pictures look slightly overexposed and colours are washed out

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by jules_johnson, Apr 19, 2007.

  1. I have been having some trouble with my camera. The images are sharp and crisp but the color seems washed out and the pictures look slightly over exposed. Im shooting in AV mode the majority of the time and using auto white balance. Ive been shooting on sunny days so I realise this will have an effect but I compared some shots with a friends point and shoot on the same day and hers seem much better exposed with richer colors. The pictures on my monitor and lcd screen on the camera look very similar so I pretty sure its not the monitor. Any ideas?
  2. Yes -- shoot in RAW, buy a book on RAW, what camera you use?

    Also improve your software post processing skills. What do you use, Photoshop? Do you know the difference between sRGB and Adobe RGB?

    Lens also affects your color and contrast.

    ISO does too. Don't expect the best from ISO 400. All are basic concepts.
  3. What camera are you using? I like to use a polariser filter to reduce the glare off the leaves etc, this helps with the washed out look and increases contrast and makes the colors more vibrant.
  4. Have you checked whether the camera is set for Adobe RBG or sRGB? The Adobe colour space needs to be rendered via a suitable colour profile, whereas most software tends to default to the sRGB colour space.
  5. If this is a Canon XT, try setting Exposure Compensation to - 2/3 be default and your color saturation to +2.

    This is total conjecture, but I have read the XT can overexpose and the saturation is low... but no one is saying it's gospel.
  6. the P&S by default has a contrast curve, saturation and sharpening that your camera will not unless you set up the JPEG option to do all those things. I can't comment on the overexposure perception, but at least you can start experimenting with your post production. Just sharpening will often change the contrast. Learning to add an S curve will also do wonders. You can't judge by the camera LCD and even your montior, unless calibrated, won't tell you what is happening. Print the files.
  7. There are some tricks to getting the best exposure. One simple one is to set your camera
    up so that it shows the historgram display right after you take the photo. Look at the
    histogram curve. In general, you want to see a rounded (or sometimes more complex)
    curve that is not cut off abruptly at the right end of the display. If it is cut off, there is a
    good chance that you have overexposed the highlights. (Your camera can also probably
    show blown out highlights by "flashing" the blown out areas in small version of the photo
    shown in the display.)

    If the curve is cut off, the exposure warning flashes, or you otherwise think that you
    overexposed, reduce the exposure by using the exposure compensation controls or by
    using manual settings.

    Another trick that works in some circumstances is to point the camera at the brightest
    portion of the scene to capture the exposure info, then recompose. Be aware that there
    could be focus issues that I won't try to explain right here.

    As others mentioned, one of the advantages of shooting in RAW mode is that you have
    both greater dynamic range and more ability to compensate for exposure errors after the

    But use of the histogram display will reduce the need for this a great deal.

  8. I never shoot on AWB outdoors. Try open shade or cloudy. I guarantee you will see a difference.
  9. My appologies for manipulating your picture. Try a little post processing and/or some of the camra settings suggested above. I bumped up your saturation and added a little contrast in photoshop. You can use photoshop or elements. Good luck
  10. As was briefly mentioned above, it's not fair to compare the output of a P&S with the output of a DSLR. P&Ses tend to crank up sharpness and saturation and contrast to ridiculous levels, partly to compensate for their limitations (sharpness and contrast limitations are inherent in their tiny sensors and lenses, and cheaper ones have cheaper lenses which tend to wash out contrast and saturation) and partly because it's assumed that a P&S owner is going to print directly from the camera/card without doing any editing so the pictures have to look snappy.
    For best results, as others have said, shoot RAW. Use the histogram to expose to the right. You can adjust tons of stuff, including WB, saturation, contrast, and sharpness, when you do your post-processing.
    If you can't shoot RAW, then you still need to use the histogram to judge exposure; never judge exposure by eyeballing the LCD image. The default sharpness, contrast, and saturation settings on DSLRs tend to be conservative, and will typically yield reasonably accurate pictures; if you want punch rather than accuracy (i.e. you want your DSLR's photos to look more like P&S photos), you'll need to crank these settings up.
    All the standard pre-digital stuff applies, too. Use a good lens. Use a lens hood. Choose your aperture wisely. Make sure the shutter speed is appropriate, both for the subject matter and for your ability to handhold or use a monopod if either one applies. Use the lowest ISO that does the job.
  11. In addition to all the great comments above, I've found that in contrasty light, Canon matrix metering tends to overexpose because it is trying to come to a median exposure that will handle both highlights and shadows, and in many cases, handles neither because the range is so great. Learn to use your ambient exposure compensation and also try setting the metering pattern to averaging instead of matrix (evaluative). You might have better success. In even light, if I'm using AV, I put in no compensation or maybe +1/3. In contrasty light, I dial in minus compensation and am often filling with flash, but I shoot people pictures.
  12. Thanks for all the answers, some really useful things here :)

    To answer a few questions, my camera is a rebel xt and is set to sRGB. I use photoshop but at the moment I am trying to get the images better from the camera before manipulating them as I feel they are not quite right.

    Im not shooting in raw as i have a piddly 512meg memory card at the moment. A new card is next on the list.
  13. Shoot in Raw and thus edit in 16-bit mode.
  14. <<I use photoshop but at the moment I am trying to get the images better from the camera before manipulating them as I feel they are not quite right.>>

    The settings changes you're going to make in your camera to get the results you want are less refined and less flexible than shooting RAW and developing your own images. But they are /the same/ types of changes. You're images are not inherently better simply because you chose some settings in-camera. Do not treat RAW development as manipulation. To do so would be to completely miss the point.
  15. Ken- that's excellent.
  16. The above are all useful comments. To emphasize the point about color space, be sure that you don't have a color space issue causing the pics to look washed out after posting. Does your posted photo look faded compared to the same pic when loaded in photoshop? If it does, check to see what working color space your Photoshop defaults to. It's OK to use Adobe RGB, but if you do then you need to remember to convert the profile to sRGB before you 'save for web' and post. In PS CS, go [image][mode][convert to profile], and choose sRGB. The problem is that when you post images, the server may strip off the EXIF data tags, and then the web software just assumes you are in sRGB. If you are actually in Adobe RGB 1998, colors look faded.

    That said, I think the most likely problem is just incomplete processing after you take the photo. Photoshop skills are mandatory for high end cameras. For a long time I wondered why the colors looked so much better when my wife used the 'automatic' settings on my 20D. In idiot mode, my camera boosts saturation & sharpens
    in the camera, creating an sRGB JPEG image ready for posting/printing. Shooting RAW, you need to do that stuff manually.

  17. Buy a light meter and bracket your exposure. In colour photography the only way to
    increase saturation is to underexpose. Also lighting is flat here, try to choose the best
    moment of the day to shoot landscapes.
  18. that's a wonderful link Mark U !

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