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Image parameters

The 5D was one of the first EOS digital SLR cameras to feature the now ubiquitous Picture Styles image parameter presets. The 5D Mark II retains the same 6 presets and 3 custom settings as the original. Each of the presets as well as the 3 custom settings 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. This is important because as well as having slightly different image parameters, each preset Picture Style also has a slightly different contrast and color map.

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

As mentioned above, each Picture Style 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 download other styles from Canon. The disappointing aspect of Picture Styles (still) is that the tone curve and color map are not revealed to the user, you have to experiment to understand the effect of each Picture Style. An approximate summary of the available Picture Styles are as follows:

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.)

For a reference of how each of these Picture Styles relate to older EOS digital camera parameter settings please refer to the chart at the bottom of this page on canon.co.jp. Each of the preset picture styles can be edited using the Canon Picture Style Editor, a piece of software which allows you to produce your own custom Picture Styles that can include complex color maps.

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

Picture Styles 'real life' scene example

Below are six images in different Picture Styles produced from the same RAW image. Each was saved at a reduced size to aid full size display / download speed (in these examples we're only interested in tone and color, which aren't affected by image size).

Standard Portrait Landscape
Neutral Faithful Monochrome (no filter)

Portrait Picture Style

Below are two images in different Picture Styles produced from the same RAW image. As you can see the difference is subtle, with Portrait mode increasing overall saturation and producing slightly warmer output.

Standard Portrait
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