Help with the way my computer opens RAW files, to do with colour settings I think


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Oct 11, 2010
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Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I have not been happy the colour settings of my photos when i look at them on my computer so after spending ages messing around with the settings trying to make them look realistic I decided to buy a Spyder Monitor calibrator.

However I am still having the same problem. I will try to explain it better.

On my computer I have Adobe CS3 with Photoshop and I use Bridge to look at my photos and Camera Raw to edit them.
I use a Nikon D60.

When I preview the photos, the colours look good while it is still loading, but after it finishes loading the photo it changes and looks unrealistic. Then I have to go through all my photos and change the settings to make them look good and realistic.

So then I set the camera to take a RAW photo and Jpg copy, and then when I look at the immages they never look the same and the colours always look better on the JPG. If I have not changed anything to the RAW settings should they not look exactly the same when I preview them? I have been trying for ages now to change all the settings I can think of and I still cant get the RAW photos to look as good as the JPG ones with out me having to edit them first.

Does anyone have any ideas?
could it be something to do with colour profiles for my camera or raw photos?

Thanks, Nicos
Jpg have editing through camera. Raw does not. When shooting in raw you have to edit the photo to the way you like it.
Cheers that makes sence. However I have tried looking at my raw photos on another computer they look alot better and closser to the Jpg copies than they do when I look at them on my computer. So I am sure there is something wrong with one of the settings on my computer. Any more ideas ?
Would it be sRGB/Adobe RGB settings issue? Which color mode did you choose in your camera?
Do you use any other viewer? is it the same result on it if you do ?
On ACDSee there is a "Raw display" setting; Quality and Speed.

Speed uses embeded Jpeg while Quality performs high quality decoding .

On the quality setting you would get the same effect you do now and the colors seemingly go dull after loading the picture.
On the speed setting the colors do not change after the RAW file has been loaded.

Check if your viewer has a simillar setting.
I have changed the colour space on Camera Raw to sRGB which is the same as my camera but I am still having the same problem. The RAW photos still look completely different and a lot different than the jpg copies. Also still I dont understand why on another computer my raw photos look alot better.
I have changed the colour space on Camera Raw to sRGB which is the same as my camera but I am still having the same problem. The RAW photos still look completely different and a lot different than the jpg copies. Also still I dont understand why on another computer my raw photos look alot better.

What program were you viewing them in on the other computer? What presets if any were being used by that program on the other computer? You will have a hard time figuring out where the problem is if you are working with apples and oranges instead of just apples.
it is very common for images to look different on different monitors.

I have four and the image looks different on every one.

This is a color management issues and has been around forever. Digital has made more people aware these days.

Different RAW convertors will also make a difference. Test out different programs and the RAW image will look different on each; as has been suggested , you need to make the decision on how you want the image to look after post processing. That is the beauty of RAW, you have control.
On my computer I am using Adobe Bridge, Photoshop CS3 and camera RAW. The other computer where all the Raw immages have more realistic and better colour I was just using the standard Windows Picture Viewer to preview the Raw Photos.

On the Camera Raw program there is a setting for Camera Profile,
ACR 4.4, Adobe standard, Camera Standard, Camera Landscape etc.... They all produce very different immages, I do not know which to use, I would like to use the one which is closest to the original immage and does not do any processing to the Raw immage so that I can make the changes.
The more I am finding out the more cofusing it seems to get. But i want to get the settings perfect before I spend all my time editing the photos.
Do people normally change the camera profile settings on Adobe Camera Raw for different immages or do you just leave it on the same setting the whole time?
When shooting RAW it doesn't make any difference as you can change the color profile after the fact.

I have also told PS to close all images in ProPhoto.

Again the difference your seeing is due to the programs that are opening the files.

As it seems you are just starting to work on RAW files, why not just use camera standard until you get a real feeling on what you want and how to go there.
Too many options make for more confusion imho
and with JPEG you have little control.

Your D60 makes 12-bit compressed RAW files and makes 8-bit, lossy, compressed JPEGs. All JPEGS are only 8-bit, and use a lossy compression algorithm. Lossy compression, means image data has been irretrievably discarded.

Tutorials - The RAW File Format
Really useful information! thanks!!
So now I know it is not my computer that has a problem..
One more question though, which settings on the camera affect the raw photo?
-White balance does affect it
-Optimize immage setting, where your change how vivid or soft the colours are?
-noise reduction settings?
-active d-lighting to preseve detail in highlights and shadows?
-Flash compensation?
-Exposure compensation?
Ok here's the acid test.

1. Shoot a picture in RAW+JPG mode.
2. Open the JPEG in CameraRAW. Is it what you expect? If it looks fine and consistent with other applications then the colour profiles are not your issue. If the picture in CameraRAW looks different from say Internet Explorer, then you have a problem with your windows colour profiles.
3. Open the RAW. If it flashes up looking just like the JPEG for a second and then changes, well that's just Adobe CameraRAW processing the image for you.

The only thing Adobe CameraRAW understands from the RAW file in the camera is the white balance settings and then the data that is recorded by the sensor. Exposure compensation and Flash compensation change the physical properties of the camera while it's taking the picture (longer exposure, smaller aperture, more powerful flash burst etc) and these therefore get carried over into CameraRAW. White balance is the only post processing element that is carried over. Optimisation settings, noise reduction, active D lighting etc are all just software playing with your picture and are completely ignored.

The trick is to make the photo look best for you using the settings Adobe CameraRAW provides, and then save them as the default for imported photos.

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