Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digital SLR and Interchangeable Lens Cameras > Pentax / Samsung dSLR, K Mount Mirrorless

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Apr 25, 2011, 10:43 PM   #1
Senior Member
mtngal's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Frazier Park, CA
Posts: 16,004
Default Black And White - Is one better than another?

I've been playing around with Silver Efex 2, and really like the way it converts pictures. It seems to retain more detail than the original version does (could be because I didn't hit on the right combination of controls).

One of the things I've been playing around with is how to interpret a shot, and what works and what doesn't. So here's one shot from January that I've developed in a couple of different ways. I'd like to know what you think of the picture to begin with and then if you think any of the versions is better than any others.

Here's a high-key version:

Here's the shot with a fairly "normal" type of processing.

Here's a high contrast/low key version:

I was rather surprised at how each of them said something different, I thought rather significantly. There's elements that I like in all of them, and depending on my mood I prefer one over the rest - but not always the same one (I can never quite make up my mind). Since I feel like I'm now over-thinking the whole thing, I'd love to hear what others think about them.
mtngal is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Apr 26, 2011, 12:05 AM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Mount Shasta, California
Posts: 1,525

Number two works for me. There is far more detail in all the elements, such as the bush, the background and the sand, than the others. Nice shot.
pboerger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 26, 2011, 1:42 AM   #3
Senior Member
Rodney9's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Yeronga, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Posts: 3,518

I like the starkness of the first.

My Flickr Photos

Pentax K-5 K20D K100D
Pentax DA 55-300mm 4-5.8 ED / Pentax M 200mm F4 / Pentax Tak K 135mm 2.5 / Pentax M 100mm F4 Macro / Tamron SP AF90mm 2.8 Di Macro / Pentax M 1.7 50mm / Pentax M 2.8 28mm
Rodney9 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 26, 2011, 2:50 AM   #4
Senior Member
MartinSykes's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Cheshire, UK
Posts: 854

I prefer 1. I think it's because you're not aware of the mountains in the background - it looks like a wide-open tundra. But the foreground does look a bit washed out so I quickly tried fading the foreground of 2 into the rest of 1 which uses the best of both:

AutoHDR - Free HDR software for Windows at http://www.autohdr.co.uk on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=...36045126467361
My Flickr stream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/martinsykes
Panasonic DMC-FZ38, Sony ­α580
MartinSykes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 26, 2011, 5:32 AM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Valdese, N.C.
Posts: 215

I like the first one very much - and then 3 and 2 inorder. It is an interesting PP and I can see changing the order according to the mood of the day I'd probbly crop out the bushes in the corners and give depth emphasis on the horizon. Thanks for sharing they are all good photos.
Pentax K3 ii and Pentax K-1
Various Lens

Pastorbbc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 26, 2011, 1:00 PM   #6
Senior Member
Biro's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 834

My personal favorite is #2. Although I understand why some prefer #1 because the mountains are a lot less obvious. #3 seems too dark to me, particularly in the foreground.
Biro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 26, 2011, 7:34 PM   #7
Senior Member
Monza76's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,073

I like the first version, it has a cold bleakness but... I like seeing the mountains in number 2. Didn't really like the high contrast version.
Riverview, NB, Canada
Current equipment
Pentax K7, K5, K3:
FA 35mm f2, FA 50 f1.4, FA 28-70mm f4, FA 28-80mm f3.5-5.6, F 50mm f1.7, Tamron SP 70-200mm f2.8 Di, DA 10-17 f3.5-4.5, DA 14 f2.8, DA 16-45mm f4, DA 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 WR, DA 50-200mm f4-5.6 WR, AF-540FGZ

Olympus E-PM1, E-PL1, E-P2, E-P5: 9mm to 150mm lenses

Monza76 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 26, 2011, 9:07 PM   #8
Senior Member
mtngal's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Frazier Park, CA
Posts: 16,004

Very interesting which one everyone prefers.

I definitely agree about cloning out the bush, especially on the right. It's very distracting on the high contrast version, less so on the other two.

I pretty much prefer the high key version - thought it looked appropriate for sand dunes, looks like a desert. The two girls are the center of attention, with the texture of the desert being secondary to the picture.

The "normal" version is more balanced in one sense. The oof brush at the very bottom left is more distracting, but if I clone it out I think I'd be tempted to leave the one on the right as a balance to the girls. I think the reason why I like it more sometimes is that I like the extra detail, but at other times I don't since there's so much more competing for my attention - the mountains, the sand, the bush on the right (a reason to get rid of it - hmmm).

I like the girls being in silhouette in the high-contrast version, and the picture is more about the texture of the sand/footprints. The brush on the right has got to go in that one though - really distracting. And it really is a bit too stark I guess (though I didn't think so when I processed it).
mtngal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 27, 2011, 7:12 AM   #9
Senior Member
Lyrics51's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Northwest Ohio
Posts: 1,953

Generally I like more contrast, but in this case the first one is more appealing to me. The only other comment I have is that I'd like to see it with the two people in the upper left "rule of thirds" corner. I don't know that it would make much difference, but it would be interesting none the less.
Lyrics51 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 27, 2011, 1:07 PM   #10
Senior Member
Tachikoma's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Wales
Posts: 1,086

First and/or Martin's shot, prefer the neutral background but more contrast in the foreground without destroying the detail in the people.

Beautiful shot though either any way you process it.
Pentax K-7
Tamron 90mm SP Di Macro
Tamron Adaptall 2 - 28mm, 28-80mm, 500mm Mirror
Pentax KAF - 18-55mm WR, 28-105mm PowerZoom
Pentax K - 50mm f/2, 50mm f/1.7, 28mm f/2.2
Tachikoma is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 1:34 AM.