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A yellow mystery tale
In Italian I could have written a fun title, considering that "yellow (book)" is more or less synonymous of "mystery tale"... It's a problem with the rendition of yellow colour that I experienced; in addition to the mystery, it's also fun in how it developed, the several years that I took to fix it, basically just letting things happen and never really understanding the core of it.

So, let me tell you the story.
Many years ago, when I used Nikon gear and started with Lightroom, everything was fine.

At the end of 2009 I bought the Nikon D5000 and started noticing a different colour rendition in comparison to the other three Nikon bodies I had (D100, D70, D200): I mean, not shooting JPEG but RAW I did expect that Lightroom profiles for different cameras produced the same output - not exactly the same, of course, slight variations were to be expected, but with the D5000 yellows stood apart in comparison to the other bodies. This became very clear when I took this photo in 2010:

The point was the hue of the gravel in the path - more precisely, the hue of the terrain that had been percolated from the meadows probably the day before my visit, due to a thunderstorm. It hit my  attention, so I was very surprised when I found I was apparently unable to reproduce it in a correct way. The colour as I saw it was yellowish, but in the photos it appeared brownish-reddish and the point that I didn't find realistic. I had to specifically correct it and it was the first time I had to selectively fix an error not for merely aesthetics motivations. BTW, it still looks more reddish/orangeish than it should, but at the time the editing features available to me were limited, as well as my skills in this kind of operation. A few time later, as the problem was repeatable and consistent, I decided to buy a reference colour patch and create my own custom profiles. My custom profiles solved the yellow problem (even though retrospectively I reckon they weren't totally pleasing for other colours, but this is another story).

To make the thing even more surprising, in 2011 I broke the D5000 dropping it to concrete. When, a few months later, I decided to buy a replacement Nikon offered the D5100 - well, that model didn't have the yellow problem! Neither the D7000 did, my last Nikon body. So I archived the issue as a sort of bug in the Lightroom profile for the D5000.

At the end of 2013 I started experimenting with mirrorless and bought the NEX-6. Given that there was a whole new world to explore, I didn't pay particular attention to colour rendition, that in the end - however - was good. At the end of 2014 I decided to definitely switch to Sony and bought the a6000... and the yellow problem appeared again, even though in a less strong fashion; basically it was mostly an issue of shooting certain yellow flowers.

It was so strange I started suspecting it was an issue on my side, I mean eye-brain, sort of distortion in the colour perception (I know it doesn't fit with the whole story, because it was related to a single camera). In any case, I kept on going with custom profiles and kept the understanding of the issue in stand by.

When I moved to Capture One in 2017 I didn't want to go the way of custom profiles and on the other hand learned how to do selective colour correction. So I created my own "yellow fix" that was satisfying. I kept on for a few years, always without really understanding what was going on. In particular I still blamed my eye-brain because I couldn't find other users complaining about the same issue (that was consistent with the other Sony cameras I bought, including the latest a6600).

Final suprise: Capture One 21 introduced "Pro Standard" profiles... and the problem was solved. In the end I have a self-explicatory (perhaps?) screen shot:

+ Variant #1: "Generic" profile, with my "yellow fix" applied, and in my eye-brain appears natural.
+ Variant #2: same profile, without yellow fix (that is, C1 out of the box). The sunflower looks orangeish to my eyes.
+ Variant #3: "Pro standard" profile without any further selective colour correction... and to me it looks very similar to variant #1. It's to me the most natural rendition of the sunflower, being my "yellow fix" sometimes too radical.

Of course the three variants have the same post-processing (in particular colour temperature).

So, what do you think? In particular, do you see the colour differences/similitudes in the three variants, so after 13 years I can remove my eye-brain from the list of suspects?

BTW - I seem unable to see the attachment. Do you?

Attachment fixed.

Attached Files
.jpg   Screenshot 2021-08-26 at 11.59.04.jpg (Size: 478.59 KB / Downloads: 8)


Sony a6300, Sony a6000, Sony NEX-6, Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS, Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS, Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS, Sigma 150-600mm Æ’/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary, Samyang 12mm Æ’/2, Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN | A, Meyer Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm Æ’/2.8, Samyang 8mm Æ’/3.5 fish-eye II | Zenit Helios 44-2 58mm Æ’/2 
Plus some legacy Nikkor lenses.

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