As mentioned earlier, a contributing factor for buying this camera was it’s ability to use colour filters for B&W photography. I often like to use a red filter for B&W photography, and I’ve used it with great success with the DP2m. The results have been better than using the channel mixer in SPP or converting to B&W in Adobe Lightroom, but the actual picture taking experience with a red filter attached is not great at all.

With the red filter attached, and the camera in colour mode, everything turns red, no surprise there. It becomes difficult to discern details of low contrast scenes, which becomes slightly more difficult when switching the camera to B&W WB, the result of which is a very dull grey image more difficult to discern on the LCD in bright light. The images below represent the camera‘s LCD previews when photographing with a red filter, which are consequently the embedded previews that SPP image browser displays. Mouse-over the images to show the image after SPP’s initial rendering.



Image Quality

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It’s a huge set back to have these dull images on the camera’s LCD, as it makes composition and exposure very difficult. There is however one benefit, that any highlight clipping will immediately be shown in the form of a much brighter part of the image. For colour it will appear bright red, almost white, while for B&W it will appear as white, seen above. This makes adjusting for correct exposure a little easier, but I somehow think that using a light meter might be the best option still.

Using a dark red filter provides a stronger result that simply selecting the red channel in SPP. The red channel is also the noisiest channel, so shooting with a red filter results in images that are considerably less noisy. Another draw back is the loss of light due to the filter factors. My red filter has a filter factor of around 8, which equates to 3 stops!

Below are comparisons between red-filtered images (always on the left) and SPP’s conversions with the colour mixer in the red (always on the right).

Pixel-level crops of each scene are also shown, which clearly show the increased noise of the SPP conversion using only the red channel.

*Please note, that even though a tripod was used, the images are not in perfect alignment due to the tripod legs sinking in the sand. The crops were aligned manually to match.

Full image:

actual pixels crop:

Full image:

actual pixels crop:

For some reason, SPP’s monochrome conversions default to a Luminance NR setting mid way between the highest and lowest setting. I find that this default is too high, and consequently always manually set it to the lowest values. It’s annoying that default settings cannot be altered permanently, however, SPP does allow batch WB, Color Mode and NR settings to be applied to a group of selected images.

To do this, select all the appropriate images in SPP’s image browser, then select “Edit” and scroll down until you see “White Balance”, “Color Mode” or “Noise Reduction.” The changes you make to these are written to the images’ 3XF settings, and will be applied to the images when you process them or batch save them.