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Thread: M8 Black & white

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    M8 Black & white

    I decided to try shooting b&w jpegs with the M8. It's a little disconcerting to switch over to black and white, it seems like a real commitment! Anyway, I took a beverage, the dog, and the 21 skopar for a brief walk down by the barn this evening and tried a few shots.

    My first impression after playing with the files for a few minutes is basically, I much prefer shooting RAW and making the conversion. Working with jpegs is pretty limiting. I took for granted all the options for correction and enhancement that RAW provides. You can push the jpegs a little, but not much.

    The other conclusion I've come to is that I really like the 21mm focal length. But now I kind of wish the skopar was a summicron.

    Here are a few examples of the jpegs from the camera (as the beverage had at least half of my attention, they aren't exactly fine art).

    Please feel free to comment and/or post some of your examples. Black and white rocks.

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Tim,
    I'm not sure if you do this or not but you can shoot B&W Raw + jpeg and then the screen will show you B&W and you still get the RAW file.

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Terry, thank you for reminding me! I swear I'm going to read the manual one of these days.

    Tim

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    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    I decided to try shooting b&w jpegs with the M8. It's a little disconcerting to switch over to black and white, it seems like a real commitment!

    My first impression after playing with the files for a few minutes is basically, I much prefer shooting RAW and making the conversion. Working with jpegs is pretty limiting. I took for granted all the options for correction and enhancement that RAW provides. You can push the jpegs a little, but not much.
    I think your example in-camera b&w jpeg images look great.

    I've been playing around with shooting b&w jpegs, and I agree it's a commitment. Unlike raw image files, jpeg has very little room for over or underexposure; and unlike raw image files, if you're not paying attention, you can write over your master jpeg file. Also, unlike raw image files, I find jpeg files quite unforgiving. Nevertheless, I find using the M8's in-camera b&w jpeg processing quite a fun challenge for me.

    I think my favorite aspect of the challenge is to expose a b&w jpeg image "perfectly"; that is, such that only very little to barely any post processing is needed, or I don't need to do any post processing.

    In any case, I like shooting b&w jpeg in ISO 1250 and 2500 because of how the M8 processes. The "grain" reminds me of film, and it appeals to my personal preference. (I like saying: Grain is good, it's like fiber for the eyes )

    Anyway, here are two examples:

    This one was taken at ISO 2500, f2.8 at 1/125 (Summicron 28mm f2.8 ASPH)

    In-camera setting: Low Sharpening, Medium-High Contrast
    Post Processing: Tweaked Brightness and Contrast, Dodged the postcards.
    I did a test print of this and it came out very nicely. I think this one and the second image is good enough for display.

    Attachment 5436


    This other one was taken at ISO 2500, f2.8 at 1/250 (Summicron 28mm f2.8 ASPH)

    In-camera setting: Low Sharpening, Medium-High Contrast
    Post Processing: Tweak brightness and contrast and overall luminance with curves.

    Attachment 5437

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Those are great Daniel. I think the higher ISO does add something extra to the feel. It works especially well in the first shot.

    I think I do need to play a little more with it so I can start to see where it works best and where it's maybe not as good. I'm guessing that when you want some contrast and "fiber" in your shots, pushing to 2500 and jpg will make it happen in a way that might be hard to match with a conversion.

    Have you tried the RAW + jpg approach Terry mentioned?

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Once you set the camera to DNG + JPEG you can then go in and set the B&W. If you are on DNG only you can't set it. This is where people have set up profiles with a regular and a B&W profile. If you do this the only caveat is set profile 1 with your normal shooting and then work from there. If you use profile zero that is like resetting the camera and you will end up in a place (settings) you don't want to be - like defaulting to jpeg only

    Daniel those do look great!

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    Senior Member ecliffordsmith's Avatar
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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Tim,

    A nice thread idea and I like the tones in your shots. I rarely use the JPEG mode myself but I do like the B&W mode at high ISO.

    Daniel,

    The first shot is very nice indeed.

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Tim,I keep expecting edward weston to stick his head out of the window!

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Their Beautiful Tim.....
    So delicate & Refined in tonality

    Daniel yours have more of a Grittier Edge.....Beautiful Too

    Best-H

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Tim's shots are fine but look like a lot of mine - i.e. colour shots that just happen to be viewed in b&w. While Daniel's look like 'genuine' b&w photos, owing to the processing used - I'm going to try this.

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: M8 Black & white

    I have to agree about the exposure being critical with the B&W jpgs. Especially true in the highlight areas, which are already a sensitive area on the M8 even in RAW.

    Here's another exposure of that same barn corner that shows highlight clipping in the bright spot on the barn. The histogram shows a tiny bit of clipping in the highlight area that I would normally be able to fix with the recovery slider. But it is completely lost in the jpeg. Which might not bother those who favor crispy hot, contrasty b&w, but it's not so much fun for me since I prefer a smoother/longer tonal range.

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    HI Tim
    I really like your shots, but I think it does illustrate somewhere the M8 could easily be improved with some firmware tweaks:

    first, by allowing you to view the screen in black and white when shooting RAW only - shooting RAW and black and white slows things down so badly.
    second, by reducing the compression of the jpg files - Olympus do a 1:2.7 compression option which produces splendid jpgs.

    I actually like the 'seat of the pants' aspect of shooting jpg, but I've given up on the M8 for those reasons.

    Still, RAW still produces interesting results:

    GOAAAAL!:

    M8 with 50 f1.5 sonnar

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Thanks Jono. And yes, I would need to practice a whole lot more to feel safe that by shooting just jpegs I wouldn't blow a special shot.

    Your example is terrific. It seems to have plenty enough fiber to satisfy even the most diehard grit fan.

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    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    Those are great Daniel. I think the higher ISO does add something extra to the feel. It works especially well in the first shot.

    I think I do need to play a little more with it so I can start to see where it works best and where it's maybe not as good. I'm guessing that when you want some contrast and "fiber" in your shots, pushing to 2500 and jpg will make it happen in a way that might be hard to match with a conversion.

    Have you tried the RAW + jpg approach Terry mentioned?
    Quote Originally Posted by helenhill View Post
    Their Beautiful Tim.....
    So delicate & Refined in tonality

    Daniel yours have more of a Grittier Edge.....Beautiful Too

    Best-H
    Thanks Tim, Helen (I like grits. Especially cheese and grits ), and Terry.

    I did try the raw+jpg setup Terry mentioned, but periodically because I've come across an oddity with how Aperture imports the raw+jpg files - it'd import both file types but only display the color dng file. But I work around this by copying the files into a folder on the desktop, and then moving the jpg files into a separate folder. Then I import the dng and the jpg files separately into Aperture.

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Here is one using the lightroom conversion tools:


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    Re: M8 Black & white


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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Stuart, well done. I'm impressed with how well you held the sunlight at the top.

    Tony, very nice. I'll bet the original is sweet.

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Thanks Tim. To be honest, I think that flare is from the IR filter. The lens was a 28mm summicron, and it doesn't normally flare like that. In this one case I actually think it looks good, but normally it ruins the photo. I have found that the IR filters are AWFUL for flare. Even worse for ghosting. They are pretty much unusable at night in the city. Every streetlight, headlight or lamp winds up as a blue green blob elsewhere in the frame. This is really the only major problem I have with the whole IR filter "solution".

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    Senior Member ecliffordsmith's Avatar
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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Hi All,

    Please forgive me for bumping an older thread but I was playing in C1 with some shots that were taken in less than ideal conditions last night and slid the contrast over to the max and used the highlight recovery tool a bit and quite liked the moody results, dirty lens and all! These are both with the M8 and 35 Summicron ASPH.

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Very moody landscape of the city. The second shot reminded me of a waterfall somehow. Both very nice. Well done!

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    Senior Member irakly's Avatar
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    Re: M8 Black & white

    on a slightly different note
    it's a 100% genuine fake.
    ISO1250, 1.4/35

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: M8 Black & white

    I can't seem to account for that one leg with foot attached, Irakly. But with so many seemingly happy playmates, what's an extra leg?

    Less provocative, but a little deceiving still. Waiting for the fireworks last night.

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Early Morning Deception....... great shots Tim & Irakly
    the Start of a New Interesting thread

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    I can't seem to account for that one leg with foot attached, Irakly. But with so many seemingly happy playmates, what's an extra leg?
    Tim,
    I was having trouble with that leg as well

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    Tim,
    I was having trouble with that leg as well
    Ditto. A plate of spaghetti has fewer twists and turns, sheesh, Irakly!
    Regards,
    Joan

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Tim, love the shadows shot, hope the fireworks were fun.
    Regards,
    Joan

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Thanks Joan. It was a perfect early summer night, cool enough by the river to require a jacket. But we had picked strawberries in the morning and my wife made a thermos of frozen Strawberry Margeritas with them. By the time the fireworks started, I was in no shape to shoot them correctly. All I could manage was stuff like this...

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Oops. Forgot this was a B&W thread.

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    TRSMITH /Tim
    You Maine People Know how to have FUN....... :thumbs

    best- H

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    LOL. I would have loved some of those strawberry margaritas ... And it wouldn't have made any difference as I watched the fireworks on TV. I like that shot though, and I won't tell anyone that it's not B&W.
    Regards,
    Joan

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    Thanks Joan. It was a perfect early summer night, cool enough by the river to require a jacket. But we had picked strawberries in the morning and my wife made a thermos of frozen Strawberry Margeritas with them. By the time the fireworks started, I was in no shape to shoot them correctly. All I could manage was stuff like this...
    flip it upside down and you have a fireworks rendition of Cousin It.

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel View Post
    flip it upside down and you have a fireworks rendition of Cousin It.
    Ha! True!

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Quote Originally Posted by Joan View Post
    Ditto. A plate of spaghetti has fewer twists and turns, sheesh, Irakly!
    you can only imagine how hard it was to accomplish this spaghetti. people tend to be much less flexible than desired

  34. #34
    Senior Member ecliffordsmith's Avatar
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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Hi All,

    Here are a couple more B&Ws. Both with the M8 and 35 cron ASPH. One was from yesterday morning and the other is from a holiday on May that I was playing about with.

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    One of the things i enjoy about the M8 files is how nicely they convert to B&W. Not sure what it is, but they seem to convert better than most files I have worked with, maintaining a very "film-like" quality.
    Jack
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    Re: M8 Black & white

    ED
    Really Love the [B]Mood[/B of both Shots ......Beautiful

    Best- H

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Helen,

    Thank you very much.

  38. #38
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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Hi All,

    One more, from a break in NYC earlier this year. This was taken with the 35 cron ASPH. I am always very pleasantly surprised by what the M8 with these lenses can resolve. When I was bumping the contrast on this you could see the details of the light/coil thingy on the top of the Empire State building clearly at 100% even though the light was less than ideal.

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    Senior Member irakly's Avatar
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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Quote Originally Posted by ecliffordsmith View Post
    Hi All,

    Here are a couple more B&Ws. Both with the M8 and 35 cron ASPH. One was from yesterday morning and the other is from a holiday on May that I was playing about with.
    wow, that black monster picture is absolutely awesome!

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    Senior Member irakly's Avatar
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    Re: M8 Black & white

    i shot this in an elevator the other day. strange things one can encounter in elevators...
    m8, 1.4/35, visatec litepac

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    "I shot this in an elevator the other day."

    Lucky you happened to have your visatec litepac with you.

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    Senior Member irakly's Avatar
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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Quote Originally Posted by stephengilbert View Post
    "I shot this in an elevator the other day."

    Lucky you happened to have your visatec litepac with you.
    it's fully portable, you know

  43. #43
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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Irakly,

    Thanks.

    I really like the tender expressions you have caught in the image of the couple. It seems totally at odds with the scene and the grain adds to the effect wonderfully.

  44. #44
    Senior Member ecliffordsmith's Avatar
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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Hi All,

    Well it was the national holiday here in Belgium yesterday. The weather didn't exactly play ball but it was a nice day anyway.

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    This one from Arlington National Cemetery could only be salvaged by converting to B&W because the light was harsh and the grass was ugly (some brown some different shades of green)


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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Wonderful shots Ed & Mark

    The B&W as well as the images portray a Sombre Mood

    Helen

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Thank you Helen.

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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Great stuff Mark!

    A good representation difficult and sad times. At 71 years old, I remember too much of the World War II, Korea, Viet Nam, and now Afghanistan and Iraq! All those tombstones are stilled voices, and all in the prime of their lives or even earlier. This is the toll of a nation still trying to bring greater peace to the world.

    So sad

    Thanks for sharing

    Woody

  49. #49
    Senior Member ecliffordsmith's Avatar
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    Re: M8 Black & white

    Hi Helen,

    Thanks for the compliment!

    Mark,

    A very powerful image.

  50. #50
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    Re: M8 Black & white

    This is about as tricky a test of my ability to focus a rangefinder as I could find. I almost got it before the ride ended, but not quite.

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