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Black & White From Digital - Questions.

Mon Sep 27, 2004 8:29 am

I've done search (no hits) because I thought I recalled it being discussed here a few months ago.

I'd like to know what anyone's experience has been converting digital RGB photos to grayscale. I've done it to my satisfaction but would like to know if there are better techniques.

Appreciate any comments.


[Edited 2004-09-27 01:30:49]
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jorge1812
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RE: Black & White From Digital - Questions.

Tue Sep 28, 2004 5:18 pm

Hello.
I've done it one time only and it worked quite well. Here's the result.


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Photo © Georg Noack



Accepted on Anet say more than thousend words I think.

Bye, Georg.

P.S.: I did it with photoshop CS.
 
JoakimE
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RE: Black & White From Digital - Questions.

Tue Sep 28, 2004 5:49 pm

I've done it twice so far, in my opinion back-lit shots look a bit better when B&W. The method I use is that I convert the image to Lab Color, then remove both "a" and then "Alpha 2" channels, convert it to Grayscale and finally back to RGB Color before doing the rest of the work and saving it.


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Photo © Joakim Ewenson
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Photo © Joakim Ewenson

 
work4bmi
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RE: Black & White From Digital - Questions.

Tue Sep 28, 2004 8:38 pm

Just a side note, the 20D allows the user to shoot in B&W... Having only just got my 20D last week, I have had little use, but the B&W does look good.
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chris78cpr
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RE: Black & White From Digital - Questions.

Wed Sep 29, 2004 4:02 am

You should not shoot in the B&W mode on the 20D if you want the best quality!

Always shoot in color and then convert!

Chris
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work4bmi
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RE: Black & White From Digital - Questions.

Wed Sep 29, 2004 5:09 am

Chris,

Thanks for that... I was not aware, but then - since getting my 20D I have not had much chance to use it?

Whats the advantage of colour --> B&W?
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ckw
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RE: Black & White From Digital - Questions.

Wed Sep 29, 2004 8:04 am

The problem with colour - B&W conversions is that different colours can end up as similar shades of grey resulting in an image with less contrast than you would like - also, traditionally, colour film is less contrasty than B&W, so conversion can look flatter than a "real" B&W picture.

The easiest way to get complete control over your conversions in PS is to use Image -> Adjust ->channel mixer which allows you to manage the precentage each colour channel contributes to the final image. By adjusting these values, you can more closely replicate the look of traditional B&W film, as well as imitate the effects of colour filters on B&W film. Usually its best to make sure the total values selected add up to 100 (eg. red 60%, blue 20%, green 20%) but its fun to experiment.

Its also worth keeping in mind that with most DSLR's the blue channel usually contains the most noise, whilst the red channel has the least resolution (there are less red sensitive pixel sites on the sensor than for other colours - Foveon being an exception here).

Sometimes you might want to ADD some noise (filter -> noise) to get a gritty Tri-X effect.

As an example, here are some pub shots for which I did both colour & B&W versions - all shot using available light at 1600 ISO. Personally I think the B&W versions are more "atmospheric".

http://www.ckwphoto.com/libby/

Cheers,

Colin
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futterman
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RE: Black & White From Digital - Questions.

Wed Sep 29, 2004 9:05 am

http://www.airliners.net/addphotos/big/ready/2282_AA772bw_N775AN_JFK31Rarr1_BF.jpg

Just uploaded this. 20D's black 'n white is nothing super cool--you can do the same in Photoshop any day of the week. But, I do agree with Colin on one thing: you can't do B&W without noise.

I slapped ISO1600 on the above photo.


Brian
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work4bmi
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RE: Black & White From Digital - Questions.

Wed Sep 29, 2004 9:09 am

Colin,

As ever, a detailed reply with some good points. When reading it back, it makes sense in what your saying! As a former screener, how do consider the uplaod of a BW photo, and for that matter, what are the best shots to upload in this format?

Also, thoug still under development, the ckw site looks nice. The advertised photo examples look spot on!

Thanks,

Aaron
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vzlet
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RE: Black & White From Digital - Questions.

Wed Sep 29, 2004 9:30 am

If this shot by Steven Williamson is converted from color, then it's an impressive accomplishment indeed. Actually it's impressive no matter what its origins, and certainly a powerful example of the classic "B&W feel":
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Photo © Steven Williamson

"That's so stupid! If they're so secret, why are they out where everyone can see them?" - my kid
 
ckw
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RE: Black & White From Digital - Questions.

Wed Sep 29, 2004 5:23 pm

how do consider the uplaod of a BW photo, and for that matter, what are the best shots to upload in this format?

I was always wary of shots that had been simply converted to B&W for no apparent reason than perhaps to slip one by the screeners  Smile

However, there are cases where B&W does look better, and whether it was taken in colour and converted or shot on B&W shouldn't matter in my opinion. First, and most importantly, the subject should suit B&W - and I don't necessarily mean a vintage aircraft! Without colour, line, shape and contrast become more important. B&W photography has generally been considered more challenging than colour because the photographer has to look beyond the pretty colours and visuallise a more abstract final image.

The example of Steve's Connie posted above is a great example - the strength of the pic is in the clouds, and the use of filtration to heighten the sky/cloud contrast - this is as much landscape photography as aviation photography.

Cheers,

Colin
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vzlet
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RE: Black & White From Digital - Questions.

Fri Oct 01, 2004 12:32 am

Have any of you D20 users tried shooting in B&W mode with colored filters? If so, were the results equivalent to what you'd expect on film?

Thanks,
Mark
"That's so stupid! If they're so secret, why are they out where everyone can see them?" - my kid
 
ckw
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RE: Black & White From Digital - Questions.

Fri Oct 01, 2004 6:29 am

Not tried it, but I don't think it would be a great idea - firstly, sensitivity to colors is different on B&W film, so I would expect the results to be identical. Wouldn't mind experimenting, but my old filter collection won't fit my current lenses!

Secondly I suspect that this would affect the sharpness of the image. The bayer filter used by most cameras effectively turns the sensor into a matrix of pixels sensitive to red, blue or green light. Using a red filter would mean that the whole image would end up being recorded primarily by only the red sensitive pixel sites - drastically lowering effective resolution.

Finally, such filters mean a hit of between 1 and 2.5 stops which can be avoided through digital coversion in-camera or using Photoshop.

Cheers,

Colin
Colin K. Work, Pixstel

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