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  • Mono-in camera or not?

    There has been a discussion in another thread about the relative values of mono conversion. Perhaps the topic deserves an airing in this forum, so that its here for the record and a full discussion about the topic can be had.

    So how would you create a B/W or Mono image?

    Vincent Oliver has a pretty good tutorial on the subject on his Website

    Personally I was always told never to a) Take a B/W shot with the camera, and b) convert to Greyscale in the software. So whats the best way.

    Everyone seems to have their fave method and using the Channel mixer is a common one. Frankly I'm one for the easy way and often will use a Photoshop plugin called Virtual Photographer from Optic verve labs.
    Stephen

    sigpic

    Check out my BLOG too



  • #2
    Re: Mono-in camera or not?

    I think it boils down to convenience. The only way I'd use mono in the camera was if a) I had a RAW file recorded as well and b) I needed a mono version more quickly and easily than creating one from a colour original.

    Unlike with black and white film, it's important to realise that with digital colours, that almost universally record in colour, mono is not just mono - which colours turn into which grey levels? There is an almost infinite scope to one's preference. Why limit yourself to the camera's preference?

    Ian
    Founder/editor
    Digital Photography Now (DPNow.com)
    Twitter: www.twitter.com/ian_burley
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    • #3
      Re: Mono-in camera or not?

      Originally posted by Ian View Post
      I think it boils down to convenience. The only way I'd use mono in the camera was if a) I had a RAW file recorded as well and b) I needed a mono version more quickly and easily than creating one from a colour original.

      Unlike with black and white film, it's important to realise that with digital colours, that almost universally record in colour, mono is not just mono - which colours turn into which grey levels? There is an almost infinite scope to one's preference. Why limit yourself to the camera's preference?

      Ian
      I'm glad you mentioned this Ian, cos that was going to be one of my next comments. By choosing the in camera B/W option you as the photographer is losing control to a large extent. The camera is initially deciding how the image will look. The only thing you can do is alter contrast etc in the PC. Using a colour file you have much more control over how the end product looks
      Stephen

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      Check out my BLOG too


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      • #4
        Re: Mono-in camera or not?

        Originally posted by Ian View Post
        I think it boils down to convenience. The only way I'd use mono in the camera was if a) I had a RAW file recorded as well and b) I needed a mono version more quickly and easily than creating one from a colour original.

        Unlike with black and white film, it's important to realise that with digital colours, that almost universally record in colour, mono is not just mono - which colours turn into which grey levels? There is an almost infinite scope to one's preference. Why limit yourself to the camera's preference?

        Ian
        Could not agree more. Although the B&W out of camera may be better than a strait grayscale conversion, having the advantage to adjust to your personal liking is the most important point of starting with a colour image.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Mono-in camera or not?

          Originally posted by Stephen View Post
          There has been a discussion in another thread about the relative values of mono conversion. Perhaps the topic deserves an airing in this forum, so that its here for the record and a full discussion about the topic can be had.

          So how would you create a B/W or Mono image?

          Vincent Oliver has a pretty good tutorial on the subject on his Website

          Personally I was always told never to a) Take a B/W shot with the camera, and b) convert to Greyscale in the software. So whats the best way.

          Everyone seems to have their fave method and using the Channel mixer is a common one. Frankly I'm one for the easy way and often will use a Photoshop plugin called Virtual Photographer from Optic verve labs.

          Hi Stephen,

          I read the article of the link you provided so here are my comments on the most important paragraphs:

          1. ""You are not going to fit more pictures on your memory card by shooting in b/w - a digital camera captures images using a three filter CCD (RGB). Setting your camera to shoot in b/w simply desaturates the file and you lose the ability to tweak the image at a later stage. Itís easy to convert any colour image file into greyscale with most imaging applications""

          Here, he focuses on the ability to tweak an image after in an image editor.
          Indeed if you shoot color, you can tweak the image after in any tone on an image editor.

          2. ""When shooting for monochrome, (greyscale or black & white) output using a digital camera, I recommended that you shoot in colour and convert the image in your imaging application. Before we explore this topic in detail, let's have a look at how colour is interpreted as shades of grey."

          Here, he say almost the same thing already mentioned in the previous paragraph refering also to the shades of grey.


          3. ""As you can see, the picture no 2 taken in B/W mode on a Nikon D1 camera is more or less identical to picture no 3 which was converted to Greyscale in Photoshop. The B/W shot, taken with the camera has more depth to it, look how the Red crayon has a deeper tone and the Yellow crayon has more sparkle.""

          Here, he admits that the picture taken with the camera has more depth and more sparkle.
          So for flexibility in playing with different images tones shoot color.
          For pure B&W lovers, maximum depth, sparkle and quality in general is acheived by shooting straight with the camera B&W.



          Regards

          George

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Mono-in camera or not?

            Originally posted by Archangel View Post
            Hi Stephen,

            I read the article of the link you provided so here are my comments on the most important paragraphs:

            1. ""You are not going to fit more pictures on your memory card by shooting in b/w - a digital camera captures images using a three filter CCD (RGB). Setting your camera to shoot in b/w simply desaturates the file and you lose the ability to tweak the image at a later stage. Itís easy to convert any colour image file into greyscale with most imaging applications""

            Here, he focuses on the ability to tweak an image after in an image editor.
            Indeed if you shoot color, you can tweak the image after in any tone on an image editor.

            2. ""When shooting for monochrome, (greyscale or black & white) output using a digital camera, I recommended that you shoot in colour and convert the image in your imaging application. Before we explore this topic in detail, let's have a look at how colour is interpreted as shades of grey."

            Here, he say almost the same thing already mentioned in the previous paragraph refering also to the shades of grey.


            3. ""As you can see, the picture no 2 taken in B/W mode on a Nikon D1 camera is more or less identical to picture no 3 which was converted to Greyscale in Photoshop. The B/W shot, taken with the camera has more depth to it, look how the Red crayon has a deeper tone and the Yellow crayon has more sparkle.""

            Here, he admits that the picture taken with the camera has more depth and more sparkle.
            So for flexibility in playing with different images tones shoot color.
            For pure B&W lovers, maximum depth, sparkle and quality in general is acheived by shooting straight with the camera B&W.



            Regards

            George
            No one would argue with you over the fact that a photo converted to grayscale produces a relatively flat image. The point is though that it is also generally accepted that this is about the worst way to produce a mono image.
            Stephen

            sigpic

            Check out my BLOG too


            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Mono-in camera or not?

              Originally posted by Archangel View Post
              Hi Stephen,

              I read the article of the link you provided so here are my comments on the most important paragraphs:

              1. ""You are not going to fit more pictures on your memory card by shooting in b/w - a digital camera captures images using a three filter CCD (RGB). Setting your camera to shoot in b/w simply desaturates the file and you lose the ability to tweak the image at a later stage. Itís easy to convert any colour image file into greyscale with most imaging applications""

              Here, he focuses on the ability to tweak an image after in an image editor.
              Indeed if you shoot color, you can tweak the image after in any tone on an image editor.

              2. ""When shooting for monochrome, (greyscale or black & white) output using a digital camera, I recommended that you shoot in colour and convert the image in your imaging application. Before we explore this topic in detail, let's have a look at how colour is interpreted as shades of grey."

              Here, he say almost the same thing already mentioned in the previous paragraph refering also to the shades of grey.


              3. ""As you can see, the picture no 2 taken in B/W mode on a Nikon D1 camera is more or less identical to picture no 3 which was converted to Greyscale in Photoshop. The B/W shot, taken with the camera has more depth to it, look how the Red crayon has a deeper tone and the Yellow crayon has more sparkle.""

              Here, he admits that the picture taken with the camera has more depth and more sparkle.
              So for flexibility in playing with different images tones shoot color.
              For pure B&W lovers, maximum depth, sparkle and quality in general is acheived by shooting straight with the camera B&W.



              Regards

              George
              George I wonder if this holds true with all cameras. Each manufacturer has its own processing method, even model for model have different software embedded. So the results you have produced may differ considerable on another camera. We all except that each camera produces different colour images, so this must also be true of their B&W output.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Mono-in camera or not?

                Originally posted by Stephen View Post
                No one would argue with you over the fact that a photo converted to grayscale produces a relatively flat image. The point is though that it is also generally accepted that this is about the worst way to produce a mono image.

                Indeed.
                This is what I was writting to Tinka, since I saw that he likes monoshots, all this time from putting monoshots for critique.
                I shoot almost all my pictures in color in order to have flexibility to modify after if I need to. Though If I think that I must take a photo in B&W, then I shoot instantly with the camera set to B&W mode, which I do very very rare too.

                I don't know if I should conduct a complete test for that, but I think what I'm saying is already known and doesn't need any further explanation or proof.


                Regards

                George

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Mono-in camera or not?

                  Originally posted by lumix View Post
                  George I wonder if this holds true with all cameras. Each manufacturer has its own processing method, even model for model have different software embedded. So the results you have produced may differ considerable on another camera. We all except that each camera produces different colour images, so this must also be true of their B&W output.
                  I did that with 2 different cameras from different brands. Probably some of you can do the same with your cameras and then compare all and come into a final conclusion. If other people are willing to do the same, then I will be more than glad to organize the entire test with photo samples and possibly pass it to Ian to publish it as an article in some corner of the new "Camera Technique" section he created, so other people can read it and practice with their cameras or trust the conclusion from the beginnig and use it in their B&W photos.


                  Regards

                  George

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Mono-in camera or not?

                    Frankly I'm one for the easy way and often will use a Photoshop plugin called Virtual Photographer from Optic verve labs. [/quote]

                    Thanks for that link, another handy piece of software I'd not come across before reading about it on this forum.
                    Stuart R
                    https://www.flickr.com/photos/fred-canon/

                    Life is an incurable disease with a 100% mortality rate

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Mono-in camera or not?

                      Originally posted by Stephen View Post
                      There has been a discussion in another thread about the relative values of mono conversion. Perhaps the topic deserves an airing in this forum, so that its here for the record and a full discussion about the topic can be had.

                      So how would you create a B/W or Mono image?

                      Vincent Oliver has a pretty good tutorial on the subject on his Website

                      Personally I was always told never to a) Take a B/W shot with the camera, and b) convert to Greyscale in the software. So whats the best way.

                      Everyone seems to have their fave method and using the Channel mixer is a common one. Frankly I'm one for the easy way and often will use a Photoshop plugin called Virtual Photographer from Optic verve labs.
                      Well done on starting a new thread Stephen.

                      As I said on Tinkas thread (for which I apologise for it being hijacked slightly) I personally use the channel mixer method.

                      By taking a colour image, then converting, you have so much more control over the image. As it says in that useful website, its especially useful for skies etc.

                      Maybe Ian could think about posting a landscape theme in colour, and getting us to convert to mono as the next photofix challenge!
                      sigpic

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Mono-in camera or not?

                        Originally posted by StuartR View Post

                        Thanks for that link, another handy piece of software I'd not come across before reading about it on this forum.

                        It's an excellent plugin. I've used it for a couple of years - used it for all the conversions in my gallery.

                        You'll love it.

                        Pol

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Mono-in camera or not?

                          Originally posted by Pol View Post
                          It's an excellent plugin. I've used it for a couple of years - used it for all the conversions in my gallery.

                          You'll love it.

                          Pol
                          Hi Pol,

                          On first looks you're right! Recently I've been using DxO 4 to convert to mono, sometimes with a little additional tweaking in CS2, but this plug-in has so many options. Almost feels like cheating

                          I've just re-worked one of my faves using the "character" setting and I really like it (although I must tell Maisie's mum to be a bit more liberal with the sun cream next summer as this has really brought out the detail in her skin - looks a bit weathered for a 3 year old!). Some of the other mono settings like "high key" look pretty good too - never managed to get that one right myself.

                          Stuart R
                          https://www.flickr.com/photos/fred-canon/

                          Life is an incurable disease with a 100% mortality rate

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Mono-in camera or not?

                            And getting back to the thread, I never use in-camera mono. I'd rather have the choice - even if setting out to deliberately shoot for mono.
                            Stuart R
                            https://www.flickr.com/photos/fred-canon/

                            Life is an incurable disease with a 100% mortality rate

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Mono-in camera or not?

                              Much prefer black and white to colour as a medium. Always use the channel mixer in PhotoShop. I'd be interested in a plug-in. The one mentioned is PC only – any Mac alternatives?

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