I May Have Solved My Colour Problem

Ever since I started shooting more with my Panasonic G9, I’ve been complaining that the colours don’t look quite right. The problem started with sunsets. When I looked at the images in Lightroom the colours looked somehow false. Yellow and orange seemed a particular problem and often translated into grass that looked a little too warm for my liking. I then only had to touch the temperature slider, and everything seemed to go out of balance. That was another issue because the Panasonic seemed to have quite a cool auto white balance.

Whilst I prefer to use DxO PhotoLab for my Micro 43 RAW files (at least for the initial process), the issues seemed to appear there also. With Lightroom, I thought the problem was coming from the Adobe Color Profile, although the Panasonic profiles weren’t much better. In PhotoLab, I tried lots of profile and finally settle on the Olympus EM5 profile as producing an acceptable result, although something still wasn’t to my liking.

I then thought that I would try processing the RAW files in Capture One Pro. This again wasn’t very successful until I realised that I had a combination of problems:

  1. I had assumed from my earlier experiences that the Panasonic camera profiles were the issue and so I was switching to other ICC Profiles.
  2. Capture One has a profile curve that can be set independent to the Camera Profile. I usually set this to Film Standard rather than “Auto”.

After watching carefully what was happening, I realised that leaving the ICC Profile set to Panasonic G9 Generic and the Curve set to Auto produced the most natural colours. In other words, don’t fiddle. Switching to the “Film Curve” seemed to make the colours turn sickly with the G9. Whilst this was subtle initially, it became amplified as I began to process the file with other tools.

There was also a third problem in that I needed to adjust the relationship between some of the colours. Greens seemed to have too much yellow and too little cyan and in some cases magenta. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as simple as turning to the Global HSL adjustment tools in the RAW converter. I needed to make targeted colour adjustments to achieve a look I was happy with.

I’m now experimenting with Lightroom and PhotoLab to see if I can improve the colour in images processed there. It’s early days but here’s an example from Lightroom. I’m not entirely satisfied but I think it’s a step in the right direction.

Surprise View, Peak District. Panasonic G9.

This is Surprise View in the Peak District shots with the Panasonic G9. I was using a Leica 8-18 lens at 8mm and a 2 stop ND Grad filter on the sky. I had the camera mounted on a tripod for an exposure of 1/50” at f/8.0. I also had the camera set to the 80M high resolution mode, so this is a huge image (10,368 x 7,776 pixels).

I hope you like the image and have found some value ion my ramblings.

8 thoughts on “I May Have Solved My Colour Problem

  1. And …folk will not always see the same colours as you …from factors such as their own eyesight , their screen , their device and so on and so on

    1. They certainly can but that wasn’t the problem with the Panasonic. I have issues with the colour with and without filters. I also find the Kase ND filters I user don’t have cause any problems with any of my cameras. It’s a good point though.

  2. Hi Robin, How do you manage colour temp? I’ve had problems getting colour how I like it with my Panasonic, whereas I didn’t have many colour issues with my Canons and almost none with my old Olympus compact. I now set the camera to Natural (or is it Neutral?) style and RAW + JPG so that I have a JPG of what the camera thinks the scene looks like to compare with my processed RAW. I usually have to manually set colour temp in DXO (Lightroom is similar). Auto WB and the WB presets in the Panasonic just seem to be way off what I like. Maybe I should try an Olympus OMD…

    Like Jason, I’ve had issues in the past with colour casts from filters.

    1. As soon as I read your question I recognised it as being similar to what I’ve been going through. I also agree with your comment about the Canon and Olympus colour handling, especially the Olympus. That’s probably why I initially went to the Olympus camera profiles in PhotoLab and Capture One. In Lightroom, I now start with Camera Neutral as the profile and I’ve changed my white balance to standard AWB rather than Warm AWB. Taking a reference JPEG is another thing I do and I use that to help me remember how the grass looks. Then once I have the images in Lightroom I try to create a Colour Temp and Tint combination that I’m happy with.

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