I got a new app this weekend: Simply Black and White. This one seemed appropriate since I am still on my black & white comparison exploration. Of course, I had to try it immediately. So far, I really like how it makes black and white photographs. You can either take a picture with the app or use an existing photo. I used existing photos in these tests. One of the nice things about Simply Black & White is that you can adjust the brightness and contrast and also add different black and white filters (none, red, green, blue, yellow and orange.) The app describes these filter as:

None: Produces a traditional black and white photo.

Red: Produces dramatic, high-contrast results. Lightens reds. Darkens blues and greens.

Green: Produces even skin tones and lightens greens. Darkens blues, violets and reds.

Blue: Fairly uncommon and typically reduces contrast. Lightens blues and greens. Darkens reds and oranges slightly.

Yellow: Increases contrast between sky and clouds. Lightens yellows, reds and light greens. Slightly darkens blues and purples.

Orange: Similar to yellow but stronger. Lightens yellows, reds, oranges and light greens. Darkens blues and purples.

The app also has the option to add either a black or a white frame, but that option is controlled in Settings which makes it less user friendly.

Below are my results. I left brightness and contrast the way they were and only tested the different filters.

The Barn:

 You can see a bit of difference between the filters here. The red is more contrasty and the blue less so. All the filters did a good job on this picture, but here, I would pick the red filter as doing the best job.

The Portrait:

You can see huge differences with this picture. The picture with no filter, in my opinion, is the nicest. The red washes out her face too much. While the green is supposed to even out skin tones, I don’t think it does, although maybe toning down the contrast would help. It does, however, nicely define her lips. The blue adds highlights to her hair and face that I don’t like and shadows to her face. The yellow and the orange both lighten her face too much.

The Path:

There’s not a whole lot of differences here. The red adds some contrast, especially in the foliage. The green darkens the highlights slightly. The blue darkens the greens somewhat while leaving the highlights alone. The yellow and the orange don’t make much difference to the photo. I think I like the orange filter the best on this picture, although it was a tough call; they all did a good job.

Since the definition of the filters mentioned sky and clouds I had to use a picture with some sky to compare.

The yellow and orange were supposed to increase the contrast between sky and clouds and they definitely did that, although the red did also. The blue washed out the sky (which makes sense.) The green added some contrast but seemed to darken the buildings. On this picture, the yellow filter seemed to do the best job.

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