How to shoot B&W on Olympus E-M5?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by kdern, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. kdern

    kdern New to Mu-43

    Sep 28, 2013
    St Louis, MO
    Real Name:
    Kevin Dern
    Hi all.

    I am just learning my new E-M5 and am having trouble figuring out how to shoot black and white JPEGs. I've read that monochrome should be one of the picture modes but I don't see it on my camera.

    See photo attached for a snapshot of my picture mode menu.


    Am I missing something?

    Also... Once I switch to mono, then where would I find the different B&W filters?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  2. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Real Name:
    Did you scroll down the menu further? or go to the SCP and select monochrome in the top right box (picture mode)
  3. kdern

    kdern New to Mu-43

    Sep 28, 2013
    St Louis, MO
    Real Name:
    Kevin Dern
    I did - monochrome is not there. In both places, the options are as listed below...

    1 enhance
    2 vivid
    3 natural
    4 muted
    5 portrait
    Pop Art

  4. Mix

    Mix Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2013
    In Picture Mode it should have a "Monotone" as one of the options :smile:
  5. kdern

    kdern New to Mu-43

    Sep 28, 2013
    St Louis, MO
    Real Name:
    Kevin Dern
    I realize that - trying to figure out why mine doesn't! Any ideas?

  6. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Check under one of the gear menu items, I seem to recall you can turn on/off a number of the picture modes displayed as a picture style.
  7. kdern

    kdern New to Mu-43

    Sep 28, 2013
    St Louis, MO
    Real Name:
    Kevin Dern
    Yes - thank you. That did it!

  8. Setb

    Setb Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 31, 2013
    why shoot B&W ??
    shoot normal and rework the photo in photoshop or Olympus Viewer thats what i do :)
  9. stuntman

    stuntman M43 FOR THIRDS 4 EVER

    Jul 6, 2011
    Real Name:
    Hit the "OK" button. In the super control menu it is in the top right. Scroll there and press "OK" again. Go to "M" and you are there.
  10. AllanR

    AllanR New to Mu-43

    Jun 9, 2013
    I hope this isn't considered a thread hijack but, I'd be very interested in learning if there is any advantage to using in-camera B & W over post processing in an application?

    Will the camera do a better job of data capture and IQ then Photoshop?
  11. edwardconde

    edwardconde Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    There are some settings you mess with for Monotone, including setting filter color. Don't forget to use the Highlight & Shadow function to help you get the right tones. I have always liked shooting B&W straight from camera.. but sometimes found that some of my shots called for Color instead of monotone. So I went with RAW+JPEG and the jpeg would still be B&W but you will still have the RAW in case you needed it..

    Here is one setting I tried when shooting B&W SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera)

    • Like Like x 2
  12. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Obviously you have all the advantages of working RAW as the conversion is performed on JPEG.

    Second, effective black and white conversion is quite driven by preferences. You gave far more creative control doing in post.

    Third, similar to shooting black and white in film days, there is a lot that involves filters. Whether it is red, yellow, or orange for a bit more contrast, you cannot apply them after the fact.

    I personally do all my conversions using Nik software silver fx.

    Sent from mobile.... excuse my typos
    • Like Like x 1
  13. wanderenvy

    wanderenvy Mu-43 Regular

    May 11, 2012
    You certainly get more control with converting to b/w in post. But you are working with an image that was not captured with the specific intent of being viewed in b/w. Sometimes it won't matter, but sometimes it does. The difference is in the creative process.

    For example, if you are using polarizers or color filters on the camera, you may choose to expose and compose the picture differently if you are also seeing it in b/w in camera. Shooting a picture in b/w highlights compositional elements that may not be obvious if shot in color. And that gives you the opportunity to retake a picture with a different composition on the spot. In post, you will be lamenting that you wish you had shot the picture differently.

    • Like Like x 1
  14. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    By shooting in color, you always have the option to go back there. The camera does the capture/IQ, and Photoshop/Lightroom has a number of things it can do to both JPG and RAW. This can be expanded. I downloaded up the DxO Film Pack LR plugin (it was totally free last September but now is only available as a short term trial) that has options to replicate all kinds of different films. Kind of fun.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    When I think I'll be converting to black and white, I shoot jpgs in B/W to help me 'see' the shots. In camera looks good a lot of the time, but NIK silver efex from RAW is better.
  16. letsgofishing

    letsgofishing Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 21, 2012
    South Africa
    Real Name:
    Mike Kaplan
    Nik Silver FX is definitely the way to go!
  17. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    It depends on what the camera can do in creating it's monochrome conversion.
    If you had a G1 or GF1 you could rely on the in-camera "dynamic-B&W" to be rather good compared with any quick post-process.
    I haven't found my Olympuses' monochrome to be as good in-camera, so for e-pL5 post-process may be the best option : or tweak the in-camera tone curves to your own taste.
  18. RAH

    RAH Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 1, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Real Name:
    I think that one recommendation to get the best of both worlds is to shoot RAW+JPG, with the camera set (as discussed above) to B&W. When you do that, if I'm not mistaken, the preview you see in the viewfinder and LCD is in B&W, but the RAW file you get will be in full color.

    Generally speaking, I think it is best to get a color image and play with it in post-processing, as others have been saying. You have much more control, of course. Another good B&W plugin is Topaz B&W Effects:
  19. phl0wtography

    phl0wtography Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 15, 2011
    I always shoot RAW, but set my bodies' Picture Modes to B&W/Monotone/Monochrome, whatever the companies call it. That way the LCD/EVF is B&W, yet the sensor records RAW. I then apply my LR preset that zeroes the file (desaturation, sharpening/NR 0), set black, and white point, and then work with local dodging, burning, global tone curve, and luminance sliders. Thanks to its film-like tone curve (especially highlight roll-off) the E-M5 works amazing for B&W conversions.
  20. e_kjellgren

    e_kjellgren Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 17, 2011
    Do you mean Highlights +3 / Shadows -3 or the other way around? If I set it like that the display says -3 / +3.

    • Like Like x 1