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Image parameters

The EOS 50D, like all current Canon Digital SLRs, provides presets of image parameters in different 'Picture Styles'. There are six default and three user defined Picture Styles, all of which can have any of their four image parameters (sharpness, contrast, saturation and color tone) adjusted. In addition the user defined Picture Styles can be 'based' on any of the preset Picture Styles.

Image parameter adjustments

  • Picture Style: Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, User def. 1 - 3
  • Color space: sRGB, Adobe RGB
  • Image parameter adjustments
    • Sharpness: 0 to 7
    • Contrast: -4 to +4
    • Saturation: -4 to +4
    • Color tone: -4 to +4

Picture Style

The Picture Styles can be thought of as being similar to different types of 'film', each one is made up of a tone curve, color map (including differing hue responses) and default sharpness. The camera comes with six programmed Picture Styles but you can define Picture Styles yourself. An approximate summary of the available Picture Styles are as follows (User definable 1-3 are 'Standard' by default):

Picture Style Canon description Tone curve Color
Standard Vivid, crisp general setting usable for variety of conditions. Type 1
(more contrast)
Slightly more saturation
Portrait Produces a soft texture and beautiful expression of skin color. Type 1
(more contrast)
Medium saturation, skin tones get a pink hue
Landscape Sharp expression with particularly vivid results for blues skies and green hues. Type 1
(more contrast)
High saturation, blue and green emphasis, hue chg.
Neutral With post-processing in mind, saturation and contrast are low. Type 2
(neutral, flatter)
Low saturation, neutral hues
Faithful Faithful production of the subject's colors, with no exaggeration. Type 2
(neutral, flatter)
Low saturation, colormetrically accurate
Monochrome Monochrome expression in black & white, sepia, etc. Type 1
(more contrast)
B&W, can use filters (red, green, orange, etc.)

Picture Style default parameters

You can see an interactive representation of the contrast and color difference between each Picture Style in the 'Photographic tests' section of this review.

  Standard Portrait Landscape Neutral Faithful B&W
Sharpness 3 2 4 0 0 3
Contrast 0 0 0 0 0 0
Saturation 0 0 0 0 0 n/a
Color Tone 0 0 0 0 0 n/a


The sharpness setting of zero appears to mean 'apply no sharpening at all', hence this is the image as captured (soft because of the anti-alias filter). The default setting for Standard Picture Style is three, two for Portrait and four for Landscape.

Sharpness: 0 (Neutral and Faithful default)
Sharpness: 1
Sharpness: 2 (Portrait default)
Sharpness: 3 (Standard and Monochrome default)
Sharpness: 4 (Landscape default)
Sharpness: 5
Sharpness: 6
Sharpness: 7

Contrast adjustment

Adjusting the tone alters the shape of the 'S curve' used to map the linear image data captured by the sensor into the correct gamma. A lower contrast setting maintains more of the original data's dynamic range but leads to a flatter looking image. A higher contrast setting stretches the grayscale (dark to light) of the image and could lead to clipping of both shadow detail and highlights. The EOS 50D provides a wide range of adjustment with nine steps from -4 to +4.

  Thumbnail Luminosity histogram
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