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Camera Color Science 101 (And What Makes Canon Special)


If you’ve been wanting to learn more about the subject of camera color science, here’s a solid 13-minute video by Gerald Undone that will bring you up to speed on the subject.

The video “is all about color science in cameras: why pretty doesn’t mean accurate, what makes Canon’s colors unique, and if it should affect your gear decisions,” Gerald says.

Here’s the different topics discussed in the video alongside the timestamps at which they’re found:

00:56: What Is Color Science?
01:50: How Colors Are Captured by the Image Sensor
02:32: The Bayer Filter Mosaic Explained
03:20: How Cameras Use Color Filters to Create a Unique Look
03:48: Unfortunately Pleasing Colors Aren’t Always Accurate
03:57: Sony Is Very Accurate, but Canon Is More Pleasing
04:40: How Raw Images Are Demosaiced or Debayered
05:19: What Is a Color Matrix & How Do You Change It?
05:58: How Raw Development Is Similar to Film Processing
06:28: What Canon Does to Its Colors to Get the “Canon Look”
07:12: But This Is All Subjective!
07:42: Applying This to Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw
08:06: Why Color Science Matters Less with Raw Files
08:17: What “Adobe Standard” Does Differently
09:05: When Everything Else is Equal, Color Science Doesn’t Matter
09:22: Practical Applications & What about Raw Video?
10:21: Does Camera Color Science Matter for Log Recordings?
11:01: Make Your Choices Based on How Much Time You Have
11:17: Situations When Color Science Isn’t As Important
11:36: The Problem with Referring to the Look as “Color Science”

“What exactly are we doing when we talking about liking the ‘color science’ of a camera?” Gerald says. “Honestly, I think we’re only doing two things here: one, desperately trying to find something positive to say about a brand that we inexplicably love by expressing abstract ideas in the fact of an obvious lack of technical innovation, or two, promoting how little effort on your part is required to render an image that you find subjectively pleasing.

“…which is funny, because despite it being called color ‘science’, neither of those things is very science-y.”

You can find more of Gerald’s videos by subscribing to his YouTube channel.