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12-04-2019, 01:26 PM   #1
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Cold/blueish tone on my K-1

Hi folks!

I've always noticed that my K-1 normally gives me a colder tone (towards blueish) than for example my APS-C Nikon and Canon cameras do. It's when I compare the images with these other cameras when the cold tone from my K-1 becomes obvious.

Usually Canon's color callibration leans towards the warmer side (better for portraits and social photography), the Nikon's towards the neutral (the "sweet spot") or slightly warmer side (better for nature / landscapes) and Pentax, at least in my experience so far with the K-1, towards the colder (blueish) side, which can be annoying. In my opinion the Nikon callibration is the best one, being the Pentax one too "cold" and "analytical" to my tastes.

I always shoot in JPG fine and have my image / tone setting in "Bright" with default settings (except for Sharpness, set to Fine maximum) and the White Balance set in Auto.

The good news is that few days ago I've discovered that I can change the color cast by editing the white balance (moving the default point inside the color palette to give a desired tone).

As I do prefer a slightly warmer cast on my images (in fact neutral) like my Nikon does, rather than the default cold/blueish tone coming out from my K-1, I did a quick test by editing the white balance, moving the point towards the right (orange) exactly in opposition to the left (blue), in order to counter the cold tone and get a neutral tone (moving the point towards the orange side -the opposite side from the blue- in fact neutralizes the cold/blueish tone).

Have any of you guys noticed this cold/blueish tone coming from your K-1 by default? Have you fixed it and if so how did you do?

I will do more tests (and compare with my Nikon) by shooting with the following settings in "Bright" mode:

- Saturation: 0 / WB: A0
- Saturation: 0 / WB: A1
- Saturation: 0 / WB: A2

- Saturation: 1 / WB: A0
- Saturation: 1 / WB: A1
- Saturation: 1 / WB: A2

("A" is the letter when we move the point towards the right side of the color palette -orange-, so the opposite of blue).

I think the "sweet spot" to neutralize the cold tone is one of those settings above (A1 or A2).

What do you think guys?


Last edited by alvaro_garcia; 04-06-2020 at 08:33 AM.
12-04-2019, 01:40 PM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by alvaro_garcia Quote
Have any of you guys noticed this cold/blueish tone coming from your K-1 by default? Have you fixed it and if so how did you do?
No, and I DON'T USE AUTO WHITE BALANCE! I always either pick a relevant WB (Daylight, tungsten, ...) or set a custom WB when I am in a studio.

I would tend to agree that Pentax AWB is not so great. On my Canon G15, however, it's amazingly good.
12-04-2019, 01:48 PM - 2 Likes   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by alvaro_garcia Quote
What do you think guys?
The advice regarding white balance is good. I might also ask about computer display calibration and ambient light when reviewing/editing work.


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12-04-2019, 01:53 PM - 4 Likes   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by alvaro_garcia Quote
Hi folks!



I always shoot in JPG fine and have my image / tone setting in "Bright" with default settings (except for Sharpness, set to Fine maximum) and the White Balance set in Auto.



What do you think guys?
Well , there's your problem, The "Bright" setting.

That's exactly what the "Bright" setting does, look at the colour hexagon in the custom image setting when choosing the custom image , it pushes the blue and yellow, to give exactly what you are describing, where as Portrait, pushes Magenta and green, doing what you say you like from your other cameras'.

Have a look here, it shows and explains the settings and has samples of the differences between them. You can slide the photos from bright to portrait and seeee the difference .

Give further expression with PENTAX "Custom Image" | RICOH IMAGING


Last edited by cmohr; 12-04-2019 at 02:04 PM.
12-04-2019, 02:03 PM - 1 Like   #5
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As was said the "Bright" setting may be the cause for your tones. As far as the WB, as was also already said, the appropriate setting for the environment present should be used. For example, Daylight white balance setting for regular daytime shooting outdoors, the Flash white balance setting for when using flash, or a custom WB setting that appeals to you for best effect.

I do switch to AWB on occasion if I find I like the results from it, depending on the light that is present.
12-04-2019, 02:29 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by cmohr Quote
Well , there's your problem, The "Bright" setting.

That's exactly what the "Bright" setting does, look at the colour hexagon in the custom image setting when choosing the custom image , it pushes the blue and yellow, to give exactly what you are describing, where as Portrait, pushes Magenta and green, doing what you say you like from your other cameras'.

Have a look here, it shows and explains the settings and has samples of the differences between them. You can slide the photos from bright to portrait and seeee the difference .

Give further expression with PENTAX "Custom Image" | RICOH IMAGING
I already saw that webpage time ago (when I purchased the camera).

The "Natural" image mode may be the right one then for getting more neutral results, as it doesn't push any particular color over the others like the "Bright" mode does (blue + yellow): perfect concentric hexagons can be seen in the hexagon tool.

But as the "Natural" mode may look a bit flat with its default settings (at least to my tastes), I think I can get the best from it by pushing the Saturation +2 (all colors equally) and the Contrast +1.

This may give me what I want with possibly similar results than keeping the "Bright" image mode and boosting the "A" value (orange) in the white balance callibration to A1 or A2 (or A1 and Saturation +1).

Last edited by alvaro_garcia; 12-04-2019 at 02:41 PM.
12-04-2019, 03:00 PM - 1 Like   #7
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Try taking a few pictures in RAW, and develop some jpegs in camera, using the different Custom image settings, Landscape, Bright, Portrait, Reversal Film ect, (all from the same RAW) and see the difference, you can then even make your own custom setting that suits your taste by slightly altering the hex tool.

12-05-2019, 10:40 AM   #8
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Ok guys,

I tested with "auto white balance" and "day light white balance" in a sunny day (after several days of foggy, cloudy and heavy rains) and there's virtually no difference between the results of both white balance modes (with the same settings), being possibly even slightly colder with the "day light" mode, (although this could be subjective).

I shooted in both "Bright" and "Natural" image modes playing a little bit with the color saturation (Bright: color sat 0, color sat +1 / Natural: color sat +1, color sat +2) and with the "A" (orange) tone (from A0 to A3) in both white balance modes described above and THERE is the difference.

I can feel that the "sweet spot" may be in between the following combinations:

Bright / color sat 0 / AWB: A1 or A2
Bright / color sat +1 / AWB: A1 or A2
Natural / color sat +1 / AWB: A1 or A2
Natural / color sat +2 / AWB: A1 or A2

My preference possibly goes with any of the "Bright" options. Probably the best result is with the following one:

Bright / color sat +1 / AWB: A1

Even tough, I still can feel that the Nikon delivers an overall better (or more appealing) contrast and color cast in general. But with those settings adjustments I can definitely get better looking (less cold) images from the K-1.

Last edited by alvaro_garcia; 12-05-2019 at 11:21 AM.
12-05-2019, 11:59 AM - 1 Like   #9
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How cameras bake their JPEG's by default is extremely varied, from brand to brand, model to model, sometimes firmware version to firmware version within the same camera. You can see that at work with Nikon, Pentax, Sony and anyone else.

If you care about your output quality, getting results you are happy with is always going to involve some fine tuning of equipment and settings, no matter the device or brand.
12-05-2019, 12:18 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
How cameras bake their JPEG's by default is extremely varied, from brand to brand, model to model, sometimes firmware version to firmware version within the same camera. You can see that at work with Nikon, Pentax, Sony and anyone else.

If you care about your output quality, getting results you are happy with is always going to involve some fine tuning of equipment and settings, no matter the device or brand.
Exactly.

The good (I'd even say great) thing with the K-1 is its enormous capability of customization, that allows you to fine tuning practically all imaginable settings to fit even the most exigent photographers' tastes. (And for me is very important to get directly from the camera the output I like, avoiding post processing).

Nevertheless yes, each brand still has its own image "signature".

Last edited by alvaro_garcia; 12-05-2019 at 12:31 PM.
12-05-2019, 06:54 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by alvaro_garcia Quote
Nevertheless yes, each brand still has its own image "signature".
Very true. DxO PhotoLab reminds me of this all the time
04-05-2020, 01:03 PM   #12
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Forget my previous posts. The dot on the color palette has to be, as by default, in the center.

The final solution has been leaving the WB in mode "K" with value 5100K, which, by the way, is almost the same temperature value used by Nikon on its "direct sunlight" WB setting (the ideal lighting condition), which is 5200K, whereas the default value on Pentax is 5000 K (colder = more blueish). This is valid, however, only in strong direct sunlight conditions, as when there is less light (i.e. sunsets, cloudy days) it is better to set the WB in Auto.

Tip: Since the beginning I noticed very weak (soft) JPG images and I fixed that by changing the setting "Clarity" to its maximum value (+4). The result is simply amazing.

Last edited by alvaro_garcia; 05-13-2020 at 01:56 PM.
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