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Author Topic: A quck test of camera profiles in ACR  (Read 2434 times)
cstanfill
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« on: October 07, 2008, 11:55:44 PM »
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I recently downloaded the beta camera profile module for ACR/Lightroom (http://labs.adobe.com/wiki/index.php/DNG_Profiles), and I though I'd share the results of a quick test I did.

The starting point was a photo I took at Fenway Park the other day. I used a Nikon D-300 with the 70-200 f/2.8 lens and a 1.7 teleconverter. The game was played under the lights which, in my experience, creates fairly massive color problems when working with the default ACR profiles; the grass always looks too yellow, and the dirt on the infield is too saturated. It can be fixed... but its a pain. Nikon Capture does a better job at this, but I much prefer the Lightroom workflow.

So, I recently got Lightroom 2.0 and downloaded the profile module and the profile editor, and set the profile to "Camera D2X Mode 3 beta 2". The quick answer: it really is a great match to Capture's notion of Mode 3, and it is a massive improvement. First, here's a composite with Lightroom Mode 3 on the left and the default ACR conversion on the right.

[attachment=8770:ACR_and_Mode_3.jpg]

To my eye, the left part of the image is vastly improved; the grass is no longer an ugly yellow.

Next, I was curious as to how close Lightroom's Mode 3 is to Nikon's notion of mode 3. Another composite, this time with Nikon mode 3 on the left and Lightroom mode3 on the right.

[attachment=8771:Lightroo..._Capture.jpg]

I can't really see a difference. As a note, I intentionally did almost nothing to the images; I set the white point based on the umpire's trousers, set the profile, and that's it.

Finally, just for fun, I decided to create a custom calibration file based on this image. I loaded it up, tweaked the saturation of the dirt down a little bit, and made the grass just a hair towards blue, a hair more saturated, and decreased luminosity a little; this was an effort to get the grass to match my visual memory. Here's the result:

[attachment=8773:Custom.jpg]

It certainly made the grass look lusher, but this might be a bit too much; when I bump the contrast curves in later stages of processing the greens get to be a bit oversaturated. I'm not sure yet of the merits of doing this sort of color adjustment in a profile vs. in later processing, but it *seems* to make sense in so far as the ugly grass colors are purely a result of the lighting (the grass looks just fine under daylight, even without the mode 3 profiles). My attempt to reduce the saturation on the dirt was probably ill advised; notice that the batter's sleeve has become desaturated.

Anyway, I thought people might be interested in this. I'm a big fan of Lightroom, but I'd been frustrated by poor color conversion. Has Adobe fixed the problem? From where I sit, sure looks like it.
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