Is Black and White Film Obsolete?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Black and White Photography: Digital Printing : One Thread
A recent article said B&W film is obsolete for scanning negatives or slides due to Photoshop's ability to convert color to monochrome. Furthermore, Photoshop is allegedly able to convert color to black and white using an infinite filtration spectrum - meaning you can duplicate the effects of yellow, orange, red or green filters on the resulting B&W image right on the computer screen. This would appear to give enormous flexibility. Is this true? Is it better, even for purely B&W photographers, to shoot color film and then convert the images to B&W after scanning? Are there still any good reasons to use traditional B&W film when printing digitally?
-- Michael Heath (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 11, 1999
>> Is this true?
Roughly, yes. Photoshop, and GIMP, and many other programs can indeed apply manipulations to the the colours in the process of desaturation. This gives a rough simulation (but certainly not 'duplication') of colour filters on B&W film. To give exact duplication, the software would have to know the characteristics of the colour film, B&W film, and filters. Even then it cannot be exact, because colour films actually lose some information that would be 'used' by the filter. See a recent question on this in one of the forums.
>> Is it better, even for purely B&W photographers, to shoot color film and then convert the images to B&W after scanning?
For me, no. I do my own B&W work. Using colour film would reduce my control and flexibility, and cost more.
>> Are there still any good reasons to use traditional B&W film when printing digitally?
Traditional B&W film is, well, different to colour film. Some of us still like it (even when working digitally). Those who like chromogenic B&W are perhaps most likely to appreciate colour-as-B&W.
For my money, colour-as-B&W is an extra technology, and to be welcomed, but doesn't replace what we have.
-- Alan Gibson (Alan.Gibson@technologist.com), September 22, 1999.