Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Fuji X100S made me a better B&W photographer


So let me share my "secrets" to getting great B&W results from the Fuji X100S with you.


Exploring new directions - Fuji X100S
B&W photography can give your photography a new direction


I started my photography with a cheap plastic camera from a grab bag and a roll of B&W film in the 70's. I must have been 5 or 6 years old at that time. I guess that is where my emotional attachment to B&W photography started.

But when I switched to mainly digital cameras I shot generally in color. This was in big part due to the fact that I did not like the in camera results that the JPG B&W modes produced. And once the color file ended up on my computer, I often just stuck with color.

But since I own the Fuji X100S this has changed! The Fuji X-Cameras create superb color files straight out of the camera. But for the B&W lover in you, Fuji has also created some wonderful B&W filters.

I can see between the lines - Fuji X100S
This reflection would have drowned in a busy color background


My favorite B&W setting on the X100S for most situations are:

- Film simulation: B-R (B&W Red Filter)
- Sharpness: +1
- Highlight Tone: 0
- Shadow Tone: +1
- Noise Reduction: -2

This will give you a fairly contrasty B&W look when exposed correctly.

Late summer day in Copenhagen - Fuji X100S
The lack of color can be visually relaxing


And in case you don't have a lot of experience with B&W photography the Fuji X cameras with EVF or LCD will take you by the hand and guide you to your first successful exposures. When you switch your JPG to B&W you will see a B&W image in the EVF / LCD preview. Now use the exposure compensation dial (in Aperture priority mode) to increase or decrease the exposure and get a more predominant black or white  look.

Remix the World Copenhagen - Fuji X100S
B&W works great for structures and patterns


Through the live preview in the EVF I got this next photo exposed the way I wanted in my first try. It feels like cheating, but the result is what counts! ;)

Shadow mirroring BMX - Fuji X100S
Got this exposed the way I wanted on the first try - and this pose in motion would not have had time for a second try



This is a X100S portrait with my B&W settings plus on board fill flash straight out of the X100S:

Happy Bokeh Friday 11.10.2013 - Fuji X100S
This is a JPG straight out of camera!


If I still want some more contrast in my photo I upload the JPG file to my iPad and do some  quick adjustments - et voilà!

Harbour Landscape B&W - Fuji X100S
The sun flare was visible in the EVF. This way I was able to time it just right when the ship passed underneath it.


Still not sure if you want to deprive your exposures of the color for good? No problem! Set the Fuji X100S to shoot JPG + RAW and the RAW file will contain all of the color information just in case you change your mind later. The EVF will still show the B&W preview. Feels like cheating again? Don't worry! It is all about the images that come out of the camera :)

Happy Hamburg Bokeh Friday 27.09.2013 - Fuji X100S
Be adventurous and try to some B&W photos with your Fuji X-Camera


 I have to admit that I sometimes shoot JPG + RAW and end up using the RAW file to convert it into a B&W JPG in post processing. I will do this when I shoot in very contrasty situations and might need to recover some highlights later. The other occasion is when I shoot close to or at ISO 6400. I have set the Noise Reduction to -2 but at those high ISO the X100S tends to smooth out a bit too much details despite the NR -2 setting.


Night portrait at ISO 6400 and 19mm - Fuji X100S
At ISO 6400 I prefer RAW to keep more details


So, are you ready to give it a try? Then why not just save the B&W settings as one of your custom settings in your X100S for those occasions when you feel like shooting Monochrome :)

Copenhagen - Bike and Run City - Fuji X100S
The Fuji X100S is the perfect B&W camera for me!


If you have any further questions or want to share your Fuji X B&W experiences just leave a comment below or Twitter me @HamburgCam

And if you liked my post I am always happy if you spread the word and retweet, like or google +1 it :-)

28 comments:

  1. I find the omission of the B&W filter previews on the XM1 and XA1 to be limiting. It's wonderful that you can actually see the effects of the red and yellow filters using the EVF on the X-E1 and X-P1. Quite an aid in visualizing the B&W output.

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    1. Really? The XM1 and XA1 both don't show the B&W previews on the display?

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    2. The XM1 and XA1 have no B&W filter simulations (yeah, I think a silly move by Fuji but whatever).

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  2. Lovely shots as always. On the X100s, I find myself shooting quite a lot in B&W as well. I love contrast so Monochrome + R Filter is my favourite.

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    1. Thank you Mat! We seem to share a similar taste in the look of our B&W images :)

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  3. Hi, great photos and a perfect showcase for the fuji x cameras when it comes to b&w.

    I myself shoot primarily in b&w, my camera is always set to shoot b&w, on the rare occasion I need colour I use the raw file, most of my work uses the jpg.

    I think the x cameras are superb for b&w and I find the range of tones is fantastic and produces amazing results when processed right. Thanks for your time in posting the examples. Cheers jon

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    1. Thank you for sharing and commenting Jon :)

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  4. Thanks a lot for this great post! Very useful info! I do not have an X100 or X100S but I will try these settings on my X10.

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    1. I have gotten very good results with my X10 and B&W, too!

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  5. Nice protips. Thanks! One question, do you use auto ISO?

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    1. Yes, I use Auto ISO most of the time. Only when I need more control over shutter time I switch it off.

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    2. Just one question also : what about the dynamic ? Did you set to Auto Mode ?
      (I just discover your website today and I will look at it more often cause I find it really helpful for x-users. Great posts.)

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  6. Thanks for the b&w tips. My own x100s is on its way right now, and I'll certainly give these settings a spin!

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    1. Let me know how they work out for you.

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  7. Very informative tips.

    I have been working on shooting social dancers in a salsa studio/ club setting. There's a lot of movement and I have to use zone focusing on my XE-1. I want the faces to have nice smooth skin tones, but the background can be contrasty, or even blown out is no problem if it's a stray strobe light. Any thoughts on tweaking these settings for this situation?

    Here's an example of what I am working on :
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/10148140@N07/10497897144/

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    1. Your settings look good to me. But you could use a bit of a fill flash to counter the bright lights in the background. Or you can post process some local lighting up faces and using a vignett to tune out the bright background and aim your viewer towards the faces.

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  8. I love the x100, a question. what program are you using on your ipad?

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    1. Most of the time I use Snapseed as it gives me a quick workflow on the road.

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  9. Thanks for the tips! Will give it a try the coming time.

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  10. I have been converting all my digital color RAW files to b&w for the last five years. When I shifted from DSLRs to the X100S (retired newspaper shooter), I picked up on this capability real quick. I have mine set to shoot RAW only but have the film simulation set to b&w on both my X100S and my X-E1 just so I can see what the b&w possibilities are. I go between the green filter and the red filter depending on the situation.

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    1. Yes, I find it really helpful to see the image in greyscale when choosing exposure. And sometimes I just go with the B&W JPG that I shoot in addition to the RAW file. It makes things a bit easyer when I use my iPad on the road for PP and uploading :)

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  11. Very good work. Do you always use the same aperture for this photos ?

    Thanks

    Jean-François from Paris

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    1. I use f2 most of the time (plus ND filter in bright situations). But for landscape I'll go up to f5.6 but hardly ever above that.

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  12. Some wonderful images especially the last one which has a timeless quality to it

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  13. Nice pictures. I bought mine today in black.

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  14. You have an excellent b&w work. I bought a x100s recently and I wonder how you get those silvered/grey tones of some of your pictures (i.e. the one with the ship and the sun flare). Can you tell me a little more about it?

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    1. I generally use the B&W JPG settings in camera as described in my post. On difficult lighting scenes (like the ship woth the sun flare) I sometimes go back to the color RAW file and tweak it to be a B&W image in LightRoom. This gives me the chance to tone individual color channes to the grey intensity that I seek This is the digital version of adding i.e. a red filter to your lens when you shoot B&W film to give you more contrast in the sky.

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