay. It'll be shot in doors in a controlled environment using the same aperture shutter and ISO. I then simply open up the one shot in lightroom, edit it then apply that edit to all the other shots with one click. That's the lightroom work done in minutes.

Anyway, what I'm really saying is, please buy my 20D. it's in perfect con, one careful owner :lol:
:D
Yeah Lightroom, DPP, or Photoshop and a few others are pretty quick and easy. I pretty much do similar most times. Usually set my Canon to do small jpg's for reference along with RAW since memory is so cheap now.
Edit: I've been thinking some...I think every once in a while (yeah I shoot a lot in RAW and convert to BW - and even with my P&S's convert from color) That it can hone a person's "feel" for B&W to occasionally shoot in B&W jpg. Not on your important stuff...or on a shot your not sure of the exposure. But it keeps a person thinking about "getting it right" and about seeing contrast...there's something about clicking the shutter and knowing not much can be changed, even if just for practice...and it makes a person conscious... just every once in a while. And if you do get a good one, where you don't have to monkey around with it much...most cameras do a fair job of jpegs...which can be adjusted a bit, but save the original... but I'd have to agree that the way to go for serious stuff is RAW.
Edit: If there is quite a deal of adjustment to do in tonality RAW has it way over jpg. If you say darken a sky in jpg to any great extent, you do risk banding. If your exposure is right on...or you use filters etc. as you would in film then there is less risk if shot in native B&W. I had to add this edit, since Sean is right...RAW gives much more lattitude for adjustment...jpgs much less margin for error in tonality. (and besides in RAW you get a free color photo :) besides.


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