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02-03-2013, 04:26 AM   #1
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K10D saturation and caucasian skin tones

I'm still finding my feet in the world of digital. I have a K10D. Am I the only one who

-- feels the need to bump up the saturation quite considerably just to look OK (NB I'm not a fan of oversaturation)
-- generally needs to increase the contrast
-- has trouble getting pleasing caucasian skin tones?

AFAIK the contrast depends on what curve the raw processor (Darktable in my case) thinks it ought to do for that camera, so maybe that's a Darktable quirk. But as for the colours, as far as I understand most raw processors by default don't touch them (beyond white balance settings).

I'm finding it tough ... your eyes adjust to whatever they see on the screen and also to the room. Particularly with exposure, contrast, white balance and saturation - I can tweak until I'm happy, then look at a few websites, come back and hate it. Or, come back later in the day with different room lighting and hate it. I can get it great on the screen, then have it printed and hate it. (Do print shops do any level altering etc?) I can even upload it to flickr and seemingly find it suddenly oversaturated.

So - if I can get a feel for what the K10 sensor "normally" needs in RAW processing, that would help a bit!

02-03-2013, 05:29 AM   #2
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I think that more important than the sensor is the lens and lighting. Some lenses are designed especially for portraits, so you might want to try those. I think the DA 55mm and the FA 43mm are at the top of this list. I tried using my DA L 50-200mm for portraits, but I do not like its output and just make it black and white.

And yes, print shops usually "fix" your image, unless you specifically tell them not to. And even then some is done just by the process of turning digital info into printer data and into a print. I have two monitors and the older one makes everything seem much more orange/yellow than the newer one. You might want to calibrate your monitor to avoid these problems.

Usually when I do portraits (I am no pro portrait-taker btw) I shoot almost wide open with a prime (fixed focal length) lens and then fix white balance to fit the skin tone. I usually don't add any saturation, but I make "red" a little brighter. If the portrait is of a woman, I have lower clarity/sharpness and lower contrast than if its a portrait of a man.
02-03-2013, 10:37 AM   #3
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As far as printing, it is absolutely essential to calibrate the monitor on the computer you are using to print to get the closest match possible between the screen and print. Also, you should print directly from your raw image from your converter program as every step away from that will introduce change. As far as onscreen viewing, every different monitor you use to view your images will display them differently. Most sharing sites, like flickr, resize your image which can lead to perceiving the contrast, brightness and colors differently. Again, monitor calibration is essential. Also, make sure your monitor is warmed up before calibration or working on your images.
02-04-2013, 01:06 AM   #4
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I only have a cheap laptop so I suppose monitor calibration is a lost cause.

But in any case - I've always wondered - can monitor calibration account for overall brightness ?? As in, with a print (or a slide) there is such a thing as 100% brightness (i.e. no pigmentation). But with a monitor - unless calibration is meant to make every monitor's "white" the exact same intensity - then the apparent brightness of the image will depend on the overall brightness of the display. And also, subjectively (due to pupil dilation and other perceptual effects), upon the brightness of the elements on the rest of the screen and upon the lighting in the room the display is in.

Given all that, I really can't see how you're meant to get the levels right for printing except by either trial and error or by an experienced interpretation of the histogram. ??

02-05-2013, 09:47 PM   #5
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Any monitor can be calibrated. Yes they calibrate for brightness and contrast by matching the grays. The calibration works with the in conjunction with the printer profile built in to the drivers. Spyder 2 Express is available used on ebay and would be worth the cost.
02-06-2013, 06:01 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by russell2pi Quote
-- feels the need to bump up the saturation quite considerably just to look OK (NB I'm not a fan of oversaturation)
-- generally needs to increase the contrast
-- has trouble getting pleasing caucasian skin tones?

AFAIK the contrast depends on what curve the raw processor (Darktable in my case) thinks it ought to do for that camera, so maybe that's a Darktable quirk.
Some convertors try to mimic the camera settings (sharpness, contrast, saturation, etc), some don't. Some raw convertors import photos with low saturation, contrast and sharpness, so you can tweak these yourself. Some convertors can be set to do either. Try shooting raw+ and compare the jpeg to the raw.

What Image Tone are you shooting in? If your convertor is trying to mimic the camera settings, this will matter, and is of course critical for jpegs. In general I find Pentax default Bright settings too punchy and Natural too bland. I use Portrait as my default, with a touch of extra sharpening. I add more contrast to punch up nature shots.
02-06-2013, 06:09 AM   #7
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with respect to brightness it is hard to calibrate the monitor to the print because the print requires external light to achieve brightness, the monitor does not. In these areas I consider the histogram as the ultimate judge for brightness, not my monitor.
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