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Color is a Slippery Trickster

Origina ARW from SONY a6500: embedded JPEG vs. render using correct camera profile

“How do you know, when you think blue — when you say blue — that you are talking about the same blue as anyone else?"

Christopher Moore, Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d'Art

The goals of this article are twofold: the first is to demonstrate that out-of-camera JPEGs, including in-camera previews, can’t be implicitly, with no checking, used to evaluate color (as we already know, the in-camera histogram is misleading, too). The second is to show that it isn’t necessary that the camera manufacturer-recommended converter be specifically tuned to match the out-of-camera JPEG.

RawDigger 1.2.17

RawDigger 1.2.17

Changes/New features

  • Camera support added
    • Nikon D5600
    • Panasonic GX800/850/GF9
    • Sigma Quattro H
  • Support for DNG files with multiple images with different linearization data in one file and Magic Lantern "out of camera" DNG
  • Fixed some problems (display of some old Canon sRAWs, incorrect black level for Sony A350 etc.)
  • Handling of black level tag for Canon (Kodak) D2000C files and Sony A7RM2 files without black level metadata
  • Exiftool updated to version 10.40

RawDigger 1.2.16

RawDigger 1.2.16

Changes/New features

  • Exiftool updated to version 10.37
  • Camera support added:
    • Canon EOS M5
    • Google Pixel and Pixel XL
    • Hasselblad X1D and True Zoom
    • Olympus E-M1-mkII
    • Panasonic DMC-FZ2000/2500/FZH1, DMC-LX9/10/15
    • Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge
    • Sony ILCA-99M2 (A99-II), ILCE-6500
  • Fixed display problem with some (old) Canon sRAWs

The Importance of Establishing Correct Reference Point

ACR. Original RAW (ORF) File

Some Internet discussions claim that it is easier to push shadows up on one camera model compared to another one. Turns out, such an impression may result from a certain trick. First, we will see the trick, and next we will expose it.

If we compare two cameras (or different settings for the same camera; or even the same shot from the same camera but processed in different ways), and we’re doing this by looking at two files in a RAW converter, we need to:

  • either be sure that those two files were processed identically (and no, that doesn’t mean pushing the same buttons or moving the same sliders in a converter / converters);
  • or, if they WERE processed in different ways, understand exactly what the difference is and how to get to the lowest common denominator, if that’s the goal.

Color Differences Between Cameras

RawDigger. Placing a Grid

When a new camera reaches the market one of the most discussed subjects is if the color it records is the same, better, or worse compared to a previous model. It often happens that the color is evaluated based on the rendering provided by some RAW converter. That is, an unknown parameter, that being the color profiles or transforms that a RAW converter uses for these models, comes into play. Another problem with such comparisons is that often they are based on shots taken with different lenses, under different light, and with effectively different exposures in RAW (while in fact the exposure settings itself may be the same).

Let's have a look how cameras compare in RAW if the set-up is kept very close to the same and the exposure in RAW is equalized.

RawDigger 1.2.15

RawDigger 1.2.15

Changes/New features

  • Exiftool updated to version 10.30
  • Camera support added:
    • Apple iPhone/iPad DNGs
    • Olympus E-PL8
    • Sony DSC-RX100V
    • Canon sRAW/mRAW format for modern cameras (80D, 5D4)
  • Better exiftool subprocess handling
  • Better handling of corrupted Foveon files
  • Additional integrity checks for Samsung NX files

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