LX5 Dynamic Black and White RAW Problem

Black and White conversion from an LX5 RAW file. This is the Imperial War Museum in Manchester.

If you are a regular visitor to the Lightweight Photographer site you may be aware that I like to solve people’s photographic problems if I can. One of the problems that seems to crop up with some regularity on Forums is that when shooting with the LX5 using the Dynamic Black and White setting the images come out in colour but the colours look odd. Here is an example below.

Dynamic B&W mode on the LX5 produces RAW files with an odd colour

The answer is relatively straight forward in that the user is shooting in RAW format. As RAW captures the image data but doesn’t apply any processing the images from a colour sensor will be in colour. If you want the Dynamic Black and White appearance for your image then you will need to capture your images in JPG format or at least RAW and JPG.

But why then the odd colour?

Well it helps add punch to the image when it is converted. The approach chosen by Panasonic is to bump the colour temperature up the maximum, shifting it to the warm end of the colour spectrum and reduce the tint settings for the RAW file (-95) so that the image is also shifted towards green. The internal processing of the camera then applies a digital filter and the result is a higher contrast image with greater tonal separation than a straight conversation. Here is the resulting file Dynamic B&W file.

Dynamic B&W setting on the LX5

Don’t however be lazy; lightweight yes but never lazy. Processing your colour images into Black and White will give you much greater creative control. The example at the top of the page was a conversion using Nik SilverEfex Pro 2 and took me around 3 minutes. I think that’s a good investment of my time.

7 thoughts on “LX5 Dynamic Black and White RAW Problem

  1. The LX5 doesn’t capture RAW files with the DYNAMIC B/W setting. Are you referring to another b/w setting, or is there some other way you are accessing DYNAMIC B/W?

    1. Although I no longer have my LX5 I could set it to shoot “Dynamic B/W” and to record the image in RAW format. When you then open the RAW file to edit it, the B&W preview is replaced with the colour settings in the RAW file. The interesting point is that the Temp and Tint settings have been set to extreme values which is how the “Dynamic B&W” effect is generated. The actual B&W image can only be created wher you are shooting in JPEG format. Hope this is a little clearer now.

      1. Robin-
        Thanks for the quick response. I realize now that I’ve been mostly shooting using the MY COLOR mode, where RAW shooting is not an option for certain settings like DYNAMIC B/W, PIN HOLE, FILM GRAIN, (all my favorites) and few others. I’ve just decided that I wanted to try RAW files and now I see that I’ll have to use the FILM mode to use DYN B/W. Thanks again.

      2. Hi Robin-

        I did some shooting using RAW files on my LX5 and managed to download and convert them into DNG. I would really like to be able to add a lot of grain and not have it look like I just added a lot of noise (I used to be a nitrate film curator/preservationist so I like the look). My issue is that I only have CS4 which doesn’t give me access to the film grain effects tab that is on CS5 and later. My impression is that this is a significant improvement, but I can’t afford the Photoshop upgrade right now.

        I have Silkypix 4.2, but I haven’t tried it yet. Do you know if it has comparable grain control to the CS5 effects? Or do you recommend the SilverEfex Pro 2 (or some other plug-in) over the Silkypix 4.2 grain control? And does the plug-in need to be LX5 compatible or DNG compatible (I’m confused)? I’ve done a lot of internet searching and I feel stuck in a circle. I hope I’m making sense and any advise would be warmly appreciated. I’m beginning to feel like going back to my Agfa Isola medium format film camera, but not yet…

        Very Best & Happy New Year!

      3. I haven’t used Silkypix for about 12 months now and I don’t think anything stood out to me in terms of grain simulation. Have you tried looking at the grain feature in the Adobe Camera RAW when you open the DNG file. Adobe did some improvements to this although I can’t recall which version. Nik plugins are also good but if you love grain I would suggest taking a look at Alien Skin Exposure. It has very good film simulation and the grain control is the best I have seen. You can even set the level of grain separately for the Shadows, Midtones and Highlights. Although it’s an additional expense I think it’s well worth it if you can find the budget. Even if your unsure have a look at the trial version.

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