Just not gonna give in

The tussle with the GX20 continues! (See immediately previous posts)

Or rather, with its colour balance.

Or rather, with the apparent inability of Adobe Lightroom to render an accurate colour balance from RAW files produced by the GX20.

Well, I’m not having any of it!

Having begun to suspect some fundamental flaw in the way the Samsung GX20 was processing shots in-camera, I’m now beginning to backtrack from that a little bit.
Even using the software that’s supplied with the camera (Samsung RAW Converter 2.0) some tweaking appeared to be necessary to mitigate the effects of what appears to be a bias in favour of the red/magenta/purple spectrum in the darker (shadow) areas. And, almost without exception, the shots seem to be over-saturated. (Compensating for this is still causing me a few problems… but I’m getting there, slowly… largely by trial and error!)

In the course of trying to tackle this issue I’ve received suggestions from a number of people, quite a few of which have referred to various camera settings. But, being a bit of a Doubting Thomas by nature these suggestions have done little other than cause me to do a bit more in-depth reading about RAW files themselves.
Out of which emerged the fact that most of the camera settings (white balance, saturation, contrast, sharpness etc., and more especially the range of “digital colour filters”) only really have an impact on JPEGs; if one’s shooting exclusively in RAW (as I now do by default) they make no difference whatsoever. For all intents and purposes the only settings that impact RAW files are ISO, shutter speed, and aperture.
(This pdf from Adobe makes quite an interesting, and sufficiently short/non-technical, read!)

Thus, theoretically, any RAW converter app worth its salt should be able to satisfactorily process files from the camera… assuming it supports the DNG format that is.

Which Adobe Lightroom does! And given that Lightroom is my app of choice (for all sorts of reasons, not least of which is familiarity with the interface, and a few extra features that other RAW converters don’t seem to possess) I’m buggered if I’m going to be forced into using Samsung’s own RAW converter if I can possibly avoid it.

So, adopting “persistence” as my middle name, I repaired to my favourite watering hole (where, as frequenters of this blog and my Flickr photostream will already know, lighting conditions are somewhat “curious”) and fired off another batch of test shots.
Which I then processed entirely using Adobe Lightroom and utilising an import preset I’d configured to compensate for the apparent under-exposure and over-saturation that had seemed to be the hallmark of GX20 shots. And, I have to say, I’m not entirely dissatisfied with the results.
Whether this will be equally successful under other lighting conditions remains to be seen, but I’m not prepared to give in just yet!

Oh, perhaps I should also mention that this batch of shots were intended purely for me to play with exposure/colour/saturation… in terms of composition and focus (indoors, variable lighting, hand-held) well, basically they’re crap. So bear that in mind!

_G200551 _G200542

_G200546 _G200541

_G200549 _G200538

What makes this whole issue incredibly irritating, aside from the fact that I’m actually having to work at producing even half-way decent pics (which seriously goes against my nature) is that the price-bracket of this camera (in the UK at least) suggests its not aimed at the dSLR entry-level market but at the “serious” enthusiast, with aspirations to targetting the semi-pro market also.
In consequence of which I really did expect a somewhat better performance.

About fotdmike

Occasional photographer; occasional writer/blogger; occasional activist; occasional computer-geek. Bit of a fool really.
This entry was posted in Kit, Photography Chat and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Just not gonna give in

  1. forkboy says:

    Now don’t think me a Negative Nellie, but what really makes me most curious is why you continue to bother? (other than the thrill of the hunt, so to speak).

    It would seem, based upon all you have posted thus far about the GX-20, that the camera is somehow flawed. Either this particular camera or the model line in general. I don’t really think it should take this level of work to produce pictures that are fundamentally correct to begin with.

    A little exposure compensation is not unusual with any camera, but it seems you are having to work far harder than should be the case. Perhaps you should trying returning it for exchange and see what another GX-20 does. If you find the same results out-of-box perhaps it is time to reconsider the GX-20 altogether?

  2. fotdmike says:

    Well, there’s a number of things here…

    First, it seems to me that potentially the camera is capable of producing ok shots and that the real issue is how the software is reading the RAW file… which theoretically is susceptible to being sorted once the right tweaks (and the right amount of each tweak) is sussed. Sort of a re-calibrating of the software for this particular camera.

    Second (and related to/following on from that) then its clearly not the camera itself at fault.

    Third (and still related to/following on from that), if that is the case then once such “recalibration” is implemented processing pics from the camera should be no more difficult than with the other cams… and all this initial trial and error stuff will have paid off.

    What tends to bear this out is the fact the Samsung’s own app, “straight out of the box”, appears to produce a better rendering, albeit somewhat over-saturated, than Lightroom. Its just that I prefer (much prefer) to use Lightroom. And as I’ve tried to explain in this post, the whole reason for this present round of “struggles” is to find the optimum settings so that I can use Lightroom instead of the Samsung app.

    Fourth… I’m not yet totally convinced that the fault isn’t with me. Maybe I’m just doing something incredibly stupid, or perhaps my colour vision’s becoming defective with age! (If the latter’s the case then I’m just gonna have to learn to live with it, and all my shots will eventually acquire the reputation of having curious colour casts! Heh heh).

    And finally, sheer bloody perversity. I’ve no intention of being defeated quite so quickly by some poxy bit of plastic and metal and a handful of digits!

    And finally finally, I’m not sure that this “colour bias” (if indeed it exists) constitutes a fault in the strictest sense and therefore merits a return to the manufacturer.
    The fact that I don’t happen to like the default rendering of the files (even in Samsung’s own app) isn’t of itself proof of a defective bit of kit. I can easily imagine (for example) that a great many people would like the way the camera processes pics.
    To clarify this a bit further, they look remarkably similar (have the same sort of “feel” as it were) to pics taken with a polarising filter. Which, in certain circumstances, I quite like. This, in turn, suggests the possibility of using it as a “niche” camera… only to be hauled out for certain types of shot.

  3. forkboy says:

    That’s just way too complicated for my wee little brain. My thought would be that the camera should take very good pics right out of the box, especially with its own software. Tweaking should create great pics.

    I mentioned your troubles to my guy at my camera store and he thinks that it’s quite possible Lightroom hasn’t simply had enough time to properly develop the plug in for the GX-20. Granted, the camera was released in what? March? But it’s possible Samsung/Pentax didn’t share its RAW file information until sometime later?

    I don’t know. I applaud your tenacity, but cannot help but think that things should be a lot easier than this. Or maybe that’s why you like it? Because it is difficult 😉

  4. fotdmike says:

    Hmm… I can see what you mean about your wee little brain!
    Thing is y’see, the cam does take very good pics right out the box. Just that the colour’s not quite as it should be (or as I think it should be at least).

    And, to my mind, everything points not to the camera itself but to the way the RAW file’s being rendered, which points to the converter app. As I’ve been trying to clarify.

    I think your shop guy’s probably hit the nail on the head. The camera, complete with brand-new and just developed processor, has only been rolled out very recently and the software companies are still playing catch-up.
    Whilst Lightroom supports the basic DNG format insofar as it’ll actually read the file, almost certainly a camera profile needs to be developed for this specific deployment of the format.

    I suspect!

    And I’m tenacious because fundamentally the pics are very good… if I were to do everything b/w there wouldn’t be an issue.
    Plus of course I’ve no intention of being defeated quite so quickly by some poxy bit of plastic and metal and a handful of digits!


  5. forkboy says:

    Well there is no doubt in my mind that if you see potential in the camera and are willing to commit the requisite time to make it all work to your satisfaction, then it must be a great camera. I think, in this instance, there has been so much discussion of the problems that the good qualities have been lost in postings.

    Now….the next question would be “Why the Samsung over the Pentax?”

  6. fotdmike says:

    Cos its basically the same camera… but cheaper!

  7. forkboy says:

    That I did not know, sir.

  8. fotdmike says:

    Hmm… as regards its good qualities, p’raps I have gone a bit over the top on the negatives but that’s really what this thread’s been all about. As for the positives, well, pretty much all I’ve said about the GX10 applies. Plus a slightly larger LCD. And the fact that they’ve somehow managed to squeeze more pixels from a marginally smaller sensor yet, miraculously, seem somehow to have maintained – nay, improved – on image quality. Oh, and extended the ISO range. And supplied a slightly improved kit lens. And… oh, you get the picture 😉

  9. forkboy says:

    I think I’ve gotten the picture. Or image. Or record. Oh, sod it.

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