The Nikon P7100 offers 4 picture modes which deal with how the jpeg image will be stored. The default position is Standard and the manual recommends Neutral if you plan to process raw files. Vivid makes the colors more intense by increasing saturation and also increases in-camera sharpness processing. Mono, of course just produces a monochrome image. This is always an interesting point since manufacturers often use the same terms but use varying values for saturation, sharpness, contrast, etc. to impact how the jpeg image is presented. I generally leave my P7100 in Standard Mode. I shoot both raw (.NRW) and JPEG files but, I like the option to process the raw files for shots I find better than others or want to use for some reason. Otherwise, I just use the jpeg to mail to friends, etc. Here is a series of shots of the same subject taken on an overcast day.
These are Standard and Neutral on top and Vivid and Monochrome on the bottom. If you click on the images, you will see a full size view where the comparisons will be easier to make. Of course, you won’t see any color differences in the monochrome image but it servers two purposes. By eliminating color, you can see the relative brightness of various parts for example the various shades of green in the Sabal Palm can be compared to the blues of the sky. This isn’t very scientific, of course, but I find it helpful.
The other purpose for taking the monochrome image was to allow me to play with Capture NX a bit. When I load the raw monochrome image into Capture NX, I can change the Picture Control used at capture. Yep, I can retrieve the color pixels as well and store the image in the same Standard, Neutral and Vivid shown above. Capture NX also provides two other picture controls at the camera setting level, Portrait and Landscape. So, just for fun, I saved the Monochrom Raw image at Standard and Vivid, (top two pictures) and Portrait and Landscape(bottom two pictures) to see what happened with that. Here they are. You can see the differences in these too.
This was just a fun experiment. On a normal day I sent the camera to Standard but, if it clouds over, I use Vivid. If I decide to process from raw, I remove whatever control was used and replace it with neutral.