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Customer Discussions > Photography forum

Camera not "seeing" certain colors, Help!

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Showing 1-11 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 6, 2012 5:20:55 AM PST
I have been in LOVE with my Canon SD 800 for a few years now. But lately it has been rfusing to "see" certain colors, like teal and turquoise. No matter how much I manipulate the manual settings.

I hand dyed spinning fibers and yarns, so I need to be able to show the subtle gradiations in the colors.

Because I'm assuming this camera is dying, I'd like some recommendations on a new camera.
Thanks much

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2012 7:11:09 AM PST
Hmm... that's odd.

I have the Canon 500 HS and I highly recommend it. As long as you're OK with a touch screen, it's a great deal on a camera with a 24mm f/2 lens and partial manual controls.

If you don't mind leaving the Canon family the Panasonic LX5 and Sony RX100 are also excellent smaller cameras.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2012 7:27:09 AM PST
EdM says:
The Canon SD800 came out in 2006, which is generations ago in digital camera terms. There is no reason that a color previously photographed and shown should no longer be available, except that something in the camera is failing. You might try a full camera reset of the electronics, but ... Also, if you could get a free estimate, but don't throw good money after bad. Todays cameras are SO much better in any event.

To really show color properly, you need to run a color correct workflow, BTW. OTOH, most people's computers are not color correct, strictly speaking. That is, the particular hue of teal, e.g., that your dyed fibers have may not be identically shown on your neighbor's computer monitor. Still, lacking a whole segment of blueish color is major.

As your budget, size/weight, and more preferences are not stated, specific camera recommendations seem like shots in the dark. Still, Canon makes some fine P/S cameras [as that's what you have], but there are others as well. I'd mention camera review websites like dpreview or imaging-resource, e.g. for research. At dpreview [now owned by Amazon, IIRC], they have a side by side camera comparison, among the menu items. At imaging-resource, they have a set of recommended cameras that are in various categories, for price, type of use, level of photographer, e.g. that I like, this one for pocket cameras.

Good luck. You could do far, far worse than select one of the "Editor's choice" cameras in this category.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2012 10:02:35 AM PST
Hmmmm....I like the idea of trying a reset of the electronics. Is that done thru the camera itself? In the Menu? I'll scout around and see what I can find. And if that dosen't work I may have to purchase another. I'll try anything to stave of having to spend a lot of $$$. My company is still small.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2012 10:03:43 AM PST
Hmmmm....I like the idea of trying a reset of the electronics. Is that done thru the camera itself? In the Menu? I'll scout around and see what I can find. And if that dosen't work I may have to purchase another. I'll try anything to stave of having to spend a lot of $$$. My company is still small.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2012 10:29:58 AM PST
Have you checked the Canon support site for firmware updates? {Though if I managed to navigate correctly, your model has NO updates}.

Also check the other forum you posted -- I had some comments there...

Posted on Dec 6, 2012 1:25:43 PM PST
T. Campbell says:
It may be a problem with your lighting. "White Balance" is used to correct for the fact that light has a color tint to it as well and this will cause colors to show up wrong. Your camera has a number of white balance modes, but one of them is "custom".

To use "custom" white balance, you'd need a "gray card". As the name implies, it's just a card colored gray -- but the gray is carefully formulated. Anytime you have identical levels of cyan, magenta, and yellow (the subtractive primary colors) you get a "gray". The card's color is carefully made so that it will be a perfect "neutral" gray (it wont favor any color so it wont be a "blueish gray" etc.) The cards are fairly inexpensive. I have this one: Lastolite LL LR1250 12-Inch Ezybalance Card -Grey/White

In any case, all you do is take a photo of the gray card so that the card dominates the frame. The critical thing is that this photo MUST be taken using the IDENTICAL lighting that you plan to use when you shoot your subject (in your case, your yarns). You then go into the white balance menu and pick the "custom" choice. The camera will prompt you to select a reference image from your memory card. You'll pick that photo you just took of the gray card.

This will get you very close to accurate colors. For even more accurate color you can get a color card which tests a variety of specific colors. This can help if the camera is more sensitive to one color vs. another.

Even if the camera is perfect, you wont necessarily see it on your computer unless you have calibrated your display. To do this you really need a calibration tool such as an X-Rite ColorMunki or a Datacolor Spyder. (and both companies make several varieties in a range of prices... you really only need the most basic functionality. The more advanced tools can also calibrate projectors, printers, can scan color samples and match the color on the screen, etc.

Basically if your camera is correctly white-balanced (and remember... the white balance ONLY applies to the light in which you set the white balance. If the lighting changes then you have to do it again) and if the monitor is correctly calibrated then you'll both capture and see accurate colors. If you post these images on the Internet then you can be assured that anybody else who ALSO has a properly calibrated monitor will also see your images in accurate color. What you can't control is what it'll look like if they've never calibrated their monitor.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2012 5:23:19 PM PST
Neo Lee says:
To get good color accuracy, you will at least need to calibrate the White Balance of the camera just like T. Campbell mentioned. You will need a gray card. Place it as close as possible to the yarns. Set the WB to custom and it should ask you to shoot at the grey card. That's when you move closer to the grey card until it's all grey card filling the whole LCD screen and proceed to shoot for the custom WB. All done and you mustn't change the light conditions (i.e. do not turn off/on any light).

If you still can't see your colors, the camera LCD may be broken. Will the photos look different on a computer?

Other than that, it may be possible that your computer display is the problem. You should upload a photo you think that has defects in the colors. We'll confirm.

Posted on Dec 6, 2012 10:12:46 PM PST
EdM says:
To do a reset, check your camera's manual, or here for how to do it:

Using a gray card is part of doing a color correct workflow, that is not very expensive [for a gray card].
One thing - it might be that your white balance was set and forgotten some time in the past, which needs to be set back to auto WB, or correctly for the proper temperature of the light. However, I wouldn't think that an older model P/S digicam is adjustable via degrees kelvin, as opposed to categories like fluorescent, tungsten, daylight, flash, etc. Quite a few DSLRs are adjustable by Kelvin degrees for color balance using a gray card, but that's an even more expensive endeavor. So, also recheck your WB setting [also in the manual].

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2012 11:15:07 PM PST
®ichard says:
this is a perfect excuse to get a new camera. I gave away my 2006 canon elpha sd400 because the image didn't hold up to today cameras. Maybe a white balance issues as you might of hit the wrong button, could be the lcd went out when you dropped it or got water on it. Maybe the sensor isn't picking up the blue/green photodiodes, which I doubt, your image would be mostly red and white if the blue-green went out on you. To be honest, if you calibrate your monitor, the P&S dynamic range and color profile are limited. I look at my shots from a P&S and say what is wrong all the time compare to a DSLR. It looks a little unnatural at times too.

Posted on Dec 8, 2012 12:51:56 PM PST
Ken Elliott says:
Your yarn color might out beyond the "color space" of the camera. Here's a test: take your yarn outside in the sunlight, set your camcorder for "daylight" color balance and record. Unlike most indoor lights, sunlight is full spectrum and is a known value. You're just guessing with indoor light.

If the outdoor test works, then you know the camera is capable. Look at your lighting and use a white balance card - NOT a "gray card". Gray cards are designed to set exposure value and some are not a neutral gray. White balance cards (like WhiBal brand) are true neural gray.

If you can't the the correct yarn color in daylight, then your yarn color is outside the color space of the camera. Cameras, monitors and televisions all use a color space called "sRGB". If your yarn color sits outside that color space, you are simply out of luck. Other cameras may or may not be better. You'll need to test with an actual sample of the yarn.

Google "color space" and read the Wikipedia article for more details.
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Discussion in:  Photography forum
Participants:  8
Total posts:  11
Initial post:  Dec 6, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 8, 2012

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