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B&W from M8

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As much as I like the M8 for color, I don't like digital for straight b&w. It always ends up looking like some sort of dull chromogenic b&w C41 film. So, looking for a good combination of settings to get a decent b&w photo straight from the M8 without the «digital look». ie as close to the traditional b&w film look as possible, I tried this shot at 1250 ISO with the contrast and sharpness at medium high. I think it's not bad. I left it in RGB and did some levels and curves adjustments in PS, plus a tad of warming filter (85). The lens is Summicron 40. Strictly in terms of film look, what do you think? Do you have other combinations for b&w?

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Olivier, very nice.

 

You might look at the JFI b/w tools at

JFI Color Labs

 

Sean Reid reviewed these and I have the Toolkit that provides filter-like manipulation.

There is also a Films kit that gives different grain semblances to match a \variety of b/w films.

 

They are surprisingly inexpensive; you download.

 

Regards,

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Oliver,

 

The picture looks good to me, at least a little flat.

 

I hope you have no problems with my modification:

I prefer a higher contrast in the mid tones and highlights.

So i adjusted them with the gradation tool. And lighten the white of the eyes a bit.

More film like for me.

 

I have bought the JFI b/w tools wich Bill recommend. But i don´t use them very much. There are better tools (at least for me) for my workfow and taste in PS.

None of these profiles have given me a good result without any post correction in PS.

 

jørn

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Try Alien Skin Exposure. Free trial download for 30 days. alienskin.com I believe. I especially like the Fuji Neopan 1600 setting scaled back a bit. Fun to play with. Try it.

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I would leave the contrast and sharpness set to standard. I find that the more you soften the image, the more "digital" it looks. In my view the image quality of the M8 is different from standard digital, especially with skin tones. I think it is as close to life-like as you can get, without the extra grain/noise you get from film. The shot below was set to ISO 320 (if memory serves me right). It has plenty of texture and doesn't have that plastic digital skin look.

 

If you absolutely want the film look then Alien Skin seems to be the way to go. Personally, I am really excited about the image quality of the M8 as is, I think it is in class by itself, and we are beginning to see the beginning of a new standard, IMHO.

 

Wilfredo

Benitez-Rivera Photography

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Wilfredo,

 

Nice shot.

 

But it is different story to get nice b/w tones from deep sunlight or indoor window + tungsten light. You have to adjust.

 

jørn

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You could run the shot through my 1.092 profile which has very nice midtones, prior to conversion. My experience is that one should sharpen and apply curves for detail in color, then do another curve in B&W.

 

Also, I think photos of men should be done @ F8 or F11, to accentuate skin tone. Women need gentler treatment.

 

Edmund

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Yes, Wilfredo, IMHO, I agree. This has all the texture and depth one might want to see. But you must admit you couldn't have produced such a terrific photograph as you did without the dirty shirt.

David Ruck

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Also, I think photos of men should be done @ F8 or F11, to accentuate skin tone. Women need gentler treatment.

 

Edmund

 

 

Edmund,

 

sorry, but this advice sounds strange.

 

A snapshot under these conditions at f8 or f16 at what time? 1/2 - 1 sec.?

 

The only thing you would accentuate is the blur ;-)

 

jørn

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Jorn,

 

I'm not quite sure what you mean but I always do some post processing (adjustments) whether I shoot film or digital regardless of light. Here's another shot done indoors with the M8. If I were to say this was done with my M7 I don't think any one would doubt it. My point is that the M8 does a really great job as is. But again, if you really want a film look, then you won't be TOTALLY happy. For the most part (and I may be opening up a can of worms here) I prefer the M8 look to the film look. The M8 look is certainly in a class of its own when it comes to B&W photography. As you can tell I am really bias.

 

By the way Oliveir, I do like your photo, I would not have softened it, but it is an excellent portrait with great tones.

 

Wilfredo

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Another interesting idea - take off the IR filter.

Edmund

 

 

Jorn,

The M8 look is certainly in a class of its own when it comes to B&W photography and different from other digitals.

 

Wilfredo

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Wilfredo,

 

I like the look of the M8 too, color and b/w.

What i mean lays simply in the nature of the different light sources.

Take a look at the faces. In your first shot the face has great contrast, the second face is flat. Both pictures are having rich tones and a film look - or Leica look.

 

But if you would cut out the face of your second shot all the contrast will be gone. And to make it look better and at least interesting you have to adjust the tones because the light source hasn´t delieverd them. Otherwise you would waste 20-30 percent of the tonal range.

 

Oliviers portrait is closer. The object is the man, not the whole scene. So to bring out the face I would adjust the contrast. In film days i would have used a HP5 and pushed it 1 - 1 1/2 stop. That would have stretched the tones nicely.

 

So i agree with you that the Leica M8 generates very, very good b/w out of the box.

But i like them a bit more after adjusting.

 

jørn

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Wilfredo,

 

What is your workflow on these B&W portraits... are you using any JFI?

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Marc makes an obvious point here. I would add, keep your film cameras if you really want the film effect.

 

Peter,

 

I shoot RAW 95% of the time.

 

Howard,

 

Nice shot, great tones and subject matter.

 

Here's a landscape shot I did this week. I think the ISO was set to 640. I've never gotten anything like this from other digitals. I'm convinced that if Ansel Adams were alive today, he would be packing an M8. The M8 delivers not only when it comes to skin tones. I'm really pleased.

 

Cheers,

Wilfredo

Benitez-Rivera Photography

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Guest Olof
Olivier, very nice.

 

You might look at the JFI b/w tools at

JFI Color Labs

 

Sean Reid reviewed these and I have the Toolkit that provides filter-like manipulation.

There is also a Films kit that gives different grain semblances to match a \variety of b/w films.

 

They are surprisingly inexpensive; you download.

 

Regards,

 

Come on, the JFI Colour Labs arent working (i think they are something like the "Emperiors new cloths") i checked them all, and compared them to the C1 b/w profiles, I showed them here in the Forum and NOBODY could see a difference.

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