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02-23-2010, 04:09 PM   #1
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High ISO - black and white - no noise reduction look

I was looking through portfolios of old photographs and loved their grunge/noisy/grainy look. Decided to see if I could set up my Pentax K-x to recreate that look. This is what I did.

Set my ISO to the maximum of 12800
Set my camera to Black and White mode
Went to the C menu and on page two, item 14 turned off noise reduction
Used the kit 18-55mm lens

I really enjoy the look. I wrote a post about it on my blog here. Although I wasn't able to make them as noisy as I wanted. The K-x is pretty good at ISO 12800.

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02-23-2010, 04:18 PM   #2
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If you wan't more noise I guess you could underexpose by a couple of stops the push back up in PP.
02-23-2010, 06:13 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by telfish Quote
If you wan't more noise I guess you could underexpose by a couple of stops the push back up in PP.
Yeah. I'm not an expert on this by a long shot, but the above look like there's some NR applied.
02-23-2010, 06:51 PM   #4
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Still looks more like noise than grain to me (mainly because it is only evident in the midtones and dark areas). The best way to get the grainy look is to apply a grain filter or even overlay a grain image layer.

Mike

02-23-2010, 07:12 PM   #5
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The K200d at 1600 with no NR looks VERY film like IMHO





(camera in B&W mode and full contrast set)
02-23-2010, 07:20 PM   #6
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Excellent. I love those shots yeatzee. They look more film like than mine.

Anyone have any suggestions for beter k-x settings to get a film-like grainy quality?

no post production.
02-23-2010, 07:39 PM   #7
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The only PP I did in my pictures was a slight yellowing (I prefer B&W's like that), slight contrast bump (upped the exposure since it was underexposed) and very small sharpening (forgot to add sharpening in camera)

Edit: Thanks

Last edited by yeatzee; 02-23-2010 at 08:04 PM.
02-23-2010, 09:26 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by kxuser Quote
Anyone have any suggestions for beter k-x settings to get a film-like grainy quality?

no post production.
On top of what you've already done, you could also play/experiment with some of the in-camera (JPG) settings like:
(a) the White Balance settings;
(b) some of the Digital Filters (especially High Contrast, Retro or Toy Camera)
(c) some of the Cross-Processing options and
(d) see what impact turning on/off the Highlight Correction and Shadow Correction might have on achieving the film/B&W/grunge look you are after.

I think it is probably quite possible to combine some of these settings to achieve some effects very close to what you are after.

Keep us posted with the results of your experimentation!

02-23-2010, 09:53 PM   #9
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One advantage of underexposing is avoiding un-film-like blown out parts. See the arm in photo one. Disadvantage is that underexposing means you have to bring it up in post, which may or may not be your thing.
02-27-2010, 01:31 AM   #10
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Umma gumma! You'll start a retro trend! Tri-X pushed to ASA 6400! Gritty low-light reality! I can feel the flashbacks coming on...

Don't sneer at PP, you can work it in-camera or on-computer, it doesn't matter. Purity is for effete snobs (or transparency shooters, who CAN'T do any PP). An awful lot of real B&W film work involves pushing, custom souping (I usta mix high-speed and litho developers for reduced-grain speed increase), and dodging and burning the print as needed. Manipulate as much as you need, to make the image work. Then manipulate it some more, because excess is GOOD. Remember, the camera and lens and software are all just tools to make your vision come true.

EDIT: Oh yeah, and with gritty B&W, we can forget this nonsense about 'good', 'sharp', 'fast', 'expensive' lenses! Break out the Toyos and Porsts and Hanimars and Suntars, and pinholes, and Pentax Bayonets and downmarket Vivitars and Sigmas. If it cost more than US$20, don't use it. Free yourself from the chains of adequacy! And no more boring landscapes nor stupid birds, flowers, butterflies, none of that tedious 'nature' stuff. Architecture? Machinery? Feh. Go strait to the nitty: humans (dead, alive, clothed, naked, whatever) and humanized animals (dogs, cats, parrots, etc). Concentrate on faces and anatomy. Nothing else is interesting. Trust me.

Last edited by RioRico; 02-27-2010 at 10:29 AM.
02-27-2010, 03:17 AM   #11
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one with my M 50mm F/1.7 wideopen at ISO 1600 pushed, and a human as a subject
02-28-2010, 05:11 AM   #12
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To be perfectly honest, and this is only my opinion, I can't get on board with this... Using ISO 1600 and under-exposing and bringing it back up in PP doesn't work for me. I can only see digital noise, as opposed to that wonderful film grain, especially when I compare the two side-by-side. I commend you for trying something new, but it just doesn't work for me.
02-28-2010, 09:33 AM   #13
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kxuser, I shoot RAW and use Lightroom to process. I use the K10D, so it's got a different noise signature, yes. But I found doing some drastic setting with the two WB sliders could result in some pretty dramatic noise effects.
02-28-2010, 09:46 AM   #14
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Doesn't look as good as HP5+ pushed to 6400.
02-28-2010, 08:27 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cosmo Quote
Doesn't look as good as HP5+ pushed to 6400.
Now that's not very constructive, is it? Of course it doesn't look as "good" as the real thing (good is in quotes because, let's face it, it's all pretty subjective), but it doesn't have lots of inevitable dust spots from scanning, either. I think it's a fine attempt at reproducing a similar look in-camera and without dropping $200 on Silver Efex Pro.

Before I purchased my K10D, I owned a Fujifilm Finepix S5200 superzoom EVIL which I bought in no small part to the many reviews that complemented its noise as being quite film-like. Indeed, in my opinion, it was.
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