February 22, 2024

I bought a tutorial video yesterday. I may choose to review it at some stage, but I’m not sure it would be a good review. Loads of good facts, but a few inaccuracies to say the least.

One of these was ‘Only use Raw’-which is spot on for most things. But next it talked about which Color Space to use, and which Picture Style to set for your camera-Adobe RGB and Neutral (all zeroed). Well… yes and no.

You see, it doesn’t matter what you set these to in camera if you shoot Raw. The Raw conversion process lets you choose your Color Space, Bit Depth, and of course what colour and contrast the final image has. So the in camera process settings don’t matter to your photo after it comes out of your Raw conversion software. I’m not just talking Lightroom or Camera Raw here, but any Raw converter. The camera manufacturer might read this info and apply it automatically, but you can still choose it yourself after the fact.

It does matter if you shot Raw + JPEG. You may want the JPEG to have a final look, in which case you can let the Picture Style settings affect how it looks. Usually you’d want the JPEG to be as close to finished as possible-or alternatively as flat as possible to take as much processing as possible. I don’t believe one has more merit that the other-it’s a personal choice (after all you have the Raw).

It also does matter for the embedded JPEG that you preview on the back of the screen. It’s important to note that this image is also used to create the histogram on the back of the screen where we judge the tonal content of our photo. If we’re shooting Raw, this histogram is actually wrong. Why? It contains less information that is available in the Raw-it is a processed preview after all. But by using Adobe RGB and a Neutral Picture Style, you have as close to accurate as you can get with an embedded JPEG.

There is another downside to using the Neutral (all zeroed) Picture Style, a visual one. Because most cameras have anti aliasing filters, the natural state of a processed image is blurred. Previewing images with no sharpening applied might make you think there’s something wrong with your camera or lens! Personally I have a little sharpening applied for this reason.  I just can’t face the blurred preview, even though I know it’s just the embedded JPEG!

The video of course covers none of this. It just says do these things, even though they’re not strictly true. Better to have an understanding and make an informed choice that to blindly follow.


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