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01-05-2015, 11:03 PM   #1
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B&W HDR mode - rich tone monochrome?

I'm learning how to use the K-50. A feature on one of my other cameras which I like a lot is the "rich tone monochrome" mode of the Sony NEX-5N - it takes 3 pictures of different exposure and merges them into one black and white image with a wide tonal range - using the cameras HDR capability. It somewhat resembles the old Panatomic-X film (which I also liked) which I used in my Spotmatic. Since the K-50 has a variable HDR mode, I'm thinking I can use one of the HDR settings (probably HDR 1 or 2 which are less extreme) in B&W mode and results should resemble the "rich tone monochrome" of the other make. I'm not sure what B&W settings (contrast, sharpness, etc.) may be best for this, however. Before I start experimenting, I thought I would ask if anyone has any experience or suggestions.

Please don't just respond that I should shoot only RAW and all of this is better done in post processing, etc. You are probably right, but I just want a quick, fun, in-camera approach, without buying HDR software and spending a lot of time at the computer.

I'd also like to emulate Tri-X Pan, suggestions on that would be welcome as well. Probably don't need HDR for that.

Thanks!

01-06-2015, 04:37 AM   #2
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All I can say is try it. I have played with the in camera HDR but not with black and white; I don't see any reason you couldn't do it.


Tri-X as I recall is grainy and high contrast, it's been many years since I've used it, but that's what I seem to remember. Grain=noise, so just crank up the ISO and disable in camera noise reduction. Be sure to post some of the results of your experiments.
01-06-2015, 05:43 AM   #3
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Will the camera let you shoot a black and white HDR image? I've never tried both at the same time. I'm one of those people that shoots RAW and dives into post-processing on the computer. If not, you could probably just shoot the color HDR and use the in-camera processing to convert it to black and white. From my experience, the files created by the in-camera processing are pretty decent/have a nice look to them.
01-06-2015, 09:44 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Works fine on the K-3 (don't have a K-50, sorry). In my limited testing, I also found that HDR 3 mode, which looks too "cartoony" (IMHO) in color, looks pretty good in B&W!

01-07-2015, 11:07 PM   #5
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OK, here are shots from a quick test. Bottom line - Sony rich tone monochrome still look much better than the Pentax HDR shots. They have better contrast, tonal variation, are much sharper too, and strangely have smaller file sizes (though the Sony NEX-5N and the Pentax K-50 both have similar 16 megapixel Sony sensors). Best of the Pentax shots seemed to be HDR auto or 1 setting (not much difference between the two), default +/- 2 EV on the HDR setting (tried changing that, didn't make much difference). HDR 2 seems smoother tonality, but also "flat", and HDR 3 looks too odd, quite different than the other settings. Also tried increasing sharpness and contrast settings in the B&W screen on the Pentax, didn't make too much difference, but probably is better. The Sony doesn't give you much control on the "RTM" mode, except it seems I can set the ISO and it takes 3 shots for the HDR. I should probably do a more careful test (tripod, exactly same distance, focal length, etc.). Any ideas? Sorry you can't observe sharpness, forum upload limited me to 1280 x 800 so I had to scale them down.

Pentax - HDR auto:https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/attachments/151-pentax-k-30-k-50/253377d1420696919-b-w-hdr-mode-rich-tone-monochrome-imgp2689.jpg

Pentax - HDR 2:https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/attachments/151-pentax-k-30-k-50/253378d1420696919-b-w-hdr-mode-rich-tone-monochrome-imgp2691.jpg

Sony RTM:https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/attachments/151-pentax-k-30-k-50/253379d1420696919-b-w-hdr-mode-rich-tone-monochrome-dsc03729.jpg

Pentax - HDR 1 with contrast turned up:https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/attachments/151-pentax-k-30-k-50/253380d1420696919-b-w-hdr-mode-rich-tone-monochrome-imgp2708.jpg

Sony RTM:https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/attachments/151-pentax-k-30-k-50/253381d1420696919-b-w-hdr-mode-rich-tone-monochrome-dsc03732.jpg
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01-20-2015, 10:08 PM   #6
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No comments?
01-21-2015, 04:22 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by OldChE Quote
No comments?
These just don't seem to be the sort of photos where you need HDR. They look about the same to me, but that's probably because the dynamic range isn't that big in the photos as a whole. It would be more interesting to compare photos of say, a sunrise, where the dynamic range is a lot larger.
01-21-2015, 05:20 AM   #8
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I don't see any differences that can't be addressed in post processing; that is, after all, what it's for. I understand that isn't the answer the OP wants, but it's the only one I can give. If you want a point and shoot camera that makes no demands beyond the initial image acquisition then choose and use the one that works best for that purpose. Pentax won't stack up in that contest because that's not what it's intended to do. A skilled workman with use all the tools and techniques at his/her disposal to produce quality results.

01-21-2015, 05:41 AM   #9
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It looks like the Pentax is doing its "job" on the highlights in the image, whereas the Sony is leaving the highlights untouched. HDR brings up your shadows and brings down your highlights, creating an image that is "flat", which I do not prefer. What I'm seeing in the Sony images is more of a High Dynamic CONTRAST rather than a High Dynamic RANGE. As I mentioned before, if I were looking to achieve the result you seem to desire, I'd do it with infinitely more control in Lightroom or some other post processing software.
01-21-2015, 06:43 AM   #10
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OP: you say you played with sharpness and contrast in the regular B&W mode, but not with "Toning"... You're trying to emulate a mode called "Rich Tone", right? So maybe pump "Toning" up? If I were you, I might also try to dial in some amount of exposure comp (both for your regular and HDR shots), maybe 0.3 or 0.7 eV, to see if it helps. In my experience, Pentax cameras expose very conservatively, and that can make the image look a little dull SOOC (but is a super easy adjustment in post). As to HDR, tripod is good, or really make sure you're very stable, because in my experience, the Pentax algorithm isn't super strong at aligning the shots...
01-28-2015, 08:23 PM   #11
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Well, tried Toning and it's probably not what the OP wanted... But I just realized that there's also the Bold Monochrome digital filter that might be worth a shot, and can be combined with different color profiles (but it's pretty, well, bold). There's certainly a ton of customization you can make on your SOOC JPGs...
01-29-2015, 07:51 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dakight Quote
I don't see any differences that can't be addressed in post processing; that is, after all, what it's for. I understand that isn't the answer the OP wants, but it's the only one I can give. If you want a point and shoot camera that makes no demands beyond the initial image acquisition then choose and use the one that works best for that purpose. Pentax won't stack up in that contest because that's not what it's intended to do. A skilled workman with use all the tools and techniques at his/her disposal to produce quality results.
Yes, as I stated in the opening post, I am very aware of the many things that can be done in post processing. Nevertheless, the K-50 has many neat effects that can be done in camera, both during and after exposure, that are meant to supplement or mitigate the need to do PP to get an interesting and fun effect. I am simply trying to emulate a similar but different effect I have on my Sony on the Pentax, just for fun and curiosity as well. Thanks for your comments, though, and what you said is entirely true.

But I hope that my search for an in-camera effect didn't give you the impression that I only want techniques that "make no demands," or that I am not "a skilled workman!" I've been an avid photographer for nearly 50 years, using many film formats and now digital, developing and printing in B&W, color slides & prints, with a range of film formats and equipment. I've been a Pentax photographer probably longer than many of those here on the forum have been around. I still own and use the Spotmatic I got in 1970. So yes, I know when to chose a point and shoot camera - that was not the intent of my question.

You also suggested turning off noise control and using a high ISO to emulate Tri-X, I'll have to try that, thanks.

---------- Post added 01-29-2015 at 08:54 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
These just don't seem to be the sort of photos where you need HDR. They look about the same to me, but that's probably because the dynamic range isn't that big in the photos as a whole. It would be more interesting to compare photos of say, a sunrise, where the dynamic range is a lot larger.
Good idea, I'll try to make some experiments with a subject of greater dynamic range. The shots above were just quick tests as I thought of trying this around the house at night.

---------- Post added 01-29-2015 at 09:00 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by severalsnakes Quote
It looks like the Pentax is doing its "job" on the highlights in the image, whereas the Sony is leaving the highlights untouched. HDR brings up your shadows and brings down your highlights, creating an image that is "flat", which I do not prefer. What I'm seeing in the Sony images is more of a High Dynamic CONTRAST rather than a High Dynamic RANGE. As I mentioned before, if I were looking to achieve the result you seem to desire, I'd do it with infinitely more control in Lightroom or some other post processing software.
Good point, and I agree the Sony shots certainly have more contrast, but I was unable to get near that effect by turning up contrast on the Pentax B&W settings. Yet Sony certainly uses some type of HDR in generating the rich tone monochrome, it is taking 3 to 6 shots for each exposure. As to PP, I do have LR but I'm just learning to use it, have more experience with PS Elements.

---------- Post added 01-29-2015 at 09:02 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Doundounba Quote
OP: you say you played with sharpness and contrast in the regular B&W mode, but not with "Toning"... You're trying to emulate a mode called "Rich Tone", right? So maybe pump "Toning" up? If I were you, I might also try to dial in some amount of exposure comp (both for your regular and HDR shots), maybe 0.3 or 0.7 eV, to see if it helps. In my experience, Pentax cameras expose very conservatively, and that can make the image look a little dull SOOC (but is a super easy adjustment in post). As to HDR, tripod is good, or really make sure you're very stable, because in my experience, the Pentax algorithm isn't super strong at aligning the shots...
Good idea, I'll try adding a higher exposure bias on the next experiments, that might make the difference right there as I think the Pentax generally underexposes vs. the Sony (I've read this is intentional and a good idea as it avoids blown highlights).

---------- Post added 01-29-2015 at 09:08 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Doundounba Quote
Well, tried Toning and it's probably not what the OP wanted... But I just realized that there's also the Bold Monochrome digital filter that might be worth a shot, and can be combined with different color profiles (but it's pretty, well, bold). There's certainly a ton of customization you can make on your SOOC JPGs...
Not sure what the Bold Monochrome digital filter is - I see a Monochrome "Custom Image effect" and a High Contrast digital filter effect, but I don't see a bold monochrome listed in the manual - at least not for the K-50 which is the only digital Pentax I have. Are you using something different?

A general comment for all of you - thanks very much for your suggestions and putting some effort into helping me, I appreciate it.

Last edited by OldChE; 01-29-2015 at 07:57 PM.
01-29-2015, 08:26 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by OldChE Quote
Not sure what the Bold Monochrome digital filter is - I see a Monochrome "Custom Image effect" and a High Contrast digital filter effect, but I don't see a bold monochrome listed in the manual - at least not for the K-50 which is the only digital Pentax I have. Are you using something different?
Oops, you're right, my bad. Sorry! I'm on a K-3. Looking at the K-50 manual, that filter is indeed absent. I thought I'd checked and found it, but looking again now and, nope, it's not there. It's on the K-S1, FWIW, but that doesn't help much now does it... So instead, maybe try the high contrast filter with a monochrome color profile...? Dunno. There's so many tweaks available that I think you simply have to try and see. I agree that if you can find a combination of settings that gives you what you want, and you can get pleasing (B&W) JPGs straight out of the camera without having to spend a ton of time in post, then more power to you! That way you'll have more time to spend outside shooting. Good luck!
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