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Author Topic: Mirrorless B&W Shooting  (Read 17467 times)

Remo Nonaz

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Mirrorless B&W Shooting
« on: April 16, 2015, 08:28:30 PM »

I recently discovered a mirrorless camera feature that I hadn't known about before.

When shooting for B&W images, put your camera in RAW format mode then change your image setting, Record Mode > Film Settings, to B&W Standard or B&W Dynamic. This will change your viewfinder to B&W and you will see your subject as a B&W image. When you take the picture, you will see a B&W image in your image review. However, this is still a RAW image. When you import the RAW image, it will probably revert back to color (this depends on your software and the settings you have) or, if it stays B&W, you can do a re-set and it will then return to native color. Once it is in color, you can use all the tools of your software application, which are far more powerful than what the camera can do, to manipulate the image to a B&W image. Having the viewfinder in B&W, though, is a huge help in "seeing" what your subject is going to look like as a B&W image.

On a GH2 this change can be made in the Quick Menu settings in about two seconds, or you can add the menu item to a custom function button. I would assume that other mirrorless cameras can do the same trick with similar settings. Try it out, it's a big help for composition.
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I really enjoy using old primes on my m4/3 camera. There's something about having to choose your aperture and actually focusing your camera that makes it so much more like... like... PHOTOGRAPHY!

bassman51

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Re: Mirrorless B&W Shooting
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2015, 09:02:17 PM »

If you shoot Raw+JPEG, you'll get a full color Raw and a monochrome JPEG.   
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ripgriffith

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Re: Mirrorless B&W Shooting
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2015, 03:42:46 AM »

I guess it's a good thing to keep reminding us of certain techniques;  however, this is pretty old information. IIRc, Michael, and certainly others, have mentioned this monochrome-monitor/full-color raw image methodology many times over the years.  At least for my shooting,I've found it only marginally useful. Maybe that comes from years of having to visualize a B/W image on a full-color groundglass (and upside-down at that).
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Remo Nonaz

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Re: Mirrorless B&W Shooting
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2015, 09:53:23 AM »

Perhaps we could get Vitaliy Kiselev to do a hack that turns the image upside-down and backwards. That would be perfect for all the old sheet film and TLR shooters out there!  :P

I must have been slow on picking up on using the viewfinder this way.
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I really enjoy using old primes on my m4/3 camera. There's something about having to choose your aperture and actually focusing your camera that makes it so much more like... like... PHOTOGRAPHY!

ripgriffith

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Re: Mirrorless B&W Shooting
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2015, 11:02:31 AM »

 ;D
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Ernst Dinkla

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Re: Mirrorless B&W Shooting
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2015, 04:53:54 AM »

On top of monochrome add the B&W filters simulation (Fuji) and the sensitivity curves of different B&W filmed, say Tri-X (?).

Ernst, op de lei getypt.
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Herbc

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Re: Mirrorless B&W Shooting
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2015, 12:42:41 PM »

you mean the image is actually in color? who knew? 8)
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Jim Kasson

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Re: Mirrorless B&W Shooting
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2015, 05:11:24 PM »

I recently discovered a mirrorless camera feature that I hadn't known about before.

When shooting for B&W images, put your camera in RAW format mode then change your image setting, Record Mode > Film Settings, to B&W Standard or B&W Dynamic. This will change your viewfinder to B&W and you will see your subject as a B&W image. When you take the picture, you will see a B&W image in your image review. However, this is still a RAW image.

As implemented on the Sony a7x cameras, this trick comes with a drawback. When you go to review your files in camera, each channel in the color histogram has the same plot. There is no way to see the underlying three-channel histogram and tell if one of the channels is blown. It's especially a headache with IR photography, where the red channel is usually the one that gets the most exposure, and that channel doesn't play anywhere near a dominant role in the luminance histogram.

Jim

Deardorff

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Re: Mirrorless B&W Shooting
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2015, 06:55:53 PM »

What does "mirrorless" have to do with this other than it is the camera this poster uses?
B&W digital is B&W digital. Minor differences in worflow but nothing major due to the specific camera bodies.
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Jim Kasson

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Re: Mirrorless B&W Shooting
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2015, 07:30:39 PM »

What does "mirrorless" have to do with this other than it is the camera this poster uses?
B&W digital is B&W digital. Minor differences in worflow but nothing major due to the specific camera bodies.

The thread is about using an EVF for visualizing the B&W image. That technique is not applicable to a camera with an optical view finder. Of course, in such a camera the image can be reviewed in B&W after the shot, and from then on it's all the same, as you point out. However, as we've seen in this thread, there are some subtleties associated with using a B&W image in the EVF.

As far as I know, there is not currently an option on a mirrorless camera to see the image upside down and flipped left to right, so we can't make the EVF look like the ground glass of a Deardorff.

Jim

Peter Mellis

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Re: Mirrorless B&W Shooting
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2015, 12:22:09 PM »

During my film years I shot a lot of B&W and pretty much developed (no pun intended) the ability to sorta see in B&W. Shooting digital, I have found that at least half of the images that I print are B&W. I discovered the ability to shoot RAW plus a B&W jpeg as a way to "have it all" with my DSLR, but just recently got a Fuji X100T and have been using it as a B&W camera. I'm really just learning/experimenting with this camera so far, but I have to say that seeing in B&W in the viewfinder is fun and the files aren't bad either.
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Internaut

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Re: Mirrorless B&W Shooting
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2015, 08:10:15 AM »

The Olympus bodies allow you to select which colour filter you'd like to simulate.  Obviously, you get a colour raw to play with.  One caveat: on the older cameras (12Mp Panasonic sensor), I found the red filter simulator appeared to have an effect on how the image was captured (and therefore on the resulting raw). I haven't tried it with something more modern.

Edit: I've had a quick play with the GM1 I just picked up off eBay.  Gone is the Dynamic Black and White feature of  Panasonic cameras I've had in the past.  It has colour filter simulation.  It's very nice to be able to see the effect immediately.  Get the in-camera JPEG settings right (sharpening and so on) and this might be all you need (or make for excellent reference shots, when cooking from raw).
« Last Edit: May 17, 2015, 11:08:51 AM by Internaut »
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lowep

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Re: Mirrorless B&W Shooting
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2016, 02:53:16 PM »

It's very nice to be able to see the effect immediately. 

I agree, and why not? Unless of course you already have a B&W visualization chip in your brain from many years of experience, though in this case your brain if it happens to be getting older, as mine is, may not be as good at visualization as it was in the good old days, so being able to see the effect immediately may also help even the mot experienced old hands. If it really upsets you then there is always the option of shooting with a blindfold, right.

I am enjoying experimenting with mirrorless B&W with my A7II and have found being able to see the effect immediately very useful. It is also easier to use focus peaking for manual focussing when the image in the viewfinder is in B&W.

I am more concerned at this point in trying to figure out what to do after photographing the image ie the best way to process and adjust the raw files using the B&W jpgs as a guide, as I figure I ought to be able to squeeze out more detail and get better results by adjusting the raw files, though am not sure what software program of combination of programs would be best for this? Looks like Photoshop and Silver Efex Pro is probably a good entry point into this big bamboozling circus for a B&W digital newbie like me?

That said maybe the visualization of what the final print could end up looking like is more important than the software used to manipulate the raw file, or is there really big and significant differences in how different programs bend and warp raw files?   
« Last Edit: August 22, 2016, 06:02:20 PM by lowep »
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Mousecop

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Re: Mirrorless B&W Shooting
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2016, 04:14:47 PM »

As an avid long-time B&W photographer, I find that using mirrorless to help previsualize an image is very helpful.

An experienced B&W photographer can usually make a pretty good guess about how the final image will work out. Ultimately, though, imagination does not provide anything like the visceral experience of looking at an image.

I know the Olympus Pen-F offers highly customizable B&W filtration, which work much better than the standard Olympus B&W filters. I'm not sure what options other mirrorless cameras offer, but afaik the Pen-F is unique in this respect.

These techniques are not perfect, as they (per usual) base the EVF preview off of the JPEG. Unless you configure it to be flat, the EVF is more an approximation than a precise rendering for RAW. However, I find it usually works better than looking at a color image or OVF.
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