Another newbie question: why B&W mode?

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Roy Smith, Mar 15, 2006.

  1. Roy Smith

    Roy Smith Guest

    Why do some DSLRs have a B&W mode? Is there any advantage to shooting in
    B&W vs. shooting in color and converting to B&W in PhotoShop? Either way,
    you're throwing away data, and it seems to make sense to throw it away as
    late as possible. Or is there more to it than that?
    Roy Smith, Mar 15, 2006
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  2. No, advantage. Just like there's no advantage to shooting anything
    but RAW. Remember JPEG throws away data also.


    "Vietnam is what we had instead of happy childhoods."

    Tim Page in
    by Michael Herr
    John A. Stovall, Mar 15, 2006
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  3. Roy Smith

    tomm42 Guest

    I haven't tried B&W on my D200, but I started to use it on my old Nikon
    995, which is a fairly noisy camera. Shooting at a meeting, having to
    use ie 400 I slipped it into B&W. The pics were so much better than the
    color images from the same camera. Much less noise, seemingly sharper
    (less noise reduction?). Next step make the 995 an infrared only
    Don't think there would be a noticable difference on the D200 as the
    files are much cleaner. With the D200 you don't get into objectionable
    noise until ie 1600.

    tomm42, Mar 15, 2006
  4. Roy Smith

    Zeke Guest

    Of course there are reasons to use JPG, e.g. when you only want to document
    something and don't need RAW for manipulation. JPG is easier.

    "Vietnam is what YOU GAVE US instead of happy childhoods."
    Zeke, Mar 15, 2006
  5. What's to maninupulate in raw? Just run a batch action ACR of you
    have the exposes right? Then another set of acts if you must have
    JPEG with the sharpening you've found works best and its done. But you
    still have the RAW for any shot that you thing needs or deserves more
    than 8bits of lossy information.


    "Vietnam is what we had instead of happy childhoods."

    Tim Page in
    by Michael Herr
    John A. Stovall, Mar 15, 2006
  6. There's no *image* advantage to shooting anything but RAW. There is a
    *rate* advantage to not shooting RAW, since the files are bigger and
    take longer to write to the card, so the buffer takes longer to empty,
    which may prevent your getting that key shot.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Mar 15, 2006
  7. Roy Smith

    JPS Guest

    In message <>,
    I don't know how it is actually done in the camera, but it is
    theoretically possible that you could get a B&W JPEG of higher quality
    than you could get from a color JPEG. If you shoot RAW, then you have
    the original data, and can do anything with it.
    JPS, Mar 16, 2006
  8. Roy Smith

    M Port Guest

    Some people direct print from camera. In this case B&W mode proves useful.
    M Port, Mar 16, 2006
  9. Roy Smith

    Aad Guest

    When shooting in Raw + Jpeg I its nice to do it B/W.
    I can directly see the result on screen, and later, get the best out of the
    Raw file.
    Aad, Mar 16, 2006
  10. Roy Smith

    ian lincoln Guest

    B+W film had a bias towards blue. It was more sensitive. This meant dark
    dense negatives in the blue area. This meant whited out skies and very bad
    rendition of green. Yellow filters and green filters were used to counter
    this. I beleive the B+W mode in cameras have colour filter 'options' that
    is you select the 'filter' from the menu and not physically place one on the
    camera. Many people prefer film for its 'true rendition' but the film
    doesn't actually accurately record the scene. It has been discussed that
    putting a preset adjustment in photoshop to 'correct' the colour rendition
    when in fact what has happened is that the sensor registers the colours more
    equally than the film. However film has been established for so long that
    the rendition by film is considered THE way to record the image. All in all
    b+w film settings in camera are an improvement on a desaturated image in
    photoshop and the electronic equivalent of the 'filters' help but a genuine
    green filter on the lens is still the way to go if you want to emphasise
    certain tones in b+w. Of course if you are sufficiently skilled in
    photoshop you could just use that. I have seen an 'S' shaped curve inserted
    into photoshop graphical representations of colour to make it more 'film
    ian lincoln, Mar 18, 2006
  11. Roy Smith

    Ray Fischer Guest

    There may be some small advantage to doing JPEG compression on a B&W
    image vs. a color image. It'd certainly use less storage space.
    If speed and sorage are not issues and you're shooting RAW then there
    isn't much point to having the camera do it. If you're only
    interested in B&W (such as for a newspaper) then you might as well let
    the camera do it.
    Ray Fischer, Mar 19, 2006
  12. Roy Smith

    Alan Browne Guest

    Since the camera sensors are already filtered for color anyway, there is
    the advantage of having the color version (that may be useful) that you
    can also convert to B&W in photoshop.
    Alan Browne, Mar 19, 2006
  13. Roy Smith

    rcyoung Guest

    I just sold a 995 on Ebay by stressing the IR features. The 995 was one
    of the last Coolpix cameras with "good" IR sensitivity. They filtered
    MUCH LESS back then. There are a couple of guides online that talk
    about how to do the the full conversion to IR (ie removing the last of
    the IR block that it still has).

    BTW, I located a hack where the 995 can be made to output an
    undocumented RAW format as well....
    rcyoung, Mar 19, 2006
  14. Roy Smith

    Paul Furman Guest

    Interesting the bayer filter doesn't work with IR so that would really
    be much sharper.
    Paul Furman, Mar 19, 2006
  15. Because it sells?

    Because it is somewhat similar to using a SLR with B/W film?
    - no need to fire up PhotoShop (faster turn around time)
    - direct feedback how the shot looks in B/W. Can you immediately
    tell how everything will look in B/W?
    If you want all you can get, use RAW and manually handle each
    single image, converting it lovingly from RAW and photoshopping
    out any problems.

    If you have less time, (say, you are some reporter and (the best
    of) your images of the game tonight _must_ be in tomorrow's
    morning paper) shoot it right instead of photoshopping around
    later (that always helps) and reduce your conversion steps to a
    minimum, down to 'shoot JPEG' and 'print them as you shot them'
    (and that often _is_ in B/W). Of course, doing it that way also
    needs some skill --- as it did with analog film.

    There are aftermarket focus screens with lines telling you what
    will be chopped off left and right at some image formats, exactly
    for this reason.

    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Mar 20, 2006
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