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Wacky D7100 colors


john_sevigny2
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I inherited a D7100 from my brother. I've been doing some portrait and documentary work with it but whether I shoot raw or jpg, and no matter how careful I am with white balance, my colors are all over the map. This picture shows a good example. Skin tone sucks. Sharp, warm greens. And the overall color balance is too cool. In nearly every other case, orange is way oversaturated. Is my machine dead or did I accidentally turn on the "sucky color" function?

 

DSC_0682-1.thumb.jpg.cd2a5361e6e09b517cd128c3eb5105f8.jpg

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...but whether I shoot raw or jpg, and no matter how careful I am with white balance, my colors are all over the map.

 

Hi, not a Nikon guy, but I'd start troubleshooting with the jpegs. First, if you set a "proper" white balance then shoot a closeup of a white card, does the rgb histogram show all three colors lining up (or are they offset)?

 

If not, look for a camera setting that pushes in a color offset.

 

If the rgb histogram looks ok, then go through the camera settings for the "look," or whatever Nikon calls it, and make sure that the contrast and saturation are close to centered. Also make sure that no special colors enhancement is set on.

 

From there, try a test shot with skin tones, preferably with a piece of white card to show whether the WB is ok on the test. Then, if you can, post some pixel values for the skin highlights (not specular, just a bright part of the face). Note: Make sure that it's lit by a full-spectrum source, such as daylight, tungsten, or flash (no fluorescent or led, etc.).

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If you're unhappy with the raw conversion, which software are you using for the conversion? Cameras do have subtly different filters, but there's little the camera can do to affect appearance after raw conversion. Do you have a workflow from another body that was working for you but which might need adjustment with the D7100?

 

Working with the jpeg settings is another matter, but if you can't get raw looking right (even before you're relying on the in-camera conversion for jpegs), that feels more fundamental.

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Working with the jpeg settings is another matter, but if you can't get raw looking right (even before you're relying on the in-camera conversion for jpegs), that feels more fundamental.

 

Nah, the jpeg rules out any sort of raw conversion issues, including a bad camera "profile," software bugs, etc. If a camera has problems producing a good jpeg then you can be sure the problem resides in the camera - no need to dig into the raw converter for whatever.

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Well, whatever it is, the skin tones are quite a lot too blue; could also use a slight boost of magenta (lower green curve) to get a little color in the skin. (I even think the grass is too blue.)

 

I'll post an edited copy if you'd like, but I think the real thing is either a bad WB or possibly a color offset has been pushed into the camera.

 

Note: I'm presuming the sample is in sRGB.

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I am not sure entirely what gets reset with a full camera reset, but you should know that each of the picture controls (color sets) has an extensive menu whereby various things, including saturation and hue, can be changed. You may have to get deeper into the menu to see if something there has been changed. There are also options for changing the blue/amber balance in each of the preset white balance settings. The two button reset should restore WB and Picture Control to their defaults, but for picture control, at least, only the one in use. To do a complete reset of these you'll have to change picture controls and do it again for each. The instructions are unclear as to whether the white balance is reset globally, or just the one in use, but the one in use should be reset at least.

 

I'd try, if you have not already, a different picture control. The image shown looks, along with being rather blue, pretty flat. My own preference is for the "normal" setting. I find the Vivid increases contrast a bit too much. Portrait is not bad for some skin tones, and Landscape will give you a bit more contrast and pumps up greens.

 

 

I've always found that the Auto WB runs a little cool in daylight, and generally prefer the daylight WB setting instead. If you use Auto WB you can tilt it one or two steps toward amber and it warms up a little without making a conspicuous difference.

 

Note to BeBu: if it's in Ektachrome mode, he's in luck. All he has to do is leave the camera out in the sun for a couple of years, and the image will turn orange all by itself.

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You probably already know this but there is a display option for "RGB Histogram" which will give you separate histograms for R,G,B, and the regular brightness histogram, along with highlights in the image.

 

Although you can quickly adjust the blue-amber balance of any WB setting using the WB button and the front dial, if you open WB in the shooting menu, a right arrow on any selection gets you a graph that allows you to adjust not only the Amber/Blue but Green/Magenta.

 

Likewise, if you open the picture controls in the shooting menu, a right arrow on any one gets you the list of adjustments, and pushing the {-} button brings up a graph on which you can see how the different controls compare in contrast and saturation. The default and new positions are shown on the graph. Changes other than contrast and saturation are not graphed, but if any changes are made, the dot representing that control will have an asterisk added.

 

If you don't want to do a global reset, each picture control can be reset with the trashcan button, and each white balance reset by returning it to the center of its graph.

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If a camera has problems producing a good jpeg then you can be sure the problem resides in the camera - no need to dig into the raw converter for whatever.

 

Well, the question about the raw editor used has merit, in fact. If you use Nikon's raw converter, the initial rendering of the raw file will be identical to what an in-camera JPEG would have looked like. So if it is Nikon's, then the error is still very likely to be due to camera settings, and else the problem is a lot more complex. Since the OP already tried white balance settings, my next bet would be the Picture Styles - set it to standard to start with.

As Alan's example shows that fixing white balance can fix it, it's really most like the white balance setting in the camera, or a picture style.

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