CI Photocommunity

Register a free account now!

If you are registered, you get access to the members only section, can participate in the buy & sell second hand forum and last but not least you can reserve your preferred username before someone else takes it.

Desaturation versus greyscaling


Active Member
Here a novice question:
When scanning B&W what is the best way: To scan in grey scale or to scan in color mode and desaturate.

Does the difference in information make a difference in tones?
I cant make up my mind on this.

In this question i disregard the issue of having a small colour bias in the colour scan of B&W negatives. I just wonder about the difference in information in colors making a difference in greyscales.


Well-Known Member
I have tried both ways, and cannot see any difference. I have never found any advantage in scanning B/W negs in colour mode.



Well-Known Member
I remember having issues when ink-jet printing GreyScale files, for that reason I prefer to do sRGB or AdobeRGB only...


Active Member
The ultimate answer to greyscaling?

I finally found a really deep article on this issue unfortunately in Norwegian, but you might want to put it through google translate.

In this article the author suggests to work in colour raw files and to develop tha B&W picture in the different colour channels this offers. Just looking at the pictures in the article should give some ideas.
here it is:
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

I guess for scanning this would imply to scan in colors and to work in the rgb channels in a similar way?


Well-Known Member
Depends on whether your scanner can scan as high bits in greyscale as color. My V700 does 16 bit greyscale and 48 bit color, thus the color has four times more information to represent one pixel. Therefore scanning in color and desaturating (adding bw filter) should give the best result. Depends on your post production software as well. More bits are always better.


Please, Log in or Register to view quote content!

What scanner do you use?

best midtones come when i scan my BW films in grayscale mode (Nikonscan 9000)

but, if you has a little dirty color film and want to scan like BW film - first scan it like color, for Digital ICE (its work only with color 4 layers film) save like NEF file (nikon raw) and after open it in photoshop. play with Curves