Neutral Picture style

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by hjoseph7, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. Recently I switched from using the Standard Picture style with my Canon Digital cameras to the Neutral picture style. Thats the one with the 4 zeroes{0 0 0 0 }. I made this decision because I felt this style produced more accurate and natural looking colors. What you see is what you get(WYSIWYG).

    The images might come out a little dull, but that's life some things in life are really dull. I got a little tired of looking at those pictures with grass that looks like kryptonite, skies that look like your'e on another planet, overly saturated flowers that seem to jump out at you, pastel colors just to name a few. Why make something look like something else ?

    I want my camera to record things as they are, so when someone sees what the camera captured it's more like looking through a window than at someones "Vison" of things. Maybe I'm too much of a realist, maybe I got too much time on my hands. Sorry there is no question here.
  2. Harry, It's probably just a sign of maturity, not as in young>old but rather of your style. I prefer a more neutral rendition of things too, spicing the results up in Photoshop when I think it's called for. I think it's easier to add saturation or contrast than it is to undo it. I also enjoy reading Ken Rockwell's views but I part company with him on his penchant for over saturated colours. On the other hand my results are not as popular as his. Go figure! :) Best, LM.
  3. If you shoot RAW, if doesn't matter what Picture Style you choose as you can change it and all the other parameters prior to conversion in DPP. If you use Aperture, LR or ACR for conversion, it doesn't matter as they can't read CAnon's parameter tags (save WB) but, instead, use a generic profile for each camera.
    I've noticed many people, as they age, prefer brighter colors. Maybe your color sensitivity fades as you do...
  4. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Why make something look like something else ?​

    Because photography is about what people want to do with it. Photography is transformative, nothing except a flat object with no color will ever look exactly like it is in a photography. Taking a limited view of photography leads to limiting one's photographs, not achieving anything.
  5. [[I want my camera to record things as they are]]
    The world doesn't look anything like a photograph to begin with.
  6. I always shoot RAW+large jpeg, but I too switched to the neutral setting for the jpegs. For many shots I can just begin with the jpeg rather than going the intermediate step with the RAW. The neutral setting gives a better starting point for further work where otherwise I'd be forced back to the RAW file.
    If the discussion of "reality" intrigues you, may I suggest you take yourself to the Philosophy forum. :}<
  7. The thing about color is no one person sees exactly the same thing. We all have differing sensitivities to the visible spectrum. One man's red is another's orange or a shade of gray. Obviously, many men are partially or fully color blind. I know I perceive the red side of the spectrum differently than my wife and some of my friends.
    I merely want my images to look the way I see them in my head. And that's real enough for me.
  8. RAW or Jpeg, doesn't the neutral setting result in a more accurate in-camera histogram?
  9. I too switch to Neutral setting after shooting in standard in the beginning. I guess it boils down to preference. When I want more color for the scene I just bump up saturation. Even then the color comes up better than in standard mode. Maybe it is just my eyes, I don't know.
  10. Neutral is way to flat for me. It's really not a matter of the color rendering. Rather, it's the lack of contrast that I don't like. Of the Canon Picture Styles, I like Standard, Landscape, and Monochrome the best. But whatever floats your boat . . . .
  11. As Puppy face said,
    If you shoot RAW, if doesn't matter what Picture Style you choose​
    Assuming that you shoot RAW, and if I understand the workings of my camera correctly, the main reason to worry about the picture style is that the histogram on the camera reflects that style, so you will get a more accurate one with the neutral style. With some software, the picture style is also the starting point for rendering the raw image, but it is entirely changeable.
  12. I've used a Canon and a Nikon over the past year, and I ended up choosing the neutral picture style/control for both (I already know this can be changed when "shooting raw", but I use it anyway as a starting point). It's a matter of taste, I suppose. I just don't like the more contrasty look of what is now supposed to be "standard". Neutral also seems to look a little more film-like, that is, with a smoother transition between shadow and highlight.
    But then, I'm not alone. Just look at the online galleries of past masters. Generally-speaking, their online versions seem very "neutral" to me, at least compared to 2010 digital photography standards.
    Neutral can easily be punched up in even the simplest image editor, no matter whether it's from a raw file or a JPEG, and for raw files, it's a great starting point before starting to move any sliders around (in both Canon's DPP and Nikon's ViewNX). Even with "just" a JPEG, neutral seems to work well with local contrast enhancement -- for monitor display anyway.
  13. What's the difference between Neutral and Faithful? They both are set to four zeroes. I too tend to use Neutral because Standard is oversaturated and overcontrasty.
  14. Neutral is pretty terrible looking but is designed to appear "unfinished." Canon's intent is that Neutral shooters more time tweaking color and levels in PP.
  15. Neutral, when combined with minimal compression, is really just a way of ending up with a JPEG that has very little done to it that is destructive of the original pixels such as in a raw file (except for the 16-bit vs 8-bit aspect of it). It's easy to increase things like sharpness, contrast and saturation if you want to, but much harder to undo them without creatinng more problems.
  16. I used to think the same way, I wanted my camera to capture exactly what I saw, but the fact is that in most cases, that's boring. I like what Ansel Adams said, about the negative being the score and the print is the performance. Sometimes the score needs a little life to make it a great performance. I guess the fact is, that if everything was presented just as I saw it, then it wouldn't really catch many people's eyes. Now I agree that some things look "out of this world." I don't care too much for that, but just enough enhancement to really make something a little more beautiful is okay in my opinion. And there are also times when post work is necessary to show what your eye saw, for example cameras can't capture all the colors of a sunrise/sunset that your eyes see, so multiple exosures and blending is necessary to show the scene the way you saw it. Here's an example of an out of camera raw image with no adjustments compared to one with about 2 minutes of work in LR (and 5 minutes in PS to blend shadow areas). Sure the one on the left is the "real" scene, but I don't think the reality of the image can outweigh the positive adjustments to the final product, but that's also just my opinion.
  17. "RAW or Jpeg, doesn't the neutral setting result in a more accurate in-camera histogram?"​
    Yes, the histogram is based on the JPEG preview of the image, so if you rely on the histogram, you want'd to use e.g. the Neutral setting and dial down the contrast to its minimum value:
    Settings for an Accurate Histogram
    You can also use Canon's Picture Style Editor to create your own preset, which is what I did.
    Obviously this only makes sense for RAW capture as it would create awfully flat-looking JPEGs.
  18. Your picture is a good illustration of the trade-off. Increase the contrast, loose some of the highlight detail. Increase shadow detail globally, also loose some highlight detail. It's a choice, and we don't necessarily have to accept the camera's reality. I don't consider this kind of stuff departing from reality.
    I think it's debatable that the original, untouched version is necessarily an absolutely accurate representation of reality. The best we can say is that it's a representation of reality as the camera is able to capture it, with the curve the manufacturer built-into it (just like individual film types also had a characteristic curve). I certainly agree that a willing photographer can sometimes improve on that capture. I often just bring up the mid-tones a bit, myself (raw or JPEG).
    When I had my Canon, I couldn't tell the difference between "Faithful" and "Neutral" either. If there is one, it's got to be very subtle.
  19. Nathan, I really couldn't care less whether anybody post-processes or not, but I was so disappointed to discover that wasn't a stereo pair. It does make for an interesting pseudo-stereo effect if you cross your eyes. ;)
  20. Many good responses here...I especially like the Ansel Adams paraphrase about the score and performance. What I haven't seen anyone comment on is subject matter. Depending on what you shoot, some color manipulation (in-camera or afterwards) can take an image to another level.
    It's fine to want "accurate and natural-looking colors". I have been experimenting with what creates the best white balance (white paper, grey card, Expo Disc) etc., and have been somewhat of a purist about WB and good exposure. Yet, I was missing something that I was seeing in some of my favorite Flickr photographers. The answer was color filtration, cross-processing, etc. I was thinking that others were getting more out of their camera than I was and that I needed better lenses, better light etc. The key is just manipulating your photos a bit afterwards i.e. "season to taste".
    Using standard or neutral color for all of your work is like deciding to eat salads of just lettuce, store-bought tomatoes and cucumber. How about a Capri salad? Spinach leaves, mozarella, heirloom or cherry tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of basil? Still salad, but much more interesting than lettuce, tomato and cuke. Tomorrow, something with crumbled blue cheese, thin apple or pear slices, walnuts, etc. Also salad.
    What I read between your lines is "Why is everybody post-processing? I know how to do it, but I don't want to look like everybody else." or "I don't know WHEN to use saturated/desaturated color, can you tell me when and how, while I hide behind this technical fig leaf of standard vs. neutral color."
    Go online and find some filter sets that are free. Use them on your best "accurate and natural looking" photos and see what works for you. After experimenting, you may still prefer neutral colors as rendered by your camera, but there's a time and a place for color experiments. Just look at film. Directors and producers use color filtration endlessly to enhance single shots, scenes or entire movies (Watch "Heat" by Michael Mann and check out the overall cool or desaturated and contrasty color in many scenes. Lots of blues and grays. Underscores the grim and tense story).
    Ultimately, no one is looking, and you can experiment until you come up with a signature look for your work, or multiple color signatures. Shooting RAW is the gateway. Subtle color shifts are best.
    Long-time lurker, first-time poster, no portfolio here yet, Nikon guy
  21. Thanks, JDM, for noticing and pointing out the "pseudo-stereo" effect. It's quite true, and VERY INTERESTING that it was achieved without 2 different camera location/shots involved. Thanks.
    Roger Dennis
  22. When you print your photographs in a magazine or book, the flat looking digital image (with proper cmyk values) will be just fine when you see it in printing house. That's why I switched to faithful. To display photographs online, I think they need a little boost of course.
  23. Surprisingly with all the discussion about color perception, Standard vs Neutral, etc..., one key element remains unmentioned: first and foremost is the monitor itself. Has it been accurately color balanced and calibrated?
    Unless it has, all thoughts about PhotoStyle X,Y or Z are irrelevant. Same applies to more or less Saturation, etc. Even vaunted "Raw" images won't save your day, despite Raw providing an unlimited - potential - choice of correctness in post-processing - if the monitor isn't color calibrated. To judge and/or adjust - any - image requires an established baseline as the starting point.

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