Black and White Image from Saratoga Springs. A few thoughts about using the monochrome modes in the Panasonic G9.

not taken with a G9...
Might be a Panasonic GH4.

I always like to at least try the monochrome modes on cameras. Sometimes you can get lucky. Fuji users seem luckier. Using "monochrome" on my Nikons is an exercise in futility. I thought, maybe --- just maybe --- the newer Panasonic G9 would be better. I tried the different modes like Monochrome L and D and I tried the different color filter settings but the files just weren't very convincing as black and whites. The one thing I will warn you against, if you are intent of trying to make the G9 your "go to" black and white camera is to shy away from using the "add grain" feature. Even at the lowest setting it adds way too much grain and the grain "edges" are way too soft to be even glancingly close to real film grain. Better to bring your files into PhotoShop and do conversions from color there and add film grain with PS filters.

Maybe it's just a control issue...


Mitch said...

Always fun to see your Saratoga stuff as I live not far away and spend lots of time there. Covered summer horseracing for 24 years.

Anyway, I've never had any interest in the monochrome "feature". Great B+W's can be had relatively easily from so much of the software available to us now. I'd dare say I can get far better results than I ever could from the thousands of rolls of Tri-X / T-Max shot and Polycontrast, Panalure (which got quite good) or selenium toned Ilford Galerie prints made over the decades.

And yeah, Nikon monochrome is underwhelming.

B+W has always been fun for me even though somewhere between zero and no clients ever want it. Maybe that's why it's fun. I get to do it for myself on my terms.

Kirk said...

Now I agree.

Anonymous said...


I traded my Olympus Pen-F for a Panasonic G9 last May and really do enjoy it. I'm glad to see you have tried it with your old Pen-F lenses. The G9 and its focus peaking are a great match for my manual focus lenses.

Concerning B&W output from the camera give the following settings a try.
1. L.Monochrome
2. Contrast +2
3. Sharpness +2
4. Noise Reduction -2
5. Color tone 0
6. Filter Effect Orange
7. Grain Off

This is my normal walking around setting in my G9. To me it gives a similar effect as my Leica M9. It might be a bit harsh in Austin's bright sun, but it it very nice in Seattle.


MikeR said...

Curious - how does the G9 compare to your G85?

Paul said...

I quite often wander around with an OM-D set to monochrome and square format, it helps me concentrate on light and composition. But because I shoot raw and jpeg I still have the opportunity to process the raw myself or just use the jpeg. The Pen-F is very tempting it’s effectively got built in b&w filters and tone curve control

Gato said...

About the only time I set the camera to B&W is when I want to show a portrait subject B&W on the screen. Then I use JPEG+RAW and process my own final monochrome from the RAWs. I like the control, plus I usually tone or tint B&W. FWIW

Patrick Dodds said...

Back two iterations, I love the Rough Monochrome setting using a square crop on my GX7.

MikeR said...

My Lumix LX100, and my wife's G85, have an option to set just the rear display to monochrome. I find it helps with composition to ignore colors. Wish my GX7 did the same, (and if it can, so far I haven't found it).