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Thread: Monochrome with the Nikon

  1. #1
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Monochrome with the Nikon

    I've recently discovered something pretty neat. I may be well behind the curve compared to most of you Nikon mono shooters, but here goes.

    Since first getting the D800, I've always set up a second main shooting menu for Monochrome capture; A for color, B for mono and of course named them appropriately. In the mono, I've generally just left the factory mono settings at their defaults and it did a credible job, but to get what I wanted I needed to work the raw a bit in C1 to get where I wanted, even when using my saved custom C1 presets.

    With the acquisition of the D810, I started playing around with the in-cam settings a bit and have hit on what I think is a pretty awesome combo -- a combo I've transferred to the D800E and Df, and it appears to work equally well with them. It helps render the mono with a fairly broad and smooth tonal gradation and then light color-tone to taste, so I thought I'd share them for your comment.

    I select mono, then dial back sharpening to 3 and zero out contrast, clarity and brightness. I turn on sepia and dial it back to 1.0 (D810 you can sub-set toning in 0.25 increments, but 1.0 is the minimum in all these cams and my preference.) I am currently experimenting with using the Y filtration, and it seems to give a really nice overall balance to the relative hue rendering.

    Obviously, these settings only apply to the in-cam jpeg, but do then render for the rear LCD review, so we see our capture in our as-set toned mono. However, there's a nifty part -- Capture NX-D does apply those settings to the raw file on import, and it does so extremely well, rendering the nef with the same look as the in-cam jpeg -- and frankly I find it so good the file doesn't need much tweaking beyond that. At the least, it's a lot less work than was required in C1 to get a really nice B&W.

    I'd encourage you to experiment a bit and post your thoughts after playing around with it. Really does open an entirely new dimension to these cameras for me.
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."
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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Monochrome with the Nikon

    Here are some examples I just shot. As shot in-cam with above settings, but no sepia and Y filter only. They do loose a little without the sepia effect IMHO, so I will shoot tomorrow with it back on at 1. I also had to adjust levels on these, adding 4 points of black to get one channel to 0, then bumped gamma to 1.15 to bring back midtone brightness -- not sure if this is a metering bugaboo or an effect of the Y filter. Elsewise, these are the jpegs as shot, straight out of the camera. Needs more experimentation, but I do feel it has promise. Stay tuned for more examples



    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."
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    Senior Member Antonio Chagin's Avatar
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    Re: Monochrome with the Nikon

    Jack thanks for the recipe. I'm going to try it.

    ACH

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Monochrome with the Nikon

    Ditto
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Senior Member Hulyss Bowman's Avatar
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    Re: Monochrome with the Nikon

    Ditto
    Kind regards - Hulyss - hulyssbowman.com

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Monochrome with the Nikon

    My family arrived earlier than anticipated so there was not quite enough time for more serious photography his morning. But I wanted to get a sepia example up as promised, so took a simple grab shot from my deck. The house in the photo s approximately 130 meters distant. Lens was my recently acquired 180/2.8, shot at f2.8. In-cam settings per recipe above. Interestingly, the exposure is perfect, there is one small area with B channel showing a 0 level readout, and another similar bright area with a single small-area 255 reading in the R channel -- not bad for an in-cam 8-bit jpeg under full California summer Sun! However, I did still need to bump gamma to 1.15 for what I feel gives a proper midtone balance. Rest is all as shot in-cam. For reference, house on left is tan, house to right is a grayish light blue; plastic chairs on dock are from left to right, lime green, primary blue, light purple and primary red; canopy on boat lower left is marine blue.

    Oh, this was a hand-held shot. Lens is surprisingly good to the edges and while a bit soft in the extreme corners, still totally usable there!

    Again, apologies for the simple snapshot image:

    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."
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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Monochrome with the Nikon

    Works great as the default on my Df. I love shooting it mono to jpg and always have the option of raw -> colour too if I want it.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

  8. #8
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Monochrome with the Nikon

    Good point Graham, I should have qualified I always shoot Raw+jpeg so have the full raw file to work on; this also allows the removal of the sepia effect if a more neutral B&W or even color result is desired.
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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