Street – Fuji 23mm f1.4 – Colour or B&W?

This is a cross post with my blog at Derek Clark Photography for the following reason. When it comes to street photography I’ve always had my feet planted in the black and white side of the fence as it just looks more interesting to me. It strips away the distraction of colour and narrows the photograph down to composition and content. It also gives street shots a timeless quality. This blog has had only three colour pictures (I think), which were on the earliest posts. Since then it’s been B&W all the way and even the post processing has been the exact same home made recipe that I cooked up in Silver Efex Pro way back. But lately I’ve noticed that some colour street photography has been catching my eye and that’s unusual for me. I tend to think colour street shots look a little too bland, but never say never!

So here’s the thing. All the shots on this post are in black and white, but you will find the same ones in colour over at DerekClarkPhotography by clicking HERE. They were all shot with the amazing new Fujifilm 23mm f1.4 on the X-Pro1, a pair that hasn’t been separated since the lens was released. Have a look at both blog posts and see what you prefer. I’d love to here what you think. Do they all look better in colour? Do they all look better in B&W? Or does it depend on the individual photo?

Have a look at both B&W and colour versions, then leave a comment & use the poll bellow (or both).

16 responses

  1. Pingback: Street - Fuji 23mm f1.4 - Colour or B&W? | Derek Clark Photography

  2. Definitely B&W for street, although color is nice some times. But it is much more difficult to achieve an interesting color composition.

    January 1, 2014 at 13:30

    • I know what you mean. Colour depends a lot on good light, but B&W can be shot anytime. These shots were all taken as the sun was going down. The light in Scotland at this time of year is so bad that a mid day shot in colour would be flat and dull.

      Thanks for your comment

      January 1, 2014 at 14:12

  3. iamamro

    Colour is lovely, but it’s so light dependent, and problematic with the ultra dull British weather – it’s safer to stick with black and white. I think black and white can be forgiving of focus issues too – colours needs you to get everything so right.
    Happy new year to you!

    January 1, 2014 at 15:37

    • I’m with you with the British weather. The quality of light in the UK is so poor at this time of year that B&W is sometimes the only option if you want usable shots.

      Happy new year

      January 7, 2014 at 22:32

  4. Comparing the two, and thanks for that, the B&W wins hands down in my humble opinion. I have asked myself the same question and I think you have answered it for me. All the best.

    January 1, 2014 at 23:07

    • Thanks Andy, I definitely lean more to B&W too.

      All the best for 2014

      January 7, 2014 at 22:25

  5. Streetshooter

    Derek, you’ve put up a very good question, especially for Day 1, 2014. I don’t think your confused at all, in fact I think you know exactly what your doing…your photos prove that. Color/B&W…well I always look at each image and let it tell me how to process. There are strong differences between color vrs B&W especially in the eye travel. That’s the key….if you can SEE the image one way or the other, then there really is no choice…the image dictates the outcome. If you can’t see the difference then one should make it both ways and compare how the eye travel reacts to each.
    There’s no such thing as street is b&w…that’s like saying…street is a certain film, a certain camera, a certain lens, a certain time of day, a certain location etc…..

    Happy New Years my friend……Peace to you thru the year….

    January 1, 2014 at 23:19

    • Well put Don, I like your thinking on this and agree totally.

      Happy new year to you too.

      January 7, 2014 at 22:08

  6. Kevin Shooter

    Definetely black and white – colour only works for me if there are dominant, strong colours, making it slightly more abstract.
    Your shots are excellent! I have just ordered the XPro 1 as a result, so that’s your fault! I didn’t need another camara..

    January 3, 2014 at 11:50

    • Thanks Kevin and good luck with the X-Pro1. I seem to be the cause of a lot of X Series cameras being bought. Maybe Fuji should be paying me commission?


      January 3, 2014 at 17:55

  7. Pingback: Street – Fuji 23mm f1.4 – Colour or B&W? | Derek Clark

  8. For me, it’s B&W.
    I often try to convince myself that I should like colour more but nine times out often Black and White wins………….

    January 9, 2014 at 22:05

    • I know what you mean. B&W is just that bit more powerful.

      Thanks for the comment

      January 9, 2014 at 22:30

  9. Pingback: miXed zone: Full Frame madness, XC 50-230: the forgotten one and more! | Fuji Rumors

  10. K C Towers

    It depends on the image I think. Some images have a strong lean towards keeping them as a colour shot and others work best as b/w. It’s only a medium to work with and there is no obligation to use one over the other. It’s all down to image content and what it adds to the image. I prefer and shoot mainly for b/w, but have some colour street stuff too where they lead to a stronger image. Digital has given us the freedom to work easily with either, so we should embrace the full palette that’s be given to us. Why not?

    October 6, 2014 at 08:24

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