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I often wonder so it makes sense to always shoot in colour and then covert to mono but if you shoot in mono does the image turn out the same or better than the converted colour image
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Depends how much control you want over the final image. If you shoot raw+jpeg then the raw file is colour even if the jpeg is set to be mono, so that's the best of both worlds. Sometimes you can tell whether colour will be better or worse than the mono shot, so I think it's better to hedge your bets until you decide in the comfort of your own home! If you use the presets in something like Elements it is only a starting point, but you'd be far better using full fat photoshop for a better conversion, although Nik Exex is the big software for mono.
Always shoot in colour as if you select the black and white mode on you camera it will be sod law that some of the pictures taken would have worked better in colour than in black and white, you quickly realise that it is not possible to put the colour back in a photo taking on the cameras black and white setting.
Unless you have a dedicated digital mono camera (I only know of the Leica - but there may be others) - I believe that the mono mode of your camera is effectively processing the image for you. If you shoot in colour and then convert to mono - each colour can be manipulated during the conversion process to give the desired effect. In short, if you opt to shoot in colour, and in RAW, and then convert later to mono you will retain the maximum possible control over the final look and feel of your image.
thanks for replies
Ditto Snapper. I quite often put the camera to b/w mode and shoot Raws and Jpegs. That way you can see on the screen how the mono version will look, but you still have the option to use colour later if you want. I love using the camera this way as it reminds me of the "old days".
Ideally one should take a RAW colour photo and then make it into B&W with some software. This will allow for better control over image gradations, contrast and detail separation. B&W film has spectral sensitivity specifications different to colour digital sensor. Alternatively, if your camera allows taking B&W RAWs - and I know that at least some of cameras do that- this would be a very decent option too. But taking a B&W image in JPG severely limits lights/darks/contract adjustment diapason and makes detail separation almost completely impossible. However, there will be a lot of people who are happy with in-camera automatic processing - and it will be be perfectly OK if somebody likes it. As for the OP question - better or worse result depends more on the photographer's skill than any particular technique employed for image taking.
If you shoot in RAW, it doesn't matter whether you choose B&W on the camera. The file will always be there and can be converted back to colour. If you have problems visualising how something will look in B&W then shoot in RAW and B&W so you can see what it looks like on the camera monitor. Then I would put the file back into colour and create the B&W image in your software so that you can control what it looks like.
The crucial thing about producing a mono image is being able to adjust the colour channels independently in post-exposure processing. To do that you need to shoot in colour. It's the digital equivalent of using colour filters in front of the lens when shooting with black and white film.
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