Recently, I received a few photos of Urumqi, China and they look like standard EOS-20D photos. Not that there’s anything wrong with them but when we take photos, realistic is usually not on our minds. Ignore digital manipulation for a bit here; we’ve been maipulating how our photos look like for a long time. When we choose a specific film, we’re already altering what the REAL picture looks like. Some film like Fuji’s Velvia for example tend to be very saturated with deep greens and blues. I find that the EOS-20D’s out-of-camera JPEGs are a tad undersaturated and soft.
That is especially true if you have the camera processing mode to it’s default setting, Parameter 2). I usually have mine set to a custom Parameter; i.e. Set 1 which has saturation +2, sharpness +1 and contrast +1 (in bright sunny days, I use Set 2 which leaves contrast at +0. The benefit of this is since I shoot RAW+JPEG, the JPEGs all come out ready-to-print. If I really want a 30″x45″ print, I can work on the RAW file. This way, I get both the convienence of JPEG and the benefits of RAW. The image processing settings including the B&W modes, DO NOT affect the RAW images.
This photo from a bazaar in Urumqi looks much better now. For this image, I did work on lifting the shadows in the backend of the store which is a bit dark.
Again, contrast, color saturation and sharpness has been increased.
note: The Photoshop post-processing probably increased saturation, sharpness and color a bit more than what the in-camera settings will but I find that added saturation and sharpness in camera makes for more attractive results straight out of the camera.