How to Get Accurate Canon Colors in Lightroom

Our readers often ask us if it is possible to get Lightroom to provide the same colors as one would see from the back of the LCD on Nikon, Canon and other DSLRs when shooting in RAW format. Unfortunately, as you might have noticed when importing files, Lightroom changes the colors immediately after import, when the embedded JPEG files are re-rendered using Adobe’s standard color profiles. As a result, images might appear dull, lack contrast and have completely different colors. I have heard plenty of complaints on this issue for a while now, so I decided to post series of articles for each major manufacturer on how to obtain more accurate colors in Lightroom that resemble the image preview seen on the camera LCD when an image is captured. In this article, I will talk about getting accurate colors from a Canon DSLR in Lightroom.

Camera JPEG vs Adobe RAW

Due to the fact that Adobe’s RAW converter is unable to read proprietary RAW header data, which often contains chosen camera profiles, some settings have to be either applied manually or applied upon import. My personal preference is to apply a preset while importing images, which saves me time later. Before we get into Lightroom, let me first go over camera settings and explain a few important things.

1) RAW File Nuances and Metadata

When shooting in RAW format, most camera settings like White Balance, Sharpness, Saturation, Lens Corrections and Color Profiles do not matter. Unless you use Canon-provided software like Digital Photo Professional, all of those custom settings are mostly discarded by third party applications, including Lightroom and Photoshop. That’s because it is hard to process each piece of proprietary data, which is subject to change from one camera model to another. Now imagine trying to do this for a number of different camera manufacturers!

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Canon EF-S 55-250mm F/4-5.6 IS STM and Powershot G16 Announcement

Canon has just announced a number of new products, with a new lens and high-end compact camera among them. The new lens is a replacement for the older, 2011 release of the 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS kit zoom lens for Canon APS-C sensor DSLR cameras. The Powershot G16 enthusiast compact camera is a direct replacement of the Powershot G15. The lens and camera offer minor improvements over their predecessors.

Canon EF-S 55-250mm f4-5.6 IS STM

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What Makes Exotic Lenses So Special?

This is a part two to my “why are some lenses so expensive?” article that I wrote yesterday. I already explained the difference between consumer and professional-level lenses in the first post, so now it is time to talk about exotic lenses. With so many exotic lenses on the market today, some of which seem to be in relatively high demand (at least judging by their lack of availability), one might wonder about what makes them so special when compared to everything else. This post is not meant to be technical or basic – I think you can get most of that from the first article. Instead, I want to focus on craftsmanship, price, perceived value and niche marketing – the main drivers behind exotic lenses.

Sigma 35mm f/1.4 vs Nikon 35mm f/1.4 vs Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 vs Rokinon 35mm f/1.4

I once had a conversation with a photography veteran, who was trying to convince me that the new Nikkor and Canon lenses lack “soul”, with their plastic barrels, rubber focus/zoom rings and industrial “mainstream” designs. I disagreed, because I was blown away by the performance of new generation lenses and I just did not care about everything else. Plus, the notion of a lens having a soul just disturbed me and I remember thinking how ridiculous it was even to think about such things. But as time passed by and I got a chance to experience some of the rare and older optics, I started to understand what the photographer was trying to tell me. Most modern lenses do feel as if they are just taken from a conveyor line, where thousands of other lenses are made exactly the same way with little intervention. Older lenses were hand-crafted, one by one, and each lens was unique in its own way. And that was the beauty of it, because you never knew what you got – it was a game of random cards.

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Why Are Some Lenses So Expensive?

Every once in a while, I get asked why some lenses are so much more expensive compared to others. Interestingly, this question comes from both beginners and advanced photographers, but in different contexts. Beginners want to know why pro-level lenses are a lot more expensive than consumer lenses, while knowledgeable photographers wonder about what makes niche/exotic lenses from companies like Zeiss and Leica so much more expensive than modern professional lenses. These are all interesting and valid questions, so I thought writing a couple of articles to attempt to answer these questions would be useful for our readers. In this article, I want to answer the first beginner question on what makes professional lenses expensive.

Nikon Lens Comparison

1) Lens Categories

To understand differences between lenses, I believe it is important to first categorize them into different groups. This is obviously a subjective categorization, something I personally came up with to group lenses in our lens database:

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Canon EOS 70D DSLR Announcement

Canon has just announced a successor to the popular but aging 60D. The new member of EOS family is called 70D and packs a number of improvements over the rest of the line-up, including the higher-end 7D model. 70D is positioned squarely against Nikon’s D7100 DSLR with virtually identical body-only price and competitive on-paper specifications.

Canon EOS 70D Front

Canon 70D Overview and Key Specifications

The first thing that should be mentioned about 70D is the new APS-C CMOS sensor. Canon has been using the same 18 megapixel unit in its crop sensor cameras ever since 7D was launched back in 2009. For a while now, every single crop sensor camera from Canon featured this sensor. While competitive at the time of its launch, it has begun to show its age when compared to newer units found in Sony, Pentax and Nikon cameras. They all offered better low-light high ISO performance and better dynamic range. It was just a matter of time before Canon updated it. The new sensor has a slightly higher resolution at 20.2 megapixels. We are yet to see if there’s any improvement in these areas, but manufacturing a new sensor usually is a good start. At just over 20 megapixels, it’s also not that far off 24 megapixel mark of its closest rivals.
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Canon vs Nikon Telephoto Lenses

One of our readers, Simon Speich sent me an interesting article that compares Canon and Nikon Telephoto lenses. He created a couple of fun charts that take into account lens weight, maximum aperture and focal length and he came up with a graph that shows which manufacturer offers the best focal length to weight ratio. Give it a read, I thought this was great to share with our readers!

When transporting your photo equipment, the weight of your lenses can play an important role, especially when travelling on foot or by airplane. To find out which telephoto lens gives you the best compromise between weight and reach, I created a few charts to compare all professional lenses of Nikon and Canon with focal lengths equal to or greater than 300mm (see the table further below). The following comparison should not be taken too seriously, but nonetheless might give you some valuable insight when deciding on a lens.

1) Lens Weight

The first three charts show lens weight, diameter and length against focal length. The first thing you will notice is that both lines of lenses have more or less the same dimensions, but the Canon lenses are between 0.5 and 1 kg lighter than the Nikon counterparts, except for the new Nikon 800mm (see below).

Lens Weight

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Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L Announcement

A much more exciting news today is for Canon shooters – the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L with a built-in 1.4x teleconverter has finally been announced. The Canon 200-400mm f/4 was released in response to the highly regarded Nikon 200-400mm f/4G VR, which Nikon has been making for a decade now. Many Canon enthusiasts and pros have been craving badly for such a lens, because it can be invaluable for photographing wildlife. Instead of creating the same lens, Canon took optical design a step further and designed the lens with a built-in 1.4x teleconverter, making it a versatile lens with 200-400mm or 280-560mm focal lengths.

Canon 200-400mm f/4 IS 1.4x

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Third Party Lens Manufacturers are On The Rise

I remember not that long ago there were two types of lenses. Brand lenses, those designed by known manufacturers for their own cameras, such as Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Olympus, and the cheapskate third party lenses you’d buy if you couldn’t afford the first type. Brand lenses were more expensive, but well worth the extra price. Better build quality, better optical capability, better dependability, better compatibility, better autofocus and fewer quality control and manufacturing issues were what you got for your hard-earned cash. Not to mention respectful nods from anyone spotting letters Nikkor or a red ring around the front of that lens barrel. A few years have gone by now and situation seems to be changing, however. Third party manufacturers have moved the game up and started producing some serious alternatives. Sigma is very keen to prove the point with the launch of its latest lens, the new 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM for APS-C DSLR cameras. In this article, I will introduce you to this new lens and give insight as to why it is such an important step forward in current smaller-format lens market.

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM

What is it About This Lens?

In a nutshell, this new lens sports a useful wide-to-normal focal length range of 18-35mm on an APS-C sensor camera (27-52.5mm full-frame equivalent), for which it is designed. It also has Sigma’s fast HSM AF motor, which is similar to Nikon’s SWM and Canon’s USM technology. Zooming and focusing are internal, so length remains constant. The new Sigma also has 17 elements in 12 groups and sports 9 rounded diaphragm blades for smooth out of focus highlights. Some of the optical elements are aspherical while minimum focus distance is 0.28m. The lens accepts 72mm filters and is, unfortunately, not protected against dust and moisture. It’s also quite hefty at around 810g. The lens sits in Sigma’s Art lineup alongside Sigma 35mm f/1.4 HSM and is designed with aesthetic flexibility in mind. But the spotlight is the f/1.8 aperture throughout the zoom range. Oh yes. This is the first ever f/1.8 zoom lens for DSLRs.

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How to Read MTF Charts

When my article on field curvature was published a while ago, where I talked about how one could do a quick analysis of lens MTF data and determine if it exhibits any field curvature, some of our readers expressed interest in understanding how to read MTF charts. Since we talk quite a bit about lens performance and MTF data here at Photography Life, I decided to write a detailed article on the subject and do my best to thoroughly explain everything related to MTF curves, charts and all the verbiage that comes with them.

How to Read MTF Charts

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Canon 700D/Rebel T5i and 18-55mm STM Lens Announced

Along with the diminutive 100D, Canon has also announced a replacement for the upper entry-level 650D, the 700D (Rebel T5i). The new 700D, however, isn’t actually all that new, but a mild refresh. Despite Canon’s claims, improvements are as minor as they get. There’s the same 18 megapixel sensor with built-in phase-detect AF points, the same DIGIC 5 processor with the same ISO sensitivity and the same 9-point AF system with cross-type sensors. In fact, almost all the specifications are identical between the two models, except that 700D comes with a slightly different mode dial, has live preview of Creative Filters and a slightly different body finish. Are camera manufacturers taking the habit of announcing cameras for the sake of announcing? In any case, 650D was a popular and likable model. There’s no reason to think 700D will be any different (pun intended). What’s likely more interesting is the renewed kit lens. The EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM now comes with Canon’s stepper AF motor for silent video recording during focusing.

Canon 700D Rebel T5i

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