Fuji X-T1 B&W help


#1

I recently rented a Fuji X-T1 to try out. While I loved the camera and the color files the B&W I am getting from my current workflow is not good.

Currently I am adjusting RAW files in Lightroom then taking a 16-bit ProPhotoRGB file into Photoshop for a simple conversion to greyscale and a curves adjustment layer. From my Canon and older Nikon this produces files with a full tonal range which print beautifully with K7 inks. When I run the Fuji RAW files through the same workflow they look like the gamma has shifted. The highlights are a bit grey and there is not a good black.

I am looking for any suggestions on getting a decent B&W out of these.

Thanks,

Cort


#2

As a Nikon and X-T1 owner, this is not a problem that I’ve had. But generally I convert to B&W in the converter (LR and C1). What colour space are you exporting in and how are you converting to monochrome in PS? Your problem sounds like a workflow issue, rather than anything specific to the X-T1.


#3

I have had horrible results doing B&W in Lightroom, the ever changing gamma gives me muddy midtones and weak blacks which are hard to correct because the image looks one way in the Develop module and another in Library and another when printed via Print Tool.

In Photoshop I am doing a simple Mode > Convert > Greyscale which uses a form of Channel Mixer. I get files with a nice full tonal range that take a simple tweak via a Curves Adjustment Layer to produce beautiful prints through Print Tool.

I have looked at several B&W images on a couple of Fuji forums and almost all have the same distinct look to one degree or another that I am getting.


#4

On two occasions this year I’ve done major event shoots over multiple days using both the D3s and X-T1. The D3s is a professional workhorse well-suited to the task, except when absolute silence is required (often) and that’s when I reach for the X-T1 and its silent shutter. So I ended up with a mix of shots from both cameras. I have to tweak WB, NR and sharpening separately, but thereafter I can just throw them all together. I don’t see any differences of the sort that you’re describing. I’ve printed plenty of X-T1 shots using K7 / P2 and haven’t seen this issue, albeit using a different workflow.

I don’t understand what you mean by “the ever changing gamma” and I haven’t noticed a difference between how an image appears in Develop vs Library.

You haven’t given us much more to go on to understand why you get what you do, you’ve simply restated the problem. There are a couple of things that come to mind, but they aren’t X-T1 specific, i.e. these would also apply to a Nikon.

In the camera calibration tab in the develop module, you can select a profile. The default is the Adobe one, which is usually flat and undersaturated. So it’s not a bad starting point when you need to preserve shadow detail in a high-contrast shot, but in other situations you may be better to choose another profile that mimics one of the camera’s look profiles. This applies to both Nikon and Fuji.

You didn’t say which colour profile you export the image from in LR or which greyscale profile. If you’re exporting in sRGB for example and converting to grey gamma 2.2 (which you would, if GG22 is the default greyspace profile), then watch the histogram as you do and you’ll see a significant lightening of the deep shadows. You won’t see this on the screen until you soft-proof for a piezo print. This opening of the shadows is part and parcel of the piezo workflow, and won’t be specific to any camera brand.

As I understand it, using the Photoshop “convert to greyscale” option uses a fairly standard weighting of
0.299 * Red + 0.587 * Green + 0.114 * Blue
which roughly equates to how the human eye seems luminosity. There are so many ways to render a B&W image from a colour one in Photoshop that I’d rarely do just that. To me, that’s a significant part of getting a really good B&W print, and I’d encourage you to consider some alternatives, regardless of your issues with Fuji files.

Show us some links to these problematic images on Fuji forums.


#5

Brian, I realize I have less that 20 posts here but I have 40+ years experience shooting, processing and printing B&W, 14 years of that using different versions of Jon’s B&W inks. Honestly I see things in B&W files and prints that others don’t and I have experimented with many different B&W conversion methods and workflows to get one that consistently creates beautiful B&W prints.

If you Google Lightroom Gamma you will find several articles that discuss its gamma problems.

I posted here hoping someone else had experienced the same issues and had a solution. In the next couple of weeks I will be renting the Fuji again and shooting color charts with it and my Canon and looking closely at the differences when converted to B&W to see if I can come up with a workflow to get better results from the Fuji.

Thanks for help, I will follow up when I have specific examples I can post.


#6

Certainly trumps my 30 years / 8+ years. Must be tough seeing things that no-one else does.


#7

It doesn’t beat my 53 years but I still know bugger all. Seasons greetings to one and all.


#8

I don’t have an X-T1 but I do have an X100t. I usually use one of the black and white presets down in the Camera Calibration menu to convert. I have had occasional problems with mid tones, one image that comes to mind had a large area of brown/green mountain and nothing I could do would get any subtlety out of it, including a manual conversion, but mostly I am happy. If mid tones are the main concern then its 5x7 delta 100 for me. My big complaint is with the highlights, distant areas of patchy snow, highlights on white flowers etc, can look very smeared and digital, using the free fuji version of silkypix helps considerably but once a seed of doubt is planted its hard to accept things the way they are. Small A4 prints help too. As far as colour goes, I find the adobe default over saturated but otherwise balanced but use it only for photographs made in flat light, classic chrome with the colour dialed right down gives me good jpegs except when it doesent, it tends to blue. No you are not alone.