Highest quality image from m4/3?

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by BigOwl, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. BigOwl

    BigOwl Mu-43 Regular

    61
    May 3, 2013
    San Antonio, Texas USA
    Al
    I need some advice from this group. I am interested in making the very best B/W image I can with my m4/3 gear. I know we always try to do well, but this would be a one-time exercise to see what standard I can attain with the equipment I have. I would welcome any suggestions regarding lens selection, camera settings, post-processing, etc.

    Here's what I have to work with: G1 and G5 bodies, P7-14, P20/1.7, P14-45, P45-200, PL45/2.8 macro, Rokinon 85/1.4. I assume I should shoot in RAW and do the B/W conversion in software rather than by camera setting?

    Thanks for any help. When all is said and done, I'll try to post the results.
     
  2. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    Dang...
    I'm in San Antonio too....:biggrin:
     
  3. BigOwl

    BigOwl Mu-43 Regular

    61
    May 3, 2013
    San Antonio, Texas USA
    Al
    Whoa! You are the only other m4/3 user I know here. Glad to learn it's not just me.
     
  4. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    LoL there's one other guy I know that has GF1...
    But Camera Exchange seems to be selling....(Don't know to whom though) :redface:
     
  5. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    I try not to obsess about "Image Quality", rather focus on the quality of the image.
     
  6. BigOwl

    BigOwl Mu-43 Regular

    61
    May 3, 2013
    San Antonio, Texas USA
    Al
    Well stated, Spatulaboy, the quality of the image is the important thing. But in this case I'd like to have something to show a couple of friends who are large-format, Ansel Adams wannabes. I don't expect m4/3 to be equal to 4x5, but I do expect very respectable results are possible when all the variables are optimized. That's what I was hoping for help on. Just how good is possible?
     
  7. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    If you are looking for the "best" overall image and trying to decide what equipment to use, then the choice of bodies is obvious -- the G5 is going to give you more pixels and a greater dynamic range than the G1. It also seems obvious that you want to shoot in RAW although I'd still set the camera for B&W. This won't impact the RAW file, but it will give you an idea of how the converted image will look.

    The choice of lens really comes down more to which focal length is appropriate for the shot you are wanting to capture. In general your prime lenses will be sharper than your zooms. Since you mention Adams, I presume you're going to be shooting a landscape shot. If that is the case you're going to want a relatively wide angle, so I'd lean toward the P20 or the P7-14.

    As far as technique, you'll want to use a tripod (or some other method of stabilizing the camera) and shoot using a remote shutter release or using the 2 second delay to minimize camera shake. If using a stabilized lens, you'll want to turn OIS off.

    In terms of post-processing, that's really up to what tools you have. My personal workflow would be to use Lightroom and Silver Efex, but you'll want to use whatever software you have.

    Good luck and be sure to come back here and post your results.
     
  8. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    624
    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    True, though the resolution difference between the G1 and G5 is barely more than trivial. The tonal range difference is small, but real.

    More important than all this is that you need to shoot at the lowest ISO the camera offers. ANY increase above this will reduce tonal range. While most discussions concentrate on the noise increase that goes with ISO increase, when shooting for B&W conversion it's not noise that you're worried about; it's tonal range.

    Do the B&W conversion in an app that allows you to adjust the way individual colors are handled. Lightroom is one good choice as is Photoshop, provided you use its "Black & White" Adjustment Layer rather than just running the saturation down to zero.
     
  9. madmaxmedia

    madmaxmedia Mu-43 Veteran

    335
    Feb 20, 2010
    Go Spurs!

    OP, what kind of photography or subjects do you like? That will make it easier for people to give tips. For example, if you like landscapes, then you should use a tripod, shoot at medium apertures for best sharpness, be mindful of time of day and lighting, etc.

    But if you are shooting portraits, some of the advice is going to be different. Lighting will still be important, but instead of absolute sharpness you might be using more open apertures for better separation from background. Etc...
     
  10. phidauex

    phidauex Mu-43 Regular

    76
    Jun 17, 2013
    Boulder, CO
    The equipment you have at hand would easily win a Pulitzer (if you took a picture of the right thing at the right time in the right light). Don't focus on the gear, focus on what you intend to photograph.

    For processing, shoot in RAW, and try a variety of B&W conversion methods. Don't just reduce saturation - make sure your B&W converter in Lightroom or Photoshop (or equivalent) has a full channel mixer, and don't hesitate to work it hard. In color photography you tend to make very small adjustments to color mix, but when working in B&W, it wouldn't be uncommon to slam a few of your color channels all the way up or all the way down to separate your subject and create the desired mood.

    -Sam
     
  11. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    There's that official black and white thread on here. You should look through that and pick out ones that stand out, then perhaps ask the photographer for tips or insights on how that image was achieved.
     
  12. BigOwl

    BigOwl Mu-43 Regular

    61
    May 3, 2013
    San Antonio, Texas USA
    Al
    Fantastic! I knew the group would come through for me. That's exactly the guidance I needed. I'll be posting results in a few days.
     
  13. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    From a purely technical point of view...

    Lowest native ISO.
    Lens aperture set to 4.5
    Choose a prime over a zoom preferably the 25mm 1.4, 45mm 1.8 or 75mm 1.8.
    Use a tripod and either a remote release or the twelve seclond timer with IS off.
    Expose to the right.
    Shoot RAW, export to a 16 bit TIFF and proces the B&W in Silver Efex.

    Gordon
     
  14. edmsnap

    edmsnap Mu-43 Veteran

    430
    Dec 20, 2011
    Edmonton, Alberta
    The first thing to ruminate on is that all of your equipment is arguably superior in a great many ways to what Ansel Adams used. Then consider that the greatest, most beautiful, and amazing picture that you ever take may end up being with your cellphone. It's great to study different processes and photographic ideas, but if you're just trying to show that your equipment can compete with somebody else's equipment, just know that if it turns on and captures and image then it can. Then go find something pretty to take a snapshot of :)
     
  15. BAXTING

    BAXTING Mu-43 Top Veteran

    806
    Aug 5, 2012
    Los Angeles SFV, CA
    Bradley
    I've owned the 14-45, 20, and the PL45 MACRO. I'd say of the 3 that the 45 produced the sharpest overall image IME although I have no real gripes terms of IQ for all three lenses during basic usage.