G3 EVF - too dark pictures, blue clouds - 20mm

Started Jun 18, 2012 | Discussions
eilivk
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G3 EVF - too dark pictures, blue clouds - 20mm
Jun 18, 2012

Been to the countryside, a lot of images of vegetation and clouds, they looked ok in the EVF, but rather dark in my PC, darker than with the 14-42? Like this:

I managed to get the jpeg to this, but it was even warmer and looked better:

Clouds are more or less too blue, often try different AWB, especially here (even adjusted AWB to get rid of the blue), but none could produce the fine gray/brown clouds with more contrast - and it looked brighter in the EVF.

Have the same problems with compacts, maybe even more. Is the sensor too small for night clouds? Need full-frame? Wrong settings? I mainly used tripod and tried up to 6 seconds, no luck.

And when the images get too dark how to adjust EVF brightness the right way? The LCD more accurate, but do not use it much.

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Anders W
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Re: G3 EVF - too dark pictures, blue clouds - 20mm
In reply to eilivk, Jun 18, 2012

eilivk wrote:

Been to the countryside, a lot of images of vegetation and clouds, they looked ok in the EVF, but rather dark in my PC, darker than with the 14-42? Like this:

I managed to get the jpeg to this, but it was even warmer and looked better:

Clouds are more or less too blue, often try different AWB, especially here (even adjusted AWB to get rid of the blue), but none could produce the fine gray/brown clouds with more contrast - and it looked brighter in the EVF.

Have the same problems with compacts, maybe even more. Is the sensor too small for night clouds? Need full-frame? Wrong settings? I mainly used tripod and tried up to 6 seconds, no luck.

And when the images get too dark how to adjust EVF brightness the right way? The LCD more accurate, but do not use it much.

Wrong settings. Pany AWB (not just the G3) is systematically downwards biased (sets too low Kelvin values). In tungsten light, it's pretty OK, but the colder the light gets the more it errs by setting a too low color temp on the camera. Don't know why since this seems like just a calibration issue that they could easily fix.

Only good solution if you are jpeg shooter is to set WB manually. A still better solution is to shoot RAW (which is what I do), in which case you don't have to worry about getting the WB right at the time of shooting. It's still a bit of a nuisance that the colors are wrong in the EVF and when you review the images on the LCD immediately after capture. But I have learnt to live with that.

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eilivk
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Re: G3 EVF - too dark pictures, blue clouds - 20mm
In reply to Anders W, Jun 18, 2012

Thanks Anders W!

Luckily I shot in raw, but not very clever with that, only with FastStone and to some degree Silkypix. I'll try.

If jpeg, what should I have done here with WB? And when I view images in camera I can get histogram for colours - blue was "at the wrong side", can I adjust this also when taking pictures? And EVF brightness should I turn it one click or two up or down to get brighter images?

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napilopez
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Re: G3 EVF - too dark pictures, blue clouds - 20mm
In reply to eilivk, Jun 18, 2012

I would listen to what the previous poster said, but I would also emphasize the importance of calibrating the EVF to your liking, as well as making the EVF and LCD match in color. I remember that when I first got my G3, there was a pretty drastic difference in color between the EVF and LCD on mine.

That means either calibrating the EVF it to be close to what you see in real life, or calibrating it to match your main monitor so there are no suprises when you open up the photo on your computer.

Though it obviously won't be perfect and results will vary a bit depending on factors like lens used, the scene, metering, AWB, and default RAW processing(if you shoot RAW, of course) it can help immensely.

You can find the EVF settings under the second page of the "SETUP" menu(the one with the big wrench). It will say "Viewfinder" if you're using the viewfinder, and "LCD" if you're using the LCD.

I would recommend you use a white or grey card(or equivalent) to set the white balance manually first, so you can eliminate the factor of AWB.

My EVF settings are Brightness: +1, Contrast: -1, no change to the Red Tint, and Blue Tint: -1

My LCD Settings are quite different: Brightness +2, Contrast -2, Red Tint +2(which actually makes it greener), and no change to Blue Tint.

I haven't tested this out in every condition, but these settings seem to both get the two displays pretty close to what my eyes see, as well as matching them to eachother. I increase the brightness and decrease the contrast because this seems to help increase the limited dynamic range of these displays, especially the LCD. Allows me to preview a some more shadow detail.

Hope this at least helps a bit!

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eilivk
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Re: G3 EVF - too dark pictures, blue clouds - 20mm
In reply to napilopez, Jun 18, 2012

Thanks, this was really helpful! Get easily confused so your detailed settings should fix the problem. But if it also must change with each lens... there are so many settings and remember to change them back...

Also seems I must learn raw better since G3 is not as good jpeg camera as I thought.

napilopez wrote:

I would listen to what the previous poster said, but I would also emphasize the importance of calibrating the EVF to your liking, as well as making the EVF and LCD match in color. I remember that when I first got my G3, there was a pretty drastic difference in color between the EVF and LCD on mine.

That means either calibrating the EVF it to be close to what you see in real life, or calibrating it to match your main monitor so there are no suprises when you open up the photo on your computer.

Though it obviously won't be perfect and results will vary a bit depending on factors like lens used, the scene, metering, AWB, and default RAW processing(if you shoot RAW, of course) it can help immensely.

You can find the EVF settings under the second page of the "SETUP" menu(the one with the big wrench). It will say "Viewfinder" if you're using the viewfinder, and "LCD" if you're using the LCD.

I would recommend you use a white or grey card(or equivalent) to set the white balance manually first, so you can eliminate the factor of AWB.

My EVF settings are Brightness: +1, Contrast: -1, no change to the Red Tint, and Blue Tint: -1

My LCD Settings are quite different: Brightness +2, Contrast -2, Red Tint +2(which actually makes it greener), and no change to Blue Tint.

I haven't tested this out in every condition, but these settings seem to both get the two displays pretty close to what my eyes see, as well as matching them to eachother. I increase the brightness and decrease the contrast because this seems to help increase the limited dynamic range of these displays, especially the LCD. Allows me to preview a some more shadow detail.

Hope this at least helps a bit!

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Anders W
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Re: G3 EVF - too dark pictures, blue clouds - 20mm
In reply to eilivk, Jun 18, 2012

eilivk wrote:

Thanks Anders W!

Luckily I shot in raw, but not very clever with that, only with FastStone and to some degree Silkypix. I'll try.

Yes, that's a good idea. Learning to process from RAW is well worth the trouble in my opinion. Silkypix 3.x (which comes with the camera; I guess that's what you are using) is a good start and was once ahead of its time in many ways. But this version is very old by now (five years or so) so I would recommend an upgrade. There are newer and better versions of Silkypix but I switched to LR 4 and haven't regretted it for a second. Wonderful, especially when it comes to light control.

If jpeg, what should I have done here with WB?

The easiest solution is just to use the fixed settings that the camera offers (sunlight, cloudy etc.). That will normally get you close enough. And I guess it's not a big problem to alter the WB of a jpeg a little bit afterwards if you want. It's when the difference is large that you really lose quality.

The problem with the Pany AWB is that it's way off, not just a little. You can see in the RAW converter what the camera thought was the right WB, and it regularly happens on my G1 that it sets WB to about 4000 K or even below, when the proper value is 5500 K or more.

And when I view images in camera I can get histogram for colours - blue was "at the wrong side", can I adjust this also when taking pictures?

The histogram will look different depending on how you adjust the WB. So if you have WB set accurately, the blue will change its position in the histogram a bit. But I personally don't use the histograms much when I am shooting or reviewing things immediately after capture. It is time-consuming and not all that informative in the end. The histogram may in some cases look strange although the picture is just right.

What I do use are the "blinkies" that signal overexposure (channel clipping). I very frequently underexpose the shadows to save the highlights in scenes where the dynamic range is rather high. This makes the picture look too dark when you review it immediately after capture. But if you shoot RAW and use a program like LR (Lightroom) it is very easy to adjust that afterwards.

And EVF brightness should I turn it one click or two up or down to get brighter images?

The EVF brightness adjustment (there is a separate adjustment for the brightness of the EVF) has no impact on the brightness of the images. You just set the EVF brightness to what you think suits your vision.

But is that your only problem or are your pictures too dark too? If so, you should perhaps modify the way you meter or use exposure compensation to get it right.

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eilivk
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Re: G3 EVF - too dark pictures, blue clouds - 20mm
In reply to Anders W, Jun 19, 2012

Thanks again Anders W! I will try adjustments and raw, but with my level of knowledge - and age, there could be too many technical factors, all these issues get in the way of creativity. What I bought the camera for, low light, clouds also at night seems most difficult.

So the choise is struggle more, only use it in daylight, buy a better system camera, or go back to compacts. Was not so sure about a "system camera" but do not regret trying. Maybe 50 % of the images are better than with compacts. And maybe it could improve.

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Anders W
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Re: G3 EVF - too dark pictures, blue clouds - 20mm
In reply to eilivk, Jun 19, 2012

eilivk wrote:

Thanks again Anders W! I will try adjustments and raw, but with my level of knowledge - and age, there could be too many technical factors, all these issues get in the way of creativity. What I bought the camera for, low light, clouds also at night seems most difficult.

So the choise is struggle more, only use it in daylight, buy a better system camera, or go back to compacts. Was not so sure about a "system camera" but do not regret trying. Maybe 50 % of the images are better than with compacts. And maybe it could improve.

I am sure the G3 is a better "night camera" than most compacts and about the same in that respect as all but the most expensive system cameras. So I think it's just a matter of learning how to use it right. You probably won't be happier with another camera. You will just get new things to learn again. Better invest a bit of time and patience with what you have already got.

It's a bit hard for me to help you with the second of your problems (too dark pictures) without knowing more about exactly the way your G3 is configured at the moment and exactly how you use it. The WB issue is easier in that respect because I know there is a general problem of the kind I described.

But try reading a bit in the manual about how you can adjust exposure, for example by means of exposure compensation, and adjust ISO if its simply too dark outside.

Nice light up here right now isn't it, even at night? So I understand what you want to capture. Nordic light is special.

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Baba Ganoush
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Re: G3 EVF - too dark pictures, blue clouds - 20mm
In reply to eilivk, Jun 19, 2012

The colors of Panasonic JPEGs have been the subject of a great many discussion threads over the years, the large majority of people claiming it is a white balance issue. Until recently I'd have agreed with them, but having now shot quite a few photos with my Panasonic G3, I've come to a slightly different conclusion.

I always shoot in raw or else raw + jpeg whenever that option is available. To my eye, the colors of the raw photos from the various Canon and Nikon cameras I have owned have always appeared to be reasonably close to those of the scenes I was shooting, taken straight out of the camera with little or no in-camera adjustments to the color temperature (amber-blue balance) for the Auto, Sun/Daylight, etc. WB settings. This is a very subjective judgement, of course. Still, as Anders has said, if you shoot raw, the exact WB setting of the camera is not very critical because you have a wide latitude to adjust the color temperature to suit your own taste later on when you develop the raw image in post-processing. I do all my processing these days in Adobe Lightroom 4. If you look at some of the pictures from my Nikon D7000 and D800 that I've posted in my gallery here, you can judge for yourself whether the colors that appeal to me are pleasing enough or too warm/cool for your tastes.

As for my G3 camera, I use a modified "Natural" photo style in which I have reduced the Contrast setting by -1, increased the Sharpness setting by +1, made no change to the Saturation setting, and reduced the Noise Reduction setting by -1. Given these settings, I have experimented with a variety of in-camera WB adjustments, but have never found any that will produce accurate colors in the JPEGs from my G3. However, I have found WB settings that yield reasonably accurate colors in the raw images. These settings also happen to produce JPEG colors that, with just a bit of tweaking in Lightroom, end up being fairly close---although not identical---to the colors of the RW2 photos. This bit of tweaking involves an adjustment not to the WB settings but to the saturation and hue settings of the R, G, B color channels in the Camera Calibration section of the Develop module of Lightroom. To put it another way in case you are not familiar with Lightroom, as far as I have been able to determine, the problem with the colors of the JPEGs from the G3 is not a white balance issue, one that can simply be "fixed" by adjusting the WB settings of the camera. Instead it is a camera calibration issue that has to be corrected in post-processing.

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Re: G3 EVF - too dark pictures, blue clouds - 20mm
In reply to Baba Ganoush, Jun 19, 2012

i adjust my EVF so it matches what my eye sees. that's not hard to do, and takes only a minute or two once you know how. i CAN see white balance issues in my EVF regardless of adjustment, and it's the work of seconds to adjust if needed.

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Histogram
In reply to napilopez, Jun 19, 2012

One way of nailing the exposure all the time, is by using the Histogram, instead of relying on the EVF brightness. Have the live histogram on all the time, drag it to a corner of the image, so it won't bother you too much, and learn how to use it and read it. This is one of the good features of an EVF camera over an optical viewfinder.

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highwave
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Re: G3 EVF - too dark pictures, blue clouds - 20mm
In reply to Anders W, Jun 19, 2012

Only good solution if you are jpeg shooter is to set WB manually. A still better solution is to shoot RAW (which is what I do), in which case you don't have to worry about getting the WB right at the time of shooting. It's still a bit of a nuisance that the colors are wrong in the EVF and when you review the images on the LCD immediately after capture. But I have learnt to live with that.

I can't believe this problem still exists in Panasonic

I had this problem back in the days of the FZ20

Looks like manufacturers are die hard when it comes to habits

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eilivk
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Re: G3 EVF - too dark pictures, blue clouds - 20mm
In reply to highwave, Jun 19, 2012

Histogram, got it in place in the EVF. Then I use over and under compensation, see when it’s ”leaving” the left and the right side, and find a middle position. And also take notice of the curve….and try to learn how to use it and read it. It will certainly show if you are “off course”.

EVF and LCD settings, I’ll try these from another post (with small adjustments), should be the same in any G3:

Brightness: +1, Contrast: -1, no change to the Red Tint, and Blue Tint: -1 Brightness +2, Contrast -2, Red Tint +2(which actually makes it greener), and no change to Blue Tint.

Post processing. Bought G3 for better quality and mainly for better EVF (than my SX20) to get less PP. Tried to learn Photoshop many years ago, nearly destroyed my right elbow, now using the left hand mostly for the PC. Have used Windows Live Photogallery, and in one minute get fixed what I beleive is most of what is possible. Is there any as simple to use program that is better? Raw – as mentioned – FastStone, but don’t know how good it is? And will try Silkypix.

Configuration of my G3. Would make a long list. Which settings most important?

Will print out all your advice and try it out. The main problem is combining many factors at once, and learning slowly. The good thing is all the help here, really great!

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Bob Meyer
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Re: G3 EVF - too dark pictures, blue clouds - 20mm
In reply to highwave, Jun 19, 2012

I'm not at all convinced the problem is real. My wife and I just got back from vacation. She shot about 700 pics with a G3 set on AWB, and the only ones that have a real color cast were shot through the tinted windows of a bus. Shots in a cathedral, with a mix of daylight coming through windows and tungsten lighting are too yellow, but there's no consistent blue bias at all. The same is true of my GH2. Were were shooting raw for the most part, but I shot some raw+jpeg and don't see any color cast in the jpegs either.

Most of the pics were outdoors, but shot in everything from heavy overcast to bright sunlight. From morning until evening.

highwave wrote:

Only good solution if you are jpeg shooter is to set WB manually. A still better solution is to shoot RAW (which is what I do), in which case you don't have to worry about getting the WB right at the time of shooting. It's still a bit of a nuisance that the colors are wrong in the EVF and when you review the images on the LCD immediately after capture. But I have learnt to live with that.

I can't believe this problem still exists in Panasonic

I had this problem back in the days of the FZ20

Looks like manufacturers are die hard when it comes to habits

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vincent filomena
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Magical G 3 works fine:
In reply to eilivk, Jun 19, 2012

My G3 shot fine from day One:

My settings now are Natural; -2, -2, -2, -2 developed Jpegs Med fine in LR 4.1 ACR;

Check pictures in Gallery; all labelled by Camera used...

Vjim

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Anders W
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Re: G3 EVF - too dark pictures, blue clouds - 20mm
In reply to Bob Meyer, Jun 19, 2012

Bob Meyer wrote:

I'm not at all convinced the problem is real. My wife and I just got back from vacation. She shot about 700 pics with a G3 set on AWB, and the only ones that have a real color cast were shot through the tinted windows of a bus. Shots in a cathedral, with a mix of daylight coming through windows and tungsten lighting are too yellow, but there's no consistent blue bias at all. The same is true of my GH2. Were were shooting raw for the most part, but I shot some raw+jpeg and don't see any color cast in the jpegs either.

Most of the pics were outdoors, but shot in everything from heavy overcast to bright sunlight. From morning until evening.

highwave wrote:

Only good solution if you are jpeg shooter is to set WB manually. A still better solution is to shoot RAW (which is what I do), in which case you don't have to worry about getting the WB right at the time of shooting. It's still a bit of a nuisance that the colors are wrong in the EVF and when you review the images on the LCD immediately after capture. But I have learnt to live with that.

I can't believe this problem still exists in Panasonic

I had this problem back in the days of the FZ20

Looks like manufacturers are die hard when it comes to habits

I can tell for a fact that my G1 consistently provides WB settings that are too cool, objectively speaking. I have to adjust WB towards the warm side on every image shot in AWB that I convert from RAW. The RAW converter chooses "as shot" by default, and that vaule is regularly around 4000 K in daylight rather than about 5500 K as it should be. As I previously indicated, the bias gets worse the cooler the light actually is. In warm tungsten light, it is pretty much OK but gets progressively worse from there on.

Now I cannot say for sure whether the G3 does the same thing. But all the examples and reports I have seen on the forum suggest that the Pany AWB remains what it originally was in this respect.

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eilivk
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Re: Magical G 3 works fine:
In reply to vincent filomena, Jun 19, 2012

Thanks, just done the same, and set WB "K" to 10.000 and "1" adjusted via a white paper. Do the WB changes work only for those two or for all WB? (shows how much (little) I know about this). Will take some tests later.
And the colours in your images look fine.

vincent filomena wrote:

My G3 shot fine from day One:

My settings now are Natural; -2, -2, -2, -2 developed Jpegs Med fine in LR 4.1 ACR;

Check pictures in Gallery; all labelled by Camera used...

Vjim

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Baba Ganoush
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Re: G3 EVF - too dark pictures, blue clouds - 20mm
In reply to eilivk, Jun 20, 2012

eilivk wrote:

EVF and LCD settings, I’ll try these from another post (with small adjustments), should be the same in any G3:

Brightness: +1, Contrast: -1, no change to the Red Tint, and Blue Tint: -1 Brightness +2, Contrast -2, Red Tint +2(which actually makes it greener), and no change to Blue Tint.

I think a good way to adjust the viewfinder settings is by comparison with a standard color chart, instead of trying to match the colors of a scene. I used a SpyderCHECKR color chart to adjust the settings of my G3. Here is my recommendation:

EVF: Contrast -2; Red Tint +5/+4; Blue Tint -5/-4
Monitor: Contrast -2; Red Tint +4/+3; Blue Tint -4/-3

These settings differ from the ones other people have suggested, but as far as I know none of the alternatives is based on using a color chart for comparison, which is arguably a less subjective approach. My settings do not provide a perfect match of the EVF or LCD Monitor colors with those of the color chart, but achieving an exact match for the purpose of composing a photo is unnecessary. The colors only have to be close enough to the "real thing" to aid in the identification and alignment of the subject that's being shot.

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eilivk
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Re: G3 EVF - too dark pictures, blue clouds - 20mm
In reply to Baba Ganoush, Jun 20, 2012

Baba Ganoush wrote:

eilivk wrote:

EVF and LCD settings, I’ll try these from another post (with small adjustments), should be the same in any G3:

Brightness: +1, Contrast: -1, no change to the Red Tint, and Blue Tint: -1 Brightness +2, Contrast -2, Red Tint +2(which actually makes it greener), and no change to Blue Tint.

I think a good way to adjust the viewfinder settings is by comparison with a standard color chart, instead of trying to match the colors of a scene. I used a SpyderCHECKR color chart to adjust the settings of my G3. Here is my recommendation:

EVF: Contrast -2; Red Tint +5/+4; Blue Tint -5/-4
Monitor: Contrast -2; Red Tint +4/+3; Blue Tint -4/-3

These settings differ from the ones other people have suggested, but as far as I know none of the alternatives is based on using a color chart for comparison, which is arguably a less subjective approach. My settings do not provide a perfect match of the EVF or LCD Monitor colors with those of the color chart, but achieving an exact match for the purpose of composing a photo is unnecessary. The colors only have to be close enough to the "real thing" to aid in the identification and alignment of the subject that's being shot.

Thanks! That seems like a good method. You don't mention brightness, which could mean no change. But as I had problems with brightness I would have thought it needed some change, maybe like the earlier suggestion. But after trying your recommendation I could try to also change brightness.

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