Jump to content
gtownby

Monochrom versus Color Conversion to B&W?

Recommended Posts

Advertisement (gone after registration)

I apologize because I’m sure this topic has been covered: What is the advantage of a Leica Monochrom versus converting color files in Lightroom, Nik, etc.? Intuitively, I would think that having all of those colors in the file would give greater flexibility when converting (such as all the virtual color filters in LR). I’m hoping the answer is more than just the high ISOs. If you can point me to any discussion threads on this, I would appreciate it.

Thanks!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It has been covered - and often.
However:
As the Monochrom has no Bayer filter there will be no optical aberrations caused by that filter. Secondly there will be no pixel interpolation to create colour from the naturally monochrome sensor. Both together lead to an effective resolution gain of more than  30% plus a more detailed tonal range. To put it simply: every single pixel will be transferred to a pixel on the print.

The result is more detailed prints with a richer tonality.

I might add that a monitor can never match a good print in tonal rendering, so comparisons on the screen are of limited value.

The relative drawbacks are:
1. You cannot simulate colour filters in postprocessing - so you have to use them on the camera
2. You cannot recover blown highlights in postprocessing - so you have to refine your exposure technique.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, jaapv said:

The relative drawbacks are:
1. You cannot simulate colour filters in postprocessing - so you have to use them on the camera
2. You cannot recover blown highlights in postprocessing - so you have to refine your exposure technique.

Which can only be a good thing!

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mindset ?

I learn to have B&W mindset when I use Monochrom cameras ( sensor or film ! ).

In my years of use, color cameras are for "color adapted" pictures which are not the same as B&W planned pictures.

When I try to convert colored files to b&w, I'm lost most of the time ( too many possibilities 😇 ).

 

I write this as new "B&W" fan as decades old Kodachrome user.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All -

Thanks for the information. Great advice in your responses. Yes, I can understand some film discipline is required for the Monochrom so I'm going to order an orange filter to use on my MP with Tri-X while I decide on the M10Monochrom.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/17/2021 at 7:12 PM, gtownby said:

All -

Thanks for the information. Great advice in your responses. Yes, I can understand some film discipline is required for the Monochrom so I'm going to order an orange filter to use on my MP with Tri-X while I decide on the M10Monochrom.

Having used an MM v1 in the past and now having an M7 that I shoot with Tri-X, I think its important to understand the place of the MM in an entire workflow to a final print output. I have a darkroom with a nice Leica Focomat V35 enlarger and I can produce lovely 12x16 inch prints on multigrade paper. Its a pleasure if a bit of a slow process. With the MM I had lovely tonal range and far more detail than I can capture on Tri-X, but I could never get a decent print from my A3 Epson R2400 printer at home so had to get them done professionally. So that's why I stopped using the MM and went to film, to have creative control of the final output. If B&W print quality has improved to match a traditional print then may be I would re-think, but I don't think its a priority for Epson or Canon. What I would really like is a tool to create a high quality film intermediate from a digital file that I can print traditionally!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Advertisement (gone after registration)

I get fantastic prints from my Epson XP-15000... Actually better than I ever managed in the darkroom :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, newtoleica said:

Having used an MM v1 in the past and now having an M7 that I shoot with Tri-X, I think its important to understand the place of the MM in an entire workflow to a final print output. I have a darkroom with a nice Leica Focomat V35 enlarger and I can produce lovely 12x16 inch prints on multigrade paper. Its a pleasure if a bit of a slow process. With the MM I had lovely tonal range and far more detail than I can capture on Tri-X, but I could never get a decent print from my A3 Epson R2400 printer at home so had to get them done professionally. So that's why I stopped using the MM and went to film, to have creative control of the final output. If B&W print quality has improved to match a traditional print then may be I would re-think, but I don't think its a priority for Epson or Canon. What I would really like is a tool to create a high quality film intermediate from a digital file that I can print traditionally!!

Thanks for that, Brendan. I’m jealous of your wet darkroom set-up, but I have to agree with Jaapv: I can get much better prints with my Epson with baryta paper than I ever got when I did full darkroom. (For the larger stuff, I’m looking forward to working with a digital print shop in L.A. using the Oce lightjet.)

Anyway, my orange and red filters are arriving tomorrow and I’ll be having some fun with Tri-X and T-Max until the recent “black-dot” thing with the M10M gets figured out.

Good shooting, all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, gtownby said:

...Anyway, my orange and red filters are arriving tomorrow and I’ll be having some fun with Tri-X and T-Max until the recent “black-dot” thing with the M10M gets figured out...

If you do intend to use orange and red filters with a Monochrom please be aware that, unless you are using APO lenses, you will need to adjust your focus-point as the light-waves which pass through the filters mentioned will not focus on the plane of the sensor.

There are a couple of threads somewhere in the forum in which the subject is discussed to a reasonable degree.

Philip.

EDIT : Here's one of them with a few examples in post #8;

https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/313352-monochrom-type-i-and-color-filters/

 

Edited by pippy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, newtoleica said:

Having used an MM v1 in the past and now having an M7 that I shoot with Tri-X, I think its important to understand the place of the MM in an entire workflow to a final print output. I have a darkroom with a nice Leica Focomat V35 enlarger and I can produce lovely 12x16 inch prints on multigrade paper. Its a pleasure if a bit of a slow process. With the MM I had lovely tonal range and far more detail than I can capture on Tri-X, but I could never get a decent print from my A3 Epson R2400 printer at home so had to get them done professionally. So that's why I stopped using the MM and went to film, to have creative control of the final output. If B&W print quality has improved to match a traditional print then may be I would re-think, but I don't think its a priority for Epson or Canon. What I would really like is a tool to create a high quality film intermediate from a digital file that I can print traditionally!!

Digital print results depend on many factors, just like in the darkroom, most importantly user input. I have far more flexibility and control (and obviously convenience) digitally, including the ability to better experiment with, and quickly adapt to, different papers.  The combination of the Epson P800 and ImagePrint works wonders for me, even using standard Epson inks. My inkjet prints hold their own compared to my silver prints, albeit sometimes in different ways. I know others who work with fully monochrome inksets, e.g., Jon Cone’s Piezography, but that entails more time and effort, which I find increasingly unnecessary given the advanced state of current printing technology and many fine paper choices.

The last thing I would want to do is outsource my prints, film or digital.  
 

Jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/17/2021 at 2:45 AM, gtownby said:

I apologize because I’m sure this topic has been covered: What is the advantage of a Leica Monochrom versus converting color files in Lightroom, Nik, etc.? Intuitively, I would think that having all of those colors in the file would give greater flexibility when converting (such as all the virtual color filters in LR). I’m hoping the answer is more than just the high ISOs. If you can point me to any discussion threads on this, I would appreciate it.

Thanks!

I think that question never gets old, or answered. I find the mindset and simplicity of a monochrom camera a welcome challenge and have used a few of them. Today I mostly use color and convert quite many of them into B&W (while also trying to force myself to get as many good color photos to look good as possible and not just escape to b&w solutions).

Color definitely have many possibilities (other than making a color photo) in that you can change the kelvin temperature which will change the look of the b&w conversion, and you can also adjust single colors to become darker or brighter. It's a more versatile file, but then also more complicated. 

That is when it's a relief to just go with a monochrome. No possibilities to change any kelvin og color channel. It is what it is, and you don't have to wonder what if...

As an alternative on how to make things simple, I find that the presets/styles in Capture One Pro very often works as "final edits" in that you use a style/preset, and then the photo looks as it should (whereas Lightroom presets tend to give a direction but not a final look). I have a few styles for b&w conversion in Capture One, and those are what I use without wondering what if I changed the kelvin og anything else. The styles in themselves are different kelvins and levels of contrast and shadow details (link). One of them will usually do the job. Maybe that in essence is what your question is about: How to make it simple and still be able to use colors when it matters. The other answer is not to have to deal with colors at all and go with a monochrome. 

As said it's a question that never gets old. Perhaps that's why many of us have both M Monochrom and color M's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, jaapv said:

I get fantastic prints from my Epson XP-15000... Actually better than I ever managed in the darkroom :(

LOL I enjoy hand printing in the darkroom so much more than using software to burn/dodge (like the NIK software)... and as for layers in photoshop... forget it, that's not photography ;)

 

Heres a print from the darkroom (snow, NYC) and a recent mono conversion from the Q2.

 

Edited by newtoleica

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You'd be surprised how much of Photoshop is a digital translation of darkroom techniques. As for printing - I love the control digital gives me and a good print on Baryta paper is hard to beat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm learning how to make good silver prints from digital negatives.  It's enough fun that I'm now building a darkroom (took mine down and sold it yrs ago).  It's a little cumbersome at first, but once you can work it out you have the best of both worlds.  Complete digital control over the image and a silver print, if you like that sort of thing.

Edited by Likaleica

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
vor 16 Minuten schrieb Likaleica:

I'm learning how to make good silver prints from digital negatives.  It's enough fun that I'm now building a darkroom (took mine down and sold it yrs ago).  It's a little cumbersome at first, but once you can work it out you have the best of both worlds.  Complete digital control over the image and a silver print, if you like that sort of thing.

Sounds very interesting, how is Your workflow?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are a number of procedures that are similar.  What they have in common is printing to a large transparency with which you make a contact prints (so no enlarger needed).  But the transparency can't be used as a contact negative without first correcting it, which you do with a step wedge that you use to make an adjustment curve in Photoshop. The process is not difficult but for some reason the people explaining it seem to make it sound more complicated than it is.  The source I found to be the clearest, and who essentially pioneered the process in the 90's, is Dan Burkholder.  He offers a one hour zoom meeting of about 4-5 people where he explains it all.  His method is by far the simplest and the one that gave me the best results.  

Here's a link to his next zoom session in February.  Best 50 bucks I ever spent in photography.

https://www.danburkholder.com/store/p91/Making_Digital_Negatives_with_Inkjet_Printers.html#/

One cool thing about this is that you can use the same process to make platinum palladium prints, cyanotypes, etc.  Basically, most alternative processes.  

In addition to the sources that Jeff S gave above, I found these to be really helpful:

http://www.easydigitalnegatives.com

http://www.billschwab.com

Both of these gentlemen, Peter Mrhar and Bill Schwab, also have YouTube channels with tutorials on their processes.  One drawback to Schwab's method is that it depends on using certain Epson printers that are discontinued along with Quad Tone RIP.  Even without that I found his tutorials to be very informative.  

I checked out two others.  Chart Throb is a free program with step wedge.  http://www.botzilla.com/gearhead/2006/10/24/ChartThrob-A-Tool-for-Printing-Digital-Negatives.html

Digital Negative Curves by Ian Barber is almost free, I think around 5 pounds.  https://www.digitalblackandwhite.co.uk

Finally, here is a link to a forum on digital negatives:  https://www.photrio.com/forum/forums/digital-negatives.348/

Once you start poking around, there's a lot of material out there.  Having tried 5 of them so far, I would recommend Dan Burkholder first.  His process is almost too easy, because he supplies correction curves which you then tweak to your equipment and process.  With the others, you create your own correction curves from scratch.

Have fun!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
vor 2 Stunden schrieb Likaleica:

There are a number of procedures that are similar.  What they have in common is printing to a large transparency with which you make a contact prints (so no enlarger needed).  But the transparency can't be used as a contact negative without first correcting it, which you do with a step wedge that you use to make an adjustment curve in Photoshop. The process is not difficult but for some reason the people explaining it seem to make it sound more complicated than it is.  The source I found to be the clearest, and who essentially pioneered the process in the 90's, is Dan Burkholder.  He offers a one hour zoom meeting of about 4-5 people where he explains it all.  His method is by far the simplest and the one that gave me the best results.  

Here's a link to his next zoom session in February.  Best 50 bucks I ever spent in photography.

https://www.danburkholder.com/store/p91/Making_Digital_Negatives_with_Inkjet_Printers.html#/

One cool thing about this is that you can use the same process to make platinum palladium prints, cyanotypes, etc.  Basically, most alternative processes.  

In addition to the sources that Jeff S gave above, I found these to be really helpful:

http://www.easydigitalnegatives.com

http://www.billschwab.com

Both of these gentlemen, Peter Mrhar and Bill Schwab, also have YouTube channels with tutorials on their processes.  One drawback to Schwab's method is that it depends on using certain Epson printers that are discontinued along with Quad Tone RIP.  Even without that I found his tutorials to be very informative.  

I checked out two others.  Chart Throb is a free program with step wedge.  http://www.botzilla.com/gearhead/2006/10/24/ChartThrob-A-Tool-for-Printing-Digital-Negatives.html

Digital Negative Curves by Ian Barber is almost free, I think around 5 pounds.  https://www.digitalblackandwhite.co.uk

Finally, here is a link to a forum on digital negatives:  https://www.photrio.com/forum/forums/digital-negatives.348/

Once you start poking around, there's a lot of material out there.  Having tried 5 of them so far, I would recommend Dan Burkholder first.  His process is almost too easy, because he supplies correction curves which you then tweak to your equipment and process.  With the others, you create your own correction curves from scratch.

Have fun!

 

Hallo Likaleica,

many thanks for this great stuff!

Will take a weekend to through it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...