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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎01-22-2018
Accepted Solution

B&W photo's on Canon SL1

Hi again, I hope someone can help me.  My camera was set up that if I put it on M it would take B&W pictures. It was so quick and easy.  I don't remember how I got it that way a few years ago but I went to use it recently and when I press the shutter , it takes forever to take the picture as if the shutter is open way too long. My shutter is set at 1/250 and when it finally is done the picture is totally black. You can barely see an image.  I must have changed the settings but have no idea how to set it up again for B&W pictures.  Thank you. Any ideas?

Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,977
Registered: ‎11-13-2012

Re: B&W photo's on Canon SL1

Forget about M mode if you don’t understand exposure theory. 

 

Set the camera to P and choose the Monochrome Picture Style. 

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X, Rebel T5i, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, MX472, LRCC Classic
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,816
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: B&W photo's on Canon SL1

John's advice really will give you the easiest method.

 

In "A" (automatic / green-box) mode, the good news is the camera makes all the decisions for you... but the bad news is the camera makes ALL the decisions for you and there is very little that you can override.  In full Auto mode you can't tell it you want shoot in B&W (but you can always convert any color image to B&W on your computer).

 

In "P" (Program) mode, the good news is that the camera starts out by making all the decisions for you (so it's easy)... and the better news is that you can still override what it would normally do (so you can tell it you want B&W images).  In this mode, you can go into the "picture style" menu (this menu is hidden from you if you are in "A" mode.) and tell you it you want monochrome.

 

You're going to get a fairly straight B&W conversion if you do it in camera.

 

BTW, you can use the camera to do the "monochrome" picture style in any of the "Creative Zone" modes... P, Av, Tv, or M (not just "P" mode).

 

 

 

Depending on your desires to get creative... here's a bit more.

 

Back in the days of film, photographers would put a colored glass filter in front of the lens when shooting B&W film.  While this might not at first seem to make sense (what difference should a color filter make when the film can't detect color?) it turns out it changes how color tones map to various shades of gray.

 

This will make more sense with examples.

 

Here's a color photo of an old electrical generator.  Nothing special was done to this image:  

 

Generator (Color) at Henry Ford Museum

 

Here's the same image... but with a "straight" B&W conversion.  Nothing too special is happening here:

 

Generator (Straight B&W Conversion) at Henry Ford Museum

 

But for this next image... I use a "red" filter.  When you apply a color filter, light that matches that color (in this case anything red) transmits through the filter quite easily (that's why it appears red).  But light that is NOT red, is substantially reduced.  Consequently, anything that is "red" in the original image, should appear to be bright -- nearly white.  But anything not red should be darker.  Have a look:

 

Generator (Red Filter B&W Conversion) at Henry Ford Museum

 

And just one more example... this time I used a "green" filter.  Anything green (and recall from the initial color photo that there really isn't much "green" in this photo) would come through nearly white... and anything not green will be much darker:  

 

Generator (Green Filter B&W Conversion) at Henry Ford Museum

 

And you can see how all the red parts of the generator appear a nice charcoal tonality in the B&W conversion because the "green" filter is blocking much of the red color areas.

 

 

It turns out there are many filter color choices (not just red & green).  

 

You don't actually have to use colored filters on your lens (although that's how it was done in the film days).  Today you can use software that handles the B&W conversion for you but it can convert by mapping the colors to different levels of tonaliity "as if" you had a filter on the camera when you took the shot.

 

The above was all just one shot ... converted three different times (those aren't different photos).

 

Depending on what computer software you use, you may have options for doing B&W conversions.  

 

A popular B&W conversion and adjustment program is Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.  Nik was acquired by Google and they made it available free to anyone.  They have subsequently sold it to DxO ... and DxO says they are planning a new release of it sometime in 2018 (but that updated version isn't available yet).  In the meantime, you can still download it free from Google.

 

To use it, you shoot the images in COLOR (not B&W) and open them in Nik Silver Efex ... the software will do the B&W conversion for you, but you'll see there are loads of options in terms of how it handles the conversion, contrast, it can simulate the effects of different types of film, etc.  

 

Just Google for "Nik Collection". 

 

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
Highlighted
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎01-22-2018

Re: B&W photo's on Canon SL1

Thank you T. Campbell.

 

Great information.  Has helped out a lot. I am going to download the Nik Collection and see where that takes me.  

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎01-22-2018

Re: B&W photo's on Canon SL1

Thank you. Good point!  It did help

VIP
Posts: 11,642
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: B&W photo's on Canon SL1

"You can barely see an image."

 

That is severe under exposure.  The opposite of what you describe your camera is doing.  You need to reset your camera to factory default.  It is in the menus under tools.  May be called 'clear all settings'.

 

Now under the camera tab set your style to monochrome.  Set the mode dial to P.  Go out side on a nice day and take some shots.  They will all be B&W and will be great.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎01-22-2018

Re: B&W photo's on Canon SL1

Thank you.  I was going to try that but was a little hesitant to do so incase I screwed something up.  I will try it.  What's the worse that could happen right? Will let you know if it worked .

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎01-22-2018

Re: B&W photo's on Canon SL1

Yeah!! It worked !!  Thank you for the tip. This discussion board has been invaluable so far.  Thank you so much again.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,816
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: B&W photo's on Canon SL1

[ Edited ]

If you post an image but leave the "EXIF" (shooting information) in the image, we have tools that will tell us the true exposure settings.  

 

If you say the shutter speed was set to 1/250th, but it took forever to take... it makes me think you had something like a 10-second delay timer set ... but still got a 1/250th sec exposure.

 

You may want to pick up a good intro book such as Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Exposure" to learn how the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO settings combine to create an exposure.  

 

Here's a short video that explains the concept, but the book would go into much more detail.

 

 

One technical nit... in this video he mentions that ISO changes the camera's sensitivity to light.  While that's an easy way to think about it, it's not actually what ISO does.  The amount of light collected by the camera during the exposure based on aperture and shutter speed are whatever they are ... ISO doesn't change sensitivity and the camera collects no more light at high ISO than at low ISO.  ISO is a "gain" adjustment (think "amplification").  That "gain" is actually applied after the shutter is closed and the image is captured.  Then the camera saves the results to the memory card.

 

This is a nit... but it turns out to be really import when it comes to how much "noise" you get in your images.  

 

The full explanation is a bit long and technical.  So I usually tell beginners that if it simplifies things in your mind to think of it as "sensitivity" then go ahead and use that.  Just know that it really applies "gain" and that subtle difference (sensitivity vs. gain) explains why you end up seeing a lot of "noise" in images when you use high ISO.

 

Every so often I find it's easier to teach a concept by over-simplifying it to make it easy... even though that really means we're telling a little white lie.  Becuase NOT telling the little white lie could end up with a long and confusing explanation.   Depending on how far you plan to take photography and how deep you want to go, the true explanation for how ISO works becomes important.

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎01-22-2018

Re: B&W photo's on Canon SL1

Thanks for the info!!  Helped a lot.

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