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11-10-2019, 01:36 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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Benefit of Mirrorless cameras with EVF -- 'Seeing' in black and white

Last week, I attended a talk by Michelle Valberg, a Photographer in Residence at the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. She is an acclaimed Canadian wildlife and nature photographer. As a Nikon Ambassador, she uses the Z7 and Z6 mirrorless cameras and several high-end lenses (e.g., Nikon 800mm).

She presented some her recent work, complemented with anecdotes and references to her camera gear.

She remarked that her mirrorless camera offers her a new way of working in black and white -- the viewfinder display can be set to monochrome, so she can 'see in black and white' in real time as she composes. Without colour in the viewfinder, she can more easily 'think' in B&W and concentrate on traditional B&W features such as shapes and contrast.


Has anyone here found a similar benefit with a mirrorless camera -- working directly in a B&W scene?

I found this interesting, as this feature is often not mentioned in discussions concerning the benefits of mirrorless vs DSLRs.

- Craig

11-10-2019, 01:49 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by c.a.m Quote
Last week, I attended a talk by Michelle Valberg, a Photographer in Residence at the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. She is an acclaimed Canadian wildlife and nature photographer. As a Nikon Ambassador, she uses the Z7 and Z6 mirrorless cameras and several high-end lenses (e.g., Nikon 800mm).

She presented some her recent work, complemented with anecdotes and references to her camera gear.

She remarked that her mirrorless camera offers her a new way of working in black and white -- the viewfinder display can be set to monochrome, so she can 'see in black and white' in real time as she composes. Without colour in the viewfinder, she can more easily 'think' in B&W and concentrate on traditional B&W features such as shapes and contrast.


Has anyone here found a similar benefit with a mirrorless camera -- working directly in a B&W scene?

I found this interesting, as this feature is often not mentioned in discussions concerning the benefits of mirrorless vs DSLRs.

- Craig
Of course this is not possible with an OVF, but you always can choose this way using life view and the monochrome preset.
11-10-2019, 01:54 PM - 2 Likes   #3
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live view can also be set to monochrome so this can be done on dslr as well
11-10-2019, 01:58 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by c.a.m Quote
Last week, I attended a talk by Michelle Valberg, a Photographer in Residence at the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. She is an acclaimed Canadian wildlife and nature photographer. As a Nikon Ambassador, she uses the Z7 and Z6 mirrorless cameras and several high-end lenses (e.g., Nikon 800mm).

She presented some her recent work, complemented with anecdotes and references to her camera gear.

She remarked that her mirrorless camera offers her a new way of working in black and white -- the viewfinder display can be set to monochrome, so she can 'see in black and white' in real time as she composes. Without colour in the viewfinder, she can more easily 'think' in B&W and concentrate on traditional B&W features such as shapes and contrast.


Has anyone here found a similar benefit with a mirrorless camera -- working directly in a B&W scene?

I found this interesting, as this feature is often not mentioned in discussions concerning the benefits of mirrorless vs DSLRs.

- Craig
I've heard of this benefit quite some time ago and while I often work in black and white this advantage won't make a selling point for me.
If in doubt I can use LV in B&W too, but most of the time I actually have a good perception how a scene will look in B&W on my own.
Focus peaking in EVF is a nice gadged too but I still prefer the OVF and a longer battery life.

11-10-2019, 02:07 PM - 3 Likes   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by c.a.m Quote
Has anyone here found a similar benefit with a mirrorless camera -- working directly in a B&W scene?
I can do this in live view on my K-3 and also on my phone, though there is usually no advantage to doing so even when I know in advance that I will do a monochrome treatment in post. The two photos below are good examples...




On this one ^ ^ ^ I noted the high-valued yellows and golds in contrast against the blue sky before even setting up. The color version has so-so impact, but post processing to take advantage of those points of contrast and glow made for a rather more interesting monochrome image. Using a "canned" monochrome viewfinder treatment would have been detrimental to the process.*




The area in the Mt. St. Helens blast zone is famously lacking in color and also famously rich in texture and topography. On this day, storms were brewing over the main Cascade Range to the east and those bright clouds along with the summit shroud provided a happy accent against the debris plain. This one was easy to visualize as monochrome, mostly because that is the palette of the place.

I should probably mention that I have been doing monochrome photography since the late 1960s and the option of "seeing" in tonal values comes as second nature. I always do a mental evaluation of the range of light, even when the intent is a full color capture.


Steve

* While having this option for the Nikon EVF, might be of limited usefulness to a monochrome digital noob, I am surprised that an experienced pro would call this feature out.

Last edited by stevebrot; 11-10-2019 at 02:17 PM. Reason: grammar
11-10-2019, 02:45 PM   #6
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Anything that helps an individual user is helpful to them, regardless of experience level. Since I see in color, that is what I compose and shoot in. If I see a subject that I know will be better in b&w, then I correct to that in post since all the raws are full color. Still prefer the optical vf as being truer to life though.
11-10-2019, 02:46 PM   #7
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While this is true and I am able to do so on my m43 gear I don't do it. Probably due to years of shooting b&w film. I really think liveview isn't a full answer since I find I compose differently with the viewfinder and the rear lcd.

I do think it might be helpful to develop a b&w eye - but I don't know that it would be a made I'd want to stay in all the time.
11-10-2019, 03:56 PM   #8
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If you have an OVF, just get one of the old school yellow filters that slips over the viewfinder tabs, simulating B&W. Well, B&Y, but close enough.

11-10-2019, 04:22 PM - 3 Likes   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote

* While having this option for the Nikon EVF, might be of limited usefulness to a monochrome digital noob, I am surprised that an experienced pro would call this feature out.
Keep in mind, the OP was talking to a brand ambassador. It is their job to promote the heck out of everything under the brand.
I wish Pentax adding more brand ambassador in and outside of Japan. Do it hand in hand with social media campaigns.
by the way, Your photos look good, Stevebrot
11-10-2019, 08:02 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by tokyoscape Quote
Keep in mind, the OP was talking to a brand ambassador. It is their job to promote the heck out of everything under the brand.
Yep...I was being a little tongue-in-cheek sarcastic, but know that the intent was to pique the interest of people who are interested in learning the art of monochrome digital conversion such that having a monochrome EVF might tip a decision in favor of their model cameras.

QuoteOriginally posted by tokyoscape Quote
by the way, Your photos look good, Stevebrot
Thank you! I do a fair amount of monochrome conversion using an old set of Lightroom presets that provide filter and film type emulation. The results are pretty amazing without being full-on film emulation plug-ins.


Steve
11-11-2019, 12:04 AM   #11
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Can the evf be set to monochrome combined with red filter and selenium toning? I do that in post with Nik Silver Efex.
11-11-2019, 03:51 AM - 1 Like   #12
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I can't imagine this being of much benefit, particularly if you mostly shoot color images. Also, unless you only use in camera processing, odds are you won't really see the full gamut of what you could do with an image in post. Still, I guess it is another thing that EVFs can do that OVFs can't.
11-11-2019, 05:10 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Still, I guess it is another thing that EVFs can do that OVFs can't.
Do you think it might do "Bleach Bypass" too?


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11-11-2019, 06:15 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Do you think it might do "Bleach Bypass" too?


Steve
Sure. I have said for a long time that EVFs are probably more useful to people who do a minimum of post processing and are dependent on straight out of camera jpegs. Because that's approximately what you see in the viewfinder.

If you are someone who has their own presets they use in Lightroom, even if the presets are pretty basic, then an EVF is not truly what you see is what you get. EVFs are fine, but sometimes it seems as though people are grasping at straws for why they are "better" than OVFs. I would just say they have a different set of strengths and weaknesses.
11-11-2019, 08:17 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Sure. I have said for a long time that EVFs are probably more useful to people who do a minimum of post processing and are dependent on straight out of camera jpegs. Because that's approximately what you see in the viewfinder.

If you are someone who has their own presets they use in Lightroom, even if the presets are pretty basic, then an EVF is not truly what you see is what you get. EVFs are fine, but sometimes it seems as though people are grasping at straws for why they are "better" than OVFs. I would just say they have a different set of strengths and weaknesses.

Evf dynamic range is a far cry from print or even typical monitors I thought? I wonder if the in evf view would be misleading.
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