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This blog is intended to showcase my pictures or those of other photographers who have moved beyond the pretty picture and for whom photography is more than entertainment - photography that aims at being true, not at being beautiful because what is true is most often beautiful..

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« civilized ku # 898 ~ the reason why | Main | civilized ku # 896 ~ remainders »

civilized ku # 897 ~ generally accurate, but not always attractive (?)

A variety of man-made verticals, horizontals, and diagonals ~ near Au Sable Forks - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
When reviewing a new camera, a gear site had this to say about the images created by a camera's sensor + color engine:

Colors are generally accurate, but not always attractive ...

This observation was of course not meant as a compliment. I mean, after all, who would want a camera that produces generally accurate color? What exactly would be the point of having to deal with - thank the techno-gods for giving us the digital tools (H&S sliders to the max!) which provide us with a quick and easy way to change those accurate colors into attractive colors - that "deficiency"?

an aside - I find it very strange and more than a little ironic that the pretty picture crowd, especially the nature landscape division thereof, deplores accurate colors. On one hand, they profess great admiration and respect for the natural world. On the other hand, they can't keep their hands off of the natural colors found therein. The god*-given colors of natural things are never quite good enough to match the imaginings, feelings, fetishes, and "memories" of those picture makers. And, in a very strange application of reason and logic, they seem to think that presenting a false/distorted view of the natural world will engender a respect (their oft-stated rational for their picture making excesses) for the actual natural world. IMO, and that of many others, that reasoning backfires way more often than it succeeds because the real (more accurate, if you will) natural world rarely can match that of the fabricated "grandeur" exhibited in pictures made by the pretty picture crowd. The net effect of that issue is that there is little respect for / appreciation of the non-grandeur natural world and, concomitantly, there is much destruction thereof.

In any event, as can be deduced from many of the my-how-to entries on this blog, I spend a fair amount of time and effort converting / correcting, to a "generally accurate" state, the "attractive" colors my camera + color engine produces. Needless to state, I would actually prefer a camera + color engine which produces generally accurate rather than "attractive" colors. It surely would save me a heap of time and effort.

FYI, on one hand, the camera under review is of the µ4/3rds variety so I've moved it to my maybe someday list (purely mental, partly fantasy). That said, 2 things will have to happen before it can enter the realm of the possible - 1) the price will have to drop considerably (it probably will after the initial "buzz" / gear lust wears off - although it's status, review wise, as "easily the best video-equipped stills camera that we've ever used" (I couldn't care less) might keep demand on the high side for an extended period), and, 2) it will have to be available as body-only because I really don't want or need the kit lens which comes with it.

On the other hand, I am very happy with the quality and look (post processing) of the prints my current camera/sensor + color engine + work-flow produces. So, I ask, why mess with a good thing?

*the "creator", mother nature, natural selection, random chance - pick one or make up your own definition.

Reader Comments (4)

There is rumoured to be a G3 announcement soon, maybe same engine and 'SLR' body style less the video stuff I don't care about at a lower price...

I don't really need it, in my fantasy realm as well, but a better viewfinder would be nice.

March 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterscotth

Maybe when the camera makers get megapixels sorted (12 is adequate for me), ISO sorted (a clean ISO 3200 on a compact would be good), dynamic range sorted (say 10 stops on a compact) then they might turn there attention to accurate colour. Maybe!

March 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSven W

As usual, I have to be some kind of dissenting voice here. I don't find that "neutral" on my camera (a d700) is very accurate. The raw file lacks contrast, punch, sharpening and quite a few things, several of which will change how color looks. So if I want a landscape photo to look like I felt it looked out in the field, I might have to crank up/down different "sliders" in lightroom or photoshop. Sometimes I feel that the camera gives me something that is a bit too saturated/poppy, me remembering a far more subdued scene (like - which most likely will offend your color sense, but still, I feel it illustrates my point somehow) other times I feel I have to add some "punch" or color saturation to make the image look like I remember the scene (like for instance )

March 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterUlrik Fredrik Thyve

The camera being referred to has to be the Panasonic GH2. What makes you so careful to not disclose these details?

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMartijn

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