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02-27-2010, 08:27 AM   #1
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Representation of reds in photos

I am disappointed in how red colors appear using the K-x kit lenses (as well as a Pentax SMC-M 50mm lens). I have tried different settings:
  • bright to natural
  • from P to one priority or another
  • in JPG and RAW
  • as they come out of the camera or with post processing
they all seem to miss the true color.

I have tried different conditions, from early morning before sunlight is filtering into the yard, midday, evening, etc. We have a camellia bush in our front yard that loves the cooler weather, which is my present fairly still subject (the previous subject being poinsettias). This morning I took out my Panasonic FZ-18 and Fuji F20, both of which bested the Pentex's color reproduction. The Panasonic has a lot of manual settings, the Fuji does not. What am I missing here?

02-27-2010, 08:40 AM   #2
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Sounds like typical problem with red for Pentax digitals. Took me a long time to finally get the reds to come out right. It still takes some post adjustment to get it perfect.
02-27-2010, 08:45 AM   #3
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Maybe you need to calibrate your monitor (or try a different setting for your monitor).
02-27-2010, 09:26 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildlifephotog Quote
Sounds like typical problem with red for Pentax digitals. Took me a long time to finally get the reds to come out right. It still takes some post adjustment to get it perfect.
Funny, it was not mentioned in the advertising! Is there any written guide as to how best accommodate the problem, or is it just fiddling?


Last edited by Elliot; 02-27-2010 at 09:28 AM. Reason: Added "not"
02-27-2010, 09:30 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by sterretje Quote
Maybe you need to calibrate your monitor (or try a different setting for your monitor).
Thanks for the suggestion, but the monitor calibration is okay.
02-27-2010, 09:51 AM   #6
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It mainly involved slight under exposure, and red channel tweaking with my DS and K200D.
02-27-2010, 10:09 AM   #7
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Reds have always been difficult, whether for film or digital.
It has to do with differences in the way the human eye sees red (we see it directly) and how the camera and print produces red (absence of cyan).
02-27-2010, 12:39 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by kpevav Quote
Thanks for the suggestion, but the monitor calibration is okay.
Which hardware device did you use for this? And could you post sample images illustrating the problem?

Color in a DSLR is basically a matter of white balance.. If you're using AWB, the camera tries to guess the color of the light and remove the resulting color cast. Strongly colored red objects can fool the camera into thinking there is red light, and the camera will endeavor to remove some of that color cast. Also, it's pretty easy to clip the red channel; deliberate underexposure and adjustment in PP is often necessary.

02-27-2010, 12:56 PM   #9
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Interesting. With both of my cameras (K200 and K20) the reds come out super-saturated even though I have my JPEG settings on Natural. I have to tone them down in PP. They've never been off-color however.
02-27-2010, 01:04 PM   #10
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When I (and other examples I have seen) have experienced red problems it is almost always clipping of the red channel. Some people like this effect.
Have a look at the red channel histogram in the photos involved. Underexposing a bit usually helps (but not always e.g. red poppy with sun shining through petals)
02-27-2010, 03:21 PM   #11
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I have underexposed a bit, worked with the white balance, and post-processed the colors along the lines suggested, and the pictures are much closer to the flower's original color. There still is improvement possible, but it is much better than when I first posted my question. Thank you all.
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