M43 cameras and blotchy red skin tones

Started 1 month ago | Discussions thread
BDavis Regular Member • Posts: 474
Re: M43 cameras and blotchy red skin tones

This is not a color balance issue, not is it a camera model issue.

It is a camera set up issue and easily fixed in post processing.

I ran all your photos through Photoshop and found reducing the overall color by 20 to 30 points fixed all the issues. The only one that was -20 was the cooler picture of the solo man. The rest were -30. The picture of the blonde woman in blue shirt is also overexposed. Brought down exposure a bit and was fine (and with -30 desaturation)

I shoot in studio with Novatron heads. Very consistent light for me for color. Been using same heads for 35 years, some with new tubes.

I tried some cheap chinese AC powered units. Too cheap, they are OK, just not robust . And they did have a red bias, easily corrected IN CAMERA by adjusting the red green bias in the SCP. Of course this only affects the JPEGS, and as I also shoot RAW alongside it is no problem either way. The RAWs get massaged in post anyway.

I have shot in muted with saturation set to 0 or even -1  since first picking up the E-10 in 2001, and have found it the same with all the Olympus cameras.  When processing photos from other folk's cameras, I have found the same -20 to -30 desaturation to be the fix for a LOT of issues related to color and facial blemishes. The default for most of these is too high saturation to make color pop, and make the picture or the camera look "good".

My default for contrast has also been -2 contrast. All the way down.  Again these settings only affect JPEGS, but in RAW I set these the same way for saturation and Contrast.   In DXO it is -40 contrast.

Another issue not related to any of these pictures. When people drink they flush red. A problem with club shots and wedding receptions.  That is fixed by desaturating just the red channel in Photoshop. Again, an easy fix, not camera specific.

A reminder from the past lest we forget:

The amateur films back in the day were highly saturated and high contrast. Made them full of color.

I could never get good results from these. Look at the prints critically and you will see the same issues as you are mentioning on your pictures.

Both the professional papers AND the professional films were lower in contrast and lower in saturation. Very easy to work with and got great results.

Back to the present: Red ears are caused by backlighting through the skin as another poster mentioned. Fix it with desaturation tool on just the ears. Very light touch until matched. Red shadows fixed in a variety of ways, but in general just lower the overall saturation and these issues melt away.

A thing about JPEGS, just like with overexposure, once you blow out a color channel, you are skewered.  Keeping the saturation and contrast down prevents this and you can ALWAYS bring the color back up later in processing. Not possible once you overexpose a color channel. Raw allows you to correct up to a point. Under exposure, bracketing, testing helps prevent these issues, in studio and outdoors.

Hope this helps.

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