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I have been taking some photos with my new camera, and have found that once I import them to my laptop, the colors look washed out, and not as nice and vivid as on the camera LCD display.

It's a Sony HX60, and I am importing them into an HP dm4, running Fedora.

I've read about color profiles, and made sure that the calibration on my monitor was set.

The thing is that the issue arises with just importing them from the camera iteself (using Shotwell) and diplaying them with the standard Image Viewer, it's not even an issue with Gimp or an image editor with a color profile not set.

I am wondering if my camera is using some of color profile that is being lost when imported, or is it that the display on my camera is much better than the one my laptop?

I can then open the image in Gimp, and then use some enhancements to make the image look better, but I just want them to look the same as on my camera.

Any ideas?

Update:

Here is an example image I took: Original camera image scaled for upload

And here is a photo of the comparison of how the Sony HX60 & the HP dm4 render the output. This photo was taken with a cheap Lumix, but still clearly shows the difference:

enter image description here

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    Can you clarify "it's not even an issue with Gimp or an image editor with a color profile not set"? Do you mean that in those cases the image looks as expected, or do you mean that it's an issue there too, but not just that. – mattdm Sep 29 '15 at 16:20
  • Also, can you post an example of an out-of-camera image, and then that same image tuned to your liking in Gimp? – mattdm Sep 29 '15 at 17:01
  • The HX60 only produces JPEG, raw output not available. I've added some example images as edit to the question to illustrate the situation. – cyrrill Oct 7 '15 at 18:27
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Differing display devices will show you the same image differently, because different manufacturers set them the way they think the color should be. If you take those same photos and view them on an iPad or iPhone you will the the vivid colours are back. Best is to edit the images so that they are punchy enough for displays that do not accent the saturation, while keeping it balanced, to not make the images too saturated for displays that accent saturation, such as displays that have a polariser filmstrip.

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The LCD screen on your camera can't be calibrated — it's set to... whatever it is. And that's probably tuned to make things look pretty vivid and snappy. Possibly more than the underlying data in its "true" form.

If you're looking at an accurately calibrated display (which Fedora has pretty good support for *) with color-managed applications, that's the version you should consider accurate, not whatever you saw on the camera's LCD. If you'd like the images to come out of the camera with more punch, consider turning up any sliders available to you in the camera. They may look over the top in the camera, but then will be more in line with your intent on the computer.

(Although, as an addendum, if you have a basic laptop, as it sounds that you do, the screen may be rather low quality, and calibration will not help with that. You may also want to look on a nicer external monitor, calibrated separately.)

* extra shout-out for running Fedora. :)

  • Thanks, for your response. The colors on the camera look so great, I wonder why don't just encode that into the image? I don't think the monitor is an issue, as I'm able to make the images look great after touching them up in Gimp, it's more a color management issue in the file, rater than the rendering. I'll try experimenting with more of the effects and sliders available and see if it improves. Just wondering if anyone out there with a Sony and Fedora has had the same issue an possibly a nice hack to fix. – cyrrill Sep 29 '15 at 16:50
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    "Why not encode that"... look into the profiles used to import, like "camera neutral" vs "vivid". – JDługosz Sep 30 '15 at 1:17
  • A calibrated (at the factory) display would make a great feature for a manufacturer who wanted to make a splash. Turn all those "punchy" displays by the others into liabilities rather than assets. – Mark Ransom Feb 15 '17 at 23:09
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Check the colorspace used by your camera. A common issue is to shoot Adobe RGB and then to open the image in a viewer that only knows sRGB. Then, the colors look washed out.

  • Excellent point, but if I'm reading the question correctly, in this case the images are being opened in color-space aware applications that should compensate for that. – mattdm Sep 30 '15 at 12:24
  • I'm not sure what the poster means by "the issue arises with just importing [...] and diplaying them with the standard Image Viewer, it's not even an issue with Gimp", but if it means "a dumb image viewer shows bad colors, but Gimp doesn't", then it looks like a color profile issue. But I'm not sure I read the question correctly either ;-). – Matthieu Moy Sep 30 '15 at 13:33
  • Yeah — I'm hoping that gets cleared up. :-/ HOpefully @tech1000 will return today with some updates. – mattdm Sep 30 '15 at 13:34
  • I just checked, though, and the default Image Viewer in Fedora Workstation does properly respect color profiles. So, I'm pretty sure that's not it. I think @tech1000 is just trying to rule out the possibility of having misconfigured Gimp. – mattdm Sep 30 '15 at 13:48
  • Hi guys, I'm travelling at the moment, so internet is sporadic, so that's why the delayed response. Basically, what I meant by the Gimp/Image Viewer part, is that I am aware of what a colorspace is, and that it's not an issue with not setting it correctly in the viewing application, as I've seen in other related questions. – cyrrill Oct 1 '15 at 10:46

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