Canon Digital Photography Forums  

Go Back   Canon Digital Photography Forums > 'Sharing Knowhow' section > Talk About Photography > General Photography Talk
Register Rules FAQ Members List Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read



Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 8th of July 2007 (Sun)   #1
ChrisBlaze
Senior Member
 
ChrisBlaze's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posts: 1,801
Default Black and White photos

Whats makes a good black and white photo?
__________________
Canon 1D Mark II N/5D Mark III/ 6D/ 7D /85mm f1.2L Mk1/ 24-70 f2.8L/ 70-200mm f2.8L IS USM/ 100mm Macro f/2.8

Honolulu POTN
ChrisBlaze is offline   Reply With Quote
This ad block will go away when you log in as member
Old 8th of July 2007 (Sun)   #2
SkipD
Cream of the Crop
 
SkipD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Southeastern WI, USA
Posts: 19,648
Default Re: Black and White photos

A good B&W photo has essentially the same qualities as any good photo, but substituting well-defined shades of gray (contrast control) instead of colors to define the subject material.
__________________
Skip Douglas
A few cameras and almost 50 years behind them .....
..... but still learning all the time.
SkipD is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 8th of July 2007 (Sun)   #3
braduardo
Goldmember
 
braduardo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 2,629
Default Re: Black and White photos

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkipD View Post
A good B&W photo has essentially the same qualities as any good photo, but substituting well-defined shades of gray (contrast control) instead of colors to define the subject material.
Or by minimizing the amount of gray and being very high-contrast...

In a good b&w photo, often times you can just kinda 'feel' the colors even though you can't see them. You just 'know' that a dress is red, or a truck is blue. I don't really know how to describe it. B&W has it's own feel, but the fundamentals stay the same as far as content/composition/etc.
__________________
----Brad----
www.nybergstudio.com
40D: EF 17-40 f4 L ---- EF 70-200mm f4 L ---- EF 50mm f1.4 ---- EF 85mm f1.8
braduardo is offline   Reply With Quote
This ad block will go away when you log in as member
Old 9th of July 2007 (Mon)   #4
ChrisBlaze
Senior Member
 
ChrisBlaze's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posts: 1,801
Default Re: Black and White photos

could someone post an example?
__________________
Canon 1D Mark II N/5D Mark III/ 6D/ 7D /85mm f1.2L Mk1/ 24-70 f2.8L/ 70-200mm f2.8L IS USM/ 100mm Macro f/2.8

Honolulu POTN
ChrisBlaze is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th of July 2007 (Mon)   #5
rammy
Goldmember
 
rammy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: London, England
Posts: 3,189
Default Re: Black and White photos

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisBlaze View Post
could someone post an example?
How about the one in this thread? Some steps further below the thread on the conversion process.

I agree with SkipD that the range of tones matters a lot. Flat colours with no range don't seem to come out that well in B&W.
rammy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th of July 2007 (Mon)   #6
airfrogusmc
I'm a chimper. There I said it...
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Oak Park, Illinois
Posts: 31,661
Default Re: Black and White photos

The best way is to look at the great B&W photographers work. Some images need high contrast some need as much tonal range as possible.
Weston
http://etsilabeaute.hautetfort.com/i...m_weston01.jpg

http://www.afterimagegallery.com/Pepperl.jpg

http://www.daytonartinstitute.org/im...estonShell.jpg

Stieglitz
http://www.photoman.co.kr/photo/phot...heSteerage.JPG

http://www.thismoment.pwp.blueyonder...g/hands_es.jpg
Adams
http://content.answers.com/main/cont...nake_River.jpg

http://www.andrewsmithgallery.com/im...nsel_adams.jpg

http://www.bigredandshiny.com/issues...S_71698_03.jpg
airfrogusmc is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 9th of July 2007 (Mon)   #7
Mcary
Member
 
Mcary's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Virginia USA
Posts: 978
Default Re: Black and White photos

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisBlaze View Post
Whats makes a good black and white photo?
People make for excellent black and white photo's Anything from a beautiful model to a rugged iron work or the weather feature of old man can make for a wonderful B&W photo.

Mike
__________________
OMG I saw a nipple, my eye's are bleeding!

Visit http://www.mcaryphoto.net (Nudity) warning most images found on this website were shot with cheap plastic lens (50mm 1.4 85 1.8 and 35 2.0)
Mcary is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th of July 2007 (Mon)   #8
airfrogusmc
I'm a chimper. There I said it...
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Oak Park, Illinois
Posts: 31,661
Default Re: Black and White photos

Anyone really serious about B&W should be looking into film. 4X5 or even 2 1/4 negs and silver gelatin or platinum prints are far superior to digital and ink jet.
airfrogusmc is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 9th of July 2007 (Mon)   #9
suecassidy
Goldmember
 
suecassidy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Huntington Beach California
Posts: 4,002
Default Re: Black and White photos

If I remember correctly from my photo school days, one theory of B&W is the zone theory that says that it encompasses 11 zones or shades, made up of everything from the whitest, crispest whites, to the grays, to middle gray and so on until the 11th shade which is the inkiest, darkest black and everything in between. A lot of B&W if you really look at it, doesn't really have good blacks or crisp whites. The whites are muddy and the blacks not really very black. The highest standards of B&W were in my opinion produced by Ansel Adams and if you study a good quality litho of his work, you will understand the difference between good b&w and not. He had a special way of processing his stuff to achieve that luminous effect. It is also my understanding that airFrog is absolutely correct in saying that digital photography and most printing methods used can't easily achieve quality like that. Not yet anyway.
__________________
Sue Cassidy
GEAR: Canon 1ds, Canon 1d Mark iii, Sony RX 100, Canon 50mmL 1.2, Canon 70-200L 2.8 IS, Canon 100-400L IS, Canon 14mm L, 2.8, . Lighting: Elinchrom Rangers, D-lite 400s, Canon 580/550 flashes. 74 ' Octabank, 27' Rotalux. Editing: Aperture 3
suecassidy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th of July 2007 (Tue)   #10
DrPablo
Senior Member
 
DrPablo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 1,561
Default Re: Black and White photos

Ansel Adams is but one of many crowning examples of B&W photography -- what he should be best remembered for is his meticulous composition, and his masterful exploitation of panchromatic films. The zone system was more of an organizational tool than anything else. But there are many other photographers through history that I think match (or exceed) Adams as exemplars of B&W. Edward Weston comes immediately to mind, but you can go as far back as Timothy O'Sullivan in the 1860s with his orthochromatic glass plates to find magnificent B&W photography.

I don't think a great B&W photo has to have a high contrast range overall -- there can certainly be subtlety. But the name of the game is control of tone placement. If you want to take a picture of a tree in the fog, then you'll want a certain shade of gray for the fog and a darker one for the tree -- but not necessarily pure black.

And film is still the king of B&W, especially in LF, but these days I think the problem with digital B&W isn't so much the printing anymore. I think it's mainly that people pay too little attention to soft tonal gradients, too little attention to highlight and shadow detail, too little attention to tone curves, and too much attention to imitating Ansel Adams. Throw in all the errors people make post-processing (like oversharpening) and you end up having images that just don't cut it. Of course there are a million ways to screw up film as well -- trust me, I've done them all.
__________________
Cameras: Canon 7D, Agfa 8x10, Cambo 4x5, Noblex 150, Hasselblad 500 C/M,
Canon lineup: 17-55 f/2.8 IS, Sigma 30 f/1.4, Sigma 50 f/1.4, Sigma 85 f/1.4, Canon 85 f/1.8, Canon 100 f/2.8L macro, Canon 135 f/2L, Canon 70-200 f/4L, Canon 100-400 L, Canon MP-E 65/2.8 1-5x macro, 580EX, MT-24 EX
DrPablo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th of July 2007 (Tue)   #11
Tony-S
Cream of the Crop
 
Tony-S's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
Posts: 9,702
Default Re: Black and White photos

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrPablo View Post
but these days I think the problem with digital B&W isn't so much the printing anymore.
I disagree with this. The only printers that can do excellent B&W cost more than US$400. Even my i9900 has issues; green or magenta hue on some papers (such as linen). The only way around it is to print in grayscale (to shut off the color inks), but then you lose tonal range because it only has a single black ink tank. What I'd like to see is a sub-$300 printer that comes with 3 black cartridges and 10- or 12-bit grayscale. Until then, B&W for consumers is going to suffer.
__________________
Gear list
"Raw" is not an acronym, abbreviation, nor a proper noun; thus, it should not be in capital letters.
Zeiss 35/2 for sale.
Tony-S is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th of July 2007 (Tue)   #12
DrPablo
Senior Member
 
DrPablo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 1,561
Default Re: Black and White photos

I wasn't arguing for their availability. They DO exist, but for most of us it entails sending away for a professional print. I completely agree that consumer printers aren't remotely up to the task.

But traditional the black and white silver print (not to mention platinum / palladium prints, kallitypes, etc) present a very difficult standard to achieve. I'm not sure they'll ever make their way to $200 desktop photo printers, but I think the high end equipment has made great strides.
__________________
Cameras: Canon 7D, Agfa 8x10, Cambo 4x5, Noblex 150, Hasselblad 500 C/M,
Canon lineup: 17-55 f/2.8 IS, Sigma 30 f/1.4, Sigma 50 f/1.4, Sigma 85 f/1.4, Canon 85 f/1.8, Canon 100 f/2.8L macro, Canon 135 f/2L, Canon 70-200 f/4L, Canon 100-400 L, Canon MP-E 65/2.8 1-5x macro, 580EX, MT-24 EX
DrPablo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th of July 2007 (Tue)   #13
Tony-S
Cream of the Crop
 
Tony-S's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
Posts: 9,702
Default Re: Black and White photos

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrPablo View Post
I wasn't arguing for their availability. They DO exist, but for most of us it entails sending away for a professional print. I completely agree that consumer printers aren't remotely up to the task.

But traditional the black and white silver print (not to mention platinum / palladium prints, kallitypes, etc) present a very difficult standard to achieve.
OK, I see what you mean now. Thanks for the clarification.

Quote:
I'm not sure they'll ever make their way to $200 desktop photo printers, but I think the high end equipment has made great strides.
I don't know why they can't. I mean, they already make $50 printers with 4 ink tanks (black and three colors). Why can't they make a dedicated 3- or 4-ink B&W printer that does not do color? It seems that it would only require software revision of the printers they're already using. Instead of putting in the 4 standard color ink tanks, put in a photo-black, flat-black and two gray shades, then all they'd need is an updated ROM or flash memory in the printer and that'd be it.

And why can't they do 10-bit imaging? Is there something about nozzle technology that prevents it? It can't be the microprocessors - 16-bit chips have been around since the 1980s. If I could find a $200 B&W-only printer that could do 10-bit grayscale, I'd be the first in line to buy it.
__________________
Gear list
"Raw" is not an acronym, abbreviation, nor a proper noun; thus, it should not be in capital letters.
Zeiss 35/2 for sale.
Tony-S is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th of July 2007 (Tue)   #14
Doug Pardee
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Southern California, USA
Posts: 838
Default Re: Black and White photos

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony-S View Post
Why can't they make a dedicated 3- or 4-ink B&W printer that does not do color?
I've heard good things about the Epson Stylus C88 (currently being closed out at $80 US) when used with MIS grayscale inks ($55 US for a full set of cartridges for both matte and glossy, or $110 for both neutral and warm sets). MIS also has continuous-inking and bulk ink.

Haven't tried it myself, just reporting what I've heard.
Doug Pardee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th of July 2007 (Tue)   #15
DrPablo
Senior Member
 
DrPablo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 1,561
Default Re: Black and White photos

You need demand for them to bring a dedicated printer like that to market. I doubt many people would demand a dedicated B&W printer for home.

If there were a modular one in which you could swap out the four color inks for four grayscale inks then that might be a possibility.
__________________
Cameras: Canon 7D, Agfa 8x10, Cambo 4x5, Noblex 150, Hasselblad 500 C/M,
Canon lineup: 17-55 f/2.8 IS, Sigma 30 f/1.4, Sigma 50 f/1.4, Sigma 85 f/1.4, Canon 85 f/1.8, Canon 100 f/2.8L macro, Canon 135 f/2L, Canon 70-200 f/4L, Canon 100-400 L, Canon MP-E 65/2.8 1-5x macro, 580EX, MT-24 EX
DrPablo is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Black & White Photos portraitsbytracy RAW, Post Processing and Printing 15 22nd of October 2007 (Mon) 20:30
Black and White photos Danellyn People 4 26th of May 2007 (Sat) 23:39
Black and White photos Shaun Canon G-series Digital Cameras 6 31st of December 2003 (Wed) 15:30


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 14:39.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.12
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
This forum is not affiliated with Canon in any way and is run as a free user helpsite by Pekka Saarinen, Helsinki Finland. You will need to register in order to be able to post messages. Cookies are required for registering and posting. HTML in messages is not allowed, plain website addresses are automatically made active by the board.