Who Shoots B&W JPEGS

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by Sanford, Feb 12, 2019.

  1. And what are your camera settings?
  2. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    I often do - it is helpful for me to think in terms of monochrome, and I get better results. When I shoot in color and convert, I do get some good B&W shots, but fewer in proportion to the images captured. As to settings, I use three different camera systems, all but one camera, the DF, has User presets, so pushing a button, or switching to U gets me into Monochrome. The DF requires using the Menu. Specific settings, aperture, shutter speed depend on the lens used, subject matter and conditions, mostly the light. There is really no way for me to recover even general parameters. I do like to underexpose a bit - in the .3 to .5 range.
  3. After I got my first DSLR (a Canon T1i), a friend who's an expert photographer mentioned one distinct advantage of shooting in color and then converting. If any adjustments have to made after the fact in post, a converted image still has all the color data so that one can use curves and/or levels to make them. Had such an image been shot in the camera's b&w mode, that data would be lost. Quite honestly, I can't vouch for this explanation, since I'm not expert enough. What do you think?
  4. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    I am neither as sophisticated nor as expert in Post work as many here on PN, but I generally get decent images which respond to my modest tweaks. If anything, I find it easier (at my skill level) to work with monochrome than color.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
  5. So I take it, Sandy, that if you don't get the camera settings right after shooting a photo, you just delete it. Assuming that the foregoing is correct, what do you do if you haven't taken multiple shots of the same subject?
  6. Michael, I shoot in color and shoot RAW, converting to black and white as desired, giving me the kind of flexibility I like. Sometimes, I decide later whether a particular shot will be black and white, but I sometimes do have a pretty good feel on the spot and pre-visualize how the tones will get converted according to my own choices rather than a software developer’s. I find myself in many situations where I think in black and white even when shooting in color, sometimes for an entire day.

    That being said, I can see merit and purpose to setting one’s camera on black and white, even though it means giving up certain choice and flexibility, as well as the higher quality RAW file potential. If that creates a black and white mindset that is to someone’s advantage, who’s to say it’s not a worthwhile benefit? Plenty of people don’t like post processing and there’s no need for them to put themselves in a converting position they won’t appreciate.

    As importantly, IMO, we tend to think of more choice and more possibilities as more liberating and as yielding more creative potential, but sometimes self-imposed limitations can liberate different kinds of potential and creativity.The thing I keep in mind about the many choices available to me is not that I have to take advantage of all of them but that it allows for a more diverse world among the variety of users, which hopefully results in a diversity of visions of and perspectives on the world through the eye of a lens.

    As far as deleting photos, many of my own shots don’t ever see the light of day. That’s just part of the photographic process. For every missed shot, there are dozen waiting around the corner. Missed shots are part of a learning curve, not simply to be mourned. I generally don’t delete, however, since my experience has been that I’m not always in the frame of mind or creative space to recognize the potential I may have right at the moment. I sometimes go back years to find and recognize gems I didn’t originally see.
    sjmurray and charles_escott_new like this.
  7. This is true.

    A digital sensor behaves more-or-less in terms of color response like a panochromatic B&W film(any B&W film you're likely to encounter these days is panachromatic-you have to go out of your way to look for orthochromatic film).

    With pan films in particular, we often use colored filters to increase the contrast in the scene. The classic example is a photograph of a sky with clouds, which without a filter will render the sky as a light gray or white area. Adding a yellow filter(Y2) will allow the clouds to be rendered as white while the sky itself is a slightly darker gray. Moving down to orange will keep the clouds white but make the sky even darker, and a dark red filter(R25) will render the sky nearly black with distinct white clouds. Sometimes other colors, like green or blue, are used to accentuate foliage or other areas of the scene.

    If one starts with a color image, it's possible to use the channel mixer in Photoshop or its equivalent in your favorite image editing tool to replicate the look of a certain filter. Lightroom even has a limited set of filter "effects" pre-programmed, as do some free programs like Silver Efex(the latter also can emulate the look and spectral response of certain film stocks).

    I very rarely shoot digital B&W at all-I'd still rather use Tri-X or FP4+(or whatever other film stock happens to strike my fancy, but those are my two main ones) but when I do I much prefer starting with a color original(in RAW) and converting it either in Lightroom or Silver Efex.
  8. Thanks, Ben. That's pretty much my point. Before I know about the conversion process, I had exactly one filter - a polarizer. So, given my relative inexperience at that time, I just had to make do, since I wasn't doing any real post work then.
  9. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    With present digital technology, and my usage patterns, I rarely get a completely unusable image - when I do, I delete and move on. When I get a bad shot, it is probably because I moved too quickly, or pushed into an area beyond my capability or that of the equipment. I should probably do that more often. That is not to say that I don't capture my share of prosaic images.
  10. f/8 at 1/125 sec (and be there)
    There is no one setting for all
    --depends, of course, on the film, camera settings (for digital) the subject, the light -

    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
    Jochen likes this.
  11. Nope, I always shoot in colour and in RAW. For each B&W shot I usually (but not always) have a B&W image in mind. RAW allows me to adust the white/color/luminance balance if necessary. Color allows me to select the color balance when translated to B&W. I can't off-hand think of any reason why anyone would choose to work with out-of camera B&W JPEGS.
  12. JDM, I don't think I stated or implied that there's a "universal setting" for all ambient conditions. But I do appreciate the chart.
  13. I shot JPEG only with my first real digital camera, a Nikon D1x, mainly because my memory cards were small at the time. After a few mistakes setting the white balance, I converted to RAW, and bought larger cards, and more of them.

    After switching to Sony, with really large cards, I shot RAW+JPEG for a long time. I quit JPEG when I realized I never actually used them. My original idea was to (a) have backups on every shot, and (b) Have smaller files I could email from an iPhone, without processing. Instead I use PlayMemories to make quick, one-off copies to friends, or more likely, using the iPhone itself.
  14. A mirrorless appears to be better suited for the task of shooting B&W than a DSLR as it can be set up to show B&W only (on a DSLR that's limited to live view). Even then, I would not shoot JPEG as I would have to carry around the entire set of B&W filters to create the image I want in camera; much easier to do that later in post starting with the RAW file.

    When I started with digital I shot JPEG only because I didn't want to spend time in processing and hoped that my experience with shooting slides would help me getting the shots right in camera. Didn't work out too badly but I soon realized that "locking in the parameters" with shooting JPEGs imposed similar/the same restrictions slide film had done prior - but with digital there was a way out: shoot RAW.
  15. I do. I shoot black and white JPEGs on a Leica M8, the relatively poor man,s Monochrome. I shoot a lot of film and digital and none of it is post-processed. Much of my last ten years in work was spent in front of a computer screen and that was enough. My photos are for myself, and sometimes family, and I have no pretensions I am producing fine art. This work will largely die with me and I am content with that. Photography gives me the most enormous enjoyment. All the best, Charles.
    Sandy Vongries likes this.
  16. I think that's key. I still shoot a lot of slide film because I like how particular film stocks "see" the world. I live with the limited DR because the results are worth it.

    Storage is cheap now, and with digital we give up basically nothing other than perhaps buffer depth when we shoot RAW. I don't see any advantage to NOT capturing as much information as realistically possible at the time of exposure.
  17. The potential advantage I can see for myself and the advantage for others who shoot in digital b/w mode is precisely in not giving themselves a choice, which helps them see in black and white while they’re shooting. I, myself, shoot RAW and in color for all the very good reasons given. This does not prevent me from seeing the advantages shooting b/w jpgs has for others and even from going out for a day to try it myself. As I said, as much as choice and flexibility are often aids to creativity, so self-imposed restrictions can be as well. I can also see it as a desirable solution for those wanting to immediately upload b/w images to the Internet and/or social media without having to intervene to convert. Again, not my way of doing things, but a reasonable choice for those who do.
    charles_escott_new likes this.
  18. Following suggestions in the answers to my question in the mirrorless forum, I'm currently shooting BW jpeg, plus RAW, giving me the choice. I think maybe I'd like to move to RAW only, but I'm not yet happy with my RAW processing producing better results than the camera settings. I also think my Panasonic G10 produces better BW jpegs than my Panasonic G3.

    I rather like the BW viewfinder display.
    charles_escott_new likes this.
  19. I agree with Mr. Vongries that it takes some effort to take technically poor images with modern cameras, indeed whilst in confessional mode I have to admit that the letters A or P feature in an amount of my photography. JPEGs are sufficient to deliver a mood, reflecting how I felt and what I saw at the time, more important to me than recovering detail or sharpness. I fully appreciate the skill in processing raw files, although I can revert to a Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells at the sight of too much IR, martian skies and Victorian smart phone shots. The M8 delivers pleasing black and white straight from the camera, I have fallen for the filmic look of the CCD sensor, thanks to the skilled technicians at Kodak. Put a camera in my hand and let me totter around, this is life enhancing, for me time in front of a computer is not, also you don,t get to meet lots of nice people, Charles.
    Sandy Vongries likes this.
  20. Love what my Ricoh GR II and Fuji X100T produce. A touch of the Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 plug-in keeps me happy. The borderline-prissy RAW-only gestalt strikes me as just a continuation of the mindset that produced technically-perfect but paralytically-boring b&w prints for camera clubs.
    Sanford likes this.

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