• Members 133 posts
    March 19, 2024, 1:25 p.m.

    I just asked this in DPReview, then realized I’d probably get a better answer here:

    I’ll begin by saying I’m not going to switch my camera system because of the colors of another brand.

    Often, I read that some photographers prefer “Canon colors” over Sony/Nikon, while others prefer “Nikon colors”. If I shoot JPEG, or if I shoot RAW and use the camera manufacturer’s RAW editor, I see how I could benefit from the manufacturer’s color science.

    But what if I shoot RAW and I use Lightroom or DxO PhotoLab as my RAW editor? Is there any “color science” difference between camera makers in this case?

  • Removed user
    March 19, 2024, 1:53 p.m.

    Perhaps "color rendition" is more appropriate?

    On the basis that all cameras have different color rendition and all raw converters have different color rendition, what are your personal benefits in that regard?

    Do you prefer accuracy or do you prefer subjectively pleasing?

    For example, someone might be irritated if said rendition exceeds a just noticeable difference from a color checker card but on the other hand others could prefer over-greenish rendition for landscape work while yet others might prefer a reddish cast for portrait work, etc, etc, ad nauseam.

  • Members 133 posts
    March 19, 2024, 2:09 p.m.

    I have no idea! I’ve just read many forum posts by photographers who say they prefer one manufacturer’s “color science” over another’s. While I understand that colors are selected in the process of creating a JPEG, I thought that they are not when creating a RAW. Hence, my question.

  • Foundation 1292 posts
    March 19, 2024, 2:28 p.m.

    But the software that you use to process your raw images also has to select colours in making the image that you may well decide to save as a jpeg. It may select different hues, saturation or intensity than the camera would, and you may prefer these -- or not. Shooting raw is not a guarantee of getting accurate colours automatically.


  • Removed user
    March 19, 2024, 2:30 p.m.

    Terminology can be confusing. Rather than "creating", how about 'capturing' a raw and how about 'converting a raw to a JPEG'.

    Indeed, it might better to consider the act of converting a raw to RGB, i.e. JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, etc., etc.

    Here's the same raw file converted to RGB TIFFs (not JPEGs) by two different converters, please observe the difference in color rendition - extreme in this case but as-converted with no adjustment - LibRaw at left, Sigma Photo Pro at right:



    JPG, 1.6 MB, uploaded by xpatUSA on March 19, 2024.

  • Members 1488 posts
    March 19, 2024, 2:31 p.m.

    I've been using hundreds of digital cameras for over 25 years.
    And I use LR as much as possible, and I get so many different results, finally, I'm unable to have a preference between different color renderings, Canon, Nikon, Kodak, Minolta, Agfa, Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Sigma...
    I'm constantly changing my mind depending on the subject and the season. 😱
    Of course, I always use "RAW" as much as possible

    It's Mission Impossible

  • March 19, 2024, 3:44 p.m.

    I think that in general when people talk about brand colours they are talking about default preferences in JPEG rendering. These are generally maintained in the default rendering using camera-brand raw converters, and the independent raw converters tend to follow suit - because it's not in their interest to default too much from the manufacturers' look.
    Technically, every camera has its own 'colour space' defined by the CFA filter characteristics. If these followed the Luther-Ives-Maxwell conditions the that camera's images could be transformed to any other IEC colour space, which means that any rendering style could in theory be accommodated. Actually, no real camera meets these conditions, so in practice the range of rendering styles is constrained. However, it's not clear that CFA differences are enough to make a real difference, and certainly vary as much within brands as between them.

  • Members 878 posts
    March 19, 2024, 3:58 p.m.


  • Members 127 posts
    March 19, 2024, 4:10 p.m.

    There will be differences in the results from different software. There will also be differences when using the same software, especially if all you do is compare the results using the same processing settings. Maybe the better question is how much you can reduce the differences by not using the same processing settings.

  • Members 112 posts
    March 19, 2024, 4:12 p.m.

    There are hardware differences between manufacturers due to things like the colour filter array. This is most notable in some Fuji and Sigma cameras- Fuji's X-Trans filter array has a different pattern of RGB detection while Foveon sensors have full colour sensitivity at every sensel. Even outside of that, the specific dyes used in the colour filter array vary between manufacturers and even between models from the same manufacturer.

    That said, the differences between different Bayer mask filtration strengths are pretty modest and when shooting raw can be mitigated with the correct camera calibration workflow. Most folks talking about "colour science" in this context are referring to out-of-camera .jpeg files, which do have more hidden tweaks to colour response.

  • Removed user
    March 19, 2024, 4:29 p.m.

    As we know, Foveon-based Sigma cameras do not have a CFA on the sensor. I have owned many different Sigma cameras and studied then in great depth. Each model embeds a color conversion 3x3 matrix in the raw file meta-data which the converter uses to transform the raw data to RGB. Thing is that Foveon sensors do not vary much in raw values versus incident wavelength - but the conversion matrix for every model is significantly different!

  • Members 133 posts
    March 19, 2024, 8:31 p.m.

    Very interesting. A lot of great input from the experts here!

    My takeaway is that if you’re a RAW shooter, and you edit (adjust/export, etc.) using DxO, Lightroom or another third party tool, there’s as much intra-brand color variance as there is brand-to-brand variance. And, while Foveon sensors are a dramatic exception, they are not in use by the Big Three (or even Big Six) camera makers.

    So for the most part, Canon, Sony and Nikon “colors” are present in the JPEG files produced by the cameras but only to a minor extent present in the RAW files.

  • Members 2170 posts
    March 19, 2024, 8:55 p.m.

    shooting portraits professionally. there is a big difference even using the same brand, to date my a7iv is by an easy margin the best at producing near perfect skin tones, my pentax k7 back in its day was by far the best of any brand, the olympus em5mk2 was good as well. but ACR raw converter is all over the place and not even close to the cameras own raw converter. so i pick one of the defaults that best suits my needs.

  • Removed user
    March 19, 2024, 10:24 p.m.

    Aaah ...

    The Foveon Factor 😉

    Implying that the Big Three or Big Six only have minor color variation in their Color Filter Arrays ... even X-trans ...

    ... with all due respect, looking at QE curves for various sensors shows considerable variance between CFAs even though silicon remains silicon.

  • March 19, 2024, 10:54 p.m.

    Possibly because the software (firmware?) which interprets the output from the sensor is tailored to the manufacturers specs. Raw would be tailored less than jpg (to keep it as close to what comes off the hardware as possible), but even that could be different.


  • Members 482 posts
    March 19, 2024, 11:29 p.m.

    RAW files don't have color. Color is created in the conversion process, and different RAW converters will create different colors.

  • Members 482 posts
    March 19, 2024, 11:38 p.m.

    Just do BW and save yourself the hassle. 😁

    More seriously, I spend a decent amount of time on each photo I take getting the color I want. We're not even talking Camera A vs Camera B or Converter A vs Converter B -- we're talking Photo A and Photo B from the same camera. Each photo is unique. Of course, I love the rare occasion where the converter defaults to what I want right out of the box, but that's a very rare event. That said, often the color changes I'm making are really subtle -- people would likely struggle to see (or care) about the difference between default and my tweaks in many cases.

    The main reason for the issues with color come up when messing with curves a lot. When I push shadows and drag down highlights, the colors often look cartoonish with just the curves, so I have to do a lot of work fixing them after that. If I just went with the default curves, I probably wouldn't mess with color much, although I definitely see a marked difference between, say, DPP and PL. More than that, I just tweak stuff 'till I get something I like. So, if I messed around with a DPP conversion and a PL conversion, the two would probably look pretty different in the end, but I'd like both of them. 😅