This time my new style (or double of styles) sprung from the redesigned NS160 style. Having just finished the P160 -style and the new NS160 -style I was in the mood of creating also a B&W -style that would work with portraits. I imagined the NS160 -style would convert well to B&W and have low contrast look suitable for people photography.
My only other B&W style designed with portraits in mind was one based on Acros-curve. That one needs Fujifilm -version of Capture One and the style is quite “sweet” and clinical looking. It’s not bad but in the end I haven’t had much use for it.
One thing with B&W films is that almost what ever the film You use, You can get attached to the look. When someone masters one particular medium the photos taken with it looks brilliant, no matter how dull the “common” photos taken with it looks. At least I admire B&W photos taken with Acros film simulation almost no matter the settings used and many different real B&W films. While B&W photos with high contrast appeal to our eyes even, or especially, in people photos, my idea with this style was to have low contrast for skin and face areas.
I searched the net for different photos taken with different B&W films to see if I can find anything that has the look I was about to create. I soon bumped to Eastman Double X film. This film is made for movies and has been used by many for stills photography. Though some photos taken with this film were similar with my look I found out that depending on many factors there is surprisingly great variation in the final look. Development, exposure, scanning and lighting all seemed to effect the look and even the size and structure of grain. But at least some photos taken with that film looked like my style and I decided to use the word “double” in the name of my style to give it “identity”.
I played a long time with the microcontrast settings (clarity) and grain settings in Capture One. I ended up having nearly 20 versions with differing contrast and grain. Of those I found two versions most appealing. One of them is more analytical, more like a digital file (hence the name DoubleD) and one is more analogue looking (and got named DoubleA).
DoubleD was my strongest candidate for the final style. It is relatively light in appearance and got Capture One’s Classic clarity. I’ve read that Classic clarity is not so much recommended anymore as it cannot handle well high contrast edges that are typical for example in architecture photos. But I found it the only one setting giving enough “roughness” for textures and it looks good for people pics.
I tried to mimick the grain of Double X as well as I could. Capture One has wonderful smart grain system and a wealth of options to tune the look of the grain. But I reconsidered the look when I saw how strong the grain came. I thought I would be happy with even a less aggressive grain setting and decided to tune it a notch down so that the style would be more of a “one size fit all” kind of style.
My second favorite candidate was a look that had different, Capture One’s “Natural”, Clarity setting. This look was a bit more contrasty, had stronger grain and somehow looked more “analogue” with what I would call smoother microcontrast. I do not know why, but the stronger grain didn’t seem to be overkill with this style.
At first I forgot to nullify the color balance setting of NS160 style I used as basis for these styles. I got weirdly fond of having a color tint with the styles and decided to make color tinted versions along “neutral” B&W styles. My toned DoubleA style has slight green tint and DoubleD style has split toning with blue shadows and yellow midtones. I included both the neutral versions and as an extra the tinted (toned) versions in the package. Either ignore these versions or try them, it’s up to You. All these styles are downloadable from the link below.
Now the real question remains. Is there any reason to use digital means to mimick analogue film photographs. To me the achieved look is more important than the means, if the look is right. Hopefully these styles I created are useful to someone out there. I share these acknowledging that they don’t have the most fashionable look in digital world. But someone who appreciates delicate nuances in B&W photos might like these. At least I haven’t seen similar looking Capture One styles elsewhere.
Please share Your thoughts in the comments below and maybe share a link to Your photos, whether taken with this style or Your styles.
I wanted to test if I could find some in-camera -setting to give WYSIWYG -information of how the final look will be in Capture One. Of course You cannot match the look of Capture One -style as the possibilities to tweak the look in-camera is very limited compared to a good RAW-editor. But the following settings give quite good similarity with the style so You can save an in-camera setting to Your Fuji camera (the contrast is nearer DoubleA than DoubleD -style):
Image Quality FINE
Push/Pull (exposure compensation) 0 EV
Dynamic Range DR200
Film Simulation ACROS (no color filter)
Grain Effect STRONG (this practically ruins the in-camera look)
White Balance AS SHOT WB
WB Shift R:0,B:0
Highlight Tone -2
Shadow Tone -1
Noise Reduction -4
Just to remind: don’t expect this in-camera setting to be as good as the Capture One -style. This setting is not meant to be a final look (the final look is achieved with the Capture One -style).