Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2006/09/02

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Subject: [Leica] Re:Skin tone - film vs. digital (not a debate)
From: scott at (Scott McLoughlin)
Date: Sat Sep 2 19:19:14 2006
References: <> <004501c6cefe$b6976cf0$0a01a8c0@MacPhisto>


Thanks for going through all the variables I should consider.

I've taken one vivid shot, of a rusty lamp on a boat. Dunno
why, but that captured the greenish patina where my normal
mode didn't.

I have the camera setup for Adobe RGB. That should be ok,
right?  I don't recalibrate every week, but I also use a Trinitron
CRT that I'll calibrate every month or two.

Perhaps it is a WB problem.

First, generally, I'm a low contrast NPH (now 400H) kind
of guy.  And in the next few days I'll dip into my new
stash of Sensia.  NPH is more or less made for people
pics - popular wedding film, etc.  I wonder if I'm just not
going to get that kind of look out of my DSLR "in camera."

Second, while I carry around a white card, I don't use it
nearly as much as I should (like having dental floss....) I
have to have better habits here. I have little excuse, because
I'm rarely a quick shooting kind of shooter.

Third, now that I think of it, I use my DSLR with flash quite
a bit - either an SB800 or especially a pair of Alien Bees 800's.
This might present a particular kind of WB problem.

But, I'm going to tweak the in camera settings a bit until
something good happens or I get bored :-)

So, now a question - how to get a good custom WB when
using artificial lighting, either with on camera flash (or a flash
bracket) or with studio strobes?

And a comment. My brother adopted a little black girl, and
her skin tones come out just fine. It seems I have a white
people skin problem.

Again, thanks.


Christopher Williams wrote:

>Welcome to digital colors. Yes, Nikon and Canon have different color looks.
>To me personally Nikon has more of a "film" look. I've shot both kinds of
>cameras and that's just my opinion, means nothing else. Fuji has come close
>to great skin tones in their dSLR's but they have never achieved a great
>dSLR camera to use(slow focus, poor VF, bad body build).
>Most dSLR's have 3 color modes. You want to use sRGB or Abode RGB with skin
>tones. Using RGB II or III is for landscape colors. Horrors if you have your
>D70 or D200 on VIVID!! Shooting in NEF/RAW can keep you from constantly
>trying to change color corrections. And do not use Auto WB(I don't care what
>camera you have), try using a Custom WB whenever possible - yeah I know it's
>bitch sometimes. I usually have a good 2 minutes to do this in a church or
>reception hall. Some cameras allow you do store Custom WB modes so you can
>save a WB in #1 for a certain church or #2 for a certain reception hall.
>Kind of like having different kinds of film. I'd never shoot Fuji 800 Press
>for bridal portraits - who wants red skin? But it works very well in low
>light rooms where the skin tones may not matter as much as the overall
>feeling of the mood.
>There's even the ability to create a Custom Curve in your Nikon with Nikon
>Capture. I have this in all my Nikons and believe me it helps later with
>post processing.
>Then there's the fun part of getting skin tones to look correct with home
>printers but that's just like at a lab where they may print with Fuji, Agfa
>or Kodak paper.
>My crappy 1 cent anyway.
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Scott McLoughlin"
>Subject: [Leica] Skin tone - film vs. digital (not a debate)
>>I've been shooting with a D70 and now a D200.
>>I find that skin tones with film have a certain opaque
>>quality, and a lean toward beige, that I like. I've never
>>personally shot Kodachrome, but as a viewer, I see
>>these qualities playing out in force.
>>By comparison, my DSLRs seem to render skin tones
>>with a kind of transparency and pinkness.
>>So I find myself in color correction mode quite frequently,
>>tweaking skin tones toward yellow on the color cube (I use
>>Any clue as to the causes of this discrepancy? I don't mean
>>to start a debate. The DSLR may well be more "true to life"
>>for all I know.  But I don't like it.
>>Might this be a quality unique to Nikon DSLRs?
>>Even better, any ideas how I might do something in camera
>>so that I'm not goofing with color correction all the time?
>Leica Users Group.
>See for more information

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Replies: Reply from leicachris at (Christopher Williams) ([Leica] Re:Skin tone - film vs. digital (not a debate))
Reply from don.dory at (Don Dory) ([Leica] Re:Skin tone - film vs. digital (not a debate))
In reply to: Message from scott at (Scott McLoughlin) ([Leica] Skin tone - film vs. digital (not a debate))
Message from leicachris at (Christopher Williams) ([Leica] Re:Skin tone - film vs. digital (not a debate))