Site Sponsors
Results 1 to 22 of 22

Thread: Sony A7RII Dull Files?

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Beach Haven, NJ
    Posts
    685
    Post Thanks / Like

    Sony A7RII Dull Files?

    Hi all: Love this forum; I learn a lot here. I use in addition to the A7RII, a Sony A900, Nikon D800E, and Pentax 645D. Compared to these, I find the RAW files from the A7RII very "dull", requiring a lot of post processing. I always post process to bring the RAW files to what I like, and saw. With the A7RII, it is not about optimizing, but rescuing. I have been putting sky and foreground on their own layers, then applying adjustment layers (levels and saturation) on each layer separately, as they usually need unequal amounts. Not complaining: I am retired and an Amateur, so I have time to spend on each image, but if the Pros must spend this amount of time per image, it must be brutal. I am posting the out of camera RAW images (converted to JPGS for posting) and the final post processed images. Am I the only one, or am I doing something wrong? Thanks for looking and any help.
    Dave in NJName:  RAW small JPG_DSC0342.jpg
Views: 451
Size:  118.9 KBClick image for larger version. 

Name:	framed 0342.jpg 
Views:	39 
Size:	206.6 KB 
ID:	113360Name:  RAW small JPG_DSC0352.jpg
Views: 473
Size:  120.5 KBClick image for larger version. 

Name:	trial 0352 framed.jpg 
Views:	32 
Size:	245.2 KB 
ID:	113362Name:  RAW small JPG_DSC0357.jpg
Views: 465
Size:  96.8 KBClick image for larger version. 

Name:	trial 0357 framed.jpg 
Views:	37 
Size:	179.9 KB 
ID:	113364
    Likes 2 Member(s) liked this post

  2. #2
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    k-hawinkler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    The "Land of Enchantment"
    Posts
    3,300
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Sony A7RII Dull Files?

    Hi Dave, great images. I do something similar.
    The files out of the camera are (by design I think) pretty flat but very malleable as you discovered.
    At least that's my understanding.
    With best regards, K-H.
    Thanks 1 Member(s) thanked for this post

  3. #3
    Senior Member MikeEvangelist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    933
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Sony A7RII Dull Files?

    Taking that last unprocessed image, I got this in about 20 seconds, using only Lightroom controls. Not exactly the same as your version, but close. (it would of course look much better if I was using the raw file.)

    Name:  From JPEG.jpg
Views: 413
Size:  141.5 KB

  4. #4
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    23,623
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    2555

    Re: Sony A7RII Dull Files?

    Dave this is exactly what happens when you have a very high DR camera. Files are very even toned both shadows and highlights. This is normal because this camera sees so much in the shadows and highlights, so yes you are correct but honestly this is what you want. You want that ability to see in the shadows. Now you process more to the punchy side with a lot of saturation and contrast. So for you and your style you like the image to jump off the page let's say. To do that your going to be adding to your black point adding saturation and clarity. This is your style and you tend to what some may call over processing . Don't take that in a bad way , it's you just like that punch. So do I

    Typical I'm adding about 4 points to the blacks , clarity around 10 than I knock down the highlights and may even add saturation on a global level to about 4-10 depending on scene. Your doing fine , images look good but you do have to work them because of the high dynamic range which looks flat as a pancake. Point being here is the file is what you want with that range now it's up to you for the style you like.

    Hope that helps but your doing awesome and I always look forward to your images
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com
    Thanks 2 Member(s) thanked for this post
    Likes 2 Member(s) liked this post

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    No CA
    Posts
    795
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Sony A7RII Dull Files?

    I'm inclined to accept K-H's and Guy's explanations. In your 'before and after' versions it looks to me like you're forcing the saturation quite a bit. Difficult to believe NJ skies are so saturated with blue on cloudy days?

    To my eyes, something in between the two versions would look more plausible.

    Just my two cents.

    Kirk
    Likes 2 Member(s) liked this post

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    596
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Sony A7RII Dull Files?

    When we shot file we were stuck with the characteristic curve of the emulsion. With B&W, as Adams pointed out with the zone system, it was possible to control the characteristic curve through a combination of exposure and development. Along with exposure, development, dodging and burning the print.

    All to get the balance between highlight (shoulder) roll off, mid-tone contrast (steepness of curve) and shadow detail (toe).

    The Sony A7RII, as pointed out, has a wider dynamic range than earlier cameras. This means more detail captured in highlight and shadow area pixels. Using a linear rather than a tone curve with shoulder and toe roll off, extends the tonal range but makes for a dull image.

    Kodak, when creating a market for color prints early one, decided that punchy, saturated colors were what would attract customers. That, through long years of exposure has become an accepted normal image.

    As others have pointed out, we have many tools in processing software that are useful for manipulating the tone curve and color.

    Generally, there should be something "black" in an image. (0,0,0) and something approaching white (255,255,255). Visually, most people want to see mid-tone contrast as well. (Steeper than linear mid-tone curve.) How one gets there depends on software, taste and experience.

    Its possible, by creating a custom profile for the Sony A7RII, to get input images that are even flatter and muddier looking. Its a useful approach when attempting to get maximum dynamic range. Its also possible to combine multiple frames shot at a range of exposures (bracketing) into a 32-bit floating point file that offers even broader dynamic range manipulation. i.e. it doubles the range of all the exposure module sliders in Lightroom and camera raw. Not sure if C1 and other handle those files.

    HDR processing is another approach that has found some popularity for processing wide dynamic range files.

    This lengthly explanation is intended to suggest that flat, dull, files on import into processing software is good.

  7. #7
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    23,623
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    2555

    Re: Sony A7RII Dull Files?

    One other thing think a little more about lenses that do offer a little more punch. Zeiss glass is very typical of great color, contrast and acuteness to the file. In general a more modern lens per say.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    596
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Sony A7RII Dull Files?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    One other thing think a little more about lenses that do offer a little more punch. Zeiss glass is very typical of great color, contrast and acuteness to the file. In general a more modern lens per say.
    My reply is going to be way off topic in one regard.

    Guy, when I was shooting film lens character was one thing I thought about. i.e. Leica lenses with Kodachrome were much nicer than Nikon lenses, at least for me.

    With digital, the ability to manipulate mid-tone contrast, and color bands within the spectrum mean I can get what I want regardless of the lens or sensor I start with.

    The unique characteristics, while nice, have been over taken by software. Zeiss is even using it to correct for distortion. Next logical step is to use it to create color and contrast signature. :-)

    All that said, I agree with Guy that a contrastier lens will help the image coming into the software from the raw converter, especially mid-tone contrast.

  9. #9
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    23,623
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    2555

    Re: Sony A7RII Dull Files?

    Agree David we can accomplish so much in post now. What always kind of bugged me is how much post is never talked about and basically ignored in the whole chain. It's so underrated as people are far more interested in the hardware. Which is fine but a lot of magic is done in post that many don't understand or maybe better said ignored.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com
    Likes 2 Member(s) liked this post

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Beach Haven, NJ
    Posts
    685
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Sony A7RII Dull Files?

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	D686 framed.jpg 
Views:	24 
Size:	246.4 KB 
ID:	113371Thanks all for your valuable input. Here is a recent shot that I used ACR to develop the file. While doing so, I was amazed at how I could open up the shadows that were coal black in the RAW file with no visible detail. I converted to B&W, but the ability to hold detail in shadows and highlights is amazing.
    Dave
    Likes 4 Member(s) liked this post

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Marin County, CA
    Posts
    593
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Sony A7RII Dull Files?

    It would be helpful to have access to the original RAW file so folks here can illustrate what they mean.

    Like others have said, an image straight out of a camera with broad dynamic range will look dull and flat. It's the same with a bracketed image used for tone mapping, aka HDR processing. The initial tone mapped image looks ugly. It's only when you adjust the sliders the full potential of the image is revealed.

  12. #12
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    k-hawinkler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    The "Land of Enchantment"
    Posts
    3,300
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Sony A7RII Dull Files?

    Quote Originally Posted by gurtch View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	D686 framed.jpg 
Views:	24 
Size:	246.4 KB 
ID:	113371Thanks all for your valuable input. Here is a recent shot that I used ACR to develop the file. While doing so, I was amazed at how I could open up the shadows that were coal black in the RAW file with no visible detail. I converted to B&W, but the ability to hold detail in shadows and highlights is amazing.
    Dave
    That's a terrific image. Not only sensors but also the editing software has been improved over the years. I also picked up a thing or two and find it useful to reprocess images I shot a few years ago.
    With best regards, K-H.
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    596
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Sony A7RII Dull Files?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Agree David we can accomplish so much in post now. What always kind of bugged me is how much post is never talked about and basically ignored in the whole chain. It's so underrated as people are far more interested in the hardware. Which is fine but a lot of magic is done in post that many don't understand or maybe better said ignored.
    So true.
    I did a color managed workflow diagram and white paper for a works on paper conservator based on standards and recommendations developed by an association of conservators. The photon capture by the sensor is step one of many steps. Processing via software outside the camera is the majority of the workflow. The exception is a photographer forfeiting the control and process to pre-cooked options via the camera JPG conversion firmware. What most seem to forget is that even with camera processed JPGs the image starts as raw luminance data recorded at the photo sites.

    When I can get back into Lightroom I'll add an example of processing in Lightroom from an A7RII file that was imported into Lightroom with a custom linear camera profile. Its the closest thing I've found to being able to see the raw data without outside manipulation.

  14. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    70
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Sony A7RII Dull Files?

    If you profile your camera with a colorcheckr passport or similar you will get stronger (too strong) blues. Even with what you have, adjusting the white balance, and applying a bit of global contrast will give you better pictures straight away. (I find you renditions polaroid filter unnatural, to my eye.)

    Ultimately, though, you can try using one of the in-camera profiles, if you want a particular look straight out of camera, or enjoy the malleability of the raw files to take your images in whatever way suits your taste.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    596
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Sony A7RII Dull Files?

    Here is the result of a quick comparison I did to illustrate impact of input camera profile and also some processing options in Lightroom to create a desirable tone curve.

    Upper left image is as imported with a camera profile using the Adobe Base tone curve in DNG Profile Editor. No other adjustments in Lightroom.
    Upper right image is as imported with a camera profile using the Linear tone curve in DNG Profile Editor. Then a 1 EV increase in exposure to bring the mid-range exposure up to about the middle of the dynamic range.
    Lower left image is the upper right starting point with the exposure up 2 EV, Highlights -100, Clarity 50 and the tone curve moved 5% right at the 25/25 point and 5% left at the 75/75 point.
    Lower right image is upper right starting point with exposure up 1 EV and Clarity 75 with everything else same as upper right starting point.

    The histogram for this image shows no clipping in the blacks and minimal in the whites. The tip of the histogram does touch the edges of the range at both sides.

    The image was shot late morning on a sunny day. The fact that there is essentially no clipping at either end attests to the wide dynamic range the A7RII offers.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	PROCESSING COMP.jpg 
Views:	28 
Size:	257.6 KB 
ID:	113379
    David

    dmwfotos | davidmward.photography
    Thanks 1 Member(s) thanked for this post
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  16. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    596
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Sony A7RII Dull Files?

    Here is the image after processing, extracting and compositing. i.e. Full processing.

    David

    dmwfotos | davidmward.photography
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  17. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    596
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Sony A7RII Dull Files?

    I did notice that when the OP does his processing to get the contrast and saturation he wants the increased contrast does pop the birds out of the clouds.

    I, too, find the blue in the sky a bit more than I'd want. The polarizing filter analogy is a good one.

    I like the B&W processing.

  18. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    596
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Sony A7RII Dull Files?

    Quote Originally Posted by jrp View Post
    If you profile your camera with a colorcheckr passport or similar you will get stronger (too strong) blues. ...
    I must like blue. I haven't found the blues too strong with my custom profiles.

    I make mine with Adobe DNG Profile Editor. I haven't tried the X-Rite software. Maybe that's the source of the strong blues.

    Adobe, based on an email exchange with Eric Chan, purposely does not apply any tone curve based on the grey square readings. Not sure if that's also different compared to X-Rite. Or, if that would impact blues.

  19. #19
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Marin County, CA
    Posts
    593
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Sony A7RII Dull Files?

    Yeah, my X-rite profiles tend to saturate reds way more than blues.

    I also use Colorite's profiling, which tends to be more subtle and "straight line" than X-rite.

  20. #20
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    23,623
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    2555

    Re: Sony A7RII Dull Files?

    Quote Originally Posted by dmward View Post
    Here is the image after processing, extracting and compositing. i.e. Full processing.


    I'll take the car. I know I can handle that well and survive. Lol
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  21. #21
    Member Chris Barrett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    201
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Sony A7RII Dull Files?

    Funny... guys who shoot cinematography live for flat files that they have more control over in grading. I think the Sony files have plenty of beef to go where you're taking them... but honestly, your before and afters feel hugely over-processed and unnatural to me.

    Just my 2 cents.

    *This opinion brought to you by margaritas*
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  22. #22
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    353
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Sony A7RII Dull Files?

    As others have noted, yes A7Rii has "flat" RAW files but plenty of room for processing and tweaking to taste. I noticed this at the outset when I used the A7Rii recently and compared the output my A7. Terrific camera anyway.
    Likes 2 Member(s) liked this post

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •