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I take pictures with my Nikon D3 for almost a decade now. I recently got a used D800 and I dont like how the colors turn out on some images. They seem to have a slight color cast. Look at the following example:

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The first image comes from D3 and the second from the D800. Both with same WB, exposure and with the same lens. I shot RAW and took both images in LR and made sure every setting was the same. The whites from the D800 seem to have a green tint this time. However its not always green. I recently had a slight magenta tint on a different image. How can the colors vary so much? Im really not happy with the output from the D800. Can someone give me an advice on this? How do I get rid of the color cast? I dont see myself trying to remove the color cast on every image in LR.

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    What is the shutter speed of those images, and what is the light source (incandescent, fluorescent, ...)? – scottbb Feb 7 at 21:05
  • What are the light sources? There appear to be at least two different kinds of lighting illuminating different parts of the scene. – Michael C Feb 7 at 22:17
  • Have you compared the photographs in ViewNX-i, which has correct Nikon profiles, rather than the reverse-engineered ones in Lr? – Tetsujin Feb 8 at 17:29
  • I wanted to compare the images in Capture NX but I didn’t because it would not helped me. Even if the colors would look better I need them to look good in Lightroom since it is part of my workflow. – Arjihad Feb 8 at 17:32
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There are many potential variables, but one thing to understand is that the raw files do not have an inherent color cast... nor color for that matter. What you see in LR depends on the profile applied to the raw data. Is the same profile applied to both (e.g. adobe standard)?

Even if the same profile is applied, it is most likely not the same... i.e. the demosaicing algorithm for adobe standard/D3 is different from adobe standard/D800. That's why ACR support for each camera has to be added individually.

You have a few options, you can adjust the camera color calibration in LR's develop panel and save it as a new default setting for the D800. You can create your own profile for the D800 using the Adobe profile creator. And you might be able to find a profile someone else has already created online... I remember that being a thing when ACR first started supporting the D800. But if the difference is variable, one adjustment/profile probably will not be enough and you would need multiple applied conditionally.

Or you could use Nikon's software to process the raw files; no-one knows how to demosaic a NEF better than Nikon. For instance, I remember ACR would create a significant magenta cast to high ISO D800 images where Nikon's Capture NX-D would not.

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It seems likely that at least one of your light sources in the example image may be variable. That is, they don't output a constant intensity and color signature. Many types of artificial lighting flicker with the cycle of the alternating current that powers them. At the peak of the alternating current's sine wave they are brighter, bluer, and fuller spectrum than at the valley of the sine wave, when they they are dimmer, browner, with much less coverage of the full visible spectrum. LED lights use Pulse Width Modulation (PWN) to turn the lights off and on very quickly to regulate intensity.

Beyond the chance that you are dealing with a light source that varies it's color output based on alternating current or power control for LEDs, you have to recognize that every camera system is different.

Every time I've changed models within the same brand of cameras, I've noticed that colors from one to the next can be slightly different. I'm a Canon shooter and use Canon's Digital Photo Professional to process raw files. I've found it is possible to get the same colors from, for example, both my 5D Mark II and 5D Mark III, but the settings I use in raw development to get there do need to be slightly different for each. In order to get the same RGB values [0,0,0] for a particular spot in a scene with images from each camera (taken under the same lighting, using the same settings, and even the same lens), I might have to use a slightly different color temperature and WB compensation. For example, with camera A I might have CT set at 4200K and WB at +1M (magenta) and +2B (blue). With camera B I might need to modify that to 4230K for CT and +.6M, +2.3B to get the same [0,0,0] value for the same spot in the scene.

I've never had to opportunity to closely compare two examples of the same model side-by-side to see if the color output is exactly the same, so I can't speak to whether different examples of the same model also vary slightly.

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