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COLOR PROFILES: ADOBE vs CAMERA SPECIFIC

thegios

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The new LR update brought up a discussion about PROFILES so I tought it'd be a good idea to make a dedicated post, partly cos I need tips and partly to help beginners
:)

I am giving for granted that we are all shooting raws
:)

I have a CANON EOS R that is naming PROFILES as PICTURE STYLES: NIKON and FUJI and SONY may use another name but the principle behind is the same.

As I said in the other post, we are all different, and I'm not trying to impose anything, just describing my preferences, workflow and point of view, to hel and get suggestions.
I disable all in-camera settings (lens profile, abrration, noise reduction ecc ecc) and I use the NEUTRAL COLOR PROFILE whch according to Canon is the most faithful rendering (although there's a debate between NEUTRAL and FAITHFUL). Fact: the picture style (or any other name for other brands) is part of the additional brand specific data that are present in a raw file, therefore they are actually used properly for rendering only by the camera body to display on LCD and by Canon DPP. Open the file is FAST RAW VIEWER and in LR, and you will get a very different rendering!!! Which is normal: FRV and LR are not reading the proprietary picture style data, so they need to render according to the way they are set up.
I am not going to talk much about FRV: I am using it only to cull images in fast way, to veify focus and general image, so I d onìt really care about the color rendering.
LR has changed many times, in years, the default profile to be used for rendering upon importing a photo. Myself, I have used over the years, depending on the camera used (300D, 40D, 7Dmk2 and now R): CAMERA SPECIFIC, ADOBE STANDARD, ADOBE COLOR and now ADOBE NEUTRAL.
Why? It took me years to relize myself and to choose my preferred one, and only when I moved to the EOS R I realized that the best way FOR ME to work is to start from the flattes image possible, or better from the flattest "rendering" possible. And this does not necessarily means that the profile used in LR must match exactly the picture style set in camera, even because the ADOBE CAMERA SPECIFIC profiles are just an approximations of the real Canon settings, deducted from a sort of reverse-engineering. The only way to see on screen the same rendering of LCD is to use canon DPP.

Adobe recently has moved to ADOBE COLOR a an all-round profile, and even Scott Kelby says this is his preferred profile, bujt since I moved to EOS R I have realized that ADOBE COLOR is too bright. I have tried with CANON NEUTRAL which is still not as flat as I would like. So I have decided from n ow on to use ADOBE NEUTRAL: every image for me is a new world, I do not do weddings or other events where you want all photos to be consistent, I edit every photo individually, sometimes it takes days...
Please share your comments, ideas, suggestion or questions.
I will post some samples to show the difference
 

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I disable all in-camera settings (lens profile, abrration, noise reduction ecc ecc) and I use the NEUTRAL COLOR PROFILE whch according to Canon is the most faithful rendering (although there's a debate between NEUTRAL and FAITHFUL).
. If you are shooting RAW, it does not matter. All in camera settings apply to the JPEG thumbnail or JPEG file developed and produced by the camera. If you shoot RAW, the RAW file contains not an image but RAW sensor photo site data. When Imported into Lightroom, this raw data is converted to RGB with some basic develop meant applied. Lightroom. uses its own reverse engineered Camera PROFILES or PICTURE STYLES that were noted in the RAW file header. This is what you see listed in the Profile dropdown list.

Over the years and with different cameras, I have usually preferred Camera Neutral on import to give my first look an unbiased look. In develop, I almost always cane the imported camera profile to something brighter. In the most recent iteration of Lightroom Classic and my most recent camera (Z7), I have been letting the camera profile default to Adobe Landscape even for portraits . The choice for everyone is strictly subjective.
 

thegios

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If you are shooting RAW, it does not matter. All in camera settings apply to the JPEG thumbnail or JPEG file developed and produced by the camera. If you shoot RAW, the RAW file contains not an image but RAW sensor photo site data. When Imported into Lightroom, this raw data is converted to RGB with some basic develop meant applied. Lightroom. uses its own reverse engineered Camera PROFILES or PICTURE STYLES that were noted in the RAW file header. This is what you see listed in the Profile dropdown list.
Yes yes this I fully know, I am not a LR beginner :)

Over the years and with different cameras, I have usually preferred Camera Neutral on import to give my first look an unbiased look. In develop, I almost always cane the imported camera profile to something brighter. In the most recent iteration of Lightroom Classic and my most recent camera (Z7), I have been letting the camera profile default to Adobe Landscape even for portraits . The choice for everyone is strictly subjective.
As I wrote, for me the preference changed over the years depending on the camera: ADOBE COLOR was working great with the CANON EOS 7dmk2 but with the EOS R is awfull, too bright.
 
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If you are shooting RAW, it does not matter
Partially true. Since raw data are not an image, they cannot be analyzed with an histogram. Therefore, the histogram shown on the camera is an analysis of the jpeg created by the camera wich depends of the develop settings of the camera. Setting the camera as neutral as possible makes the histogram as close as possible to the data in the raw.
 

thegios

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Partially true. Since raw data are not an image, they cannot be analyzed with an histogram. Therefore, the histogram shown on the camera is an analysis of the jpeg created by the camera wich depends of the develop settings of the camera. Setting the camera as neutral as possible makes the histogram as close as possible to the data in the raw.
That's exactly the reason why I made this post: the idea is to have both the camera and LR render an image as flat as possible and in a very similar way.

In theory using in LR the Canon Neutral profile you should get the same results in camera when Neutral picture style is chosen, but that's not necessarily true.

With the 7Dmk2 the Adobe Color profile was ok but with the R whites are all too bright, almost over exposed: look at the picture with the hinging underwear, the white underwear and the white towel with Adobe Color have lost most of the details, while with Adobe Neutral all details are recovered. Yes, color are muted down, but why it's fine with me as I'd tweak with colors anyway.
 

kimballistic

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Partially true. Since raw data are not an image, they cannot be analyzed with an histogram.
Histograms aren't just for images, they're for any numerical data.


If you want to see a real raw histogram, check out FastRawViewer or RawDigger, both of which only show you a raw histogram.



There's no good excuse for camera manufacturers to not provide a true raw histogram.
 
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Histograms aren't just for images, they're for any numerical data
I know that histogram can be done for any numerical data. But what matter for the photo is the analysis of the image. And RAW data are not an image, they are numerical values associated with each photosite of the sensor. These are not description of pixels. Pixels are created afterward by the rendering software using several photosites values. In a matrix of bayer for exemple, there is 4 photosites (1 capturing red, 2 capturing green and 1 capturing blue) per pixel and the software calculate with a complex algoritm the RGB value of a pixel not only from these 4 values, but also by taking in account the neighbor photosites.
You don't now how the pixels are until the raw data has been rendered by the software. Worst, each software (inside the camera, LR, DxO...) has its own algorithm with give a lightly different result from the same raw data. In this condition, I don't see how an histogram of raw data can be useful to me, what I want to see is an analysis of the image.
 

thegios

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I know that histogram can be done for any numerical data. But what matter for the photo is the analysis of the image. And RAW data are not an image, they are numerical values associated with each photosite of the sensor. These are not description of pixels. Pixels are created afterward by the rendering software using several photosites values. In a matrix of bayer for exemple, there is 4 photosites (1 capturing red, 2 capturing green and 1 capturing blue) per pixel and the software calculate with a complex algoritm the RGB value of a pixel not only from these 4 values, but also by taking in account the neighbor photosites.
You don't now how the pixels are until the raw data has been rendered by the software. Worst, each software (inside the camera, LR, DxO...) has its own algorithm with give a lightly different result from the same raw data. In this condition, I don't see how an histogram of raw data can be useful to me, what I want to see is an analysis of the image.
This is absolutely true.
And again, this is the reason of this post: you shoot raw, than the camera LCD, Fast Raw Viewer, Lightroom, Capture1, Canon DPP etc. all give you their own rendering of the RAW, all different.
Now, I understand that for those photographer shooting events or a series of photos for a project, would like to have uniformity across images (this is still possible in LR by syncing profiles across chosen photos), but I edit one photo at a time, sometimes it takes days for a single photo, so what i really need is to have il LR a very flat and dull rendering. Setting NEUTRAL in camera and then CANON NEUTRAL in LR is too saturated (even is neutral should be quite flat); setting NEUTRAL in camera and then ADOBE COLOR in LR is too saturated and whites are too overexposed (although with 7Dmk2 it was quite ok, but with R is really bad); setting NEUTRAL in camera and then ADOBE NEUTRAL is what gives me the flattest rendering possible, still different from camera LCD, but a very good starting point for my editing.
 

kimballistic

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And RAW data are not an image, they are numerical values associated with each photosite of the sensor. These are not description of pixels.
Actually that's all raw data is-- "descriptions of pixels." Raw data is simply one number for each pixel that's proportional to the recorded luminance incident on that physical pixel.

Now if you meant that a raw histogram doesn't represent the final image's RGB data that's been run through demosaicing, white balancing, a color profile transformation, gamma encoding, tone curve, saturation boost, sharpening, noise reduction, etc., then you're absolutely right.

But since I choose each of those steps in my raw processing anyway (in addition to many others!), I'd prefer not to see the camera's basic version. I want to know what data I'm starting with, not what it looks like when the camera produces it's own interpretation. I only care about the camera's JPG histogram when I'm shooting JPG, which is never. :)

Pixels are created afterward by the rendering software using several photosites values. In a matrix of bayer for exemple, there is 4 photosites (1 capturing red, 2 capturing green and 1 capturing blue) per pixel and the software calculate with a complex algoritm the RGB value of a pixel not only from these 4 values, but also by taking in account the neighbor photosites.
Well, sorta kinda maybe. A couple of clarifications:

Pixels aren't abstract concepts that are "created." They are physically present on the sensor. Some folks like to be more specific and call them sensels, or photosites, but it's all the same in modern parlance and at the level of detail that we're discussing. When your camera specs say the sensor has 24 megapixels in a grid 6,000 pixels wide by 4,000 pixels high, it's counting the physical photosites and calling them pixels. They're not counting an abstract imaging concept that is created in software later.

At the time of image capture each physical pixel already has 1 perfectly recorded raw color luminance value depending on what CFA filter is above it--red if it's under one of the CFA's red filters, blue if it's under one of the CFA's blue filters, and green if it's under one of the CFA's green filters. Demosaic algorithms do provide best guesses for the missing 2 colors based on the recorded color luminance values from surrounding pixels, but it would be misleading to say that all of the demosaiced RGB values are calculated based on multiple surrounding photosites-- only the missing 2 colors per pixel are.

You don't now how the pixels are until the raw data has been rendered by the software. Worst, each software (inside the camera, LR, DxO...) has its own algorithm with give a lightly different result from the same raw data. In this condition, I don't see how an histogram of raw data can be useful to me, what I want to see is an analysis of the image.
Respectfully, you're contradicting yourself. You say you want an analysis of your image in camera, but also say that each raw processor produces a different image. Sounds like the in-camera JPG doesn't work for you either. ;)

So what value is a camera's JPG output to you if you acknowledge that Lightroom or any other raw processor won't produce the same output?

The fact is, for raw shooters, the "final image" is what you export from Lightroom (or other raw processor) when you're done editing. The in-camera JPG (and its histogram) that is shown on the camera's screen is just a very rough draft that more than likely will have its tones in wildly different places than your methodically and carefully developed Lightroom image. Thus the in-camera JPG histograms are next to useless for image analysis.

For me, all I care about is highlight clipping in the raw data, and a raw histogram would give me that information in a much more usable form than having to interpret a JPG histogram.

JPGs clip all the time when the underlying raw data is not clipped. JPG histograms lie.

But since all I have is a JPG histogram, I have to jump through silly hoops like shooting with my camera's flat profile and using a fixed white balance that sets all WB coefficients to 1.0, leaving the JPG preview a sickly green. Not ideal.

And now you know why I want a raw histogram. ;)
 

kimballistic

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And again, this is the reason of this post: you shoot raw, than the camera LCD, Fast Raw Viewer, Lightroom, Capture1, Canon DPP etc. all give you their own rendering of the RAW, all different.
Which is why it would be so nice for cameras & more software to provide a raw histogram, which won't change based on which software you use or which edits you apply. You can quickly assess the quality of your captured data without having to mentally adjust for each unique JPG processing pipeline. Some examples below:






Now, I understand that for those photographer shooting events or a series of photos for a project, would like to have uniformity across images (this is still possible in LR by syncing profiles across chosen photos), but I edit one photo at a time, sometimes it takes days for a single photo, so what i really need is to have il LR a very flat and dull rendering. Setting NEUTRAL in camera and then CANON NEUTRAL in LR is too saturated (even is neutral should be quite flat); setting NEUTRAL in camera and then ADOBE COLOR in LR is too saturated and whites are too overexposed (although with 7Dmk2 it was quite ok, but with R is really bad); setting NEUTRAL in camera and then ADOBE NEUTRAL is what gives me the flattest rendering possible, still different from camera LCD, but a very good starting point for my editing.
Strongly agreed. A very flat, neutral profile is a great starting point for editing.
 

thegios

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That's why I am using fast raw viewer to cull images and to choose the one that go into my LT catalog: it shows the flattest image possible. Actually ADOBE NEUTRAL in LR gives me an even flatter image than FRV, but this nay be due to some monitor color profile applied in FRV settings.
 

kimballistic

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That's why I am using fast raw viewer to cull images and to choose the one that go into my LT catalog: it shows the flattest image possible. Actually ADOBE NEUTRAL in LR gives me an even flatter image than FRV, but this nay be due to some monitor color profile applied in FRV settings.
Yeah, it's a trade-off. The flattest image possible isn't necessarily best for viewing & culling, as it can be quite dull.

But for editing, it's a great starting point because your own edits don't instantly over-saturate or push contrast too far.
 
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