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02-12-2015, 08:02 AM   #1
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Filters and Digital B&W

I have never tried to use conventional black and white filters on my K-3 (or the K-20 for that matter), but simply use post-processing. I am certainly very experienced with their use on film and wonder about in camera effects on digital. If I put the K-3 into monochrome mode, are the rules and effects the same?

02-12-2015, 08:15 AM   #2
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I guess that depends on what order you establish to get the final results.

For example: If you apply filters in camera (yellow filter ie), when camera captures image, it will do so in black and white and will adjust contrast values according to what is supposed to produce with a yellow filter, like darkening blues, and lightening greens. Of course, this will produce JPG files from camera. No RAW file to handle later.


If you do it in computer (post processing), first, you will be better of working out of a RAW file (lots more of dynamic range and less noise). You will be able to apply different levels of "filtering effect" and contrast levels until getting desired results. Keep RAW file for further enhancements later if you wish.
02-12-2015, 09:02 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeverettfine Quote
If I put the K-3 into monochrome mode, are the rules and effects the same?
For the most part, yes. I tried using my B&W optical filters shortly after I took delivery of my K10D several years ago. You must use a fixed white balance and to tell you the truth, the results were not that great and then there is the filter factor as well. The nice thing is that experimenting costs nothing.

I found that shooting RAW and doing the monochrome conversion in post-processing works much better. I use Lightroom and a set of presets called the "Monochrome Toolkit". It has filters that are a very good emulation of the traditional optical variety. Unfortunately, I was unable to find the download link on Google search.

Here is a related thread on the site:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/38-photographic-technique/222256-black-wh...s-digital.html


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02-12-2015, 09:12 AM   #4
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Monochrome conversion in Post-processing from a RAW file is what I have been doing. Great thing about RAW is you can do so many things with an original image. I just wondered if anyone had tried it the "old" way. Can't say I am much interested in experimenting. It seems that with digital, the only must have filter is a CPL. Almost everything else can be done post-processing.

02-12-2015, 12:41 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeverettfine Quote
Monochrome conversion in Post-processing from a RAW file is what I have been doing. Great thing about RAW is you can do so many things with an original image. I just wondered if anyone had tried it the "old" way. Can't say I am much interested in experimenting. It seems that with digital, the only must have filter is a CPL. Almost everything else can be done post-processing.
One issue with filters is that the sensitivity curves for digital sensors look very different than those for film: film is inherently most sensitive to blue light, while silicon-based sensors are least sensitive to blue. Of course the digital camera compensates to produce a more or less color-accurate scene, but putting a filter in front of the sensor and making a monochrome image from the result need not be and in my experience is not the same as putting the same filter in front of film. Actually, I have been frustrated with the digital monochrome filter emulations I have tried in post-processing. The red "digital filters" do not give the same effects I used to get on film (mostly Ilford FP4+ and HP4+, some Kodak Tmax) with a 23A or 25 red filter. I keep yellow and green filters in my camera bag with my K-5, but haven't yet seen a situation where I clearly liked the results better than what I can do in post-processing (Lightroom, PS, Topaz B&W).
02-12-2015, 03:52 PM   #6
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Using colored filters for the purpose of black and white processing was something I tried early on, and one of the first things I gave up trying on as well.

Partially, I was a bit naive in understanding exactly what was going on. White Balance was something I knew very little about. And when I had better success, thing never looked quite right. In fact, I pretty much gave up on black and white photography for a couple of years because in reality, I was relearning how to use an SLR (or first learning a dSLR) and all the nuances that go with it. It wasn't until I got comfortable with RAW and comfortable with adjusting image color that I got comfortable enough to try and get black and white results again. Only, at that point I gave up on filters at all. I focused on getting the best RAW image possible and let Post-Processing dictate the results I would get. The old color filters are now gone.
02-12-2015, 06:54 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeverettfine Quote
I just wondered if anyone had tried it the "old" way.
See my comment above...yes, I have done it, but it was less than satisfying.


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02-13-2015, 10:06 AM   #8
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I get my best results when I set Custom Image Filter on the K-50 to BW and use a colored filter on the lens. This is not to say that my results are great - mostly it has been "tests" to see what changes of tone and contrast I can cause without shooting a whole roll of film and developing it. The BW Custom Image Filter allows me to see a monochrome image of the lens-filtered scene in-camera and gives me a RAW file to work with later. The image requires changing to B&W again in LR because LR doesn't apply your in-camera Custom Filter data when interpreting the RAW file.


The first image is what the RAW data looks like in LightRoom. The second is converted back to monochrome in LightRoom.

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02-14-2015, 02:58 AM   #9
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There are a zillion (OK not quite!) ways to convert colour to B&W in post-processing, and if you use Photoshop or some other editor with layers you can apply different conversions to different parts of an image. What works best varies according to the image and what you are trying to achieve.


Photoshop can emulate all coloured filters for B&W work, and you can emulate different kinds of film. There are also products you can buy which emulate different kinds of film and wet print techniques.


I can't see any reason to take B&W images. Once you have done that your options are limited.
02-14-2015, 11:58 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeverettfine Quote
If I put the K-3 into monochrome mode, are the rules and effects the same?
Yes, basically the rules and effects are the same. The filter has a physical effect on the light, and it does not matter if there is a digital sensor set to B&W or an analogue B&W film behind it. Both "see" the same image through the filter.

However, as Sholom has pointed out, the sensitivities can be different between sensor and film, so comparing both you might see some colours more pronounced and some other less.

And, as others have pointed out as well, you throw away a lot of information if you take pictures in B&W mode. Taking colour pictures and converting them to B&W in post-processing is fast, easy and gives you much more options to play with. I am usually fond of old equipment and love old manual lenses. I also thought about playing around with colour filters a while ago, but honestly, I couldn't find one good reason to do so. Sad but true.
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