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Author Topic: level of saturation  (Read 3178 times)
Wim van Velzen
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« on: December 16, 2009, 07:48:38 AM »
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hi all,

In the good old film days we often talked about over-the-top, disneychrome colours. I preferred Provia over Velvia 50 in most situations.

Now in the digital days one can set saturation individually for each image and I thought I still had the same taste as years ago. But some comments on my new webportfolio suggested that the saturation was too high  

So I want to ask you: which of the versions do you prefer - the more saturated or the less saturated ones? Or should I even trim down further?

1)


or 2)


and 1)


or 2)
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Tom Montgomery
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« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2009, 08:34:47 AM »
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I prefer #1 in both cases.

But there must be very many people who love highly saturated images, as these are usually at the top of the favourites lists on photo websites!  And don't get me started on the super-saturated "HDR" stuff I see at those sites!

T.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2009, 08:37:11 AM »
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A couple of comments:

(1) There isn't a "stock answer" to this question. The appropriate degree of saturation depends very much on the image and on what you the photographer wish to convey. Sometimes higher saturation is more effective than lower saturation, sometimes the reverse, depending on the mood you want. You will observe however, that as you increase saturation, you are merging levels of colour tonality and that supresses tonal gradation which in turn suppresses detail - it's a trade-off you need to be mindful of every time you hit the saturation slider. In that regard, as a subsidiary point on technique, I would suggest first using Vibrance (if you have Lightroom 2.x or Photoshop CS4, because it is a kinder and gentler form of saturation - it provides reduced impact on already saturated colours and larger impact on less saturated colours).

(2) In these illustrations, at least on my properly colour-managed display, the differences between the images within each pair are not significant.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2009, 10:07:56 AM »
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I agree with Mark's comment 1, and partly with comment 2. However, in the second pair image #1 looks a bit more "natural" to me, and hence more pleasing to my eyes.

I was a Kodachrome diehard for forty years and never liked Velvia.

Eric




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PeterAit
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« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2009, 10:30:55 AM »
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Quote from: EricM
I agree with Mark's comment 1, and partly with comment 2. However, in the second pair image #1 looks a bit more "natural" to me, and hence more pleasing to my eyes.

I was a Kodachrome diehard for forty years and never liked Velvia.

Eric

For the rainbow, I definitely prefer #2 because #1 says "Photoshopped" to me. Sure, most of us use PS, but skillful PS use should result in a result that does not look like a PS creation - sort of like how a woman who applies makeup skillfully does not look like she is wearing makeup! For the grasses, the difference is subtle and I don't have a preference.

Comparing versions of a photo side-by-side seems logical, but it seems to be subject to the same problem that is encountered in the wine tasting world. Side-by-side wine comparisons almost always select as the "best" a wine that is rich and complex. Fair enough, but such wines are rarely the best accompaniments to food. If we extend this parallel to photos, the version that is most impressive in a side-by-side may not be the version that is most effective in connecting to viewers.
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Peter
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2009, 10:41:56 AM »
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Quote from: EricM
I was a Kodachrome diehard for forty years and never liked Velvia.

Eric

Interesting comment - I too used Kodachrome as my staple transparency film for years before I switched to colour negative materials (more forgiving of exposure errors and more natural looking results on more accessible media). But after switching to a complete digital workflow some years ago and now coming back to scanning old Kodachromes, it just hits me in the face how over-saturated and over-contrasted that material was. The main challenge in scanning it - which is much less the case with scanning negatives - is how mindful one should be to tame both the saturation and ccontrast.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2009, 11:02:09 AM »
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I definitely prefer the less saturated versions.  I'd even go so far as to say that even the less saturated versions of those two images look a little too saturated to my tastes.  Not quite natural, and the saturation detracts from the positive aspects of the images, IMHO.  (I never liked Velvia either - I was a Kodak Supra & Kodak Royal Gold negative film user myself, back when I was using film...)

I remember (and greatly admire) your Scottish landscape *film* images, Wim, when you posted them here; I'm not sure what all changed when you went digital, but I prefer the look of your old film images.  I feel that a bit of something was lost, I'm not sure what, when you switched to digital.

Lisa
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pfigen
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« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2009, 01:45:20 AM »
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I actually find Kodachrome less saturated than shooting digital. I've scanned many hundreds of Kodachromes and saturation and contrast are not the problem. The biggest problem, and it's not really a problem, is that the Kodachrome film base, which you would think would be close to a neutral black, actually is read to be quite blue by the drum scanner. Manually pushing that blue element in the blacks down from a value in the mid 20's to somewhere between 5 and 10 brings them right in line. I still love the look and feel of Kodachrome and have a few rolls left to shoot before Dwayne's stops processing it in a year.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2009, 07:36:31 AM »
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If you find Kodachrome less saturated than digital, you are probably talking about the output of camera-processed JPEGs, where saturation is boosted by firmware, because manufacturers think that's the "look" most consumers want. Raw files are definitely not over-saturated "out of the box". You can always process them to become that way, but when you bring them into a raw converter with zero and linear settings on all the luminosity and colour controls, they are not.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Wim van Velzen
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« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2009, 11:39:07 AM »
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Quote from: nniko
(..)

I remember (and greatly admire) your Scottish landscape *film* images, Wim, when you posted them here; I'm not sure what all changed when you went digital, but I prefer the look of your old film images.  I feel that a bit of something was lost, I'm not sure what, when you switched to digital.

Lisa

hi Lisa,

Please donīt tell me to get back to scanning...    
It is true that I am still searching for my own style of postprocessing. The Hasselblad RAWS (Rollei camera, 528C back) need to get some saturation and contrast (as all RAW), as did the scans, but maybe the lack of an original like a transparency makes me make it too digital.

That said, this year I rediscovered the joys of making square images by stitching two images. Reminds me of the 6x6 days!

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wolfnowl
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« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2009, 07:24:13 PM »
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Quote from: EricM
I agree with Mark's comment 1, and partly with comment 2. However, in the second pair image #1 looks a bit more "natural" to me, and hence more pleasing to my eyes.

I was a Kodachrome diehard for forty years and never liked Velvia.

Eric

What Eric said, me too.

Mike.
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pfigen
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« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2009, 11:00:53 PM »
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"If you find Kodachrome less saturated than digital, you are probably talking about the output of camera-processed JPEGs, where saturation is boosted by firmware, because manufacturers think that's the "look" most consumers want. Raw files are definitely not over-saturated "out of the box". You can always process them to become that way, but when you bring them into a raw converter with zero and linear settings on all the luminosity and colour controls, they are not."

Nope. Never shoot in camera jpegs. Never! Too paranoid I might forget to set the camera back to raw for a job, so I've always just shot it that way. My most recent comparison was shot in Bombay Beach in April. It may be that Dwayne's processing is not the same as when we used to use A&I or Kodak. In fact I was kinda surprised at how flat the film was on the light box. Yeah, I know all about what cameras do to in camera jpegs. I call 'em like I see 'em.
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