Useful Photography Tip #150: Black and White Images Fool The Eye Into Thinking They’re Sharper

Black and white vs Color comparison the phoblographer

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A while back, I posted a short tutorial on the secret behind sharper photos; to this date it’s one of the site’s most popular posts. But as I’ve been experimenting more and more with black and white photography, I’ve noticed something different. In that secret to sharpness post, I talk about the black levels and how deeper blacks help the eye to perceive that you’ve got a sharper image. It’s part of the idea behind the manipulation of contrast and mid tones in Adobe Lightroom.

While I’m not suggesting that everyone always shoots in black and white, if you want an image to appear sharper, you should convert it to black and white. But at the same time, don’t use this as a crutch to not getting good lighting and a sharp image to begin with. Just use it as a way to enhance the experience if you absolutely care about a critically sharp image that will make people on DPReview’s forums order Vaseline and Kleenex.

In general, high contrast and overly sharpened black and whites generally look much better than images in color.

You can view the images individually after the jump.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Black and White Portrait (1 of 1)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Color Portrait (1 of 1)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 4.0