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Thread: shoot monochrome? or convert in CS5?

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    KTHXBAI's Avatar
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    shoot monochrome? or convert in CS5?

    This is probably a dumb question but I have not reached my quota.

    Is their any advantage of shooting in monochrome setting on your camera? What I'm asking really is it better to make it black and white in CS5 and possibly maintain more control?

    Thanks.

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    Re: shoot monochrome? or convert in CS5?

    There is no technical advantage to shooting monochrome in camera unless you're used to film workflow where you use color filters, but that is pretty pointless still since you digital sensor won't render monochrome tones even close to B&W film, so if you want to match a B&W film look you'd be better off to shoot RAW and do conversion either in ACR/Lightroom or in Photoshop.

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    Re: shoot monochrome? or convert in CS5?

    I figured as much but I was not 100%. I guess the option (d5000 NIKON) is for people who do not care to post process.

    Thanks.

    Mike.

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    Re: shoot monochrome? or convert in CS5?

    Quote Originally Posted by KTHXBAI View Post
    This is probably a dumb question but I have not reached my quota.

    Is their any advantage of shooting in monochrome setting on your camera? What I'm asking really is it better to make it black and white in CS5 and possibly maintain more control?

    Thanks.
    My answer - YES. Shoot in RAW, then develop your vision using Photoshop CS5 via ACR whether it's going to be black and white or color.

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    ktuli's Avatar
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    Re: shoot monochrome? or convert in CS5?

    Yeah - my understanding was that a RAW file is actually technically a B/W file with a set of metadata for RGB values overlaid on top of that. So converting a RAW to B/W is actually nothing more than not applying the RGB values. I will need to look this up again to be sure, but I thought I read somewhere once that capturing B/W directly was better than trying to convert RGB back to B/W - something about you'll get better tonal values if you capture B/W directly. But if you're capturing RAW, it makes no difference, the "conversion" to B/W in ACR would simply be not applying the RGB metadata.

    Or I could have made that all up... I'll try and find where that was written tonight when I get home - both for accuracy's sake and for my own sanity to confirm I'm actually remembering this correctly.

    - Bill

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    Re: shoot monochrome? or convert in CS5?

    Michael

    You need to distinguish between putting the setting on your camera to 'Monochrome' and shooting in RAW.

    If you're shooting in RAW, it doesn't matter what the setting is on the camera, because your capturing all the data on the file that you create and you can decide what to do with it once your working in the digital darkroom; i.e. your computer and post-processing software.

    BUT ...........

    if you also do put your setting to Monochrome, what you get on the LCD when you take the photograph is the camera's interpretation of what the B & W image will look like. In other words, the camera makes a JPEG and presents that to you on the LCD. This can be a helpful aid. Depending on how you've set your LCD to display, you can see a Mono histogram alongside the JPEG image. Both provide you with information as to what you've got to work with in terms of contrast and tones once you get the RAW file back home.

    This is how I operate - I see a B & W image on the LCD.
    Last edited by Donald; 28th April 2011 at 05:09 PM.

  7. #7

    Re: shoot monochrome? or convert in CS5?

    This is quite a good introduction to shooting b/w

    http://blackandwhitedigital.com/

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    Re: shoot monochrome? or convert in CS5?

    Thank you all for the info. I am re-learning from my old days using film. I have some knowledge of CS5 but... not with photography. I have now set my camera to RAW to get all the info. Obviously I should have been doing that all along if I am working on editing. I read the new Joy of Digital Photography and for some reason it wasn't stressed that much. Or maybe I passed over it too quickly.

    I have now realized that some of these setting on the camera are more for people who could care less about post editing.

    Thanks again everyone I am slowing absorbing.

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    Re: shoot monochrome? or convert in CS5?

    Quote Originally Posted by ktuli View Post
    Yeah - my understanding was that a RAW file is actually technically a B/W file with a set of metadata for RGB values overlaid on top of that.
    Not quite. It's really 3 monochromatic images (one for red, one for blue, and one twice the size of either the other two for green). The camera also contains what's called colorimetric interpretation data that defines the "shade" of the red, blue, and green filters.

    So converting a RAW to B/W is actually nothing more than not applying the RGB values.
    "Kind of", but possibly not the best way to describe it.

    I will need to look this up again to be sure, but I thought I read somewhere once that capturing B/W directly was better than trying to convert RGB back to B/W - something about you'll get better tonal values if you capture B/W directly. But if you're capturing RAW, it makes no difference, the "conversion" to B/W in ACR would simply be not applying the RGB metadata.
    There's no way for a DSLR camera to capture an image in only B&W (or more correctly speaking, greyscale) - all light hitting the sensor has to come through either a red, blue, or green filter covering the photosite, there are no sensors that respond only to light intensity, regardless of colour.

    Technically ALL images are RAW captures -- the question is really "do we run with the in-camera conversion to JPEG of that RAW capture to greyscale" or "do we run with the post-processing conversion of that RAW data to greyscale". Personally - apart from convenience - I can't think of ANY technical advantages to having the conversion done in-camera - and yet I can think of several good reasons why it's always going to be "sub-optimal".

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    Re: shoot monochrome? or convert in CS5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    the question is really "do we run with the in-camera conversion to JPEG of that RAW capture to greyscale" or "do we run with the post-processing conversion of that RAW data to greyscale". Personally - apart from convenience - I can't think of ANY technical advantages to having the conversion done in-camera - and yet I can think of several good reasons why it's always going to be "sub-optimal".
    This was actually the question I was asking. Now that I've just played around with a RAW file in CS5 all I have to say is WOW. what control you have with the image at that point. I feel silly using JPEG and tinkering in CS5 with it. Thanks all.

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    Re: shoot monochrome? or convert in CS5?

    Thanks for the clarification, Colin. I forgot to look all that up last night anyway.

    - Bill

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    Re: shoot monochrome? or convert in CS5?

    In addition to shooting RAW as a way to increase dynamic range data to work with, shooting HDR can further increase the data that provides more flexibility during the monochrome conversion process

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    Re: shoot monochrome? or convert in CS5?

    Quote Originally Posted by KTHXBAI View Post
    This was actually the question I was asking. Now that I've just played around with a RAW file in CS5 all I have to say is WOW. what control you have with the image at that point. I feel silly using JPEG and tinkering in CS5 with it. Thanks all.
    Don't feel silly at all. What you've just done is called 'learning' - and it's great fun. So you're now onto the next step in your development of knowledge and skills.

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