Black and White in Digital

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by BBW, Jan 18, 2010.

  1. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus Charter Member

    Since I'm new to really truly using digital, besides with a point and shoot camera, I've been really interested to learn more about how digital works with black and white - and since Amin set up this nice forum which clearly hasn't been getting enough use, I thought I'd post a thread here in hopes of gleaning an education from some discussions.

    I don't own Photoshop or anything else, really. Right now all I have is the iPhoto software on my MacBook Pro so I'm really a neophyte. I may well find it's "good enough" for me, but in the mean time I'd love to hear from you all who already use your cameras for black and white.

    What do you do, is it always best to process it in your computer with software vs in camera?

    What are the different softwares you use and why do you like one vs. another?

    I just found this article which I'm sure will be helpful: http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/intro-digital-black-and-white.html though I know nothing about Mr. Cooper.

    Any and all pointers welcome on this trek into the new photography. :popcorm2:
     
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  2. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Hi BBW,

    I use Lightzone for all of my B&W conversions... it has a very simple B&W tool, well worth a trial - and we've had a generous discount for Olympus Photo Safari Group members (which you can access here.) - note, let me know if you take the trial, and I'll try to get the discount renewed.

    Lightzone is a wonderful post processing application, and excellent value for money.

    Cheers

    Brian
     
  3. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus Charter Member

    Many thanks Brian, I will look into it for sure. And I did notice that now lapsed discount but will let you know if I go for the trial. Any discounts are always greatly appreciated.:smile:
     
  4. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    There are many ways to convert. I'm using Nik Software's Silver Effex.
    It will plug in to Photoshop or Lightroom and for you, it's also a stand alone program.
    At the moment and probably for some time, there's nothing better.
    Shooter
     
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  5. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus Charter Member

    Will check that one out, too. Thanks Shooter!
     
  6. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator Moderator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    There are many, many ways to convert to B&W in digital. I have tried quite a few of them, and I still don't consider myself very good at it. I still find it much easier to get a pleasing B&W look in film than I do with digital.

    For the most part, I just use the built-in B&W conversion tools in Lightroom, but I also like Alien Skin Exposure for B&W conversion. Alien Skin Exposure, while costly, is a very cool program. It allows you to simulate a variety of film stock, both color and B&W. While I'm not sure the simulations are accurate, I enjoy trying them out on different photographs and seeing the result.
     
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  7. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus Charter Member

    Appreciate your plug for Lightroom, too, Amin. I was just looking at their demonstration videos... I enjoyed their "zone mapper", among other things. It seems as though it is fairly easy to learn and though it may not have as many options as say Photoshop, that's probably a good thing for me. I'll check out the other software you mentioned as well.

    At this point I'm reading and learning and bookmarking.:wink:
     
  8. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator Moderator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Actually, the zone mapper is for LightZone (Lightcrafts product), not Lightroom (Adobe product) :smile:. These days, I do almost everything in Lightroom (version 3 beta).
     
  9. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus Charter Member

    Right, sorry about that!

    I've been reading about Lightroom too, as well as Photoshop Elements. So many choices!:eek:

    Since I have a Mac I was wondering about which would work best and not be too overwhelming, and possibly work with iPhoto - though in time I may not care about iPhoto anymore... Research shall continue and hopefully more helpful info here, to.:thumbup:
     
  10. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Well, at least ya have a Mac. That's a break.
    You can download LightRoom for free and try it out.
    There are many free Adobe movies you can watch to get a grasp on the program but really, ya just need to thing about what you want to do, then do it.
    It's like a Mac, very intuitive....
    Shooter
     
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  11. Vidar

    Vidar Mu-43 Top Veteran Charter Member

    545
    Dec 31, 2009
    Bergen, Norway
    I love B&W:smile:

    I use Lightroom for B&W conversion, I still use Iphoto to organize all my pictures. This works well for me.

    Feel Lightroom gives me great controll over the greytones so I have never felt any need for any plugins, so I have never tried any of the ones mentioned above.
     
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  12. Vidar

    Vidar Mu-43 Top Veteran Charter Member

    545
    Dec 31, 2009
    Bergen, Norway
    I see your point Amin and I agree. I too like best the B&W look film gives. When converting digital pictures to B&W I have stopped trying to make it look like film, I just get the tones I like. I feel that that digital never can look like film (despite filters and plug-ins, which can give great effects), and thats okay.

    Thats one of the reasons why I still shoot film.
     
  13. Yves D.

    Yves D. Mu-43 Regular Charter Member

    42
    Jan 8, 2010
    Montréal, Canada
    Hi,
    The link you provide is a good place to learn B/W conversion. Lots of differents techniques for differents results.

    I personally use Power retouche plug in for b/w and are satisfy with it.
    ... if you ever take the plunge into Photoshop. ;-)

    http://powerretouche.com/Black-white_plugin_tutorial.html

    have a good day.
     
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  14. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    There is a program that was discontinued for newer intel processors.
    It was a great b&w converter.
    If you run an older puter, check it out...

    http://www.theimagingfactory.com/

    very analog and the best in it's time.
    Shooter
     
  15. F1L1P

    F1L1P Mu-43 Veteran Charter Member

    388
    Jan 2, 2010
    Europe
    Agree :thumbup:
    Great piece of software. Here's my work example:
    <param name="movie" value="http://backend.deviantart.com/embed/view.swf" /><param name="flashvars" value="id=148479577&width=1337" /><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><embed src="http://backend.deviantart.com/embed/view.swf" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="450" flashvars="id=148479577&width=1337" height="531" allowscriptaccess="always"></embed></object><br /><a href="http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/148479577/">carpe diem</a> by ~<a class="u" href="http://f1l1p.deviantart.com/">F1L1P</a> on <a href="http://www.deviantart.com">deviant</a><a href="http://www.deviantart.com">ART</a>
    Model:DMC-G1
    Shutter Speed:10/2500 second
    Aperture:F/10.0
    Focal Length:28 mm
    ISO Speed:160
     
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  16. rst

    rst Mu-43 Regular Charter Member

    109
    Jan 25, 2010
    Germany
    It is the same with me. The easiest way for me to get B&W images is to use B&W film and to print in the darkroom. I do not like to mimic film look with my digital captures. It is different media. That does not mean that an image comming from film looks better than a digital B&W image, but it looks different. That's all.

    Edit: I forgot to mention, I use Lightroom to do my digital b&w conversions. Lightroom gives me enough flexibility to achieve what I want and it fits into my workflow.

    Cheers
    rst

     
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  17. Elliot

    Elliot Mu-43 Regular Charter Member

    38
    Jan 22, 2010
    NORTHERN VIRGINIA USA
    This is a great thread - Black and White is just incredible to shoot

    I love black and white and grew up in the darkroom in New York with my dad, a very very long time ago. Later on in life a taught a few classes in it, but today I shoot digital black and white and use lightroom plus Nik Silverefex and it really does a wonderful job. I use Canon printers and many of the new papers and the black and white tones are hard to beat. ((I shall post images soon)) I am also working with a converted EP1 and just began to play with it for infrared. www.spencerscamera.com.

    Also, if I may put in the plug engine to my web site, my company Blue Ridge Workshops is giving a3 day digital black and white workshop in Sheandoah Mountains, with our base in Sperryville Va. If you are interested perhaps you would like to take a look here.

    http://www.blueridgeworkshops.com/w...ous-photographer-wanting-to-make-a-statement/


    And by the way, I have sever Intel Macs running and love the Macs too.
     
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  18. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus Charter Member

    Elliot your workshops sound really good - just wish it was an easier commute from up here. I do hope to get down there eventually. There's so much to learn in this digital world.

    Thanks for becoming so involved here.:thumbup:
     
  19. grcolts

    grcolts Mu-43 Regular

    178
    Feb 1, 2010
    Texas
    Real Name:
    Gary
    Bibble 5.01

    I have not tried Lightroom but have used Bibble for a while. The newer version, Bibble 5.01 is an interesting program. It has a really good black & white section which I enjoy a lot. The program is new so all the features that was in version 4 are not there yet, but what is there is so much better. It runs really fast on my older G4 IMAC. Check out their website-just google Bibble 5 to find it. I think you will like it.
    GR

     
  20. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus Charter Member

    Thanks so much for your suggestion, grcolts. Very kind of you...does it work on "just jpegs"? I'll definitely take a look at it later on!