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Black and White with M9

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Hi,

 

Unfortunately I don't have a M9 (only a M6 that I just love

), but I am curious about their capabilities on black and white photography. Is there any B&W exposure mode? Does it takes the picts in grey scale or in rgb?

Thanks a lot.

 

Alejandro

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The B&W capabilities are as high as your post-processing skills.

 

I know... but I would like to know if the M9 B&W capabilities are better than the current high-end DSLR's.

For example, if you shoot a B&W photo with the internal "B&W exposure mode" of a DSLR you will have an image with less quality/possibilities than shooting a normal color photo and converting it in PS later on. I was wondering if a reputable B&W brand as Leica and the +5000 euros of the M9 could have an extra B&W quality exposure mode or something like that.

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The Leica has no B&W mode. In fact, it has no modes at all, except for some silly sepia coloring which nobody bothers using. The only thing you can do is output a B&W jpg, which is not bad, about the same level as any other camera, maybe even slightly better, but no match for what one can do in the computer. The thing about Leica is - you pay more to have a minimum of features.

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I know... but I would like to know if the M9 B&W capabilities are better than the current high-end DSLR's.

For example, if you shoot a B&W photo with the internal "B&W exposure mode" of a DSLR you will have an image with less quality/possibilities than shooting a normal color photo and converting it in PS later on. I was wondering if a reputable B&W brand as Leica and the +5000 euros of the M9 could have an extra B&W quality exposure mode or something like that.

 

Well, it hasn't. The camera's bw mode is applicable only to JPEG (but those files are remarkably good). Standard yellow-red-orange filters cannot be used on camera, because of image deterioration (shift of focal point critical). If you want to emulate filters, you will have to do RGB channels and shift the proportions between them, then render in bw.

 

The old man from the Age of the Yellow Filter

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Silver FX Pro is mentioned a lot in these forums. I am sure it is an excellent tool for a pro photographer. However, enthusiastic amateurs can get good results from Aperture, for example.

 

Or am I missing something and is Silver FX a "must have" ?

 

Regards,

 

Bill

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I use Aperture foe B/W too - look good "for me" - or would the Silver FX do it better?

 

For Samples look on my Pictures on LFI-Gallery

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Silver FX Pro is mentioned a lot in these forums. I am sure it is an excellent tool for a pro photographer. However, enthusiastic amateurs can get good results from Aperture, for example.

 

Or am I missing something and is Silver FX a "must have" ?

 

Regards,

 

Bill

No - Alien Skin exposure is quite good - and there are the B&W profiles in C1.

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B&W can be terrific with the M8/8.2 as well. For me, the print's the thing. So, to do the best work, one needs to pay attention to every link in the chain...papers, printer/driver, profiles, ink sets, etc, etc. Cone inks, for instance, provide 7 shades of b/w.

 

There's a lot more involved than what comes out of the camera, even besides the computer part. But, any digital M is a heck of a good start.

 

Jeff

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No - Alien Skin exposure is quite good - and there are the B&W profiles in C1.

 

I use Alien Skin exposure and it is easy to use and I like the results. It renders based on many old B&W film types. I think you can still test drive it for 30 days.

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Because of the extended red sensitivity of the M8, you could get the equivalent of a yellow filter simply by removing the UV/IR filter and shooting bw jpg. The M9 does not have this (unintended) bonus, but the quality of the jpgs is really very good -- Jonathan Slack also found this, and said so. His verdict was that with correct exposure, DNG and bells and whistles did not get you very much further. If you do need the bells and whistles, then DNG is a must of course.

 

Most filter use with bw film was of course to correct deficiencies in especially older films' proportional rendering of different spectral ranges, a problem that persisted even with classical pan films (though to a much smaller extent than with ortochromatic emulsions -- ouch!) The M9 does a very balanced job of it, so filtering is basically for special effects. Sometimes a graduated ND filter does come in handy, but the more capable types are a hassle to carry and use.

 

I would put in a good word here for a jpg workflow. Simplicity is a value. We hear of course that real macho photogs never shoot jpgs, but that is nonsense. Real macho men with hair on their chest (and their pants) make their pictures inside caves with mammoth grease paint.

 

The old man from the Age of Kodak Panatomic

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Grey tonality depends on color variation, so I recommend LAB color as another tool in the bells-and-whistles department. Dan Margulis wrote a brilliant book on this.

 

An example with the CV15:

 

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Carsten Ranke Photography

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Well I'd say shoot colour and use Silver Efex Pro for the conversion. Its not that you can't do similar things in Photoshop because Silver Efex is only using the capabilities of Photoshop anyway as a plugin. It can't create more tones, or smoother tones, etc.

 

But what it can do is cycle through the options available to you much quicker and in a more integrated way without the need for using Layers in Photoshop. As such you can refine the image with much greater control over all the parameters in one go. Add to that the presets for different films, which OK you may not decide to go with, but they offer quick tonal options to see what suits the image. Or you have the different processing options, from 'Pull' process all the way to 'Tintype' or 'Holga'. Its a powerful package that means you can spend more time perfecting the image to the very last degree.

 

Steve

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Real macho men with hair on their chest (and their pants) make their pictures inside caves with mammoth grease paint.

 

The old man from the Age of Kodak Panatomic

Now why did you have to post that, Lars? I was trying to keep my vice a secret!

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I would put in a good word here for a jpg workflow. Simplicity is a value. We hear of course that real macho photogs never shoot jpgs, but that is nonsense. Real macho men with hair on their chest (and their pants) make their pictures inside caves with mammoth grease paint.

 

The old man from the Age of Kodak Panatomic

 

JPEG's for real men? JPEG's for macho photographers? I can imagine you in the age of film, throwing a roll casually across the counter at the local chemists and demanding in a mammoth deep voice that your slides come back mounted.

 

I for one do have a wash every now and again (to remove the stink of mammoth) and retain the work ethic with digital that I had when using a darkroom. I like full control over the image by using .DNG, not necessarily the quickest option, and I may miss the odd mammoth hunt by doing so, but fortunately Tesco is always open.

 

Steve

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