I want to compare two lenses in terms of how they render color and contrast. To do this I want to take the exact same picture with both lenses. What settings do I have to set such that the camera does not change the colors digitally? Of course the exposure settings stay the same.

I shoot in 14 bit uncompressed RAW and open both pictures in photoshop. I dont change anything in camera RAW. The white balance is set to a fixed value in camera. I have also turned off active D lighting (which would not change the RAW file anyways). Is there something that I have forgotten?

Or should I dont care about in-camera settigs (except exposure) and just sync the settings of both images in camera RAW?

  • I wouldn't trust Photoshop to accurately render the colours. Use Nikon's own ViewNX-i [freeware] – Tetsujin Jul 24 '20 at 16:13
  • Just an aside: The only reason to shoot Uncompressed is if you don't have the option of Lossless Compression . If you have the option of Lossless Compression , the files are smaller, it's a faster write because of less data, and it increases in-camera cache because of less data. The key is Lossless , it expands in post to bit-for-bit the same as uncompressed. – user10216038 Aug 5 '20 at 20:38

Depending on your selected Camera Raw default settings, you may need to insure that none of them are set to "auto" anything. Especially insure that it is not set to automatically override the white balance selected in-camera.

Noise reduction and sharpening settings can also affect the perception of contrast and even color. Again, be sure they're set to specific values, rather than any "auto-optimize" settings.


Just make sure your exposure is the same and you have the exact same light in the scene. (meter it!) then process the Raw files exactly the same. open the processed images in Photoshop and place one in a layer over the other using difference mode.

Flatten and invert. What is visible/measurable here are the differences between the lenses.

  • Using different lenses, you will not be able to get the precise size and position alignment necessary for this to be useful, doubly so if a zoom is involved. Even if you could get close, the difference won't indicate a color/contrast superiority of one over the other, just that they are different. – user10216038 Aug 6 '20 at 3:48
  • The OP was asking for a comparison. The above solution will show exactly that. Regardless of position alignment etc, all of these can be corrected in Photoshop without invalidation the OP's comparison. Quality "Determinations" as you mention are quite a different animal. But contrast and color accuracy can be done using this method and a static target. – R Hall Aug 6 '20 at 15:09
  • Assuming you can resolve all the size position issues, how does the resultant Diiference indicate Lens "A" is more color accurate than lens "B" vice the reverse? – user10216038 Aug 6 '20 at 16:25
  • Comparisons are not determinations. Determinations are not the question the OP has posted and not relevant to this thread. – R Hall Aug 6 '20 at 16:30
  • You are absolutely correct in your emphasis of the word comparison , but I think it's a little pedantic compared to common usage. In any case we now understand one another, thank you. – user10216038 Aug 6 '20 at 16:37

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