Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
21 Likes  
Get "that CCD look" with the K-3 / K-3II and Lightroom
Posted By: BigMackCam, 08-09-2017, 01:03 PM

UPDATE: The following article has been revised to reflect newly-optimised Lightroom settings and example images. For a limited time, you can also download the CCD Effect preset for Lightroom HERE.


Get "that CCD look" with the K-3 / K-3II and Lightroom

Many people feel that the colour rendition from Pentax's earlier CCD sensor cameras is superior to that of later CMOS sensor models. Although the K-3 and K-3II are my day-to-day cameras, more recently I've been shooting extensively with a GX-10 - Samsung's clone of the Pentax K10D - and I've become a huge fan. Whether it's down to the sensor, the camera's colour profiling or a combination of the two, I really can't say for sure; but, the results are very appealing - punchy, saturated, almost film-like images, with very little post-processing needed to achieve great-looking results.

So fond am I of the GX-10's output that I decided to develop a Lightroom preset that would re-create "that CCD look" for my K-3 and K-3II photos.

I started by taking two photographs of an X-rite ColorChecker Passport, one with the GX-10, the other with the K-3. Both cameras were fitted with the same model of lens (the Pentax-F 28-80 f/3.5-4.5), to avoid optical differences in contrast and colour reproduction. The photos were taken in RAW format using the DNG file type (which, importantly, embeds a copy of the camera profile).

I imported both photos into Lightroom 6 and ensured all settings were at Lightroom's default values, with no presets or user defaults applied. I then selected the "Embedded" profile for each photo (to use the camera profiles rather than Adobe's), and set the white balance for both images using the eye-dropper tool on the same mid-grey square of the Passport.

From this point, all adjustments would be to the K-3 image alone, trying to match against the GX-10 "master" image as closely as possible.

I fine-tuned the exposure level so that the mid-grey tones were at the same luminosity for both photos (within +/- 0.5, as there was some variance of values across the square).

I adjusted the contrast so that the "darkest black" and "brightest white" squares had the same luminosity. This required some minor tweaking of exposure to keep the mid-tones at the right level, as contrast adjustments appeared to have a non-linear effect on the tone curve. Now, each of the grey-scale squares showed luminosity values very close to those in the GX-10 image.

The remaining adjustments would deal with colour reproduction - specifically hue, saturation and luminosity for each colour.

In the Camera Calibration section of Lightroom, I adjusted the hue and saturation of the Red Primary, Green Primary and Blue Primary channels to get those primary colours as close as possible. Since there is no luminosity adjustment for these, it's impossible to get them exactly right - but we can place them in the ball park.

At this point, a casual comparison of the colours in both images was already much closer than before.

Next came the really time-consuming part...

In the Color section of Lightroom, I adjusted (and re-adjusted!) the hue, saturation and luminosity of each colour to achieve a close match for each coloured square in turn. As you'd expect, adjustments for each colour had a knock-on effect to one or more of the others, and there was a great deal of back-and-forth fine-tuning required. Small, incremental adjustments were vital to avoid significant impact on related colours, which had to be tweaked to counteract any minor changes.

I was unable to get every coloured square matching exactly, but it was very close.

I saved the adjustments as a user preset, checking the Contrast, Color Adjustments, Process Version and Calibration boxes to ensure all the relevant settings were saved.

Then, on a sunny day with no clouds (rare in my part of the world!), I took some test shots of real scenes side-by-side with both cameras, and tried out the new preset on the K-3 files. The results were good, though not quite as good as I'd hoped - in particular, the green and yellow balance wasn't quite right, and the saturation and luminosity of light-blue skies wasn't what it should be. So, I went back to the ColorChecker Passport images and fine-tuned the adjustments before re-applying them to the test shots. After many iterations over several days, I eventually reached a point of diminishing returns; the results were so close that further tweaking would have little additional benefit and more than likely be detrimental.

Here's a "before" and "after" example of the preset being applied to an indoor test shot of some coloured pencils:


What's interesting about this example is how little difference there is in the greens, as vivid greens are something the CCD sensor cameras are revered for. From my testing in normal shooting conditions, it seems this is largely due to luminosity and saturation of yellow and orange rather than a radical difference in green tones.

It's worth studying that example image in detail. At a glance, you'd be forgiven for thinking the adjusted image is merely brighter, with a little more contrast. But if you look at each pencil individually, you'll see some quite significant changes in hue, saturation and luminosity, while the white, black and grey shades are (as they should be) nearly identical in both shots

Since completing this exercise, I've applied the preset to a number of K-3, K-3II, and even some K-5 images from my Lightroom library. The outcome is just what I'd hoped for... the photos have more of "that CCD look" I've come to appreciate so much. Greens and browns are warmer (great for landscape work), blues are richer, light-blue skies are somewhat deeper and better defined against clouds, yellows and oranges are brighter, while reds are a real treat - more orange than scarlet and not so over-saturated.

Of course, no preset or any amount of post-processing can re-create the fun of using a particular camera. For those who've never owned one of Pentax's CCD-sensor models (or their Samsung cousins), I highly recommend picking one up at the right price, since - at lower ISO settings - they produce wonderful images. I'll continue to use my GX-10 regularly, as it's a great bit of kit - but these adjustments provide a solid basis for reproducing at least some of that signature CCD look with the K-3 and other Pentax CMOS sensor cameras.

For those who'd like to try this out, here are some screen captures of the relevant settings (remember to save them as a preset so you can apply them all in one go!). And, if you do try it, please let me know how you get on!






... and, just to finish, here's one more test shot from the K-3, taken in my back garden, with the CCD preset applied (and no other adjustments, save for exposure and white balance sampled from a known grey area). It certainly has the warmth and saturation I was hoping for


Thanks for reading!

Last edited by BigMackCam; 08-12-2017 at 02:15 AM.
Views: 14,616
08-10-2017, 12:33 AM   #31
Senior Moderator
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
BigMackCam's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: North-East of England
Posts: 13,306
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
There should be an international ban on this phrase being used.
LOL I wholeheartedly agree

08-10-2017, 04:28 AM   #32
Veteran Member
Topsy's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2014
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 564
Somewhere something appears to be vastly different on my end.

I put both files you provided into the same colour profile (Adobe - DNG File Neutral) with a linear response curve and didn't make any adjustments other than white balance yet.



08-10-2017, 04:35 AM   #33
Senior Moderator
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
BigMackCam's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: North-East of England
Posts: 13,306
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Topsy Quote
Somewhere something appears to be vastly different on my end.

I put both files you provided into the same colour profile (Adobe - DNG File Neutral) with a linear response curve and didn't make any adjustments other than white balance yet.


The first thing I'd look at is equalising the exposure. The K-3 somewhat over-exposed that test shot, whereas the GX-10 underexposed slightly (I set the exposure in Lightroom to around -0.15 and +0.11 respectively). Check the luminosity of one of the mid-grey tones and bring the K-3 image exposure down until it's as close as possible to the GX-10 shot. Then do a white balance for both images on that same grey square and re-tweak the K-3 exposure if necessary. That should give you a good starting point. Next, a slight contrast boost, and then onto the colour matching.

Let me know how you get on!
08-10-2017, 05:31 AM - 2 Likes   #34
Pentaxian
photoptimist's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2016
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,539
QuoteOriginally posted by wombat2go Quote
Are you referring ( comparing) to the raw files, including the camera color temperature and other parameters, between the old and new cameras,
and if so, are the Bayer coefficients correct in the application that is writing via your operating system to monitor?

Or are you comparing the downloaded .jpg from the old camera with the downloaded .jpg from the newer camera?

With respect, I feel a bit of fake news here.

---------- Post added 08-09-17 at 11:27 PM ----------



I don't agree, given that there are only 3 {RGB} values sent through the Bayer coefficients. These values are sent through ITU 709 compliant compression via App, via O/S,
to a compliant monitor.

Are you saying that the transfer function to do this in an old camera is somehow different to a that in a new camera?

With respect, I ask you to explain in more detail
There may be only 3 values, RGB, in both cases, but the two types of cameras have different spectral sensitivities to the infinity of different wavelengths of light. The reds, greens, and blues of CCD vs. CMOS (or even across different cameras that have different CMOS sensors or Bayer filter color pigment mixture differences) will be different.

The result is that some wavelengths that are "bright" or "saturated" in the CCD image may be relatively "dim" or "muted" in a CMOS image and vice versa. Colors will look different.

One can prove mathematically that no transformation of the RGB values from one camera can exactly replicate the color response of another camera because information about exactly which wavelengths created each measured "green" value, for example, are lost in going from the full spectrum to just three aggregate values.

08-10-2017, 05:51 AM   #35
Veteran Member




Join Date: Aug 2015
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,400
QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
The first thing I'd look at is equalising the exposure. The K-3 somewhat over-exposed that test shot, whereas the GX-10 underexposed slightly (I set the exposure in Lightroom to around -0.15 and +0.11 respectively). Check the luminosity of one of the mid-grey tones and bring the K-3 image exposure down until it's as close as possible to the GX-10 shot. Then do a white balance for both images on that same grey square and re-tweak the K-3 exposure if necessary. That should give you a good starting point. Next, a slight contrast boost, and then onto the colour matching.

Let me know how you get on!
the underexposure and milder contrast was what I found to need correcting as well...both in raw and jpeg
after I found a process that worked I just jumped to using jpegs all the time
yes...i'm very lazy!
08-10-2017, 06:15 AM - 1 Like   #36
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Michigan
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,207
The terms "ccd" and "cmos" refer to the two of the various physical architectures that "scan" or "clock" or "read" the photodiode levels off the sensor.
The photodiodes and their spectral sensitivities, of course have changed over the years and I suppose are different between cmos sensor types,
as well a being different between the various architectures.

The differences, in Bayer camaras, are supposed to be corrected by using a 3 * 3 matrix of coefficients to force the tricolor display to have best possible fidelity.

What I disagree with, is the notion that ccd sensors have a better or worse color fidelity , and a characteristic "ccd" artifact.

I still use my ist ds and when I got the K-01 a few years ago, I did tests with color charts etc to see if the K-01 and ist ds raw images for dng and pef
could be "classed" between the 2 cameras.

I did not find that effect. The following are reasons why older camera images may be "classed"

1)
The K-01 seems to consistently calculate a camera color temperature about 200 K higher than the ist ds, which is observable when viewing
the images through the same raw convertter.

2)
The jpg images produced internally by the camera will use the Bayer coefficients developed for the camera. Hopefully they give the best color fidelity.

From reading at the time ( and I am out of date) it became apparent that some of the raw converters running on computers do not use the manufacturers coefficients.
Some camera coeffs were developed by volunteers at request of the raw converter developers.

These might be some of the reasons that those involved in processing raw images might see a "class" of artifacts from older cameras.

But I respectfully disagree that there is such a thing as "ccd-ness" in an image.

Last edited by wombat2go; 08-10-2017 at 06:21 AM.
08-10-2017, 06:28 AM   #37
Senior Moderator
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
BigMackCam's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: North-East of England
Posts: 13,306
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by wombat2go Quote
What I disagree with, is the notion that ccd sensors have a better or worse color fidelity , and a characteristic "ccd" artifact.
...
I still use my ist ds and when I got the K-01 a few years ago, I did tests with color charts etc to see if the K-01 and ist ds raw images for dng and pef
could be "classed" between the 2 cameras.

I did not find that effect.
...
But I respectfully disagree that there is such a thing as "ccd-ness" in an image.
This is why I made it clear in my article that I can't be sure whether it's the sensor, the camera's colour profile, or both that are responsible for the different rendering (and between my GX-10 and my K-3, there is a significant difference - that I can claim with 100% certainty). What I do know is that there's a strong following for the older CCD sensor cameras, and - whether accurately or inaccurately - the difference in colour rendition has been attributed by owners to the type of sensor.

The reason I bought my GX-10 a few months ago was to verify the claims I'd read about appealing colour rendition, and I actually expected to be disappointed. But, whatever the reason - sensor, profile, software or otherwise - I've found those claims to have merit. I'm not saying that the GX-10 has better colour fidelity than the K-3... only that I much prefer the way it renders them. YMMV, of course

Last edited by BigMackCam; 08-10-2017 at 06:49 AM.
08-10-2017, 06:29 AM - 1 Like   #38
Forum Member




Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 90
Thank you for the detailed description of this very interesting work. I think you clearly showed that one can tweak via profile to minimize differences between the two types of sensor. It does not appear, to me anyway, that CCD is inherently superior to CMOS in terms of color. I had a K10 but found that even a K-x was far better for my type of photography. However, I am still the limiting factor.

08-10-2017, 06:48 AM   #39
Senior Moderator
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
BigMackCam's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: North-East of England
Posts: 13,306
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Pixelhdr Quote
Thank you for the detailed description of this very interesting work. I think you clearly showed that one can tweak via profile to minimize differences between the two types of sensor. It does not appear, to me anyway, that CCD is inherently superior to CMOS in terms of color. I had a K10 but found that even a K-x was far better for my type of photography. However, I am still the limiting factor.
Thanks for the feedback - much appreciated. And yes, I agree - which camera's colour rendition is superior depends very much on personal taste, in the same way that different people prefer different films for analogue work
08-10-2017, 07:37 AM - 2 Likes   #40
Pentaxian
ChristianRock's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Woodstock, GA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 5,906
What is "superior" though? Is it what is closer to reality, or what is more pleasing to the eyes?

CMOS might be closer to reality. CCD is more pleasing to the eyes, at least mine. As Mike said many times, YMMV. If one doesn't like the way CCD cameras render images, I'm not sure why your response would be anything different than "well I couldn't care less, but if it works for you Luddites..."

I'll try and play around in RawTherapee when I have some time and see how this works there on my K-S1 pics...
08-10-2017, 07:58 AM   #41
Pentaxian
ripper2860's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 890
I won't even get into the fact that vision and perception of colors varies from person to person at a chemical and biological level, so...
08-10-2017, 08:33 AM - 1 Like   #42
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: New York
Posts: 4,420
Thanks. I no longer have a CCD but I do want to look at this on my K-1 vs K-5.

I still love the K-5, but one of the first things I noticed with the K-1 is how much the reds improved. It's especially noticeable for astrophotography. I didn't dwell on whether that was due to the sensor, different IR cut filter, or improved LR camera profiles.
08-10-2017, 09:00 AM - 1 Like   #43
Senior Moderator
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
BigMackCam's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: North-East of England
Posts: 13,306
Original Poster
UPDATE: I'm continuing to refine the adjustments. In particular, I've managed to get the saturation in the Blue Primary channel down to a more believable level, and re-adjusted the related colours to get a better match of both darker blue and purple shades (purples were tending towards dark blue - this is now fixed). When I've finished the next version, I'll update the main article and - for those who'd like it - provide a *temporary* link to a new Lightroom preset file (this won't remain available longer term, however).

Many thanks for all the interest and support thus far, folks
08-10-2017, 11:13 AM   #44
Senior Moderator
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
BigMackCam's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: North-East of England
Posts: 13,306
Original Poster
I've just updated the article with improved settings and updated images. The settings now involve less drastic adjustment of each colour, yet achieve a closer match on "problem colours". I'm very happy with the results and hope you'll like them too
08-10-2017, 11:30 AM   #45
Pentaxian
ripper2860's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 890
Mike --

Thank you!! Are the new files hosted on the previously provided links (Google Drive and Dropbox)?

EDIT: Just saw the link at the top of article.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
adjustments, article, article on re-creating, bayer, camera, cameras, ccd, close, cmos sensor, color, colour, dslr, images, k-3, k-3 and k-3ii, lightroom, look, luminosity, photography, photos, re-creating "that ccd, respect, saturation, values
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
K-3II Profile in lightroom retsoor Pentax K-3 14 06-12-2017 07:45 AM
"Reversed" T-ring to connect Pentax lens to t-thread CCD camera DeadJohn Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 15 02-17-2016 01:10 PM
Don't say Pentax "Q" in French ... "Q" = "cul" = "A--" Jean Poitiers Pentax Q 52 11-10-2013 06:25 AM
Want to get the G3 and Lightroom 3? Get them together! jct us101 Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 4 06-11-2011 07:44 AM
Keep K-x buy premium lens, get K-r and get good lens, get the K-7 w/ lens or K-5? crossover37 Pentax DSLR Discussion 19 02-06-2011 10:38 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:18 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top