Does anyone use monochrome mode?

Saturday, September 19, 2009 ·

I'm trying to get back to shooting more black and white and have been experimenting with the D700's monochrome setting. It's quite easy to set the camera up to shoot raw files that record rgb information and a high quality jpeg in monochrome. I've also set the camera to shoot with the equivalent of a red digital filter in place, boosted the contrast a little and applied the lowest level of yellow toning possible for a warm tone. These settings only affect the jpeg, leaving the raw file untouched.

I've not had time to do direct comparisons to find out whether there is a noticeable quality gain in converting the raw files to grayscale over monochrome jpegs but I've been quite happy so far with the latter. If you don't have to do much post-processing, then there isn't really much difference between raw files and jpegs.

What monochrome does, though, is help to sharpen your black and white view of the world. You get instant feedback of the scene in monochrome and this can assist in directing your visualisation. The jpeg files are very nice but I think I still prefer the flexibility that Nik Silver Efex Pro gives me when it comes to converting rgb files to black and white. Once I've honed my black and white a little, I'll maybe go back to just shooting raw files but the monochrome mode is providing some fun just now.