Tuesday, November 27, 2007

RAW files for the D3 and D300

Just found these examples of RAW files taken with the new D300 and D3 and compared to the D200. Lightroom and ACR will read all these files, so you can easily compare them yourself. The white balance is wrong in the file, so use the eyedropper on the grey patches in the colorchecker to get good color. Shortly, the high ISO performance of the D3 is absolutely crazy. It is also amazingly sharp. At 1600 ISO, compare it to the D200 file. The D3 has gobs and gobs more detail. Even if you take the ISO all the way up with the D3 and compare that file to the 1600 ISO D300 or D200, you'll see far more detail. This might be the often discussed full-frame advantage. Quite extraordinary. Makes me lust for a D3, however new windows for the house are more important right now ;-)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

LR export plugins for flickr, smugmug and zenfolio

Jeffrey Friedl who previously wrote some excellent writeups on color management, just released some direct export plugins for Lightroom 1.3 using the newly released SDK for that program that upload directly to your flickr or smugmug accounts. I've tried the flickr one and it works perfectly.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Relevant example for ppRGB vs adobeRGB

I realized after the last post that I need to give a real world example. The example that I am going to give is from the recent shot below:


I took this into Photoshop in 16-bit ppRGB and softproofed it to the profile of my local costco's Noritsu and to adobeRGB. In both cases, I show the gamut warning (in grey).

Here is the soft proof for adobeRGB (click for large version):

As you can see a lot is out of gamut in the mountain area that is lit by the rising sun. Especially the green of the trees is far out.

Now take a look at the same for the local costcos:

Far less is out of gamut. Especially the green/yellow of the lit trees is not at all out of gamut, while it was in adobeRGB. This clearly shows that in real world images, you lose colors that even not so wide gamut machines can print if you use adobeRGB as a working space. Of course, there are not really any displays that can actually display these colors...

Why use prophotoRGB instead of adobeRGB as a working color space?

Lightroom uses a variant of prophotoRGB as its internal colorspace and when you export to photoshop, it defaults to prophotoRGB. One could argue that this is overkill and adobeRGB should be wide enough. However, typical DSLRs can easily capture color outside of adobeRGB. "What does that matter if you cannot print those colors?", you might ask. The answer is that as soon as your printer has more inks than just CMYK, you can reproduce colors outside of adobeRGB! This can be easily shown when comparing profiles in Apple's excellent and free colorsync utility app. Even worse, you do not need a good printer to reproduce these colors, if you send your images to Costco's, Adorama, smugmug, and such for printing, you could be using their profiles for conversion and you would be able to reproduce color outside of adobeRGB. Don't believe me, here is the proof:

The wireframe in this graph is adobeRGB, the solid, colored volume is the glossy profile from my local costcos. As you can see the costco profile indicates that their Noritsu in this case can generate color outside of adobeRGB! Now compare this with the same figure for prophotoRGB:

As you see the entire range of colors that costcos printers can reproduce is enclosed.
Of course if you are working in less than 16 bits (everything in LR is 16 bit, so that is not anything to worry about), ppRGB might not be a good choice as you blow up the difference between 2 color values too much and you might get posterization. Fortunately, basically everything in Photoshop is 16 bits nowadays. So for prints from costco, a good workflow is to export to 16-bit ppRGB tiffs/psds, convert to the right profile in photoshop and then convert to 8-bit and save as a jpeg.