The impact of your RAW converter on your style

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Perambulator
Perambulator Regular Member • Posts: 136
The impact of your RAW converter on your style
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People speak of "The Canon" or "The Fuji" look....people speak of "the look" of certain lenses compared to other lenses.

When speaking of RAW converters, it seems to me people speak of the quality of the conversions (Fujifilm "worms" in Lightroom, for example), their noise-reduction capabilities, masking advances, and other issues. However, and perhaps I haven't been paying close enough attention, I don't hear much spoken about how a particular converter impacts "the look" or the style of a photographer's work.

Above are two out-of-the-box conversions of the same .cr2 file. On the left is Capture One, and on the right is Photolab 6. The only alterations I made were: 1. in PL6, I chose the "neutral colors" preset, and 2. in both converters I took a white balance measurement from the back wall at camera left to try and provide some kind of color reference point.

The C1 "look" to me seems more compressed...flatter....subdued...editorial? The PL6 looks rounder, more colorful, and with more depth. I would have guessed that the histogram in C1 would have been more compressed/less contrasty to match what my eyes & brain are interpreting, but, as you can see, this is not the case. Something else is going on, and I don't know what it is, but my brain is interpreting this as a "style" distinct from PL6.

I am not criticizing here. I am only marveling a bit at how different the two styles are, and wondering to what extent others choose their raw converter not because of its masking, noise reduction, lack of sharpening worms, etc., but primarily because "THE LOOK" is the one they prefer.

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