Black White Grey

Black and White on a digital camera designed for color. Not easy. Very easy. Depends on your wishes.

I adore the quality of my Black and White scans from real film. See some previous posts. And that quality is impossible to reproduce using a digital camera and a software based 'developer'. No matter what film simulation add-on you use, no matter what Lightroom and Photoshop or Capture One settings one figures out, it is not the same. Not surprising as they are two completely different beasts.

Even the results I see from Leica Monochrome camera's do not look like 'film' to me. Very beautiful digital images, but not film.

But can we get close?
In Black and White film, the dark parts of a film image tend to loose detail. The light parts on the other hand maintain an unbelievable amount of detail when scanned and processed right. This can be influenced a little by the exposure and development of the original film negative, but the general characteristics stand.

Digital on the other hand does exactly the reverse. It is relatively easy to have detailed dark parts and light parts have a tendency to loose detail, blow out. Next to that digital has a straight 'Curve' where film shows an 'S' type of curve.
Big differences, more or less the opposite actually.

That means that when developing our digital picture in our preferred software, we have to try to approach the film characteristics. Loose detail in the dark parts, get as much detail as possible in the light parts and adopt an 'S' curve. Sounds simple, but it is not.

I experimented a lot and I still have not found the ideal recipe, but I do think that the above picture starts to approach a Real Film Black and White photograph. At least it does not look 'digital', as do 99% of all Black and White pictures on the Internet.