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Shooting in BW or editing in BW
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Jan 9, 2021 08:45:21   #
Mark331 Loc: Eastern Massachusetts
 
With all the new technology in DSLR development is it better to shoot in Monochrome or convert it to BW after the fact?

Jan 9, 2021 08:49:37   #
Old44
 
In my limited experience, I cannot tell the difference between shooting in monochrome and converting a color image to B&W in PP.

Jan 9, 2021 08:51:39   #
GoofyNewfie Loc: Kansas City
 
Welcome, Mark.
Shoot in raw and tweak to B&W in software.
You have much greater control of how the colors are rendered.
My mirrorless Fuji XE-2 lets me shoot in raw but lets me view through the camera in black & white.

 
 
Jan 9, 2021 08:55:58   #
rmalarz Loc: Tempe, Arizona
 
Personally, I prefer and do a lot more work in black and white than color. My preference, when using digital, is to make the initial exposure in RAW and do the conversion during processing.
--Bob
Mark331 wrote:
With all the new technology in DSLR development is it better to shoot in Monochrome or convert it to BW after the fact?

Jan 9, 2021 09:05:56   #
Mark331 Loc: Eastern Massachusetts
 
Thank you

Jan 9, 2021 09:08:55   #
rmcgarry331
 
I shoot B&W in Raw. However, I use the monochrome picture style settings in my camera, as well as applying the included color filters. Since third party RAW converters disregard the camera maker's proprietary EXIF, I use DPP4 from Canon to process my B&W images into 16 bit tiff files for final processing in Photoshop.

Jan 9, 2021 09:57:44   #
Ysarex
 
Mark331 wrote:
With all the new technology in DSLR development is it better to shoot in Monochrome or convert it to BW after the fact?


As others have noted shoot and convert raw files. You can set the camera picture style to B&W so you see a monochrome image (mirrorless or chimping), but you'll get best results converting the raw file. Here's an example why:

First image below is the color scene. The blue of the clothes contrasts well with the white pillow cases and against the yellow bldg. background.

Second image is the B&W you'd get from the camera unfiltered. It's a less effective photo because you lose the contrast between the clothes and pillow cases and weaken the contrast between the clothes and bldg. If you're serious about B&W then you get serious about how color translates into tone. Back in the film era we had to use filters over the camera lens. Famous examples would be that period when old Ansel got that red filter stuck on his lens. A red filter will turn a blue sky black using B&W film. It will also turn a red rose white. So we carried around a collection of color filters shooting B&W film. In the photo here a yellow filter would darken the blue clothes and introduce needed contrast between the clothes and pillow cases. Unfortunately it would also lighten the yellow house and that would reduce contrast between the house and pillow cases. Using filters over the lens could cut both ways.

Third image is the raw file processed. The color information is recorded in the raw file and so we get control over how color is translated into tone. I could darken blue and I did. BUT unlike using filters over the lens in which a yellow filter would darken blue but also lighten yellow, I didn't have to lighten yellow. I have better, more precise control processing a raw file to B&W than I used to have with film and filters. Likewise processing a raw file to B&W I have better, more precise control than using filters with B&W SOOC JPEGs from the camera.


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Jan 9, 2021 10:15:59   #
CHG_CANON Loc: the Windy City
 
Mark331 wrote:
With all the new technology in DSLR development is it better to shoot in Monochrome or convert it to BW after the fact?


Shoot in color, convert to B&W in post. Shooting in RAW is not required, it just gives more options for editing the converted image.

Jan 9, 2021 12:38:38   #
JohnSwanda Loc: San Francisco
 
If you shoot in color and simply desaturate the image, you lose the advantage of converting after the fact. There are numerous techniques or software packages which allow you to control how the colors are converted to greyscale. Learning these techniques will give you that control.

Jan 10, 2021 06:24:41   #
SHWeiss
 
If using a “color “ camera, it has a bayer matrix filter in front of the monochrome sensor (rggb) to let the software in camera for jpeg or computer if raw calculate the colors for each pixel. This requires interpolation and thus loss of data. If you have the bayer filter removed by a conversion company, your IQ and iso sensitivity will go up as will the micro contrast.

So the answer is shoot raw and convert later for an unmodified camera or for the best b&w get you sensor modified.

Choosing raw plus jpeg in picture mode of your camera will give you a preview of what the b&w will look like in live view or playback but keep the better quality raw for ultimate processing.

Jan 10, 2021 07:21:34   #
mikecanant Loc: Texas
 
With all due respect to purists who like to shoot raw, I can shoot in color jpeg and convert to B&W in Silver Efex Pro and make the color jpeg look anyway I like. One quick example attached, converted from color photo above.



 
 
Jan 10, 2021 08:24:56   #
RLSeipleSr Loc: Mechanicsburg, PA
 
Mark331 wrote:
shoot in Monochrome or convert it to BW


Shoot color in digital and B&W on film ...

Bob S

Jan 10, 2021 09:18:30   #
ColonelButler Loc: Niagara-on-the-Lake ON Canada
 
f64 Academy has a current video explaining how to and the advantages of shooting in RAW and converting to B&W during post processing. https://f64academy.com/much-better-black-white-photos/

Jan 10, 2021 09:26:54   #
JohnSwanda Loc: San Francisco
 
mikecanant wrote:
With all due respect to purists who like to shoot raw, I can shoot in color jpeg and convert to B&W in Silver Efex Pro and make the color jpeg look anyway I like. One quick example attached, converted from color photo above.


With JPEG, you lose the ability to do the B&W conversion on layers so it is non-destructive and you could change the settings later. If you do, you will have to save it as a PSD or TIFF file anyway.

Jan 10, 2021 09:56:13   #
Ysarex
 
mikecanant wrote:
With all due respect to purists who like to shoot raw, I can shoot in color jpeg and convert to B&W in Silver Efex Pro and make the color jpeg look anyway I like. One quick example attached, converted from color photo above.


With all due respect can you do that without blowing the highlights? Losing all the subtle detail in those white pillow cases ruins the photo for me.

There's nothing purist about saving and processing raw files. It's just a tool. Working from a raw file I can never fail to create a technically superior final image to the result created by the camera processing software. Processing the raw data by hand I'm better than any camera software and I'm not limited in the many ways that the camera software is limited. So why wouldn't I?

Also, to convert a color JPEG to B&W you're of course editing the JPEG and so you will create damaging artifacts in the process as a result of changing the JPEG tone and color. Depending on your intended use of the image you may not find that damage objectionable but you can't avoid causing it whereas processing raw I can avoid it. So why wouldn't I?

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