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I am a B&W newbie....I'm using an X-T2 and the Lee 100mm polyester filter B&W set; I'm shooting in RAW.

Let's assume I am using the green filter.

Shooting:

  1. Do I do a custom WB before the filter, then shoot with a green color cast?

  2. Do I put the filter on, then white balance and shoot with the green color cast removed?

  3. Does it matter?

Post

So...

  1. Use one of the shooting options above, or

  2. Load images into Lightroom and use the B&W setting and adjust to one's desired taste?

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    Excuse my ignorance, but why are you using a physical filter? Couldn't you just achieve the same effect in post-processing, considering you are going to do your colour-to-b&w conversion there anyway? – osullic Aug 28 '17 at 19:39
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    photo.stackexchange.com/questions/586/… .....You can use ND grads in post but I prefer I prefer lee grads...... I try to do all in camera with light meter, color checker, filters – Tampa Aug 28 '17 at 20:03
  • @osullic - The limitation of doing things in post is that you're basically limited to combining shots through red, green and blue filters. While that's probably fine for most purposes, it does mean that you can't (for example) block longer red wavelengths while keeping shorter red ones... so I can envisage some unusual situations where you could get results with a physical filter you couldn't recreate by post processing an RGB image. Not sure if any of the usual B&W colour filters fall into that category, though. – JerryTheC Aug 28 '17 at 23:13
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    What does "stack is xt2" mean? – Michael C Aug 29 '17 at 3:37
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The filter is designed to allow certain colors of light through while limiting others. In terms of black and white, this means that the color of the filter will expose more (and thus be brighter in the image) while other colors will be exposed less (to varying degrees, becoming darker in the image).

This type of color alteration is extremely important for film photography, where you can't alter the shade of the image as easily in post.

But for digital, it's less important. I would actually advise you to shoot full color in RAW and then convert to B&W in Lightroom. Scrap the filter, and don't worry about white balance.

You can simulate the effect that a green filter would have by mixing the colors in the B&W conversion such that you are exposing the greens and yellows more and the reds and blues less.

  • Film can't be directly digitally edited, of course, but it's been a common enough practice to scan color film images and digitally process them for a long time, so even from color film you can apply digital filters in this way. – StephenG Aug 28 '17 at 22:17
  • Very true. I should clarify that my comment was regarding black and white film - where one would want to get the intended tones out of camera to minimize any sort of tonal editing in post. If shooting color film - you're absolutely right, the same rule applies. Scrap the filter and do the conversion later. – Hueco Aug 28 '17 at 23:07
  • Color filters don't really block any other colors, they just reduce the amount of other colored light that gets through. If you use a red filter, some green light will still get through, it will just be a darker shade of gray than if the filter were not used. But everything in the image that is not red won't be totally black. – Michael C Aug 29 '17 at 3:35
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I am a B&W newbie....stack is xt2 and using the lee 100mm polyester filter B&W set shooting in raw

I'd strongly agree with posters who recommend digital filtering in post processing. This is incredibly flexible and you cannot fully undo the effect of a physical filter whereas with digital you can choose any filter in post and try them all if you want.

Lets assume I am using the green filter

Do I do a custom WB before the filter, then shoot with green color cast

WB is irrelevant when shooting RAW.

You apply (choose) white balance when you "develop" the RAW.

It is doubly irrelevant in B&W shooting in digital.

Do I put the filter on then white balance and shoot with the green color cast removed ?

If you did this (and you'd need to be shooting JPEG for this to make any kind of sense), then you'd essentially be trying to undo the effect of the filter. You want the cast the filter provides.

Again this illustrates why doing the filter in post processing is so much better IMO. You are not locked in to any choices (even B&W). The number of times I've shot B&W and then wished I could have the color version but could not, but with digital - no problem.

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    WB isn't totally irrelevant when shooting raw, even though the raw data does not contain any effects of a selected WB. To apply a custom WB based on a single image of a calibrated target, some raw processing applications require the camera to have been set to the 'Custom WB' generated by such a shot at the time the image was shot. – Michael C Aug 29 '17 at 4:09
  • Sometimes you don't want to fully undo the effect of a physical filter. If you know you are going to apply a green filter in post to reduce the red channel because there is much stronger red than the blue and green in the scene you are shooting, you might be better off using a physical filter to shoot it so that exposure can be increased (to reduce the noise in the green and blue areas) without blowing out the red channel. It all depends on what the scene contains and what you want the final image to look like. – Michael C Aug 29 '17 at 4:14

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