Lens Color Rendition

Started Dec 22, 2013 | Discussions
lbj1891
lbj1891 Regular Member • Posts: 231
Lens Color Rendition

I'm asking about this because I haven't been able to find an adequate answer else where. What components or dynamics of a lens construction accounts for color rendition? I used a friends old school  35-70/2.8 lens for a shoot of my school's basketball game and it produced colors not seen with the 18-55 kit lens.

35-70/2.8

The 35/1.8 also offers a nice rendition of colors

35/1.8

However, the kit lens is no slouch either

18-55

Now, if I'm not mistaken photographs #1 and #3 both have an EV of ~7. Photograph #2 has an EV of ~8. (Note, that photograph #1 and #3 were shot in the same gymnasium on the same night using different lenses.)

How do we account for the different looks or colors of each lens? Can anyone discern a difference? Am I crazy?

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Just trying to do my best

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(unknown member) Senior Member • Posts: 1,146
Try again

Shoot the same scene under the same lighting conditions with the same lens and camera settings. Then ask us to comment on colour rendition.

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BartyL

VertigonA380 Senior Member • Posts: 1,133
Re: Lens Color Rendition

Different lenses will indeed have different colour renditions, this is because of the varying optical purity and formula of the lens elements. Optical glass gets refined to the point of maximum transparency and that's why lenses and glasses cost more than a sheet of window glass. There are literally thousands of formulations and lens elements can be made from plastic, silica based glass, lead crystal, radio active thorium, fluorite and many other types and additions. Lens designers often mix elements types and shapes because what one element does well, another won't, some elements and formulations correct problems in other elements. This is one reason why you see things like "14 elements in 6 groups".

This is also why people talk about lens clarity and micro contrast and why people will say sharpness is not everything in a lens. Lens designers also like to give a unit a discernible character, this is what you will see when people have a favourite older lens and when people debate the merits on the new Nano coated 58mm. This is also a lot more to the subject but I'm hungry right now!

WryCuda Veteran Member • Posts: 8,458
Re: Lens Color Rendition

lbj1891 wrote:

I'm asking about this because I haven't been able to find an adequate answer else where. What components or dynamics of a lens construction accounts for color rendition? I used a friends old school 35-70/2.8 lens for a shoot of my school's basketball game and it produced colors not seen with the 18-55 kit lens.

How do we account for the different looks or colors of each lens? Can anyone discern a difference? Am I crazy?

I don't see anything wrong with any of the 3 photos. #1 and #3 have dark-skinned subjects, and that often affects the way the photos need to be exposed. The background colours look normal to me. Difficult to comment on #2 since only you know what the original looks like, and there are no comparison shots.

What settings did you use for colour balance? That could be a factor in a gym.

Colour is a personal thing; my wife often comes with me on photo-expeditions and does C&C on my results, including colour. I mostly look at the results on a large monitor which I have calibrated, and I show the best photos on the large HDTV. We think that the rendition is OK, and it's independent of the lens used. Any that I print, I adjust slightly (e.g. Picasa Highlights tool) since the printed versions are somwhat darker without it.

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Mark Scott Abeln
Mark Scott Abeln Forum Pro • Posts: 12,695
Order of importance

Color rendering has several factors, but some are more important than others:

  1. The color of the subjects. Just because two objects have the same apparent color under a given condition, doesn't mean that they reflect all frequencies of light in an identical manner. This will effect ultimate color rendering.
  2. The color of the light. This is of greater importance than one might suspect, since human eyes tend to subtract out the color of light, and so can identify colors under a wide range of colors. 
  3. The white balance setting of the camera. This will greatly change the colors seen, more than any other factor. Automatic white balance might change quite a bit even in the same room, changing color rendering.
  4. The innate color rendering of the camera. The fixed color filters embedded in the camera's sensor lead to unique color renderings, different from other makes and models. 
  5. The lens has a slight color cast. Back in the film days, the color of the lens was a consideration in selecting lenses, since film brands had fixed color temperatures. It is of little importance these days. 
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Kitacanon Senior Member • Posts: 2,802
Re: Lens Color Rendition
1

Different lighting...reflecting off the floor vs off of the group of people
Different ISO (1600/3200) settings.
JPEG settings may have been different...or RAW files processed differently

The lens is the least determining variable...technique trumps technology...

The nature of the post-processing, whether in-camera or in-pc, can have/likely does have more impact than the nature of the lens elements, coatings, and construction...you may not accept/approve of the differences but here is an example of such variations....

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Nikonparrothead Veteran Member • Posts: 5,511
Re: Lens Color Rendition

This is essentially the answer.

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