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Shooting in mono, or convert to mono

Discussion in 'Colour or Not' started by peterg22, Aug 27, 2007.

  1. peterg22

    peterg22 Well-Known Member

    Dear fellow mono-ers,

    A recent trip to Prague during which I visited several very interesting photographic exhibitions left me thinking that the only way to capture the mood of this fine city is to shoot it in B&W/mono, on film. The visit to the Kafka exhibition was the deciding factor..

    So now I have a dilemma: I'm hauling my Bronica ETRSi over there at Xmas to do exactly that, but as I also visit several times a year with a digital camera, is it best to shoot in colour and convert to mono on the desktop, or use the camera's (Nikon D200) own in-built mono mode? What do I gain or lose by not doing so?

    FYI I use Irfanview to post-process my images: it does almost everything I need and is free, so no PhotoShop answers please ;)

  2. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Well-Known Member

    With digits it's best to shoot in colour and covert later. That way you keep all your options open. You have a colour image if that turns out to be useful and you also have complete control over the way you do the B&W conversion, rather than just using the camera's set routine. In effect this allows you to mimic the effect of colour filters used with B&W on a film camera, but with more subtle gradations. That said, I too prefer the general look of B&W film.
    Petrochemist likes this.
  3. surf_digby

    surf_digby Well-Known Member

    The questions are:

    Are you happy with the mono images that the D200 takes?

    Do you want to spend the time sat at the computer afterwards doing the conversions?

    I shoot in mono with my D80, using the virtual filters, and I've gotten shots straight out of the camera that I'm supremely happy with. Some of my photographer buddies look upon me with horror when I do this, but meh.

    If you're shooting the city itself, and not things that are moving, there's no reason you can't take colour and mono shots.

    It's also worth noting that shooting directly in black and white (and proper black and white, not desaturated many shades of grey) makes you incredibly cool and attractive to the opposite sex.
  4. Brian

    Brian Venerable Elder

    Basically I agree with the answers. However set your camera to large Jpeg B/W mode and keep a raw file up your sleeve. This way you have all the options left open.
  5. Dan S

    Dan S Well-Known Member

    Is there a difference between black and white and desaturated? Does this mean desaturating does something different to to photo?
  6. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

  7. Dan S

    Dan S Well-Known Member

  8. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Just one point (unless I missed it) not mentioned is that if one switches the a standard camera to B&W and live view them you will be able to compose in B&W. Although there is more flexibility if an original colour it is a great help to composition to see the final result

    I suppose someone will tell me that it is possible to shoot colour in raw and B&W jpg at the same time - if that's so I apologise for wasting everybody's time.
  9. Dan S

    Dan S Well-Known Member

    That's helpful advice, thanks
  10. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Pleased to oblige. Whatever preset you choose on camera has no effect on the raw data. Colour information comes from the demosaicing algorithm in whatever raw processor you use.
    RogerMac likes this.
  11. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Seeing as we are answerng this new question on an old thread. Yes. Desaturation takes pixel information back to luminance recorded but luminance per pixel is influenced by the colour mask in front of the sensor. In doing a black and white conversion you have the capability to boost/reduce the pixel luminance using knowledge of the mask. Hence you can simulate the effect of, say, the green, blue, yellow and red filters used with film, and more. There are cameras without colour masks where each pixel receives unfiltered luminence information.
  12. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    For post-processing, PSE has several 'Convert to Black and White' options. They have different effects, all of which are different from just totally desaturating the image.

    For example:
    The original.


    Converted - Urban/Snapshots

    That conversion is the nearest to desaturating the image, the others make one of the tuktuks much darker. Which one varies on the option chosen, simulating filters?

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