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Old Jan 4, 2006, 9:31 AM   #1
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I have been noticing and also hand an opurtunity to compare a D70 and with a 20D. I found 20Ds fast system very attractive. My only question or concern is that, the colors rendered from D70 appear more real than 20D. why is this. And i also have a S70 and can see a similar results. The color is less ssaturated, and gives a feeling D70 images area bit better with respect to color atleast when compared to canon.

Can somebody throw some light on this.


(P.S.Please dont think this as a troll against Canon or Nikon, its a genuine question about why canon cannot deliver more real time color or saturation. Also is it because Nikon may tend to loose some detail while rendering the same, while canon preserves the detail and the color manipulation can be done with a PS??)

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Old Jan 4, 2006, 10:11 AM   #2
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This is a very difficult question to answer without knowing the settings on the cameras, and how you viewed them.

I have perfect faith that you could make the output of them very close if you set them up right. You can adjust contrast, saturation, and brightness in-camera (you can do other things too.)

There is a trade off between setting those high or low.

Many people prefer contrasty, saturated colors. It gives the image more punch and makes it more dramatic. So non-DSLRs usually have defaults for those settings that are higher. Most people (the camera makers think) that will buy a point-and-shoot don't care as much about proper color or "art shots", they want pictures that look good... and most people prefer images with more contrast and saturation. So that is what you get.

Canon (seem to) believe is that DSLR users want flexability. They care about getting the "right" image, which is a personal thing. They care more about image quality and the ability to make the image "right" themselves than going with what Canon engineers think is "Right". So their defaults values are lower producing a flatter image.

This gives you the freedome to give it just the amount of contrast/saturation you want in post processing. You see, the problem is that it is easier to add those things than remove them during post-processing. At least in my experience, it is.

I don't know Nikon's philosophy in these areas. Maybe their defaults are set higher. Maybe the last user of the D70 had changed the settings. Maybe you just like the output of the D70 better. Without having an absolutely controlled environment, it is very hard to compare images in the way that I think you want (i.e. to understand why they are different.)

I bet if you increased the settings on the 20D, you'd get something more like the D70. I've never tested it, but I believe it can be done.

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Old Jan 4, 2006, 10:24 AM   #3
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Thanks Eric,

i checked with the Nikon settings and it was set to normal or the default and canon was set to default too.

As i said, i never meant to take away credit from anyof these camera. I myself own a canon 20D. So i wouldnt be trolling about it here.

I was just trying to get the philosophy behind the image coming out of canon.

Sorry if it sounded differently.

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Old Jan 4, 2006, 10:28 AM   #4
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Are you looking at the colours from the JPG files or from RAW?

This makes a big difference, and in fact the colour rendition can be changed quite substantially during in-camera processing from RAW->JPG depending on the settings you specify.

Most people at the 20D level however tend to do most of their work in RAW.

Now I believe that there is a difference between Canon and Nikon even at that level (and that's where you should be comparing) and it essentially comes down to a matter of the photographer's preference.

Harking back to film days different types of film gave different colour redition and each had its devotees. I personally couldn't stand the green colour cast of Fuji film and would never use it. Others loved Fuji and rated it better than anything else. You pays your money and takes your pick.

If you think the RAW output from the Sony sensor has a colour rendition that suits you more then you should go for the Nikon, other people like the Canon colours.

Comparing RAW files I don't think there's really very much in the colour rendition myself:

5D v D2X


20D v D70s

JPG comparison - actually it's the Nikon that seems overly saturated to me! I think it all depends on the parameters you use.


I'm pretty sure that whichever camera you use you will be able to adjust the colours to suit you in JPG mode, and in RAW mode I suspect it's going to depend on your RAW converter more than your camera.

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Old Jan 4, 2006, 12:56 PM   #5
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The default setting on the 20d is perameter 1, which is a softer less saturated setting. Setting it to perameter 2 gives you a more saturated image, probably more like what you are use to seeing with your Nikon. But as Eric said you can take it a step farther and make a custom perameter setting toget exactly the kind of results you are looking for.
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Old Jan 4, 2006, 4:34 PM   #6
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I didn't think you were being a troll. My answer wasn't intended to give that impression.

I just tried to answer your question seriously. Since the settings are the same, it seems a philosophical choice by the two companies.

I believe, for example, that between the DRebel 300 and 350, the default settings changed so the newer DRebel produced a more contrasty and slightly more sharpened JPG. So Canon's opinion does change over time. But I really think its just that canon believe their customers would rather not have as much in the way of contrast/saturation/... and that they would rather add it in post processing.

In your case, it sounds like they are wrong. So it goes. It isn't anything inherent in the sensor or the camera... I believe that by changing settings you could make the images very close to each other.


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Old Jan 5, 2006, 1:24 AM   #7
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There are so many variables in play here, that unless you have a diehard proponent of a particular brand, most sites don't even try to do structured comparisons (apples to apples) between different brands. They do provide comparison charts.

The Nikon D70uses a CDD sensor (probably Sony's) - Canon usesCMOS sensors in all their DSLR models. Initially, there was a definitedifference in thelook of photo produced by CMOS and CCD sensors.

Nikon D70/D50 series and Canon (rebel series& 5D default) all go for an out of the camera no editing required defaultlook. The goal ismore saturationand color balancedesigned tomake caucasian skin look more pleasing (compared to the moreneutral color balance produced by high-end "professional" models).Thisis similar tothe original Fuji film philosphy that allowed them to take away a significant part of Kodak's business when they were starting out. Kodakeventually came out with similar film types that offered increased saturation and pleasing skin tones. UntilCanon offeredlow-end DLSRswithoptions forsetting up multiplecolor profiles to match specific uses, the Fuji S2 was the camera of choice for wedding photographers. In spite of being slower andmore expensive than the 10D and D100 modelsoffered byCanon and Nikon.

Back to film: In certain parts of the world (India for sure) film makers offer a professional film designed specificallyfor dark skinned people. Some of the more savvy U.S. professionals order this film for weddings and events that feature mostly dark skinned people. Guess what? With digital cameras, especially the 20D, you can customize your color balance/space to mimick most films andcameras.

Sorry for the rambling post, I wanted to present just a fraction of the variables that must be considered when comparing equipment. That's why my hat goesoff to Steve and other Digital site administrators who try to present non-biased reviews of most camera models regardless of price and make. BTWthe 20D has some of the most flexible options offered to set up custom color profiles. So if you like the way the Nikon photos look, try setting up an equivalent custom profile for your 20D. I did this with my 10D after seeingportraits taken with a Fuji S1.

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