Better Sony A7RIII Colours in Lightroom
If there’s one complaint I hear again and again about Sony cameras, is that the colours are not pleasant. This is the most common complaint that people have when trying the camera. I have certainly grappled with this myself in the past when first using Sony cameras. The thing is though, it’s not strictly true. There isn’t really anything inherently wrong with Sony’s cameras. The problem often comes from either a poor white balance or the calibration. If you’re shooting RAW and using Lightroom, there’s another issue: Adobe’s calibration for Sony files in Lightroom is pretty poor.
I have recently downloaded lots of different RAW files from various websites of sample shots taken with the new Sony A7RIII, and when trying them in Lightroom I was kind of shocked by the colours, especially flesh tones. They all had a slightly sickly green feel to them. However, the embedded previews which loaded first didn’t have these issues. If you select one of the colour profiles from the camera calibration panel, such as "standard", one would assume that it would be calibrated properly, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. There is far too much green in the image, leading to those sickly pale coloured flesh tones.
If you load the same RAW files into Capture One, you get much better results. Flesh tones are much more natural looking and are similar to the embedded previews. With this in mind, I set about tweaking the calibration to match the two. I used the settings that I created when working on my Sony A6000 guide as a basis and then tweaked them a bit further until the Lightroom image matched the Capture One version visually. This isn’t perfect or in anyway scientific, but personally I think that the results look much more natural, but, it’s up to you to try for yourself.
I can’t show any before and after images here, because the samples are all copyright, and while others may re-publish them, I’m going to respect the author’s copyright. If you’re a Sony A7RIII user, and you want to try these, you’ll just have to try them for yourself and see if it works for you. I’ve created a preset that you can download which is a calibrated version of the standard profile, and you can use this as a basis for the other picture modes too, by changing the profile in the Camera Calibration tab, but keeping the calibration tweaks. Beside this paragraph is a screenshot of the settings.
This should work for other A series cameras too, such as the A9. I would be curious to hear your feedback on this if it works or helps. I would like to do a version of my A6000 guide for other Sony cameras, but I need to get hold of the actual camera and a few lenses and shoot some proper test shots in order to do it justice. If this would interest you, please let me know.
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