View Full Version : Shoot in Color and Convert or Shoot in Sepia?

09-01-2011, 02:49 PM
I am sure most cameras have it, but my camera has a sepia (monochrome) setting. I love B&W photography. Should I shoot everything in color and convert later with software or shoot everything in sepia (if I want a sepia shot)?

09-01-2011, 03:34 PM
I would always shoot in colour and convert later as this gives you the most options and the most control when converting.

09-01-2011, 03:52 PM
Unless you really muck with your camera settings...AFAIK the shot you see in the camera will be sepia or BW or whatever choice you've made using these settings, but when you bring it into the computer, all the colour will be back again.

There ARE settings that will delete all the colour info, I never use these. Like Richard, I keep the colour info, then convert.

Wicked Dark
09-01-2011, 04:30 PM
I'd keep it in color, but a trick you can use is to set the file type to raw in camera, but the image type to monochrome or B&W. Your live view screen will show B&W, but the file will be in color.

09-01-2011, 08:13 PM
Wicked Dark just gave the same advice I was going to give. I haven't done it myself but you can "bake" the JPG as B&W or sepia but as long as you are shooting RAW you'll still have the original colour to work with later.

09-02-2011, 07:23 PM
I have my camera set to Monochrome, RAW, red filter on, and the active D-lighting off with the contrast, saturation and brightness settings set to what I want. If you look at my two images recently posted in the monochrome section (sky and cruise ship architecture), you'll see what I see will result from the base image. B&W from colour is an afterthought, IMHO. Importing into LR, the images show up as color and really weird. just a click back to B&W makes them look like I wanted in the first place. Some people4 use B&W to rescue otherwise pedestrian images. Think in monochrome, that's the best thing, whether you shoot monochrome OR colour. B&W HDR is my next foray.

09-22-2011, 02:06 AM
What we have to consider is which method is the best to convert from colour to monochrome as the camera unless really expensive will take the image in colour as there is no way to remove the mask from the CCD. Also of course ease of conversion.
My camera has a built in converter and I can in camera convert a RAW image into a jpeg, only after it has been converted into Jpeg can I then convert to Black and White or Sepia. There are three levels of Sepia but that is really the limit to my control.
However load the RAW image into Photoshop and I have many options in how I can convert. Camera RAW 5.7 gives both simple reduction of saturation and the HSL/Grayscale with 8 sliders allowing me to emulate any of the filters that we would have traditionally placed in front of the lens. To use the filters with a D-SLR would mean reducing light so the software method is far better. Once the image is loaded into the main Photoshop program there are a host of methods to turn into monochrome. These don't have as many sliders as with RAW but do have the option to use things like history brush to select how much is to be turned into monochrome.
So the only time I would convert in camera is where competition rules do not allow one to do anything other than in camera conversions. My local club has a competition where we are given subjects in the pub and have to go out and take a limited number of images and present them all on the card in Jpeg an hour latter and no out of camera alteration is permitted. Other than that it RAW and Photoshop for every image.

Ron Cardinale
09-22-2011, 03:14 AM
...To use the filters with a D-SLR would mean reducing light so the software method is far better. ....

This is a misunderstanding. Although it's true that a physical optical filter can reduce the light entering the camera and thereby have a filter factor to consider, that filter factor doesn't go away with a software filter. To keep the apparent image brightness the same, the software performs a virtual ISO increase on the image. Whether this is good, bad, or indifferent depends on the circumstances.

With a physical filter at the lens, you typically have the option of applying the filter factor via the ISO, shutter, lens aperture, or some combination of those settings. The downsides, of course, are cost, more stuff to carry around, and the potential image degradation from the filter.

09-22-2011, 12:13 PM
My apologies if this note goes on too long or is too basic as I don’t know where you are starting from. The first thing to keep in mind that you are using a digital camera and it is quite different from the use of film. Some things just don't cross over between the two mediums.

Film had inherent qualities that reacted to the light and any filters you placed on the lens were recorded on the medium. A digital camera only records photons. The varying degrees of the electrical charges it measures and records are from being first filtered through an overlaid RGB matrix the engineers have determined is optimum for their camera. Any filter you place in front of the sensor will effect the light reaching the sensor so if you place the red filter on the lens, when converted back to colour, will of course remain registered in the recorded results. Again, the recording is in photons. The tones, hues and other values you see on a screen is the result of the electric values of the photons after they have passed the RGB filter and then processed.

The programs used to translate those electrical values into something you recognize is entirely the result of mathematical calculations performed in the software. Options such as face and scene recognition which are comparative files as well as other instructions on how to take the data and present it to you as B&W, Vivid, Portrait, etc. all take up space in the memory of the camera. The camera has a limited amount of space for all these required calculations and processing. When you start playing "in-camera" with the recorded data, whether permanent or not depending on the action, the camera has limited amounts of space not only to perform those actions but to hold the software instructions used to manipulate the data. The PC on the other hand has lots of space and faster processing. Space not only to hold all your photos (digital data) it also has the room to store many more software packages giving you a higher number of options on what to do with that data. The camera memory capacity can not even approach the processing capabilities of the PC. If you want to play in camera you'll be limited. If you want to explore then jump in with both feet. Record (shoot) in RAW to get the bare photons and manage them in the PC where there's room to roam.

If I've missed something somebody please jump in and clarify.

09-23-2011, 02:17 AM
I have considered using a graduated filter on my camera. The two I have Sepia and Blue from old film days I did try as in theory by there use one can increase the dynamic range. However the colour was not giving desired results really needed to be neutral as far a colour goes. Using the polarising filter tended to give better results.
The camera has an overlaid RGB matrix and to add any colour filter means you are placing two filters over the CCD can't see the point in used two filters which are the same? Would it not be better to just select then parts of the CCD which already have that filter on it? One would never put a colour film in a camera to get black and white photos although in theory one could put monochrome paper under a colour negative in practice since the paper will not be affected with red light it would produce an odd result. But that is what we are doing with a normal digital camera. I say normal as I know members of our club have got CCD's in their cameras without the overlaid RGB matrix and that is then completely different. But with my camera to get monochrome one has to go to Jpeg and that means 8 bit rather than 16 bit so far better to take as 16 bit then convert to monochrome with computer software so any corrections can be done in 16 bit mode? With lower end cameras where one only has a jpeg option then this may not be a valid argument. To be fair the poster has not said what camera they have and if RAW is not an option then maybe filters on the camera will be as good? But how many filters will one need to emulate the reds, oranges, yellows, greens, aquas, blues, purples and magentas sliders offered with photoshop Raw 5.7?

09-30-2011, 11:28 PM
Forget all this hooey, set your camera to monochrome and start thinking that way - all the greats did. That's what we did with a camera loaded with Tri-X.

10-26-2011, 08:56 AM
i always like shooting in color as oppose to sepia. i think when you convert from color it gives your tones a better richness.also i feel its easier to see where in the scale everyhting is.