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I have a D40 camera. When I plan to take pictures that I want to be B/W, what is the best practice?

The truth is that there is a "command line" in the "tool menu" of the camera that transforms the picture taken to B/W, but the result is really not nice. There is almost no contrast, etc... I doesn't look like a BW picture at all. So my guess is that there are some tricks to take pictures that will end in B/W, isn't it?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Take a look at this recent question photo.stackexchange.com/questions/7406/… \$\endgroup\$
    – gerikson
    Jan 21, 2011 at 15:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ And for choosing black and white vs. color, see: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/1757/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Reid
    Jan 22, 2011 at 23:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ btw, I don't think this is a dupe \$\endgroup\$
    – Reid
    Jan 22, 2011 at 23:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Reid: can you clarify what's unique here? The answers (including yours!) suggest that it is a duplicate. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    May 21, 2011 at 12:14

3 Answers 3

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The best way to take a black and white picture in a digital camera is to do the following.

  1. Find a nice scene to photograph. Ideally, especially in black and white, you want a scene that will have a good level histogram from completely bright to completely black, and as many colors in between as possible.
  2. Take the picture
  3. Convert the picture in post. Nik Siver Effects Pro is the pro version, if you don't have the budget, try Picasa. One nice thing about these tools is they will let you put in a "filter" that will give you some of the same effects that a black and white film photographer could do. That's really the subject for another question, but...
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When I want to take a B&W photo I set my camera on a BW picture style and shoot RAW. Why? Because I can see on the back of my camera how the picture might look like and later in lightroom or any other RAW processing software I can decide exactly how my picture should look in BW.

Some other info here: http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/digital_black_white.html

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Best practice here is doing the conversion in post-processing, as you'll have the right controls to avoid the lame result you're getting in-camera. So, you will want to shoot in RAW and then find your way to this question. :)

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