D800e Red Oversaturation

Started Apr 15, 2013 | Discussions thread
Steve Bingham
Steve Bingham Forum Pro • Posts: 25,086
Re: D800e Red Oversaturation

Tony Beach wrote:

michaeladawson wrote:

Randy Redford wrote:

I just printed my first image with the D800e -- shot raw and processed through ACR and PS (latest versions) and the reds are all way oversaturated to the point of almost being blown.

Have any of you had this issue?  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

All I do know is that you have to be very conscious of the red channel because that is the one that will tend to blow out first.

This is very infrequently true.  The green channel blows out first far more often than the red channel.

The only thing you can really do is expose for the red channel and handle correction in post.

How are you evaluating exposure for the red channel?  Do you set your camera up with neutral settings such as a linear curve?  Do you use uni-WB?  If not then it is likely you are underexposing the entire file to address a problem that lies elsewhere.

Yes, you can underexpose and then correct that in post processing; or better still, you can expose properly and address the problem with oversaturated reds in the conversion of the Raw file by avoiding high saturation, possibly applying a negative exposure compensation, and watching your output gamut.


The D600 (raw file) probably has 1 stop of overhead in the highlights and a solid 3 stops in the shadows. By cutting overall ezposure so as to not blow the red channel when shooting solid reds - like red roses - it is often then possible to bring up the other channels and general exposure using mutliple techniques. Unfortunatly, the image you are using to evaluate on the LCD is a camera generated jpg - not the raw file. If you see a bad histogram here (LCD), you are for sure blowing a channel. Here is where experience comes in. Photographing a field of poppies will frequently demand an "incorrect exposure" and a cut of .5 f stops in order not to blow the reds.

Here HDR solved the problem - example:


Here is an example where the yellow channel blue (0 on the Blue channel) was saved by cutting exposure by .5 and then played with in post.

Yellow could have been blown. Rescued by .5 under-exposure.

In fact, anything approaching 0 or 255 will have a very hard time in printing. I try to stay at least 5 from either end of any of the RGB channels.

As for your statement on the red channel being infrequently blown and the green MOST likely - well, I definitely disagree based on my past 30 years of blowing channels.  In fact, Velvia 50 had to be routinely rated at EI (exposure index) 64 instead of 50 - just as a matter of principal -to preserve the yellows.

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Steve Bingham

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