Why Photographer Ken Rockwell is Wrong Wrong Wrong About Using Vivid Color Settings.

Some people take advice from Ken Rockwell and turn up the colors on their digital cameras up to eleven or to +3 or whatever. Like vivid, man. What’s wrong with that? Nothing, as long that’s what you want to do.

But take a look at this quick example showing what turning up the colors does. The photo below shows the same subject, the Nikon D300, as photographed by Ken Rockwell and DPReview. Notice any difference between the photos?


Ken Rockwell’s shot shows a pure red rubber finger grip instead of the more salmon type color that’s accurately shown on the right. How can you tell? Well, using an eyedropper tool or something similar in Photoshop or something similar allows you to see the color makeup of different parts of an image.

So the RGB digital 8-bit per channel code for Rockwell’s shot is 255, 0, 0, meaning all red, no green and no blue. Or if you prefer the subtractive color model, 100% magenta and yellow with 0% cyan and 0% black.

Why is that bad? Because everything that’s kind of red goes to pure red and you end up with more of a photo illustration, rather than a photo. If that’s the way you want to go, that’s fine. But there’s not a lot of things in the real world that are fully saturated 100% pure red (outside of a ruby laser, that is).

So what do you think of these “great colors“? Read on if you care:

Overdose of LSD

Fisher-Prices colours fanboy

Overkill on the saturation

Of course, do it the way you want. But all color all the time might tire you. Just saying.

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