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11-21-2011, 10:21 PM   #1
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Grainy, atmospheric B&W with the K-5

I am, I must admit, a bit of a photography 'old timer' - anyone who has been taking pictures for more than 40 years counts as an old timer I think...

Anyway, I came to Pentax by way of Olympus and I have been struggling to get nice grainy shots for conversion to B&W - the camera is just too good to make this easy.. With my Oly gear, ISO settings of 400 and up would do the trick, but, my K-5? How on earth can I get it to do this without having to add 'grain' (noise) in post processing? Now, I think I may have found the point where the K-5 will do this - at least part of the time.

ISO 1600, spot metered for the highlights...

It doesn't always work, but when it does, it does a nice job.

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11-21-2011, 10:50 PM   #2
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I like the grain look sometimes too, having shot Tri-X for decades I understand what you mean. I think very high ISO will give a similar effect with varying results ... I also get some ugly pictures that way : ) Anyway have fun I am enjoying my K-5 also, what an incredible camera!
11-22-2011, 02:17 AM   #3
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Have you set the in-camera noise reduction to low or none?
11-22-2011, 06:32 AM   #4
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Either pick up a second camera, perhaps a K20, whose high ISO performance isn't as good, or use a filter in post processing to emulate grain. I'm finding the K5 is too good at higher ISO to give decent grain like noise until very high ISOs. Sometimes it's OK, but sometimes it isn't.
OTOH, I just bought a Q, and it's high ISO noise is delicious.

11-22-2011, 06:45 AM   #5
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I would agree with weatfield here,

get an older body

if you want grain, then you may wish to go to a lower resolution body as well, since the pixel sizes make the grain look bigger.

My experience is that the blobs of grain in tri-x are bigger by far to the pixel size of a 10MP camera (I scanned all my film on a 10MP scanner and could clearly see the grain in the shots)

Maybe try an *istD and run this at ISO 3200. YOu would be suprised pleasently with the images.

I like the *istD for a lot of reasons, including the dual thumb wheels but mostly because it supports TTL flash as well as P-TTL so you can do flash shots with legacy lenses
11-22-2011, 07:28 AM   #6
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Yeah, I agree with Lowell - if you are looking for grain go back all the way to the 6mp pentax bodies - any of the *ist series, K100d, K110d would be great. Pentax IMHO has always processed their higher ISO photos with a great film grain quality in their older bodies - now with the K-5 (and Kr/x) you need to shoot up past 6400 to get the grainy look.
11-22-2011, 07:35 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by pxpaulx Quote
...Pentax IMHO has always processed their higher ISO photos with a great film grain quality in their older bodies - now with the K-5 (and Kr/x) you need to shoot up past 6400 to get the grainy look.
And it does not seem to look the same
11-22-2011, 07:37 AM   #8
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I have another thought, but not really sure about it as I have not explored it on my K5.

What about cross processing and then do a conversion to B&W?

It might give you the look you want, I can't say. I am not sure if the corss processing emulates only the colors or does more with noise too.

11-22-2011, 08:28 AM   #9
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To get the look you want is why I shoot my B&W with film, mostly. However, if I have a digital color image that I want to convert to B&W and add grain, Photo Shop Elements allows me to do it easily. I am sure many other photo programs does the same. After converting to B&W in PS choose (filter), (texture), then (grain). You can chose the amount of grain you want. Once you have added grain, you need to convert to B&W again because the grain is often colored. Or, you can wait until you finish the addition of grain to convert to B&W. Wayne
11-22-2011, 01:35 PM   #10
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Original Poster
Thanks everyone! This is a great community...

I recently bought a K-x with the thought of grain in mind, but, it does a great job with low noise images too... Wonderful when shooting colour...

I guess I will have to go the post processing route, but, I am stubborn and like to get my images to look like I want them to look right out of the camera. Film would, of course, solve this problem and I do have a lovely range of film cameras, but, here in Sweden, it costs a LOT to get prints done & I don't have any good place to set up a darkroom, nor do I have any equipment any longer.

Perhaps I will try Lowell Goudge's suggestion and shoot some jpgs using the filters a little. Normally I shoot RAW, but I will give RAW+ a go for a while I think.

Thanks again everyone... I seem to have started a thread expressing concern about how tough it is to get noise out of the K-5 (the reviewers would go nuts) :-)
11-22-2011, 01:47 PM   #11
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I will pipe in with an easy post method as well. I have the DXO film pack which emulates a lot of classic films (not just in grain but contrast ratios as well) it's a quick thing to apply it in bulk to a series. I've used it to cover up ugly grain as well (digital noise just doesn't equal the look of classic film grain for me)
TRy the in camera b/w with filters on the k5 as well. at a higher iso it may well work out (I'm partial to the in camera ir on my K7 for a lot of stuff. i shoot it raw+ so i can go either way, and I import to lightroom with no changes so I can just tweek the look

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