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Author Topic: B&W photography: What happened to grain?  (Read 4928 times)

GND

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B&W photography: What happened to grain?
« on: November 30, 2011, 06:15:40 PM »
Some features previously available only in post-processing software are now being incorporated on dSLRs, e.g. HDR. What about B&W? Some of us boarded dSLRs from film. Shooting mostly B&W I find there's a huge difference between film B&W and digital "Monochrome" (i.e. defined as conversion from digital RGB color to mono) as regards grain. Seems technology moved forward leaving grain and all associated artistic expression behind. You can't get it anymore on dSLR probably because in sensor technology the equivalent to grain is Noise, i.e. unwanted.

So, do we end up paying 10,000 dollar 1Ds3's and now 1DX's to be unable to take a B&W picture a $50 discontinued Canon AV1 can? This is where Nik catches up. On Silver Efex they emulate some popular film types, e.g. Tri-X 400, T-Max Pro 100, Ilford Pan F 50, Fuji Neopan 1600, etc. where by some algorithm they add up to 500 dots on each pixel to emulate grain as best possible.

I'm not associated to Nik in any way but if Canon sensors (or N@kon or whatever for that purpose) inherently killed grain then please incorporate emulation in all dSLR just like HDR or give us Silver Efex bundled with the Canon utilities CD.

I posted a poll for this right next to see. Choices: 1. Film-type emulation menu to be incorporated on the body, 2. Silver Efex (or equivalent) bundled on utilities CD or 3. Do nothing, don't care for B&W grain anyway (or other reason).
« Last Edit: December 01, 2011, 03:53:17 AM by GND »

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B&W photography: What happened to grain?
« on: November 30, 2011, 06:15:40 PM »

keithfullermusic

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Re: B&W photography: What happened to grain?
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2011, 06:24:17 PM »
i love silver efex pro, i use it all the time for BW
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alipaulphotography

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Re: B&W photography: What happened to grain?
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2011, 07:06:15 PM »
I add grain in via ASE in post process. I don't want it in camera. Start with a clean image and add effects in post.

Hillsilly

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Re: B&W photography: What happened to grain?
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2011, 10:23:13 PM »
Why not just shoot film and save yourself some of the conversion problems.  Many Canon film bodies barely get any bids on eBay and go for next to nothing.  Film is only a few dollars a roll.  Developing it yourself only costs a couple of dollars per roll and you can get most of the work done in 15 - 20 minutes (plus you can develop multiple rolls at one time - so the time per roll becomes inconsequential).

Sure, the cost is a factor.  But think of it as an additional futureproof archival / storage solution.

You're then left with a negative which you can then easily scan for digital workflow (and has the "look" you are seeking) and which you can also print using traditional methods.
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Eric

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Re: B&W photography: What happened to grain?
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2011, 11:29:22 PM »
Good riddance! Grain as "artistic expression"? No thank you. There is a reason I never enlarged my Tri-X 8x10 negatives beyond 16x20. I'll leave the grain to the 110 cartridge shooters.

AprilForever

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Re: B&W photography: What happened to grain?
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2011, 12:52:37 AM »
I occasionally shoot an old pentax spotmatic with Super Takumar lenses. The lenses are truly super, but the grain is throughly annoying. At 200 ISO, it looks like my 7D at more than 1600...
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UncleFester

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Re: B&W photography: What happened to grain?
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2011, 03:22:46 AM »
Film companies were always combating grain and software like to emulate it.

What's wrong with this picture?

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Re: B&W photography: What happened to grain?
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2011, 03:22:46 AM »

Reed.Skyllingstad

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Re: B&W photography: What happened to grain?
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2011, 03:48:40 AM »
I've got a Canon 1N RS that I shoot occasionally to get the great effect of high ASA for the grainy feel. The only downsides of this is that I don't have a lab where I can develop my own slides, nor do I have a room to print them.

smirkypants

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Re: B&W photography: What happened to grain?
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2011, 04:42:22 AM »
Good riddance! Grain as "artistic expression"? No thank you. There is a reason I never enlarged my Tri-X 8x10 negatives beyond 16x20. I'll leave the grain to the 110 cartridge shooters.
I like a bit of grain in photos—sometimes. The thing is, why limit yourself at the outset? In post production if I see a photo that is suited to a certain look, I create that look, but it's always best to start with as clean a photo as possible. What happens if you change your mind? Shooting RAW and shooting clean leave you the most flexibility and while doing something "old school" has its quaint charm, it's the same kind of quaint charm you get out of driving a 1938 Ford Convertible. It's cool. It's interesting. It evokes a certain kind of nostalgia. But really now, would you want to rely upon it for your day to day travel and your drive across country?

motorhead

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Re: B&W photography: What happened to grain?
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2011, 06:43:29 AM »
I like to see grain in some monochrome images, but the operative word is some. To add it automatically to every image is the wrong way to my thinking.

I like playing with my images in Photoshop, and it allows me to add a fairly realistic grain effect when I feel it is called for.

So no, I'm another who would not want an "in-camera" system. In fact I never shoot monochrome in camera anyway, always colour and decide later what a particular scene requires.

GND

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Re: B&W photography: What happened to grain?
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2011, 06:51:22 AM »
I'd say good riddance with film, color and B&W, but grain on B&W is a different story. It gives a very much wanted dramatic feel. Those not in the know check out the works of say Anton Corbijn. Sure you can post-process but grain is not contrast, sharpness or white balance, it's like saying try post-process bokeh. Best thing presently available is to emulate just as Silver Efex Pro.

So what I'm saying is if B&W turned to Mono then give us the compensation tool, on-board or on CD. Or maybe next time accept we all have fixed f/5.6 lenses marketed and just try to post-process bokeh.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2011, 07:09:00 AM by GND »

wockawocka

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Re: B&W photography: What happened to grain?
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2011, 08:16:22 AM »
Grain has it's place, as opposed to noise.
I prefer to add grain to a clean image though, like a black and white landscape. It texturises clouds and can enhance the overall feel of an image.

I'm sure a lot of pros in the times of film would of loved their images to be grain free though.

i.e. http://www.freestylephoto.biz/6031330-Kodak-Ektar-100-iso-35mm-x-36-exposure-film
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7enderbender

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Re: B&W photography: What happened to grain?
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2011, 08:52:44 AM »
Some features previously available only in post-processing software are now being incorporated on dSLRs, e.g. HDR. What about B&W? Some of us boarded dSLRs from film. Shooting mostly B&W I find there's a huge difference between film B&W and digital "Monochrome" (i.e. defined as conversion from digital RGB color to mono) as regards grain. Seems technology moved forward leaving grain and all associated artistic expression behind. You can't get it anymore on dSLR probably because in sensor technology the equivalent to grain is Noise, i.e. unwanted.

So, do we end up paying 10,000 dollar 1Ds3's and now 1DX's to be unable to take a B&W picture a $50 discontinued Canon AV1 can? This is where Nik catches up. On Silver Efex they emulate some popular film types, e.g. Tri-X 400, T-Max Pro 100, Ilford Pan F 50, Fuji Neopan 1600, etc. where by some algorithm they add up to 500 dots on each pixel to emulate grain as best possible.

I'm not associated to Nik in any way but if Canon sensors (or N@kon or whatever for that purpose) inherently killed grain then please incorporate emulation in all dSLR just like HDR or give us Silver Efex bundled with the Canon utilities CD.

I posted a poll for this right next to see. Choices: 1. Film-type emulation menu to be incorporated on the body, 2. Silver Efex (or equivalent) bundled on utilities CD or 3. Do nothing, don't care for B&W grain anyway (or other reason).


Good point. Digital is great and there are now things possible at little or no cost that were unthinkable before. That's great. Other things are lost along the way. I haven't tried the Nik Software yet. I'm certain is does a great job.

But then there is still printing. And that's where traditional prints from film still are still ahead by over a hundred years. And that's where I see the biggest opportunity in advancing digital photography. In the meantime it's going to be a mute point if Canon puts out 21 MP cameras, 18 MP cameras or 10 MP cameras. It appears to be lost in translation anyway as far as I can see.
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Re: B&W photography: What happened to grain?
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2011, 08:52:44 AM »

terrysankey

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Re: B&W photography: What happened to grain?
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2011, 10:01:36 AM »
I've always used the policy that I take all my pictures RAW with no in camera 'fiddling'.  Post processing lets you add any effect you like without the worry of ruining a perfectly good shot with the wrong effect.  Allows a much more subtle effect and multiple filters without a 'one size fits all' approach  :)

GND

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Re: B&W photography: What happened to grain?
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2011, 12:26:49 PM »
But then there is still printing. And that's where traditional prints from film still are still ahead by over a hundred years. And that's where I see the biggest opportunity in advancing digital photography.

Agree.

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Re: B&W photography: What happened to grain?
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2011, 12:26:49 PM »