Pages Menu
Categories Menu

on Jul 30, 2014 in Gear Head Wed

GearHead Wednesday 14 – 27


Got a gear question you want/need answered? I want to help and answer it. Send your gear questions to me at Gear Questions and I’ll do my best every Wednesday to answer as many questions as I can. Keep in mind the answers are just my $.02 worth and you have to take what works for you and your photography and embrace it and ignore the rest. So here’s this weeks questions ….

I have a D800 and D4 and have always preferred the “look” of the images from the D4 over those that come from the D800. It is hard for me to explain but it seems like D4 images have more depth and smoother, warmer color tones compared to the D800. First, has this changed with the D4s? And, has it changed with the D810? I know this is subjective but I would like to hear your opinion about this area.

Adam, a really DARN GOOD question! Color is SO essential to our visual communication, it is very important we take it seriously in every step of the process. I need to start off by saying that this entire discussion could be considered meaningless. Let me explain why I say that.


Since you weren’t with us when we shot this sunset last night, you have no clue if this color is accurate, true and knowing or not knowing this doesn’t change how you feel about the photo. At the same time, what you’re seeing on your monitor more than likely isn’t exactly what I’m seeing. And if you just had too much coffee, you’re seeing 5pts magenta and if you’re having a bad day at the office, you’re seeing 25pts magenta (“seeing red”). So, unless you’re doing product photography, having 100% accurate color is a mute point in life. But color is very important!

With that said, IMHO, the D4s / D810 / Df are delivering the best color out of the camera but we are truly splitting hairs. Keep in mind, I shoot in the Landscape mode and underexpose, both to bring out every oozy pixel of color I can. Now you ask about about the D4 & D800 and I always thought the opposite of what you propose. I wish I had the luxury of time to explain how I work with color because as you might figure, it doesn’t fit conventional wisdom. But how I determine what is working, camera body / picture mode / post processing is by that big, 24×30 print out of the Epson. Other than my critters, I finish the color in a photo to make the most of color psychology to reach out and tug at your heart strings. In doing so it raises the question, am I being faithful to the subject or to the story? Answering this question for your own photography in large part dictates your style of photography. I often tell photographers we deal in a world of perceptions, not reality and this holds true for color as well as many other aspects of photography. I imagine I have created more questions than answers but in this format, I hope I’ve provided you some thought and possible direction to find you own answers for your own photography.