Good Skin Tone

Started Jun 9, 2014 | Discussions
huggy020 New Member • Posts: 12
Good Skin Tone

What exactly is a camera with good skin tone? Is  it just a preconceived perception? For example, unedited posted pictures of the same person from camera A and B, followed by comments like camera B has better tone from a critic. How would one normally get to that conclusion, given that you have not seen the person in the picture before?  Thanks

D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 21,564
Re: Good Skin Tone

It is often preconceived. That is, many people have a fixed idea of what colour skin should be, and complain if it is different in a photograph.

There is also a real technical problem. Skin colours show a general gradient upward toward the red in their reflectance spectra. Traditional artists' paints based on iron oxides have similar spectra.

Colour systems based on just three "primary" colours do not do well when trying to copy such spectra. Look at any news web page that contains a lot of mug shots and you will see a wild range of skin colours.

Virginia Bill Contributing Member • Posts: 826
Re: Good Skin Tone
5

The statement seems meaningless to me. Cameras don't have skin tone; people do. Digital cameras have white balance, which photographers adjust either in camera or in post processing to achieve image results they find pleasing.

I suppose saying that a camera has good skin tone could refer to how the camera processes jpegs; it's equivalent to saying, "I like the jpegs this camera produces."

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OP huggy020 New Member • Posts: 12
Re: Good Skin Tone

Thanks a lot

OP huggy020 New Member • Posts: 12
Re: Good Skin Tone

Virginia Bill wrote:

The statement seems meaningless to me. Cameras don't have skin tone; people do. Digital cameras have white balance, which photographers adjust either in camera or in post processing to achieve image results they find pleasing.

I suppose saying that a camera has good skin tone could refer to how the camera processes jpegs; it's equivalent to saying, "I like the jpegs this camera produces."

Lets stick with skin tone rather than picture of a wall or a frigde or grass and raw rather than jpeg. What will looking at somebody's posted picture and commenting "camera produces better skin tone" mean. I have seen that statement countless number times

Bill Robb Veteran Member • Posts: 3,332
Re: Good Skin Tone

huggy020 wrote:

What exactly is a camera with good skin tone? Is it just a preconceived perception? For example, unedited posted pictures of the same person from camera A and B, followed by comments like camera B has better tone from a critic. How would one normally get to that conclusion, given that you have not seen the person in the picture before? Thanks

For me it's how the camera deals with reddish tones, as that is what skin colors tend to be. If the camera handles reds poorly, it won't have as nice a skin tone as one that does better.

One of the best cameras I have ever used for skin tones was the Pentax K7 at base ISO. It wasn't good for much off of base ISO because of noise, but in the studio it was lovely.

GodSpeaks
GodSpeaks Forum Pro • Posts: 13,598
Re: Good Skin Tone
2

I shoot only raw.  So, for me, good skin tone is more a function of the raw converter you use than anything else.

I love Capture One Pro, as it (to me) seems to be capable of producing better skin tones than any other converter.

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OP huggy020 New Member • Posts: 12
Re: Good Skin Tone

Bill Robb wrote:

huggy020 wrote:

What exactly is a camera with good skin tone? Is it just a preconceived perception? For example, unedited posted pictures of the same person from camera A and B, followed by comments like camera B has better tone from a critic. How would one normally get to that conclusion, given that you have not seen the person in the picture before? Thanks

For me it's how the camera deals with reddish tones, as that is what skin colors tend to be. If the camera handles reds poorly, it won't have as nice a skin tone as one that does better.

One of the best cameras I have ever used for skin tones was the Pentax K7 at base ISO. It wasn't good for much off of base ISO because of noise, but in the studio it was lovely.

Would this be also true if the person is of African(black) or oriental or middle-eastern origin? Say a picture of a Japanese having a caucasian skin tone?

OP huggy020 New Member • Posts: 12
Re: Good Skin Tone

GodSpeaks wrote:

I shoot only raw. So, for me, good skin tone is more a function of the raw converter you use than anything else.

I love Capture One Pro, as it (to me) seems to be capable of producing better skin tones than any other converter.

So camera with good skin tone is meaningless as @Virginia Bill said

Bill Robb Veteran Member • Posts: 3,332
Re: Good Skin Tone

huggy020 wrote:

Bill Robb wrote:

huggy020 wrote:

What exactly is a camera with good skin tone? Is it just a preconceived perception? For example, unedited posted pictures of the same person from camera A and B, followed by comments like camera B has better tone from a critic. How would one normally get to that conclusion, given that you have not seen the person in the picture before? Thanks

For me it's how the camera deals with reddish tones, as that is what skin colors tend to be. If the camera handles reds poorly, it won't have as nice a skin tone as one that does better.

One of the best cameras I have ever used for skin tones was the Pentax K7 at base ISO. It wasn't good for much off of base ISO because of noise, but in the studio it was lovely.

Would this be also true if the person is of African(black) or oriental or middle-eastern origin? Say a picture of a Japanese having a caucasian skin tone?

All skin tones have a red component in them (except for Mr. Spock, of course). The sensor breaks things down into red, green and blue components. Of those three, how the sensor handles red tones is going to be the most important.

Just another Canon shooter
Just another Canon shooter Veteran Member • Posts: 4,691
Re: Good Skin Tone

It would be the camera with the best tonality in the skin tones (of a certain color range), and with color filters closer to the human vision.

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Chikoo
Chikoo Senior Member • Posts: 1,630
Re: Good Skin Tone

huggy020 wrote:

What exactly is a camera with good skin tone? Is it just a preconceived perception? For example, unedited posted pictures of the same person from camera A and B, followed by comments like camera B has better tone from a critic. How would one normally get to that conclusion, given that you have not seen the person in the picture before? Thanks

I believe it all comes down to how faithfully the sensors (or films) handle the red color.

Beachcomber Joe
Beachcomber Joe Senior Member • Posts: 1,083
Re: Good Skin Tone

Good skin tone is in the eye of the beholder who is usually Caucasian in these forums.  It is a combination of how the camera's sensor records the red channel and how the in camera JPEG or external RAW processors interpret the information.

Ron Poelman
Ron Poelman Veteran Member • Posts: 6,736
Not really,
1

"So camera with good skin tone is meaningless as @Virginia Bill said"

the trouble is, it is an extremely broad "definition",
covering not only colour, but also gradation.
"Tone" is definitely a product of both;
you can throw in resolution as well to some extent.
"Film like", seems to be some sort of benchmark.

Ultimately, it comes down to "does it appeal ?",
rather than some linear measurement.
That means it's subjective/obective territory
and good luck getting any two Forum dwellers to agree in that arena.
Me, if I can see colour changing across skin smoothly,
without obvious steps and jumps, I'm happy.

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ZorSy Veteran Member • Posts: 3,482
Re: Good Skin Tone

huggy020 wrote:

GodSpeaks wrote:

I shoot only raw. So, for me, good skin tone is more a function of the raw converter you use than anything else.

I love Capture One Pro, as it (to me) seems to be capable of producing better skin tones than any other converter.

So camera with good skin tone is meaningless as @Virginia Bill said

Partially yes: the way how the skin colour will be rendered in general is under what type of light that skin is. The same camera and the same skin will appear differently even under the Sun (light), depending on the time in the day. With artificial lighting things get even more complicated, leaving aside the camera and the settings. So general discussions like this will eventually end up with random samples illustrating superior (or inferior) skin colour rendering with different brands, lenses etc.

One can 'normailise' the skin colour in PP if shooting raw, to his/hers 'taste' or perception of colours (which, BTW vary between every single person) and we, as observers of the photograph and without being present at time when that photograph was taken could not even possibly know if such photograph renders the skin colour  'accurately'.

In short, every photographer is trying to achieve pleasing skin tones to satisfy the model, the observer and his/hers idea of 'true'  colour. Accuracy is often secondary and sometimes undesired.

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OP huggy020 New Member • Posts: 12
Re: Good Skin Tone

Thanks all

ambercool
ambercool Contributing Member • Posts: 911
Re: Good Skin Tone

This has been an issue in the modeling world too.  It's good reason why professional models have the tanned skin for even tones.  Or you can use good makeup too.

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D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 21,564
Re: Good Skin Tone

huggy020 wrote:

Virginia Bill wrote:

The statement seems meaningless to me. Cameras don't have skin tone; people do. Digital cameras have white balance, which photographers adjust either in camera or in post processing to achieve image results they find pleasing.

I suppose saying that a camera has good skin tone could refer to how the camera processes jpegs; it's equivalent to saying, "I like the jpegs this camera produces."

Lets stick with skin tone rather than picture of a wall or a frigde or grass and raw rather than jpeg. What will looking at somebody's posted picture and commenting "camera produces better skin tone" mean. I have seen that statement countless number times

Monitors vary so much that it means very little.

Brev00
Brev00 Veteran Member • Posts: 9,212
Re: Good Skin Tone

No mystery.  Each camera represents colors differently.  As has been noted, some will be more sensitive to the red channel than others.  So, pictures of the same person taken with different cameras at the same time will look different (maybe subtly) right out of camera.  One can work around this before and/or after capture with exposure adjustments (just like using -ev to take pics of red roses), white balance changes, and color channel work.  I suppose the camera that gets the appropriate result with the fewest adjustments has the best skin tone rendering.   While it has been mentioned that accuracy is hard to judge by someone who was not there, I don't think it is altogether impossible.  There are certain tones in skin that can stand out as 'wrong.'  For example, a green cast (which is why we call it a cast).  One can look at a picture of a person and sense something s off.  Other examples would be the yellow skin of someone under indoor lights or blue patches from shadows crossing the face.  While it is possible to correct much of this in one's processing, it can be very satisfying to get it right at the time.  If one's camera gets in the way of this, it renders skin tones poorly.

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Just another Canon shooter
Just another Canon shooter Veteran Member • Posts: 4,691
Re: Good Skin Tone

Brev00 wrote:

No mystery. Each camera represents colors differently. As has been noted, some will be more sensitive to the red channel than others.

As have been noted, it is much different than that. What we call "red" is almost an equal amount of red and green. Skin tones contain much more than red, etc.

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