Image parameters

The EOS 5D and the new EOS-1D Mark II n have the widest range of image parameter adjustment of any Canon digital SLR, with no less than nine levels of adjustment for contrast, saturation and color tone and eight levels of sharpness. Kudos to Canon for listening to owners (and reviewers).

  • Sharpness: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
  • Contrast: -4, -3, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2, +3, +4
  • Saturation: -4, -3, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2, +3, +4
  • Color Tone: -4, -3, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2, +3, +4

As noted on the previous page although shown as 'zero' the contrast and saturation settings can be seen as offset from the selected Picture Style default (not represented in the camera in any way). Sharpness has a default value for each Picture Style as shown below:

Picture Style default parameters

  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

Sharpness

As you can see the sharpness setting of zero (0) really means 'no sharpening at all', believe it or not this is the image the sensor captures, soft thanks to the anti-alias filter. Level 2 is about the best all-round setting in my opinion, level 3 can lead to some halo artifacts. Level 4 is the default for Landscape which can be useful for pulling out distant foliage or grass. The Neutral Picture Style was used for the samples below.

Sharpness: 0 (Neutral & Faithful default)
Sharpness: 1
Sharpness: 2 (Portrait default)
Sharpness: 3 (Standard 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 Neutral Picture Style was used for the samples below.

  Contrast Luminosity histogram
-4

-2

0

+2

+4