GH1 best settings to shoot b/w photos?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by m43baby, May 22, 2011.

  1. m43baby

    m43baby Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 1, 2011
    Hello, I wanted to know if I should shoot as JPG or RAW and what b/w setting I should use and if anything else should be tweaked to get best b/w out of this great camera?
  2. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England

    I shoot camera RAW. My B&W images come via post processing using Aperture 3, and Silver EFX from NIK software.

    Cheers, Alan
  3. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Best setting for B&Ws is to use full colour (raw or jpeg) and do the conversion on the computer. Once you have taken a B&W jpeg you have lost all of the colours which would allow you to alter the greyscale response of the different colour channels in post-processing.
  4. Bill

    Bill Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2009
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Bill (really)
    Raw is best


    Raw is essential if you want to manipulate your black and white photos – and you DO want to manipulate those photos.

    In a color photo, for example, you might have two umbrellas where one is blue and the other is green. But, depending on the tonal values, those two umbrellas (immediately distinguishable in color), might look exactly the same in a desaturated photo. If you want the umbrellas to look different in the final b/w picture, you will need to work with the color data that underlies the simple tonal values. And if the umbrella colors are different (say, red and yellow) in the next photo, then the adjustments would also be different. No one set of settings, then, will address all the circumstances.

    Unfortunately, almost everything that we do by way of adjustment has the effect of destroying some of the original data. The effective limits of what we can do and how it will look is based on how much data you start out with. So, back to the issue of JPEG and raw: If you shoot in JPEG, there’s 8bits of data providing 256 (2 to the 8th) levels. If you shoot raw you get 12bits of data (in m4/3). This translates into 4096 levels.

    But there’s yet another complication: Unlike film, the data in digital photos is not distributed evenly across the range of tonal values. In digital, about half of all the digital information is in the brightest stop, half of the remainder in the next stop , and so on. As you can see, when you get down to the shadows, there’s not much data left. In JPEG that means 128 bits of information is in the first (brightest) stop, 64 bits in the second, etc. In raw, by comparison, 2048 in the first stop, 1024 in the next, etc.

    Raw provides the room to work with in getting to the final b/w photo that you want.

    Sorry, I intended this to be a short post just to say shoot raw, but then....

    Just a couple of more notes:

    I don’t do too much in b/w. So, I’m pretty happy with the manipulation tools in Lightroom; but I’m thinking of getting the Silver Efex Pro 2 plug-in for their more refined tools.

    If you use the GH1’s b/w setting, then the in-camera algorithm will do its best to give you a nice b/w photo. It will be better than a simply desaturated image, but it’s unlikely to live up to its full potential.

    In regard to raw, 16 bits is often mentioned; but usually this is a reference to the color space and not the actual amount of data.

    In the old days when the film was b/w, the only way to manipulate the color was to use filters. No more filters – I love digital.

    Best of luck,

    • Like Like x 3
  5. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Agreed. In Photoshop, use the Channel Mixer and click on the Monochrome box. Then adjust each color channel to your liking to mold the perfect greyscale image.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Set the film mode to dynamic B&W and shoot jpg+raw.

    You might not ever need the raw files, but for the reasons above(color channel mixing) I think it makes more sense to shoot jpg+raw for B&W than it does for color