B&W Photography

Started 8 months ago | Questions
Lord Mox
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B&W Photography
8 months ago

I've for long been an admirer of b&w photography. In the last few weeks, I've been thinking of buying a second camera as a back up to my main one. I am not a professional nor will ever be (lack the creative talent, and have a decent career that I love).

So, for a camera that will be used mainly (about 90% of the time) for black and white, what are your recommendation? I am asking in Nikon forum, because I will be using Nikon glass. I have 5 of those currently and my main is d600.

Or may be, I should approach the question from a different angle. Does black and white photography requires different features (e.g. dynamic range, resolution etc...) than color? What should be my focus in trying to find a suitable b&w camera?

(Film is out of the question as I barely can understand digital, and there are not many developing sites in my area).

I hope I made my question clear and have not confused you in anyway.

Thanks all,

-LM

 Lord Mox's gear list:Lord Mox's gear list
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RomanJohnston
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Dont buy a seperate camera
In reply to Lord Mox, 8 months ago

I attended a workshop with Vincent Versace and learned his conversion method for B&W.

I would TRULY invest less and attend a class he is having or maybe pay for the Kelby Online as I think he has a B&W class there.

Its only $24.00 @ month to join...and you can stop any time.

Kelby Training Online

He is probably one of the best B&W photographers I have seen

Roman

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Rservello
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Re: B&W Photography
In reply to Lord Mox, 8 months ago

Lord Mox wrote:

I've for long been an admirer of b&w photography. In the last few weeks, I've been thinking of buying a second camera as a back up to my main one. I am not a professional nor will ever be (lack the creative talent, and have a decent career that I love).

So, for a camera that will be used mainly (about 90% of the time) for black and white, what are your recommendation? I am asking in Nikon forum, because I will be using Nikon glass. I have 5 of those currently and my main is d600.

Or may be, I should approach the question from a different angle. Does black and white photography requires different features (e.g. dynamic range, resolution etc...) than color? What should be my focus in trying to find a suitable b&w camera?

(Film is out of the question as I barely can understand digital, and there are not many developing sites in my area).

I hope I made my question clear and have not confused you in anyway.

Thanks all,

-LM

You already have a d600? What's wrong with that? I process to black and white all the time.

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Lord Mox
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Re: B&W Photography
In reply to Rservello, 8 months ago

Rservello wrote:

You already have a d600? What's wrong with that? I process to black and white all the time.

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Nothing wrong with the d600. I am aware of the fact that I can process the files into B&W. I have a need for a second camera. So, thought to buy one that is well suited for B&W. My question here is to learn about whether or not B&W is less demanding that color in term of resolution, dynamic range, etc...

My b&w will be 70% portraits of people I know and those I dont (street photography) and rest architectural or landscapes.

-LM

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Lord Mox
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Re: Dont buy a seperate camera
In reply to RomanJohnston, 8 months ago

RomanJohnston wrote:

I attended a workshop with Vincent Versace and learned his conversion method for B&W.

I would TRULY invest less and attend a class he is having or maybe pay for the Kelby Online as I think he has a B&W class there.

Its only $24.00 @ month to join...and you can stop any time.

Kelby Training Online

He is probably one of the best B&W photographers I have seen

Roman

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http://www.pbase.com/romansphotos

I will give this a though irrelevant of whether or not I get another camera. I am about to finish up my PhD, have enough of learning materials to go through. Photography is my escape, I don't want it to turn into another science, for now...at least.

Thanks,

-LM

 Lord Mox's gear list:Lord Mox's gear list
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RomanJohnston
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Re: Dont buy a seperate camera
In reply to Lord Mox, 8 months ago

Lord Mox wrote:

RomanJohnston wrote:

I attended a workshop with Vincent Versace and learned his conversion method for B&W.

I would TRULY invest less and attend a class he is having or maybe pay for the Kelby Online as I think he has a B&W class there.

Its only $24.00 @ month to join...and you can stop any time.

Kelby Training Online

He is probably one of the best B&W photographers I have seen

Roman

-- hide signature --

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious; It is the source of all true art and science.
~ Albert Einstein
http://www.commercialfineart.com/
http://www.romanjohnston.com
http://www.pbase.com/romansphotos

I will give this a though irrelevant of whether or not I get another camera. I am about to finish up my PhD, have enough of learning materials to go through. Photography is my escape, I don't want it to turn into another science, for now...at least.

Thanks,

-LM

Which is why I referred you to Vincent Versace. His conversion technique is VERY in depth...but he has an action that will blow your socks off. It makes it very easy.

Quick example:

D300 file:

D300 file

Even from a Point and Shoot camera:

Coolpix from 2002

Roman

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The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious; It is the source of all true art and science.
~ Albert Einstein
http://www.commercialfineart.com/
http://www.romanjohnston.com
http://www.pbase.com/romansphotos

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michaeladawson
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Re: B&W Photography
In reply to Lord Mox, 8 months ago

Lord Mox wrote:

Rservello wrote:

You already have a d600? What's wrong with that? I process to black and white all the time.

-- hide signature --

https://www.flickr.com/photos/49019071@N03/
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2334596/
* Sensitive Internet User Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and are not meant to offend you or damage your precious beliefs.

Nothing wrong with the d600. I am aware of the fact that I can process the files into B&W. I have a need for a second camera. So, thought to buy one that is well suited for B&W. My question here is to learn about whether or not B&W is less demanding that color in term of resolution, dynamic range, etc...

My b&w will be 70% portraits of people I know and those I dont (street photography) and rest architectural or landscapes.

-LM

Your D600 is fine.  It has outstanding dynamic range.  24MP is plenty.  There is no need to buy another camera for B&W.  If you want to buy a second camera go ahead.  But I don't think there is anything about B&W that would point you towards one body over another.

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Mike Dawson

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RomanJohnston
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Re: B&W Photography
In reply to michaeladawson, 8 months ago

michaeladawson wrote:

Lord Mox wrote:

Rservello wrote:

You already have a d600? What's wrong with that? I process to black and white all the time.

-- hide signature --

https://www.flickr.com/photos/49019071@N03/
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2334596/
* Sensitive Internet User Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and are not meant to offend you or damage your precious beliefs.

Nothing wrong with the d600. I am aware of the fact that I can process the files into B&W. I have a need for a second camera. So, thought to buy one that is well suited for B&W. My question here is to learn about whether or not B&W is less demanding that color in term of resolution, dynamic range, etc...

My b&w will be 70% portraits of people I know and those I dont (street photography) and rest architectural or landscapes.

-LM

Your D600 is fine. It has outstanding dynamic range. 24MP is plenty. There is no need to buy another camera for B&W. If you want to buy a second camera go ahead. But I don't think there is anything about B&W that would point you towards one body over another.

-- hide signature --

Mike Dawson

Exactly...not to mention that in camera B&W conversions are HORRABLE.

Roman

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The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious; It is the source of all true art and science.
~ Albert Einstein
http://www.commercialfineart.com/
http://www.romanjohnston.com
http://www.pbase.com/romansphotos

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jkjond
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Re: B&W Photography
In reply to Lord Mox, 8 months ago

Black and white is no more complicated than colour, if anything, it is simpler. At one extreme you could buy a very expensive Leica dedicated to black and white which would give you some of the sharpest images possible for the resolution, but you could equally go for any current dslr including the one in your hands, and achieve much the same at a print level, and no real disappointment when pixel peeping.

Here are some rambling thoughts.

I like black and white because its relatively easy to achieve what I want on a simple aesthetic level. Colour is not as forgiving when it comes to quality of light, so a demanding landscape photographer will have a very limited window of conditions to achieve what they want from a subject, unless they take pp to the extreme.

Black and white is still demanding of light, but most people will find the need for pp for the initial conversion will bring with it greater flexibility and opportunity for expression. In portraiture, black and white can make acceptable use of mixed light conditions which may appear wrong in colour due to confused white balance issue - yellow artificial light v blue daylight - which is a reason why some wedding photographers convert some indoor shots to black and white.

Or are you thinking of doing in-camera conversions?

I'm no fan of in-camera, but it is surprising how acceptable the results can be. It isn't something I've looked into, but I understand you can work to custom profiles to suit your subject and taste. Other easy conversion options are plugins such as silver effex pro as part of the nik software now provided by google. As with ALL one click solutions, the results can lack character - I far prefer the personal involvement with processing my own conversions. But they can also save a lot of clicking and need for knowledge.

One click solutions such as 'greyscale' or 'desaturation' in post processing will usually result in flat conversions which lack depth of shadows or highlights so usually require further tweaks and contrast boosts - but most progs have more sophisticated and flexible solutions which offer far more than conventional film + filter techniques.

If I were you, I'd experiment with what you have before committing to your second camera so you can appreciate your current potential. It may help you decide whether you need two different cameras to extend some capabilities, or stick with two identical cameras for ease of use and interchangeable cards and batteries.

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Kaj E
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Re: B&W Photography
In reply to Lord Mox, 8 months ago

If you aim at black and white, it is best to still shoot in color. This way you have in post-processing access to an infinite amount of color filters, global and local. You can't duplicate this by shooting in B&W mode.

Any camera that is good for color is good for B&W. Resolution and DR range for instance are equally important for output in color or B&W.

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Kaj
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Paphios
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Re: Dont buy a seperate camera
In reply to RomanJohnston, 8 months ago

Roman,

I recently purchased and quickly read through Vincent's book and downloaded the actions.  Now I plan to go back through the book in more detail using some of my own images.  Just out of curiosity, which of the many approaches he has described do you find most useful in your own work?

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result42
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Re: B&W Photography
In reply to Lord Mox, 8 months ago

Lord Mox wrote:

I've for long been an admirer of b&w photography. In the last few weeks, I've been thinking of buying a second camera as a back up to my main one. I am not a professional nor will ever be (lack the creative talent, and have a decent career that I love).

So, for a camera that will be used mainly (about 90% of the time) for black and white, what are your recommendation? I am asking in Nikon forum, because I will be using Nikon glass. I have 5 of those currently and my main is d600.

Or may be, I should approach the question from a different angle. Does black and white photography requires different features (e.g. dynamic range, resolution etc...) than color? What should be my focus in trying to find a suitable b&w camera?

(Film is out of the question as I barely can understand digital, and there are not many developing sites in my area).

I hope I made my question clear and have not confused you in anyway.

Thanks all,

-LM

I am currently processing >50% of my images in B+W.  From a dynamic range point of view, the good thing with B+W is that to preserve highlight information, you only need one or two of the channels not blown out (Still ideal to have 3).  With colour, this would lead to strange casts but for B+W, not a problem most of the time.  You can push post processing much further in B+W before the image starts to fall apart.  Any of the current Nikons should have no problem.  The choice of body is more of a decision based on handling/af/frame rate point of view.

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user_name
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Another Idea - A Dedicated Monochrome Camera
In reply to Lord Mox, 8 months ago

Lord Mox wrote:

I've for long been an admirer of b&w photography. In the last few weeks, I've been thinking of buying a second camera as a back up to my main one. I am not a professional nor will ever be (lack the creative talent, and have a decent career that I love).

So, for a camera that will be used mainly (about 90% of the time) for black and white, what are your recommendation? I am asking in Nikon forum, because I will be using Nikon glass. I have 5 of those currently and my main is d600.

Or may be, I should approach the question from a different angle. Does black and white photography requires different features (e.g. dynamic range, resolution etc...) than color? What should be my focus in trying to find a suitable b&w camera?

(Film is out of the question as I barely can understand digital, and there are not many developing sites in my area).

I hope I made my question clear and have not confused you in anyway.

Thanks all,

-LM

You can have a digital camera converted to a monochrome camera.

Why would you do this?  Removing the color filter array (RGB filter) significantly enhances the resulting picture's sharpness and resolution.

You can't achieve this resolution by simply converting the raw color file by any post processing.

One company that does this modification is MaxMax.com.  Check out their website to see just how much of a dramatic difference this can make.

I don't know what your budget is, but you buy a used camera such as the D700, an inexpensive DX camera, or maybe even a used D600.  The result should be very, very good.  You just can't take color photographs with a converted camera.

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Lord Mox
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Re: B&W Photography
In reply to Lord Mox, 8 months ago

Thank you all for your valuable input. I just need to clarify something. I assume after reading some of the replies that few of you may think I am not convinced that my d600 is sufficient. It's actually to the contrary. My understanding of b&w is that it's less demanding when it comes to camera capability. As I am looking to buy a second camera for back up, I just thought to know what would constitute a good b&w camera.

Put it in another way, assuming that you will only do b&w (100%). What would you consider before deciding on a camera, and which camera will you be looking at? (for portrait and landscape as I said earlier).

I just want to know, will these considerations be the same if you think of the opposite (100% color)?

Again thank you all for the input.

-LM

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as1mov
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Re: B&W Photography
In reply to Lord Mox, 8 months ago

I think you HAVE a B&W camera. Go to the Picture control menu and set Monocrome (but keep RAW as file format). Also live view will work in B&W.

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RomanJohnston
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Re: Dont buy a seperate camera
In reply to Paphios, 8 months ago

Paphios wrote:

Roman,

I recently purchased and quickly read through Vincent's book and downloaded the actions. Now I plan to go back through the book in more detail using some of my own images. Just out of curiosity, which of the many approaches he has described do you find most useful in your own work?

I actually attend a workshop....I follow the process as explained and with the action. Not sure of other processes as i did not get the book.

Roman

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Rservello
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Re: B&W Photography
In reply to RomanJohnston, 8 months ago

RomanJohnston wrote:

michaeladawson wrote:

Lord Mox wrote:

Rservello wrote:

You already have a d600? What's wrong with that? I process to black and white all the time.

-- hide signature --

https://www.flickr.com/photos/49019071@N03/
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2334596/
* Sensitive Internet User Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and are not meant to offend you or damage your precious beliefs.

Nothing wrong with the d600. I am aware of the fact that I can process the files into B&W. I have a need for a second camera. So, thought to buy one that is well suited for B&W. My question here is to learn about whether or not B&W is less demanding that color in term of resolution, dynamic range, etc...

My b&w will be 70% portraits of people I know and those I dont (street photography) and rest architectural or landscapes.

-LM

Your D600 is fine. It has outstanding dynamic range. 24MP is plenty. There is no need to buy another camera for B&W. If you want to buy a second camera go ahead. But I don't think there is anything about B&W that would point you towards one body over another.

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Mike Dawson

Exactly...not to mention that in camera B&W conversions are HORRABLE.

Roman

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The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious; It is the source of all true art and science.
~ Albert Einstein
http://www.commercialfineart.com/
http://www.romanjohnston.com
http://www.pbase.com/romansphotos

In camera black and white doesn't affect RAW files in any way.  So I don't see how that is applicable.

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RomanJohnston
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Re: B&W Photography
In reply to Rservello, 8 months ago

Rservello wrote:

In camera black and white doesn't affect RAW files in any way. So I don't see how that is applicable.

Not sure how this applies to the conversation.

In camera B&W conversion (or in RAW editor) does not take a lot of information in the file into consideration Colors with the same tonality that can be used in a quality B&W conversion get lost in a straight conversion in camera or in like ACR.

Roman

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The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious; It is the source of all true art and science.
~ Albert Einstein
http://www.commercialfineart.com/
http://www.romanjohnston.com
http://www.pbase.com/romansphotos

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user_name
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Re: B&W Photography
In reply to Lord Mox, 8 months ago

Lord Mox wrote:

Thank you all for your valuable input. I just need to clarify something. I assume after reading some of the replies that few of you may think I am not convinced that my d600 is sufficient. It's actually to the contrary. My understanding of b&w is that it's less demanding when it comes to camera capability. As I am looking to buy a second camera for back up, I just thought to know what would constitute a good b&w camera.

Put it in another way, assuming that you will only do b&w (100%). What would you consider before deciding on a camera, and which camera will you be looking at? (for portrait and landscape as I said earlier).

I just want to know, will these considerations be the same if you think of the opposite (100% color)?

Again thank you all for the input.

-LM

What would I consider?

Refurbished/used D600s are an excellent choice.

A used D700 would be another excellent choice.

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Rservello
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Re: B&W Photography
In reply to RomanJohnston, 8 months ago

RomanJohnston wrote:

Rservello wrote:

In camera black and white doesn't affect RAW files in any way. So I don't see how that is applicable.

Not sure how this applies to the conversation.

In camera B&W conversion (or in RAW editor) does not take a lot of information in the file into consideration Colors with the same tonality that can be used in a quality B&W conversion get lost in a straight conversion in camera or in like ACR.

Roman

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The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious; It is the source of all true art and science.
~ Albert Einstein
http://www.commercialfineart.com/
http://www.romanjohnston.com
http://www.pbase.com/romansphotos

You can change the PC to vivid, standard, neutral, and/or monochrome and the RAW file will be identical every time.

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* Sensitive Internet User Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and are not meant to offend you or damage your precious beliefs.

 Rservello's gear list:Rservello's gear list
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