Black and White Photography

I did not get the impression you were grumpy and no apology is necessary.

Yes, the film type emulations within FilmPack 5 Elite are intended to give digital images the look of a variety of different films. However FilmPack 5 has a significant number of other tools that can be used with or without the film emulations.

I have no clue as to why you might think that I have more knowledge than anyone else you’ve spoken to on this subject in 40 years. I can assure you that any knowledge I have is no greater then many, or perhaps most of the other people posting here. And, some folks here have knowledge significantly greater than my own. Having said that, it is generally preferable to shoot in color and convert to monochrome in post-processing where you have better control over the conversion.


Hi Mike,

sorry for the word prohibted…that wasn’t the right word and not my intention.
But clicking the link you get

Error 1011

Ray ID: 60b682baaefd4a85 • 2021-01-02 18:23:20 UTC

Access denied

What happened?

The owner of this website ( does not allow hotlinking to that resource (/trips/2014-05-yosemite/16/70050007-1200.jpg).


And the best way is to download the 30 days trial of Filmpack adn take a deeper look in the possibilities. Then you can decide if it fit’s your need and if yes buy it.

Have a lot of fun with

best regards


I doubt if most people I know, unless they’re old, even know what b&w refers to. :slight_smile:

…and if you asked them to send you a photo in b&w, perhaps they might look for a “b&w” app on their phone.

As for me, b&w more or less vanished between the 1960’s and 1980’s. Seeing those photos taken with a Rollei camera a week or so ago, was like a breath of fresh air. They still discuss b&w in the Leica forum, and Leica actually makes new cameras today that can’t capture color - but none of the new Leica cameras are as good as the old M3. (I can post the reason why I say that, if anyone is interested.)

You wrote:

it is generally preferable to shoot in color and convert to monochrome in post-processing where you have better control over the conversion.

Thanks - that answers my question. If I shoot B&W digital, I will capture the images as color, and then can either use the black&white preset when I import those images into PL, or change them into b&w afterwards.

Be aware that you won’t be able to use DeepPRIME with scanned images, because in most cases they won’t be RAW files (usually TIF or JPG, etc.). Of course, you could use a digital camera to image file negatives/slides and use DeepPRIME that way. There’s a whole community of people who digitize their film with digital cameras, but it does require a stable camera platform and a good light source. As far as interacting with film grain, I have no idea.

Aha! OK, understood. For anyone stubborn enough to still want to see this image, point your browser to and scroll down.

Dear Mike,

to become an idea what is possible with RAW files and converting them to B&W with Nik Collection (for Example) please take a look at
Robin Whalley dxo nik black - YouTube
Anthony Morganti dxo nik black - YouTube
(there is also a tutorial for Zone system ) Mastering the Nik Collection - 7: Silver Efex Pro 2 Zone Mapping - YouTube

and here is what one forum member does with an old, badly scanned jpeg from a friend of mine

Ans as I see…the photo of the falls by Ken was processed by an professional photo studio and implemented with split toning and,and, and … lot of work :wink:


Here’s one I converted recently. RAW to full colour TIFF using PL, then opened the TIFF in Afinity Photo and used Nik Silver Efex to convert to B&W:

The original is very boring:



Why did you need to open Affinity Photo to use Silver Efex Pro?


Well, now it looks like a photo that might have come from my grandfather’s old photo album, except you fixed it so the brown/yellow discoloration is gone, along with the cracks from when it was folded long ago. :slight_smile:

More seriously, yes, it’s a lovely effect, and it’s certainly not boring like the original.

If it’s considered a “photo illustration”, I think it is superb.
With no explanation, I think it’s misleading - but that’s just me.

I think I’ll have to give this a go, maybe tonight. Very interesting, and well done!

A very important subtlety - if you are shooting RAW, setting your camera to B&W will only change the jpeg preview image that you see on the back of the camera, the RAW image will always be in colour.

Using FilmPack in PL means that you stay with the RAW image all the way through. Sending your image to NIK involves converting to tiff and losing the RAW capabilities like DeepPRIME.

As others have said, FilmPack is much more tha just a bunch of film emulations. The extra tools you get mean you can do your own colour to B&W conversion, how you want. Yes, you can take a preset as a starting point but then you can change anything you want. Personally, I don’t see the need to use the NIK tools if you’ve got FilmPack already integrated into PL.

Even with FilmPack, you don’t need to use a preset to convert to B&W, you can simply desaturate the image and start from there. But then tools like the channel mixer and coloured filters that come with FilmPack can help to change the tonal response to different colours just like putting coloured filters in front of the lens when you took the picture.

When it comes to handling digitised film, unless you use a digital camera, most, if not all, scanners will give you a tiff file, which then means you lose RAW tools like DeepPRIME noise reduction. Although I’m not sure what DeepPRIME will do to “real” film grain.

Then you need to consider how you are going to deal with the inevitable dust spots that accompany handling film. The PL repair/clone tool is OK but I find it “clumsy” in that you need to define the target, PL decides on a source and then you have to move the source if it is not suitable. Î would prefer the other way round of defining the source and then applying it to a target area.

But, whatever the tool, dust spot removal can be laborious and time consuming, which, for me, is one of the reasons why I stick with digital for small format. Film sounds “romantic” until you realise just how much extra work it involves, unless you consider that extra work part of an artisan process :wink:

My father was a keen photographer — he is the reason I shoot Pentax — but also an historian. I recall him once talking about figuring out what colour markings were on an aircraft in a black and white photo based on the relative shades and using other cues in the picture. I don’t remember a lot of the detail but, for example, if you could see a national insignia on a military aircraft, and could date the shot, then you knew the colours used in the insignia and could correlate that to other colours on the aircraft. He also used to talk about colour temperatures as well, though I don’t recall any detail of that. Not sure what he would have done with digitally desaturated shots where every frame was at the photographer’s whim!

I can’t remember which software it was — one of Lightroom, Aperture, or Luminar I guess — that would allow you to click to place the target and then immediately drag to pick the source, all while showing a live result. I may be misremembering because that would imply spots only and no random brushed shape.

I used film SLRs for very nearly 20 years. I don’t find the film concept romantic at all.

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Simply because it is my preference to use a workflow that does pixel stuff in a proper pixel editor and leaves PL to do what it does best, i.e. RAW conversion.

Of course, “Other workflows are available.” Go with whatever works for you :smile:


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Two things I eventually need to look into. Both very important. Eventually.

How do you plan on digitising your film?

If you only want a photograph to be ‘realistic’ then this sort of conversion is pointless. However, in this case realism was uninteresting whereas an artistic rendering evokes a response, a feeling of a bygone era. To me, that’s an ‘improvement’ but art rarely pleases everyone so others are entitled to disagree.

The camera may not lie but software sure does :grin:


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I take a picture of my dia’s. I made a construction for on my lens and just put the slider in it. Very fast and if you want you can shoot raw and see what that gives you in pl. :grinning:
With a little modification also to be used for unframed negatives.


I have a Nikon CoolScan V ED that I use to digitise my 35mm transparencies. One of the file types it can save files in is .NEF. Superficially that is a RAW format but it’s not a normal .NEF, it is a CoolScan specific file type that in my experience is only readable by the Nikon Scan software*.

*if anyone here knows different, I’d love to learn!

When I digitise my 5" x 4" negs/transparencies, I have the emulsion side closest to the lens to avoid any distortion in the film base. The problem is that this produces a reversed image that PL can’t flip unless I convert it to TIFF and flip it before getting to PL :frowning_face:

That means the light is coming from the side of the camera. My negatives are light from the back. Something like the nikon es2 film scanner. I only have 35mm negatives/dias.


For all who want to bring analog film into a digital form:

Apart from dealing with a Lr plugin, the forum has a lot of information
on how to digitalize analog shots, gear, methods, lighting etc.