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Old Oct 1, 2008, 8:05 AM   #1
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Q1) Is it possible to shoot B&W directly on the K100D? I can't find it anywhere & it's not in the manual.

Q2) Can you shoot B&W on the K200D, K10D or K20D?And if so, does the B&W images that you shoot turn out better than converting afterwards?

Q3) If shooting B&W on the camera is better than converting afterwards, why?

Q4) What are some good ways to get good quality B&W by converting your RAW (.PEF) files?

Q5) Does anyone focus on shooting B&W and how do you approach it?

I was listening to a photographer speak and he made a side note about shooting in Black & White.

He said that when he shoots Black & White on the camera, he gets much better results than if he shoots colour and then converts to Black & White. (He said this as he pulled out his Nikon D3)

Someone asked him why and he said he didn't know. He just knew that he was much happier when he knew he wanted an image to be B&W and he just shot it B&W directly on the camera.

So when I got home, I pulled out my K100D and tried to figure out how to make it shoot B&W & I couldn't find anyway to do that. I shot some shots and converted them to B&W and I was not impressed. (But then again, I have no idea or concept of how to compose a shot for dramatic effect in B&W!)

And then what he said about shooting B&W started me remembering some of the stuff I read about in those Kodak Workshop Series books I read about when shooting B&W, you can use different coloured filters to accentuate the different areas of your photograph.

And then I got completely lost on what my next step was to explore shooting B&W.


Take care,

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Old Oct 1, 2008, 8:51 AM   #2
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The D3 has a built in Monochrome shooting mode (for a small sum of $5,000-Body Only) but all other DSLR's that I am aware of only offer in camera conversion to Monochrome, while saving the original color file.

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Old Oct 1, 2008, 9:29 AM   #3
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First of all no camera including the D3 actually shoots B&W . It takes a color image and runs though a conversion process. If shot in RAW it could be switched back to color.

You could use color filters on the lens just like with film but this would most likely prevent you from switching back to color with good results.

You can achieve the same basic effect as filters by using the channel mixer in Photoshop or similar tool in your RAW converter.

My Nikon D50 does not have the ability to shoot B&W. The method I use to convert to B&W depends on the effect I wish to achieve. For the quick and easy method with good results try this free plugin which has some nice color effects as well

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Old Oct 1, 2008, 11:51 AM   #4
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i really hate giving advice from ken rockwell, but without searching too hard he has some good examples of converting to black and white.

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Old Oct 1, 2008, 2:07 PM   #5
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I think that you have far more control and options with doing your conversion using software later. I use either the channel mixer method (one of the methods Ken Rockwell mentions) or else Lightroom. The thing I like about Lightroom's controls is that you can take a particular color in the picture and either lighten or darken that specific color, which can really help a picture. Using the "convert to b&w" option in software just gives you a picture that's mostly mid-grey, not much contrast.
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Old Oct 1, 2008, 2:35 PM   #6
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I like using Picasa's "filtered B&W" tool. Works great and is very simple.

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Old Oct 1, 2008, 3:03 PM   #7
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P.S. - Thank you for giving me a reason not to take a long walk at lunchtime today! The K20 has the ability to convert pictures in-camera to b&w, and has a number of changes you can use also. I'll have to play with the files when I get home (I don't have Lightroom or CS2 on my work computer) to post some examples, but here's what I think I figured out:

The K20 does have the ability to shoot b&w (sort-of). I used raw + mode to shoot a color picture, then went into the fn menu and looked at the custom picture options (for K20 owners, it's the OK button, opens the menu for selecting bright, natural, portrait, etc. modes). One of them is b&w mode, and it has adjustments for adding filters (including one that's supposed to simulate IR), contrast, and a few other things. I mainly played around with the filters - changing my red and green picture to b&w, then adding yellow or orange or green or IR filters to the picture I took. You can either push fn again to save a separate copy of the picture (it increases the shot number by one), and it will save the altered picture as a jpg (but will not save an additional raw file). If you leave the b&w mode selected, the next picture you take will be in b&w on the screen. I'm assuming that the raw file will still be the color picture without the mode being selected, while the jpg version will have the mode applied (that's been my experience when I was trying to decide which of the color modes to leave the camera set to - they don't affect the raw file at all - unless you open the raw file in the Pentax software PPL or PhotoBrowser, which will automatically apply them). The neat thing is that if you go into the custom picture menu again, you can change the mode to one of the color modes and save the picture as a new file, so now you have both the b&w and color version in jpg.

What I don't remember, and don't have my K100 with me, is what options there are on the K100 for selecting color modes - is it only bright and natural (those two I remember as I've used both of them).

This is definitely pushing me closer to upgrading my version of Photoshop - CS2's raw converter doesn't recognize the K20, and I can't use Bridge to view the files (one of the reasons I keep using Lightroom), so I have to rename the jpg file that is the same as the raw file.

This is going to be interesting to play with for a while, to see if I like what the camera does or prefer what I create using LR and/or CS2.

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Old Oct 1, 2008, 8:00 PM   #8
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I use desaturate and the OptickVerve Virtual Photography program plus filters by Nik Color Efex Pro. Some times they are very easy to do and only photoshop is needed.



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Old Oct 1, 2008, 11:32 PM   #9
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I've had a chance to play with one of the pictures - these fall into the "for-what-its-worth category.

I also verified that the K100 doesn't have any of these functions, and I'm almost positive that the K10 doesn't either (my recollection was that it was limited on any special effects you could add later). I sold my K10 a while ago so I can't actually check it out.

A little information about the picture - it was in filtered sunlight, using a polarizer on a 300mm lens and I has hand-holding it. My arm wasn't feeling the best so I wasn't as steady as I can be with this lens, so I set the camera to TAv - picture was taken at 1/400 f5.6, ISO 1600. All of the versions below are the same picture - I took it using raw+ to begin with and then saved a couple of different versions of it using the custom picture option on the K20. The new files are all jpg - no additional raw files are saved (and I did verify thatthe raw filesare color, even if you have the b&w option selected when you first take the picture. And that's how Lightroom loaded them).

The only pp I did on any of the out-of-the-camera jpg files was to resize them a couple of times (I like to step down gradually), apply the same amount of Neat Image (noise reduction software) about half-way reduced, then the final reduction down to posting size. The contrast is what the camera made of it.

First, the color jpg file:

There are several options under the b&w mode where you can have the camera simulate using different colored filters. I played around with a couple of them and of course, didn't think to write down which ones went to which picture. I did take a look at the files in the Pentax Photo Browser (which I hardly every use) and it conveniently told me which filter I used for which picture.

This b&w conversion was done in-camera using the red filter option:

This one using the orange filter. While there isn't all that much difference, the orange one doesn't have as much contrast between the red and the green:

This one is definitely different - it was done using the Infrared filter option. Not like a true IR picture, but that's OK - it's still interesting.

In the "for what it's worth" category - I took the raw version of the photo (which is in color)and changed it to grey scale, then adjusted thetone curve andlight/darkness of specific colors to get a high-contrast look:

And finally, I converted the color version using whatever Lightroom has set as its default (didn't adjust tone or anything), and used the channel mixer in CS2 to get another look. I didn't try to match any of the other pictures, just played around with the sliders. I didn't try for any particular look as I was starting to get bored with the same picture (it's not the most interesting picture in the world).

So now you have an idea of what the K20 is capable of doing in-camera, along with a couple of examples of what you can do with software.

And thank you very much for giving me an excuse to try something brand new with the K20 - I hadn't even thought about this capability at all until you brought it up. It's been a good learning experience for me.
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Old Oct 2, 2008, 3:15 AM   #10
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years ago i used to only shoot in b&w, mainly because i developed my own pics so it was a cost issue. i rememberusing yellow, orange and red filters to get very dramatic skys, im not sure if it would be better to use the filters or just use software manipulation, but filters would give a instant on site result, rarther than waiting till you got the pictures on the computer

of course its irrelevant if the camera doesnt take pics in b&w
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