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Color mode

The DSC-F828 sees the introduction of a new setting named 'Color', you can select between 'Standard' and 'Real'. The manual doesn't help much either, it's description is "Shots for faithfulness of the actual texture and color, which the contrast, brightness, and saturation become lower. This mode is suitable for modifying the image on a computer"

UPDATE: After completing the review Sony inform me that the 'Real Color' mode is actually mapped to the sYCC color space, personally I've never heard of this before nor seen it implemented in any known photo applications. Perhaps Sony could make the ICC profile for sYCC available for download.

Place your mouse cursor over the labels shown below the color chart to see the difference between shooting in Standard or Real color modes and also how these compare to the DSC-F828's predecessor, the DSC-F717.

F828 Standard Color F828 Real Color F717

Below are three studio shots taken with both Standard and Real color modes on the DSC-F828 and for reference the same shot taken with the DSC-F717. I do prefer the DSC-F828's Standard color output to the DSC-F717, most notably blues and yellows appear to be more accurate.

DSC-F828 Standard Color DSC-F828 Real Color * DSC-F717

* Not valid measured on an sRGB CIE chart as we now know this is sYCC color space.

Image parameters

In addition to the 'color' setting above the DSC-F828 also provides a full range of image parameter controls; saturation, contrast and sharpness. I commend Sony for finally providing control of these image parameters to enable owners to 'tune' the camera to their own personal tastes, output medium or scene type. Perhaps in the next camera they could provide more latitude of adjustment for each setting (-3 to +3?).

Saturation adjustment

Saturation adjustment allows you to control the strength of color in the final image, a frequent criticism of older Cybershot's was 'Disney' color reproduction, I'm glad to say that's no longer true and that you can go for even milder color with the '-' setting.

  Saturation 100% crop

Contrast adjustment

Adjusting the contrast setting 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.

  Contrast Luminosity histogram

Sharpness adjustment

A limited range of sharpness adjustment which makes only a very subtle difference to the overall look of the output image. This is a good example of a parameter which would benefit from more latitude of control.

  Sharpness (100% crop)
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