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Photography Question 
Gabby Lewis

Canon 400D Not Good with RED

I have a Canon 400D which I love but it doesn't record reds accurately.

I was recently shooting a chili and the hot red turned out a dark orange. It's never bothered me before but this time I really wanted the red of the chili to turn out exactly.

I'm pretty confident around my camera so had all my settings right and even tried different Picture Styles and also set one of my own with the saturation ramped up. I shot in RAW and finally got the reds right by playing in Photoshop.

But of course I'd prefer to shoot the right colour in camera to save the hassles! Any ideas?

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4/26/2008 5:58:04 PM

Alan N. Marcus   Hi Gabby,

It’s been 147 years since the first color photograph, 1861 James Clark Maxwell The Tartan Ribbon. Sorry to report that the media has yet to come of age. Stated another way, we have yet to produce a hi-fi system whereby color are reproduce as exact matches. The best we can do is a near match. A key component of the equation is the phosphors of the CRT or filters imbedded in the LCD screen and or the pigments and dyes used to make a hard copy. All have imperfect absorption and transmission of the three primary colors (red – green – blue) which is the basis of our current media. Your luck you were able to make a satisfactory match. Likely when you achieved the match, you shifted other objects and caused them to reproduce off hue.

Today both film and digital are skewed to produce the best possible match for skin tones and some so-called memory colors.

I know I haven’t convinced you! However, one challenging task is to take a picture of an artists work (painting), make a print and deliver it while he/she still has possession of the original. Try that one for a laugh.

Another point: If you are using flash, you are unable to see the subject illuminated by the light of the flash so you don’t know how it looked so illuminated. Electron flash attempts to simulate daylight thus it has a bluer content then indoor tungsten sources. Florescent is rich in some frequencies and deficient in others so colors look weird and reproduce horrible. Tungsten is abundant in red thus red object are privileged.

Alan Marcus (marginal technical gobbledygook)

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4/26/2008 11:18:40 PM

Gabby Lewis   LOL! So basically what you're saying Alan is that no camera can record every colour perfectly even with our current technology?!

Well I much prefer that to there being a design flaw in my camera which is what I thought it was!

Loved your "gobbledygook" and appreciate your response!


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4/27/2008 3:34:27 AM

Alan N. Marcus   Required reading for the inquisitive mind. Color as seen and Photographed. Sixty eight pages but a powerhouse, out of print by maybe 50 years. Ralph M. Evans – W. T. Hanson and W. Lyle Brewer, giants in the business of color film making.

You should try your libraries and see if you can take a glance. I think Evans was the editor, sometime in 1962 or thereabouts, I was privileged to attend one of his lectures with slide show to boot, on this very subject. It was fantastical.

The digital camera chip is covered with light sensitive sights each sight is covered by filter. The Bayer mask is a matrix for four pixels, filtered one red – one blue – two green. Required because the CCD has a different color sensitivity then the human eye. Most every digital sports the this pattern stemming from Dr. Bayer of Eastman Kodak.

The filters take a huge toll, their filter factor is high, meaning a lot of light is lost. Thus the CCD is handicapped as to ISO. I read that Dr. Bayer is at it again with a new design. In the new pattern many pixels are not filtered. This greatly increases sensitivity. ISO will now go through the roof. Instead, software in the camera’s logic decides which color energy should have hit an unfiltered sight based on an analysis of adjacent pixels. Likely all camera makers will quickly incorporate this design.

Alan Marcus (more marginal technical gobbledygook)

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4/27/2008 6:22:33 AM

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