I have my Sony A7r now for a few weeks and i am still learning how to get the most out of it. It is an amazing camera but handling the RAW files in Lightroom is tricky.
I only shoot RAW. I am the kind of guy who likes working on his images. For me, it is just as enjoyable as shooting. But when i learn about a new camera, i also shoot JPEG. I want to see what the camera does inside when processing the JPEGs and i always liked what the Sony showed me on its display when i took a shot.
Well what you see on the screen is a processed JPEG and that is far off from what you see in your RAW files. That comes naturally one might say, cause these JPEGs are sharpened, have a color and contrast boost and other stuff applied. But even in standard mode with no filters applied the colors from the Sony JPEGs looked so much better than what i could ever get out of my RAW files. The reason for this lies in the camera profiles. These profiles make a hughe difference in color representation and all your color adjustment in Lightroom is based on these profiles.
But Adobe did only a fair job with the Sony A7 profiles. No matter which one you choose, you are no way near to that gorgeous looking colors from the JPEGs. Unless you did not change it, you start processing your RAW files with the “camera standard” profile. The color you get looks ok but it is just not right.
This is an unedit RAW file and how it looks with “camera standard”.
When you change your profile to “camera vivid” you get closer to the standard JPEG but it is over saturated.
I searched the internet to see if someone already created a better profile than what Adobe offers and i found this site
Maurizio Piraccini did lots of profiles not only for Sony cameras, so you might want to visit his site. When you download his profiles you get many new choices in Lightroom and i ended up using “Faithful” as my basic camera profile. Even though it is not perfect, it is a good starting point and while it can look a bit flat without editing, you get rich and natural colors with a slight move of your saturation slider. Something you wont get with the in build profiles.
This is how the image looks with “Faithful” no editing except slightly saturated (+10). It is much closer to what i saw that day taking the picture. The leaves have exactly the color i remember and the sky was as blue as this.
These images are examples only to show how big the differences are and how important it is to choose a profile that you like. You can of course make your own profiles for Lightroom. Adobe has a special tool for that purpose.
Thanks for reading.
One thought on “Colors of the Sony A7r – dealing with RAW files.”
Excellent post. I’m facing some of these issues as well..