Skin colour with D800 RAW files in Aperture 3.4

Started Jan 5, 2013 | Discussions thread
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andreben Regular Member • Posts: 109
Skin colour with D800 RAW files in Aperture 3.4

Hi all,

I'm having some issues getting "accurate" skin tones using Aperture to edit my D800 RAW files. First, let me try to explain what I'm experiencing. When I shoot RAW files indoors both using fluorescent lighting, off camera flash or natural light through a window, I "always" get overly red and saturated skin colour. The in-camera generated jpg's tend to look ok, but Aperture converts the RAW files to achieve a really poor skin tone. The first image is the in-camera jpg (I'm shooting RAW only, so this is just the embedded jpg, thus lower resolution than the converted RAW files shown later):

In-camera embedded jpg. No particular settings other than de-vignette and lens correction. Skin colour looks fairly good, although a bit on the pale side.

Now, converting the RAW file using Aperture 3.4, using default RAW fine tune settings and not doing any edits:

Aperture 3.4 as-converted RAW, default settings and no edits. Skin tones appear overly red and saturated. Playing with Boost and Hue Boost doesn't do much good either (not shown).

Apparantly, Aperture does something weird to the colours  from my D800 files. All colours tend to look a bit saturated and pops pretty nicely, but particular skin tones tend to be off by a mile. Admittedly, the dubject (my beautiful wife :)) does have a reddish facial hue, but nowhere close to the above image. I previsouly shot D100 (yes, that old thing), and Aperture always seemed to give decent colour accuracy.

On thing that Aperture 3.4 fupped is the White Balance consistency. Before 3.4 (or was it 3.3?), I always had the impression that the WB settings matched that read my the camera (I use Autp WB in camera). After the app update, I'm not sure this is the case. I for one dislike the new "Skin Colour" WB setting in Aperture (but that's another discussion), using it doesn't help this particular image. However, adjusting the WB Temp slider I got this:

Aperture 3.4 after some WB adjustment. Better overall colours, but the reddish skin tint is exaggerated IMO.

So, my questions to those more experienced than myself:

1. Does anyone else observe that Aperture gives poor skin colour reproduction in particular, and somewhat overly saturated colour in general with D800 RAW files? Does anyone have a decent work-around or routine to help this? I don't want to always have to WB and colour adjust all files, although I probably should?

2 Secondly, does anyone know how Aperture 3.4 calculated it's "default" WB setting, i.e. reading the WB info off the RAW files or doing some image analysis and adjusting on it's own?



Nikon D100 Nikon D800
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