Canon Digital Photo Professional 2.0 (contd.)

Picture Style

Picture Style is Canon's new approach of providing pre-programmed processing parameter sets which provide a different look suited to a particular type of photography. Newer EOS digital SLR's provide the ability to shoot in a Picture Style (not the EOS-1Ds Mark II), DPP 2.0 allows you to apply Picture Style settings to RAW images from any Canon digital SLR.

Each Picture Style can be thought of as being similar to different types of 'film', each one is made up of a tone curve, color map and default sharpness. The slightly disappointing aspect of Picture Style is that the tone curve and color map are not revealed to the user, you have to experiment to understand the effect of each Picture Style. Our investigation of Picture Style's has revealed the following:

Picture Style Canon description Tone curve Color
Standard Vivid, crisp general setting usable for variety of conditions. Type 1 (more contrast, can clip) Slightly more saturation
Portrait Produces a soft texture and beautiful expression of skin color. Type 1 (more contrast, can clip) Medium saturation, skin tones get a pink hue
Landscape Sharp expression with particularly vivid results for blues skies and green hues. Type 1 (more contrast, can clip) High saturation, blue and green emphasis, different hue
Neutral With post-processing in mind, saturation and contrast are low. Type 2 (neutral, flatter) Low saturation, neutral hues
Faithful Faithful production of the subject's colors, with no exaggeration. Type 2 (neutral, flatter) Low saturation, colormetrically accurate
B&W Monochrome expression in black & white, sepia, etc. Type 1 (more contrast, can clip) B&W, can use filters (red, green, orange, etc.)

* Note it was our experience that the 'Type 1' tone curve can lead to the clipping / wash-out of highlights especially on white subjects. In this case it is sometimes advisable to either decrease the gamma setting or adjust the digital exposure compensation.

Picture Style examples

Below are six images in different Picture Styles produced from the same RAW image. Each was saved at a reduced size to aid full size display / download speed (in these examples we're only interested in tone and color).

Standard Portrait
Landscape Neutral
Faithful B&W (red filter)

GretagMacBeth ColorChecker Picture Style samples

Place your mouse over the labels below the image to see the GretagMacbeth ColorChecker chart taken converted from the same RAW file output in different Picture Styles (except B&W).

Standard Portrait Landscape Neutral Faithful

Two different approaches to sharpening

As mentioned on the previous page Digital Photo Professional 2.0 provides two different methods for sharpening. The first is applied at the RAW stage and has a range of 0 to 10, the second at the RGB stage with a range of 0 to 500 (in steps of 5). Remember of course that these two sharpening methods are additive.

We were interested to see if there were any merits in applying sharpening at one stage or the other. Assuming both provide the same range of sharpening we can deduce that a RAW sharpening level of 1 is the same as level of 50 in RGB. To test this we converted the same RAW file with middle and strong levels of sharpening. As you can see there appears to be no difference / advantage in sharpening in RAW or RGB, both produce very similar results, the only difference is that in RAW you only have 11 levels compared to 101 steps in RGB.

RAW sharpening 2    /    RGB sharpening 0
RAW sharpening 0     /    RGB sharpening 100
RAW sharpening 5     /    RGB sharpening 0
RAW sharpening 0     /    RGB sharpening 250