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Digital Black and White

Our specialist black and white digital photography page


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We’ve lots of articles on this site covering black and white digital photography and other monochrome issues.

If you are just starting out with digital black and white, then this particular article may be of interest. It’s a 2020 version of the original I wrote in 2004.

The basics of Black & White digital photography

This page is the reference point for all our digital black and white photography related articles and reviews.

It covers all aspects from taking photos for black and white use, processing and editing them (converting colour to b&w) and producing black and white prints.

Articles listed here are those with significant sections dealing with aspects of black and white photography. There are also some of my older Black and White Photos in the Gallery

Why Black and White

Black and white photography still inspires me.

I’m reminded of this quote from someone who’s original work, and ability to explore new techniques I admire:

“I eagerly await new concepts and processes. I believe that the electronic image will be the next major advance. Such systems will have their own inherent and inescapable structural characteristics, and the artist and functional practitioner will again strive to comprehend and control them.”

– Ansel Adams
forward to his book “the Negative”, published January, 1980

Black and White Photography

specialist monochrome test image for print

The image to the right is a special black and white printer test image.

Keith Cooper has created it to test the quality of black and white printing.

This is the current version of our standard black and white printer test image, first published in 2005.

The test image incorporates a number of features designed to make it useful in testing and then improving monochrome print output.

Many features are also directly copied from the old version so as to maintain compatibility with existing test prints.

It’s quite a harsh test, but covers most areas where printers have difficulties, such as shadow detail, colour casts, and linearity.

All the various parts are explained and an A4 300ppi sized version is freely available for download. There are versions with a 51 and 21 step greyscale ramp available for creating QTR ‘correction’ profiles. There are also numerous articles that include its use.

Black and White photography articles on this site

The articles and reviews are grouped into different categories. You can look through all the articles via the categories selection at there right, or use the search box.

Videos

  • Video: Why prints come out wrong and what to doVideo: Why prints come out wrong and what to doKeith looks at the top reasons photo prints don't come out right, along with the steps needed to fix your print problems. Based on years of sorting out print problems for photographers (22m 30s)
  • Video: Where are the high quality A4 photo printersVideo: Where are the high quality A4 photo printersWhy you don't get high quality photo and fine art printers at A4 or Letter size. What features do you get with larger printers apart from the ability to make larger sizes photo prints (6m 30s)
  • Video: What printer marketing doesn’t tell youVideo: What printer marketing doesn't tell youWhat printer marketing doesn't say. Keith Cooper looks how much better prints you will get from a new printer and why it probably won't be significantly different from the last model (13m 20s)
  • Video: From landscape to printVideo: From landscape to printKeith looks a the whole process of making a black & white landscape print, from stopping to admire the view, taking some photos, editing and processing them through to paper choices & printing (32m 16s)
  • Video: Are third party inks worth it?Video: Are third party inks worth it?Keith Cooper looks at ink choices for inkjet printers and asks if third party or 'compatible' inks are really worth trying, or are they a false economy if print quality and consistency matters? (7m 30s)

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Articles

  • Printer Test ImagesPrinter Test ImagesCollection of printer test images - colour and monochrome (black and white). Test photos for printer and monitor checking.
  • Dye inks or pigment inks for photo printingDye inks or pigment inks for photo printingWould a dye based ink printer or one using pigment inks be better for your photo printing. What prints look best on what printer ink type?
  • Black and white printing with the PRO-200Black and white printing with the PRO-200Printing black and white on the Canon PRO-200 A3+ dye based ink printer. Addressing the problem of colour tints under different lighting. Different types of paper and optimising the reproduction of your photos.
  • Black and White printing with the P700/P900Black and White printing with the P700/P900Black and white printing on the Epson SC-P700 A3+ pigment ink printer. Different types of paper and optimising the reproduction of your monochrome photos
  • Custom media for the PRO-300Custom media for the PRO-300Creating custom media settings for the Canon PRO-300 printer with the MCT software. Using the free Media Configuration Tool software for the PRO300 A3+ (13")printer
  • Black and white printing with the PRO-300Black and white printing with the PRO-300Printing black and white on the Canon PRO-300 A3+ pigment ink printer. Different types of paper and optimising the reproduction of your photos.
  • Keith Cooper’s paper reviewsKeith Cooper's paper reviewsKeith's photo paper reviews - collected data from all the papers for printing photos that we've tested over the years. Helpful if you can't get them where you live. Matt, satin, lustre and glossy. Regularly updated for new papers tested
  • Digital black and white photographyDigital black and white photographyExploring black and white photography and image editing. Methods of converting colour to B&W. How to get the monochrome image you want from a colour photo.

There are over 1100 free articles and reviews on the site - thanks to everyone who helps support it.
We appreciate any purchases you make through our partners such as B&H which help us sustain the site.

Reviews

  • Epson XP-15000 printer reviewEpson XP-15000 printer reviewKeith Cooper's review of the Epson XP-15000 printer for photo printing, The A3+ or 13" width printer uses dye based inks with an extra red and grey ink. The review concentrates on using the printer for high quality photo output rather than it's 'office printer' functionality
  • Canon PRO-200 printer reviewCanon PRO-200 printer reviewDetailed Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 printer review. Keith tests the PRO-300 pigment ink printer with a range of glossy and fine-art media, including panoramic prints up to 990mm (~39") long
  • Epson SC-P900 printer reviewEpson SC-P900 printer reviewDetailed review of the Epson SC-P900 17" (A2) pigment ink printer with sheet feed and optional powered roll paper holder. It has 10 inks and no matte/photo black ink switching
  • Epson SC-P700 printer reviewEpson SC-P700 printer reviewDetailed review of the Epson SC-P700 13" (A3+) pigment ink printer with sheet feed and roll paper holder. 10 inks and no matte/photo black ink switching
  • Canon PRO-300 printer reviewCanon PRO-300 printer reviewDetailed Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 printer review. Keith tests the PRO-300 pigment ink printer with a range of glossy and fine-art media, including panoramic prints up to 990mm (~39") long
  • PermaJet FB Gold Silk 315 reviewPermaJet FB Gold Silk 315 reviewReview: PermaJet FB Gold Silk 315 glossy baryta paper. The 315gsm Gold Silk paper has been reformulated with a smoother surface finish and improved coatings.
  • Review of DxO Nik Collection 3Review of DxO Nik Collection 3Review of Nik Collection 3 by DxO - The Image editing plugins are updated and expanded to fit more varied workflow choices without losing the original Nik functionality. Demo available.
  • PermaJet FB Pearl 300gsmPermaJet  FB Pearl 300gsmPaper review: Permajet FB Pearl 300gsm lustre/pearl finish photo paper. Fibre based baryta paper for pigment and dye based inks - give a bit more of a 'darkroom' feel to some images

Printing

  • Video: Choosing between the PRO-200 and PRO-300Video: Choosing between the PRO-200 and PRO-300Keith Cooper looks at the differences between the similar looking Canon PRO-200 and PRO-300 inkjet photo printers. Which works best for particular photographic needs(13m 15s)
  • Video: Dye or pigment ink printer choicesVideo: Dye or pigment ink printer choicesKeith Cooper looks at the differences between dye based and pigment based inks for inkjet photo printers. What works best? Is one type a better fit for some photographers (12m 40s)
  • Dye inks or pigment inks for photo printingDye inks or pigment inks for photo printingWould a dye based ink printer or one using pigment inks be better for your photo printing. What prints look best on what printer ink type?
  • Epson XP-15000 printer reviewEpson XP-15000 printer reviewKeith Cooper's review of the Epson XP-15000 printer for photo printing, The A3+ or 13" width printer uses dye based inks with an extra red and grey ink. The review concentrates on using the printer for high quality photo output rather than it's 'office printer' functionality
  • Canon PRO-200 printer reviewCanon PRO-200 printer reviewDetailed Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 printer review. Keith tests the PRO-300 pigment ink printer with a range of glossy and fine-art media, including panoramic prints up to 990mm (~39") long
  • Black and white printing with the PRO-200Black and white printing with the PRO-200Printing black and white on the Canon PRO-200 A3+ dye based ink printer. Addressing the problem of colour tints under different lighting. Different types of paper and optimising the reproduction of your photos.
  • Epson SC-P900 printer reviewEpson SC-P900 printer reviewDetailed review of the Epson SC-P900 17" (A2) pigment ink printer with sheet feed and optional powered roll paper holder. It has 10 inks and no matte/photo black ink switching
  • Video: The black and white printer test imageVideo: The black and white printer test imageKeith Cooper looks at the basics of using his specialist black and white printer test image to evaluate black and white printing (6mins)

News

  • Epson SureColor SC-P5000 STD Printer announcedEpson SureColor SC-P5000 STD Printer announcedLatest information about the new SureColor P5000 17" large format printer from Epson. The replacement for the SP4900 A2 sized desktop printer.
  • Keith Cooper’s talks about printmakingKeith Cooper's talks about printmakingKeith Cooper talks about making large prints at The Photography Show 2017 - Getting great looking big prints from your work. From camera to print, the complete workflow
  • New Canon papers announcedNew Canon papers announcedCanon USA announce three new Premium Fine Art papers — Premium Fine Art Smooth, Premium Fine Art Bright White and Premium Polished Rag. Designed to produce, rich-color reproduction, and detailed expression of gradation. Keith has a roll of the Fine Art Smooth for an upcoming paper review

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More print related information

For information about other printers, paper reviews and profiling (colour management) see the Printing section of the main Articles and Reviews page, or use the search box at the top of any page. There are also specific index pages for any articles connected with the following topics:

More of Keith's articles/reviews (Google's picks to match this page)


 

 

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