Is digital B&W for real?

Started Nov 19, 2009 | Discussions thread
sean000
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Re: All great answers and all but
In reply to tvnewsbadge, Nov 23, 2009

tvnewsbadge wrote:

The problem I have with that? With the exception of you and one other fella, everyone who responded seemed to know exactly what I was asking and offered very useful and informative insights and links and they did it without lectures, insulting language, misquotes, or talk about "targets".

With that in hand, I don't believe that "clarity" on my part is the issue here, if you get my drift.

Back to your original post:

Back in the days of film, I used to love back and white, because it was real.

Okay... you used to love film. That much I get. But the statment, "because it was real" implies that digital B&W is not. It implies that digital B&W is fake or lacking value.

The film stock, tri-x, plus-x, had a character all of it's own. It wasn't just color with the color removed.

Yes... various film stocks did have a character of their own. I agree with you there, but in other posts I also added that digital B&W can have character too... even simulating some of those old film stocks if that is what you want. The printer and paper can also play a role in imparting character. Look at a digital B&W prints on quality glossy, satin, and matte papers as well as specialty papers like metallic, watercolor, linen, canvas, etc. It is possible to achieve stunning results with digital B&W, or do you disagree? If you disagree, then what do you find lacking?

So much as I'd like to shoot B&W in digital, I can bring myself to believe it's anything more than a cheap gimmick... color with the color removed.

This is the statement that I think caused so many problems. You later clarified it by adding:

If it had been read and understood correctly, you would have understood that far from condemning black and white in the digital age, I am actually asking folks to convince me that it is still a viable form of imagery so that I can join the party.

If you need to be convinced that digital B&W is a viable alternative to film B&W, then your current position must be that it is not. If your feelings towards digital B&W were merely tepid, you wouldn't say something like, "I can bring myself to believe it's anything more than a cheap gimmick... color with the color removed."

Again... why should we have to convince you of anything... especially when you have not clearly stated what you find to be lacking about digital B&W? There are plenty of tutorials on digital B&W out there on the Web, and entire books devoted to the subject.

Perhaps my original response was a little snarky, but that was because I felt your original post was mostly about expressing your negative feelings towards digital B&W... which would be fine if you had provided some specifics and examples. Still, I suggested that you research the available tools and techniques that go far beyond simple desaturation. Your later posts showed you were more interested in a B&W only digital camera.

You can wait for a B&W only digital camera to hit the market if you want to. Meanwhile I will continue to enjoy the fantastic results I already get from my color DSLR, Photoshop, and Silver Efex Pro.

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