Software Camera Profiles in RAW Processing Software

Location
Seattle
Name
Andrew
One of the things I have run into using somewhat less popular cameras (Ricoh, Pentax, Panasonic) is the lack of closely matching profiles when importing RAWs into software, be it Lightroom or DXO PhotoLab. It's evident when first importing a file, when it shifts to a rather ugly and flat file with colors that just feel "off."

I've mentioned this before, and that I landed on a solution for the Pentax K-1 II at least, by purchasing the Huelight/Color Fidelity profiles. I typically only use the standard one, so there is only one real "look" they give me for Pentax files, but it's a good one, with very accurate and pleasing colors. I don't have a similar solution for, say, the Ricoh GRIIIx. I mean, I could purchase the CF profile for that camera, because they do make it, but the GR cameras offer so many interesting JPEG styles that it seems a pity to use something that doesn't convey any of that characteristic flavor. Which is why I nearly always use JPEGs from the camera. But there are some cases, especially when raising shadows and dark tones a lot, when the JPEG engine in the GRIIIx just kind of falls apart and produces a muddy image.

I know that Lightroom replicates camera matching profiles for many cameras, and indeed does that for the GR models now, but it's not backward-compatible to my version of Lightroom (the last non-subscription, v6). I don't remember having many options back when I had a year of LR Classic, in 2021-22. Has there been further development since then?

Basically, I'm just curious whether others of us run into this issue, and if so, what you do to fix it. Have you paid for better camera profiles, like I did with Color Fidelity? Does your PP software support the RAWs perfectly? Do you not see much of a reason to care? I'm wondering if I should take this a little further and explore solutions for my files beyond just the CF profiles for the K-1 II.
 
I'm not sure what to tell you as such, but my processed shots became much better when I got the DCP file for my Leica M 240 for Adobe products (thanks Brian!) and started using it in "Another RawTherapee". Turns the base RAW file from mud into something that looks like what I saw in the field. I then make my edits in the program and save the jpg for use as I see fit.

Hope that was of some use to you.
 
Just a suggestion that you mull over this question: Do you seek a scientifically accurate rendering of the scene you saw through the viewfinder? Or do you seek an aesthetically good photograph?

By way of guidance, Ansel Adams offered this: "There are no rules for good photographs. There are only good photographs."

I agree with Ansel.
 
I can't really help you. I pay for the LR subscription, so the camera matching profiles just exist for me. I usually use them as a starting point. Although I did recently buy the Color Fidelity ones that you use, simply because I really liked your output from the K1 using them. I haven't used them much yet, though.

Specific to us K1 users, though - I find the images using the default LR Adobe profile to be 70-90% 'there' in a lot of cases. The K1 sensor just records color really, really well.
 
When I bought my first Ricoh GR ten years(ish) ago I was taken by surprise that the manufacturer-supplied raw converter (Silkypix at the time) didn’t produce results that were even remotely close to the in-camera jpgs.
Coming from Canon, Nikon and Olympus cameras, I just assumed that it was the norm to receive some kind of raw- conversion tool that used algorithms similar/the same as what happens in camera.

I usually photograph jpg & raw. And I like them to be close in look when starting editing in a raw converter.
If there’s a small difference, I can decide which one I like better.
But if there’s no resemblance - and I prefer the manufacturer/jpg-look - then it’s frustrating (as I can’t really use the raw - unless I spend a lot of time trying to bring it closer in look to the jpg first)

I know this is all arbitrary - it’s just the way I like to work.

If you’re intending to stay with your version of Lightroom for another while, I see no issue with paying for the CF profiles. (Buying third party profiles can just become an issue if you update your software or camera a lot. Then you might have to rebuy profiles over and over again :) )
 
Just a suggestion that you mull over this question: Do you seek a scientifically accurate rendering of the scene you saw through the viewfinder? Or do you seek an aesthetically good photograph?

By way of guidance, Ansel Adams offered this: "There are no rules for good photographs. There are only good photographs."

I agree with Ansel.
Aesthetically good. But the aesthetics of basic RAW converter colors before editing are not aesthetically pleasing.
 
I can't really help you. I pay for the LR subscription, so the camera matching profiles just exist for me. I usually use them as a starting point. Although I did recently buy the Color Fidelity ones that you use, simply because I really liked your output from the K1 using them. I haven't used them much yet, though.

Specific to us K1 users, though - I find the images using the default LR Adobe profile to be 70-90% 'there' in a lot of cases. The K1 sensor just records color really, really well.
Are the current LR camera profiles, like, really good? Or are they still, as you say, "70-90%?" Because I honestly think it's the 10-30% that is starting to drive me crazy. Certain colors just seem "off" and it's hard to get them back. I just don't want to keep exerting effort on it. If LR works very well now, maybe I just need to pay for a sub.

Also, for whatever reason, I'm finding white balance very hard to adjust these days. Usually the camera auto WB is good enough, but when I want to adjust it nothing seems right. I'm almost starting to think of carrying a gray card.
 
I usually photograph jpg & raw. And I like them to be close in look when starting editing in a raw converter.
If there’s a small difference, I can decide which one I like better.
But if there’s no resemblance - and I prefer the manufacturer/jpg-look - then it’s frustrating (as I can’t really use the raw - unless I spend a lot of time trying to bring it closer in look to the jpg first)

I know this is all arbitrary - it’s just the way I like to work
This is exactly how I work the majority of the time. I wish someone would make software that would measure the color values across the whole JPEG image and then just add that to your processed RAW. That would be awesome.

The GRIIIx lets me use JPEGs a lot of the time, but high ISO stuff requires me to take it into DXO PureRAW or DeepPRIME, which produces a RAW with the inferior colors and flatness.
 
Are the current LR camera profiles, like, really good? Or are they still, as you say, "70-90%?" Because I honestly think it's the 10-30% that is starting to drive me crazy. Certain colors just seem "off" and it's hard to get them back. I just don't want to keep exerting effort on it. If LR works very well now, maybe I just need to pay for a sub.

Also, for whatever reason, I'm finding white balance very hard to adjust these days. Usually the camera auto WB is good enough, but when I want to adjust it nothing seems right. I'm almost starting to think of carrying a gray card.

I think the Camera Matching profiles in LR for the K1 are pretty good. They are probably 90% or better to a good final image. I prefer the Landscape for a bit punchier colors and the Portrait for subtlety, especially when using legacy glass.

I am going to play more with the Color Fidelity ones. Maybe I will do some test shots comparing the profiles.
 
Last edited:
This will be an image heavy post, or series. I went downtown to the annual "Chalk Walk." I though it might be a good test of color for @agentlossing. I corrected a bit of shadow/highlights on these images, but nothing else save the color profiles. They were then all exported to Flickr.

Image #1:
Adobe Color
53636300221_f52112620c_o.jpg
Join to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Camera Matching Natural
53636633719_9db10bea33_o.jpg
Join to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Color Fidelity Standard
53635406882_da9b018dc7_o.jpg
Join to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Image #2:
Adobe Color
53636751860_d55426f132_o.jpg
Join to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Camera Matching Natural
53636634124_baa509fc26_o.jpg
Join to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Color Fidelity Standard
53636300791_bc7ecc06f9_o.jpg
Join to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Image #4:
Adobe Color
53636513713_e69518d4ee_o.jpg
Join to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Camera Matching Natural
53635407707_e2477ebc7d_o.jpg
Join to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Color Fidelity Standard
53636634609_c2d1b53b8d_o.jpg
Join to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


There is one more example in the Flickr Album here.

I think it is pretty obvious that the Camera Matching profile is more flat. It does match the Pentax Natural profile. The default Adobe and Color Fidelity Standard profiles are pretty close. They treat reds and oranges slightly differently. I actually prefer the Color Fidelity method a bit better. It seems to give a bit better 'depth' to the colors.
 
Last edited:
Then I took the image and developed them more to my eye - using other LR sliders as well. I used various different profiles here.

Color Fidelity Standard:
53635441707_82661805da_o.jpg
Join to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Camera Matching Landscape:
53636785060_0aa71e3a06_o.jpg
Join to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Color Fidelity Portrait:
53636667999_7de4fb20b4_o.jpg
Join to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Color Fidelity High:
53636785215_6e10872236_o.jpg
Join to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Maybe this is helpful. 🤷‍♂️
 
One of the things I have run into using somewhat less popular cameras (Ricoh, Pentax, Panasonic) is the lack of closely matching profiles when importing RAWs into software, be it Lightroom or DXO PhotoLab. It's evident when first importing a file, when it shifts to a rather ugly and flat file with colors that just feel "off."
My solution to this is just the use of DCPs with RawTherapee (RT). DCPs are free and easily-obtainable. RT is FOSS. The Pentax DCPs available are just around 5 or 6 per camera, so we won't be getting the SATOBI, Gold, etc., but what I need is just the Natural Custom Profile, just in case I need to process.

I now use RT just in case I shot something in a different profile, like Monochrome, for example, and I actually wanted the Natural proifle. I can:
  • Do the RAW processing in-camera or;
  • Use RT with the Pentax K-3 II or K-3 IIIs Natural profile.
Try it and it may work for you. I use RT to even process the GX9's l.monochrome.d DCP with images the GM5.

Make sure to watch out for the sharpening because many would toggle sharpening immediately, not tune it and it may give a rather un-natural contrasty look. Cheers.
 
Then I took the image and developed them more to my eye - using other LR sliders as well. I used various different profiles here.

Color Fidelity Standard:
View attachment 459693

Camera Matching Landscape:
View attachment 459694

Color Fidelity Portrait:
View attachment 459695

Color Fidelity High:
View attachment 459696

Maybe this is helpful. 🤷‍♂️
Thank you! I think it will be, especially when I can view them on my computer monitor at home. I suspect the Adobe standard profile from my edition of LR is just a lot worse than the current standard. Doesn't explain why DXO would be similarly bad, but then I don't think they have a camera matching profile for the K-1 II or the GRIIIx if I remember correctly.
 
Back
Top