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Thread: Best B/W Image Quality?

  1. #1
    NDSinNY
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    Best B/W Image Quality?

    Apologies if this should have been in the image processing section, but because I'm actually interested in image capturing I put it here...

    I'm using a GX100. I have basically three ways of getting good B/W images out of it:

    1. Set the Picture Quality to Fine JPG, and the Image Setting to B/W. Then use the B/W JPG that is so captured.

    2. Set the Picture Quality to RAW, and the Image Setting to B/W. Then use the B/W JPG that is captured along with the color DNG file.

    3. Set the Picture Quality to RAW, and the Image Setting to anything. Then use the color DNG and convert to gray scale using post-processing.

    Is there any one of the above approaches that consistently produces the best results. If not, under what conditions would you use one of the above.

    Thanks for your advice.

  2. #2
    Senior Member simonclivehughes's Avatar
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    Re: Best B/W Image Quality?

    Personally, I use RAW only and then process various ways to yield the B&W image. For the past few months, I have been using a set of Photoshop actions from Jeff Ascough that are wonderful for B&W processing.

    (http://www.jeffascough.net/webactions/index.html)

    Cheers,

  3. #3
    Senior Member Will's Avatar
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    Re: Best B/W Image Quality?

    I tend to set for RAW and B&W jpg almost all the time. That way I see how an image will look in B&W but have the RAW file to produce either a colour or mono image. I don't feel the need to see colour on the screen since I can just look at the real scene through the OVF for that.

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    Re: Best B/W Image Quality?

    Quote Originally Posted by simonclivehughes View Post
    Personally, I use RAW only and then process various ways to yield the B&W image. For the past few months, I have been using a set of Photoshop actions from Jeff Ascough that are wonderful for B&W processing.

    (http://www.jeffascough.net/webactions/index.html)

    Cheers,
    you are a dangerous fellow! first you flaunt the Epson in my face -- i try soooo hard not to be tempted, but there it is in the background thread (did you use Brown Sugar?) -- and now a new set of gorgeous actions!

    so a question about these -- do they produce a new layer/picture? some actions get me cranky because it's a pain to undo if you don't like the processing...

    ************************************************** ******

    as for the original question, i'm with these guys. shoot RAW and convert in PP. that way you're covered as well if you find there's something in the image that lends itself to colour. as for consistency, once you get the hang of it it's very easy to do yourself -- manually, with actions, or with plug-ins. you aren't going to want them all to look exactly the same anyways.

    additionally, on the Ricohs it's great to shoot JPEG b/w so you get a feel for what stands out if you have trouble visualising in black and white. and sometimes, the JPEG comes even closer to what you want in a photo than any PPing you can do (rare but true). it's nice to have that option, so always make sure your JPEGs are set to the highest quality.

  5. #5
    wbrandsma
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    Re: Best B/W Image Quality?

    Hi S. Welcome here at Getdpi. I agree with all the others. I prefer the number 2 option. It is great to judge the B&W image on your LCD screen. I almost always use the DNG file for the conversion. The conversion is normally a combination of Adobe Lightroom (converting to B&W), and Photoshop (for local enhancements and sharpening).

  6. #6
    Senior Member simonclivehughes's Avatar
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    Re: Best B/W Image Quality?

    Quote Originally Posted by cam View Post
    you are a dangerous fellow! first you flaunt the Epson in my face -- i try soooo hard not to be tempted, but there it is in the background thread (did you use Brown Sugar?) -- and now a new set of gorgeous actions!

    so a question about these -- do they produce a new layer/picture? some actions get me cranky because it's a pain to undo if you don't like the processing...
    Cam,

    I hereby disavow all responsibility for any and all GAS attacks brought on by my posts!

    Yes, I do indeed LOVE Jeff's Brown Sugar action and will freely admit to using it often! Yes also to your question as to how many of the actions are implemented. Many, but not all, do use layers for the added effects which are then controlled by that level's opacity slider. I find that after a while though, I know pretty well where to look in the History list if I need to roll back to an earlier stage.

    Ciao,

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    Re: Best B/W Image Quality?

    Quote Originally Posted by simonclivehughes View Post
    I hereby disavow all responsibility for any and all GAS attacks brought on by my posts!
    you're an evil, evil man, mister simonclivehughes!!!

    this seems to be the only one of your goodies that i can afford so i weakened. yes i did. and it's all your fault!

    thank you

  8. #8
    Senior Member simonclivehughes's Avatar
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    Re: Best B/W Image Quality?

    I think you'll have a blast with them, Cam. Enjoy!

    Your evil, evil friend,

  9. #9
    NDSinNY
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    Re: Best B/W Image Quality?

    That was quick. Thanks for the replies to my question, and the link to the Ascough actins was fascinating. I have not used Photoshop thus far because I have always found the user interface annoying, but perhaps if the ends justify the means I may reconsider that.

    Actually, after posing the question, I discovered in my recent batch of photos an example of 4 chanting Thai monks taken 12 seconds apart, though they look almost as if they are a single photo. Exposure settings for the three are identical.

    If there are any among you who would like to apply your magic to these to illustrate the differences in the three approaches, I'd be happy to send them to you by email.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Will's Avatar
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    Re: Best B/W Image Quality?

    This thread I started a while back may interest you.

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=817

    I think a new one would be fun though.

  11. #11
    NDSinNY
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    Re: Best B/W Image Quality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Will View Post
    This thread I started a while back may interest you.

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=817

    I think a new one would be fun though.
    Thanks for the reference, that is EXTREMELY edifying, though I think my starting point is a little different. A color DNG, a B/W JPG that was made at the same time as the DNG, and a B/W JPG that was made through GX100 settings. If you could tell me where to put them, I'd be pleased to have them explored.

    I enclose below an un-PP'd but shrunk by 75% copy of the B/W JPG that went with the DNG. This will give you a chance to see whether it's interesting enough to mess with...

  12. #12
    wbrandsma
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    Re: Best B/W Image Quality?

    This is a great photo, but could maybe use some extra contrast in my opinion. I have sent you an email in the meantime.

  13. #13
    wbrandsma
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    Re: Best B/W Image Quality?

    Thank you for the fast reply Norman.

    I opened and processed your file in Lightroom. I first recovered some of the highlights with the Recovery slider to 25, and because the blackpoint was still pretty much to the right on the histogram I adjusted the Blacks slider to 7.

    I converted the photo to B&W in the HSL (Hue/Saturation/Luminance) section by dragging all the Saturation sliders for various colours to -100. A full desaturation. Then I go the Luminance sliders and apply different setting for the colourchannels with these settings:
    Red: -35
    Orange: +28
    Yellow: +51
    Green: 0
    Aqua: 0
    Blue: +5
    Purple: +32
    Magenta: -22
    (minus is darkening, and plus is brightening)

    In the Tonecurve I added more contrast to the photo with following settings:
    Highlights: -22
    Lights: -7
    Darks: -10
    Shadows: -55

    I dragged the Clarity slider to 67 to give more bite to the image. Finally some sharpening with the following settings:
    Amount: 70
    Radius: 1
    Detail: 40
    Masking: 90

    I hope you like my conversion?

  14. #14
    NDSinNY
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    Re: Best B/W Image Quality?

    It's, as I expected, a beautiful enhancement, complete with how-to-do-it instructions. I'm very appreciative and now have a new set of adventures ahead.

    Thank you VERY MUCH.

    S.

  15. #15
    wbrandsma
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    Re: Best B/W Image Quality?

    You're welcome Norman. I hope more will follow and show there conversion techniques and results.

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    Re: Best B/W Image Quality?

    excellent shot, NDSinNY! and, Wouter, master of black and white, has proved it once again

    *******************************

    my evil friend -- the actions won't arrive until next week. he's on holiday

  17. #17
    Senior Member helenhill's Avatar
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    Re: Best B/W Image Quality?

    Wouter / You brought the Photo to Life
    maybe even a touch more edge.....
    best, helen

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