D7100 - I need help solving the "green shadows" in skin tones problem

Started Apr 3, 2013 | Discussions thread
MOD Mako2011 Forum Pro • Posts: 23,786
not a camera issue

RudyPohl wrote:

Hi Folks:

I'm in a real dilemma and have decided to make it known on this forum and enlist your help.

Here's the situation: My 15-day trial period for this D7100 is over tomorrow (Thursday), but I still have a huge problem to solve and I'm essentially out of time. My immediate work commitments prevent me from spending any more time with the camera or in post processing until this Friday at the earliest. The problem I am having with the camera is so unacceptable to me that I cannot live with it, and last night while I still had some free time available, I returned the camera to the store for a refund, which I got.

So far every problem you have had with the camera was not an actual hardware problem or defect. You also often simply don't have time for for folks to help you and blow off their initial request for info with a "I'm to busy" remark. Your underexposure problem, for example, could have been solved easily had you actually participated in the discussion and taken a little well intentioned advice.

However, I have fallen in love with this camera for my primary purpose, which is wildlife photography, and I do not want to give it up. Yet, if I can't solve this particular problem I can't keep the camera. Today I plan on calling the camera store and asking them to hold the camera for a few more days and if my new-found friends on the dpreview forum, or anybody else, can find a good work-around, I'll repurchase the camera on the weekend. If not, I'll wait for Canon's answer to the D7100 and see what it does.

Moving to a different manufacture will have little effect on solving many of the issues. You simply do not know DSLR's well enough yet to overcome many issues you have.

OK, so here's the problem... it's the dreaded "green shadows" issue that I was told by every staff member at the camera store last night, has been the bain and Achilles heel of many Nikon camera models over the years.

Here again, you simply don't have enough background or information to know the staff is a bit off on their own knowledge level.

The Kermit Syndrome...Thom H.
Jan 24, 2013 (commentary)--
It seems that I'm seeing another round of "my Nikon produces incorrect colors" and "my Nikon images are green" comments in my In Box. If I'm counting correctly, this is the third time this Internet meme has come around since the D3.

If these statements were absolutely true, then all you'd have to do to verify them is go to any magazine using pro work and you could spot the green Nikon images from the (assumed) non-green Canon ones. Go ahead, pick up a Sports Illustrated or Time or People or National Geographic or any other magazine using work from pros using Nikon and Canon DSLRs. See the green images? Didn't think so.

Before we go too much further, let's separate the issue a bit. I see two variations on the Kermit Syndrome: (1) the color on the camera's LCD; and (2) the color in the resulting image....

....Which brings us to the images themselves. I first heard about "color issues" with Nikon DSLRs when the D1 came out ;~). I actually spent a great deal of time traveling around to various different photographers and pro shops "fixing" their color. My tool? A Macbeth ColorChecker chart, something I'd owned and been using for decades even back at the turn of the century. A ColorChecker chart is certified to be known colors. So if you take a picture of it, just follow it through the chain and you'll quickly find what's causing your color issues.

Right up front was White Balance. If you don't get White Balance right, you'll be rotating red and blue around green and guaranteeing that colors move. Each Nikon sensor has had a tendency to have a slightly different zero balance point, meaning that the rotation starts at a different color temperature, typically just below 5000K. Differences in red, green, and blue Bayer filtering can make small differences, too. Bottom line: get the White Balance right.

Next up was camera settings. Let's just say that the Rockwell Picture Control, uh, I mean Vivid, isn't color neutral. I'm not sure why you'd expect Vivid to be color neutral when there's a Picture Control named Neutral, but apparently some of you do (and in old Nikon bodies we had a different variation of this: Color Mode).

At this point we've got a JPEG that should be color neutral because we've captured it right, so the color monitor you're using to edit becomes the next possible culprit. Sure enough, I found a lot of folk who didn't have a calibrated monitor (or a monitor that could even display all the colors the camera could capture in sRGB; see comment about the camera LCD, above).

It doesn't stop there, though. Who's handling color for printing, and what does the printer do? I had one client who had a high end (commercial) printer and was having D1x color issues early on. Turns out the printer driver was inserting its own definition of how things should be interpreted. I made an adjustment to that driver and we had perfect color.

The net result of following that chain correctly is that you should be able to take a picture of a ColorChecker, print the results, cut out small color patches from the print and drop them onto the original ColorChecker, and they'll disappear. Since I've been able to do that with every Nikon DSLR made to date, I fail to see how they're "green."

Oh, but wait, what raw converter did you use? Let me guess: Adobe. Let me guess further: you used the Adobe Standard Camera Profile. Go back to the Basic tab in Adobe Raw Converter. Notice that second slider under White Balance? Tint is labeled Green at the left side, Magenta at the right. Do you have a significantly negative number there? Yep, you've got a green image. I've learned to mistrust Adobe's White Balance interpretation if I'm seeing large numbers in the Tint section. (And don't get me started on the over-abundance of Orange saturation in most Adobe conversions.)

I'm tempted to say that my Nikon DSLRs are more of a Fozzie Bear: they're always joking around with focus and my Nikkor lenses tend to make wocka wocka noises (buh-duh-bump). But my Nikon DSLRs are definitely not Kermits. Neither are yours.

Of course, it's especially unacceptable in skin tones, which is where I am having the problem.

Yes...you are having a problem but it's really not a camera issue.

Regarding the green shadows problem, here's what mosswings wrote in this forum 3 days ago:

The D7100 is a camera designed to support computational photography.  It's not all about absolute noise levels as much anymore. It's about the options that you have in working with the file.

  • Need super-low noise levels for a landscape? Do a 16 shot high speed burst and align and average in post for another stop or so lower noise level.
  • Got minor pattern noise? Pattern-aware NR plugins make short work of it.
  • Worried about loss of perceived sharpness in a print by downsizing?  It doesn't quite work that simply. Higher resolution means better estimation of the edge brightness levels in the print.
  • Got greenish deep shadows?  Er, well, uhm, get Nikon to stop clipping its blacks. THAT's a potential problem with the D7100."

Yep, that's a potential problem alright, it's certainly a deal-breaker for me, and since I can't get Nikon to stop clipping the blacks, I need a good post processing work-around solution.

Give up as I don't think you be able to work through this "issue" well

Here are my observations and why I say this:

1) When I view the NEF files in View NX2 the green shadows are quite visible and pronounced.

Calibrate your monitor and choose your in camera picture controls more wisely. You also have the color space set up wrong on your camera for your current work flow. I pointed that out to you in another thread. Did you not take action?

2) When I convert the NEF files to high quality JPEGs and open them in Photoshop the green shadows are completely gone, the skin-tone shadows look fabulous, nice rich smooth skin-colours and good gradients. No complaints there at all.

Color space...read up

3) Then when I convert the Photoshop file to a JPEG and upload it to Flickr the whole thing looks awful once again. Flickr automatically makes images darker and adds contrast, so on critical images I always lighten them up and de-contrast them before uploading in order to compensate for this, and I often make 3-4 adjustments and uploads to get it just right. The problem is that in order to get rid of the green shadows I have to globally lighten, reduce contrast, reduce green and add red so much that the rest of the image looks terrible.

Color space, I think.  Try staying with sRGB till you figure it out.

In summary:

.I'm pretty sure the camera shop will hold onto the camera for me for a few more days in hopes that I can find a PP solution to mitigating these green shadows. If I can find one, I'll re-purchase the camera, if not, I'll have to leave it there.

I would not bother unless your committed to learn how to actually use the body (regardless of brand) and learn some of the basics of work flow.

P.S. If you do a search for my posts in this particular forum you will see that one of my first ones almost 2 weeks ago was an inquiry about the pronounced green shadows under the chin of a person's portrait.

Go back and re-read that thread. It wasn't a camera issue after all.  Just as is the case with the example below.

Thanks for your time and your help,


My wife Marny for the past 41 years.... (..don't know how she put up with me that long!)

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My opinions are my own and not those of DPR or its administration. They carry no 'special' value (except to me and Lacie of course)

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