990 B&W

B&W mode. Is it higher resolution?

The 990 manual seems to indicate that the B&W mode is higher resolution then using the color modes. Is it? Below I've included crops from larger shots of a resolution chart taken in both color and B&W mode. A tripod was used to reduce shake. I used manual mode to exclude any focus differences.


Actual size crops.



Picture Picture

Enlarged 300% to show detail

Color enlarged

B&W enlarged


Well, I like the look of the B&W mode a lot, but it does not appear to show any increased resolution over using color. There is slightly less morie pattern in the B&W shots, so that is an advantage. There might just be a little improvement, but I can't say that for sure, it might just be the increased contrast of the B&W mode. The B&W shots are the same size as the color shots in the camera, so there is no size advantage to using the B&W mode as opposed to taking color and desaturating them later.


I have had someone contact me and say that they thought that the B&W mode exibited less noise than the color mode. I've tried to reproduce this under controlled conditions, but can't yet. It would be nice if there were SOME reason to use the B&W mode.

Yes, the files are the same size as the color files, and they contain three identical B&W channels. If this were implemented differently, the files could be a third of the size as the color files, and there would be more reason to use B&W mode.

One slight advantage that I can see to using B&W is that the preview is B&W, so you get a better feel for the shot.

Another possible advantage is that the B&W shots look better (to me) than simply desaturating your color shots. It could be that a similar effect could be had by picking one of the color channels alone.

Take a look at the CP950 B&W page too.