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ggill1313

M10 and editing skin tones

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Just got my M10 and have been somewhat disappointed by the colors. In some circumstances, they’re absolutely great. In others (and shooting situations which I frequently shoot - backlit subjects who have lighter skin tones), they fall apart when I do any serious color grading. I’ve attached a link for reference. Notice the majority of influence over the skin tones is determined by the purple slider. In my experience on professional Canon systems (as well as Fuji), skin tones are generally captured in the Oranges, Reds, and Yellows. On occasion, I’ve noticed them “bleeding” into the Purples/Magentas, but generally it’s an easy correction with a hue adjustment toward red in Lightroom. This has happened more on my Fuji gear than my Canon, which I thought was just a product of the XTRANS. 

Images for reference. Note: I’ve increased each slider to 100 to illustrate the influence of the respective slider, not as an artistic decision. https://imgur.com/gallery/mFTvTGz

I’ve had to do more “additive” color editing (color grading with added oranges/yellows in the mid tones) to get even close to the effect I desire to be consistent with my professional body of work, but it’s tedious and feels more like a workaround as opposed to simply a different process. 

Is this a hallmark of these sensors? Has anyone else had an issue with skin tones merging into the purples? The issue here is that it doesn’t give me precise and consistent control over tonalities which are consistent with my other work. Not only that, but as opposed to adjusting a couple of sliders to produce the look, I’m adjusting literally three times more to try and get close and, eventually compromise, on the desired look. 

Also, here is an attached photo with the exposure info as well as histogram illustrating that I’m shooting at base ISO, and exposed with the limitations of the M10 sensor in mind. 

https://imgur.com/gallery/v2EPnGf

I want to add that I’ve been shooting for over a decade. This certainly isn’t my first rodeo. The only thing left for me to try is making my own custom color profile, but in over a decade of shooting, this has never been a requisite to get the colors I want out of my photos. 

Does the M10-R improve on any of these shortcomings?

Also, I want to preempt against any comments telling me I’m just confused or apologetics from Leica koolaid mixers. I’ve read some responses on this forum before from some of them and they seem to be obstinately opposed to the notion that perhaps the sensors in these cameras aren’t as good. While DXOMark gives the M10 a higher overall score than my 6D, in my experience, the colors are more pliable. Finally, my artistic discretion is going to differ from yours. I have seen a lot of photos posted here in discussion which are also effectively SOOC, with minimal correction. I have a stylized look I go for, which requires flexible colors. 

Edited by ggill1313
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Firstly, welcome to the forum!

This is not something I've experienced with my M10 but others have complained about red/purple colour casts on new M10's and the fix has been to do a factory reset from the M10's menu after which the problem is solved.  I hope this works for you.

Pete.

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1 hour ago, farnz said:

Firstly, welcome to the forum!

This is not something I've experienced with my M10 but others have complained about red/purple colour casts on new M10's and the fix has been to do a factory reset from the M10's menu after which the problem is solved.  I hope this works for you.

Pete.

Thank you for the welcome and for the information. Incidentally, on another platform, I just received this advice as well. 
 

I adore the M10 for everything else. I sincerely hope it’s rectifiable and will report back once I have more experience with this issue and its hopeful fix.

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Also, make sure the firmware is updated to the most recent. The initial M10 firmware had color cast issues. I’d assume all M10s have the latest firmware at this point but who knows. Good luck. 

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The problem may well be IR contamination. All M cameras are, for technical reasons, IR sensitive to a certain extent.
(Caucasian) skin is is layered, and the fat layer produces uneven IR reflection, exacerbated by blood vessels under the skin. This will give rise to purple blotches, depending on the IR content of the light. More so on Leica M cameras than with cameras with more effective IR filtering on the sensor The M8 was particularly bad, the M240 worse than the M9. the M10 is probably about the same level as the M9. Use a 486 filter.  (IR cut). All M cameras are able to capture IR images using a B+W 092 or 093 filter.

As an aside, in my experience the colour out of any camera will be improved by creating a dedicated profile, if only by streamlining the colour workflow.

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10 hours ago, jaapv said:

The problem may well be IR contamination. All M cameras are, for technical reasons, IR sensitive to a certain extent.
(Caucasian) skin is is layered, and the fat layer produces uneven IR reflection, exacerbated by blood vessels under the skin. This will give rise to purple blotches, depending on the IR content of the light. More so on Leica M cameras than with cameras with more effective IR filtering on the sensor The M8 was particularly bad, the M240 worse than the M9. the M10 is probably about the same level as the M9. Use a 486 filter.  (IR cut). All M cameras are able to capture IR images using a B+W 092 or 093 filter.

As an aside, in my experience the colour out of any camera will be improved by creating a dedicated profile, if only by streamlining the colour workflow.

Are we sure this is advice is valid for the M10 too ? 

https://leicastoremiami.com/products/b-w-39mm-f-pro-486m-uv-ir-cut-filter-mrc?variant=345636687

The B+W 39mm F-Pro 486M UV/IR Cut Filter MRC listed on the Leica Miami page comes with a red lettered warning:

"PLEASE NOTE THIS FILTER IS SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED TO BE USED ONLY ON THE LEICA M8 DIGITAL CAMERA."

 

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Yes it is valid. Such a filter will not produce discernible colour shifts on other M cameras. I photograph a lot in the tropics and my M240 was unusable without one - a strong orange-yellow shift that was very hard to correct without filter.
The technical parameters that dictate a thin IR filter (thus less effective) are still present on the M10. It will be better than the M8, but far from perfect, I guess about 80% effective. Disregard the warning, and get a B+W 486 filter. They are better than the Marumi filter that Leica rebrands.

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4 minutes ago, jaapv said:

Yes we can. Such a filter will not produce discernible colour shifts on other M cameras. I photograph a lot in the tropics and my M240 was unusable without one - a strong orange-yellow shift that was very hard to correct without filter. The technical parameters that dictate a thin IR filter (thus less effective) are still present on the M10. It will be better than the M8, but far from perfect. Disregard the warning, and get a B+W 486 filter. They are better than the Marumi filter that Leica rebrands.

I live in strong/bright sunshine year round and use my M10 mostly in natural light. What should I be seeing to indicate the need for a IR/UV cut filter for the M10. I've read using such a filter will not hurt...but to date I don't think I see any indication it is needed. But am very willing to investigate. 

Like most photographers, I do chase the light and try to avoid harsh conditions as much as possible, but again what should I be looking for in my images that would indicate I need a IR/UV cut filter for the M10? 

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30 minutes ago, jaapv said:

Yes it is valid. Such a filter will not produce discernible colour shifts on other M cameras. I photograph a lot in the tropics and my M240 was unusable without one - a strong orange-yellow shift that was very hard to correct without filter.
The technical parameters that dictate a thin IR filter (thus less effective) are still present on the M10. It will be better than the M8, but far from perfect, I guess about 80% effective. Disregard the warning, and get a B+W 486 filter. They are better than the Marumi filter that Leica rebrands.

Interesting points, Jaapv. I looked at another forum post here where someone shot a color chart with and without the IR filter, and there was definitely a magenta cast in the black fibers in a coat the model was wearing, and I wonder if that cast is still present in the skin tones, just more difficult to detect against a more fair complexion, but shows up/muddies the colors when working in post. 

To be clear, this effect is undetectable SOOC. It's only in post-processing when I begin to manipulate skin tones is it apparent. For my instance, I was attempting to saturate the face a bit, where generally I'd increase the oranges and reds. This had a bizarrely minimal effect. I then out of curiosity began pushing the other sliders, where you can see in the attached images that magenta and purple were extraordinarily present in the skin tones. Short of doing any additive correction via tools such as color grading the shadows and mid-tones to a warmer tone, it was impossible to modify the skin tones in any traditional manner (HSL, even WB modification lent no additional "detail" to move the colors harmoniously without performing a ballet of slider adjustments so as to not cause banding after touching the oranges, reds, yellows, magentas, and purples - something I've never had to do to this degree).

In any event, I will investigate whether the IR filter remedies these issues. 

I had only seen this issue manifest in the backlit, flared scenarios. But I've been shooting under these conditions for over a decade, on both vintage and modern glass, and have never had an issue with skin tones even in "harsh" scenarios. 

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15 minutes ago, LBJ2 said:

I live in strong/bright sunshine year round and use my M10 mostly in natural light. What should I be seeing to indicate the need for a IR/UV cut filter for the M10. I've read using such a filter will not hurt...but to date I don't think I see any indication it is needed. But am very willing to investigate. 

Like most photographers, I do chase the light and try to avoid harsh conditions as much as possible, but again what should I be looking for in my images that would indicate I need a IR/UV cut filter for the M10? 

How much are you processing your images? I think for many, my SOOC shot, maybe warmed up a tad with a bit of contrast, would have been fine for a lot of shooters. But my work is a bit more stylized and requires a bit more "oomph" in post. To me, these issues, when they exhibit themselves, are mostly apparent when pushing my colors. Mind you, I'm not pushing them anywhere past a +/-40 correction in saturation in HSL, but that was enough to allow the banding to demonstrate itself. 

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15 minutes ago, ggill1313 said:

How much are you processing your images? I think for many, my SOOC shot, maybe warmed up a tad with a bit of contrast, would have been fine for a lot of shooters. But my work is a bit more stylized and requires a bit more "oomph" in post. To me, these issues, when they exhibit themselves, are mostly apparent when pushing my colors. Mind you, I'm not pushing them anywhere past a +/-40 correction in saturation in HSL, but that was enough to allow the banding to demonstrate itself. 

BTW, are we discussing M10 DNG, jpeg or both?

You raise a good point. I've always been a digital photographer and like many, I shoot RAW/DNG and like most process the digital files, some more than others of course. I've never seen anything like your examples which are nothing less than horrific and understandably alarming. But I do know pushing digital files to an extreme can and do cause bad things to happen to the file, I've just not yet seen anything as bad as the scenario you posted. I'll tinker around with some of my M10 images to see if I can replicate. 

I am interested to know if you are able to mitigate your scenario pushed hard in post with an UV/IR cut filter. 

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Posted (edited)

@jaapv, or anybody else , what do I look for in my M10 images to know if there is UV/IR damage and is it very apparent or something I have to pixel peep for ?

Edit, I see jaapv posted "I photograph a lot in the tropics and my M240 was unusable without one - a strong orange-yellow shift that was very hard to correct without filter." I take this to mean that UV/IR damage on my M10 files might display an uneditable orange-yellow shift?

Edited by LBJ2

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Posted (edited)

In all respect what you are doing is extreme and unnecessary, though I realise you've obviously stated it's for example rather than creative. But without knowing what you re trying to achieve it's not really helping your case here.

If you are comparing this to how you work with other systems then that is not a good start either. You can't expect to have the same workflow for each camera and most systems have different ways of doing things. I don't treat my medium format files the same as my Leica or Nikon files. Every digital camera I've owned has different workflow.

Also Lightroom HSL is not what I'd use for anything other than base level colour editing, especially if needing to push things and expect a professional finish. HSL is just a convenient way to draft ideas in my opinion.

 

Edited by Dr No

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Posted (edited)

Without knowing what you've already done to the image it's a little hard to tell. Did you shoot auto white balance and did you shoot fixed daylight to compare? This is often the culprit of colour issues, given you have a mix of colour in your skin tone already in the file there. Comparing Canon colour is always going to be different here. In my own opinion I find Canon colour somewhat wanting for depth at times. Learning to manage it, though a little tedious a process, may find you with a broader palette to work with.

Edited by Dr No

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1 hour ago, LBJ2 said:

BTW, are we discussing M10 DNG, jpeg or both?

You raise a good point. I've always been a digital photographer and like many, I shoot RAW/DNG and like most process the digital files, some more than others of course. I've never seen anything like your examples which are nothing less than horrific and understandably alarming. But I do know pushing digital files to an extreme can and do cause bad things to happen to the file, I've just not yet seen anything as bad as the scenario you posted. I'll tinker around with some of my M10 images to see if I can replicate. 

I am interested to know if you are able to mitigate your scenario pushed hard in post with an UV/IR cut filter. 

DNG, absolutely. As a matter of fact, I was so dismayed by the tonal range that I was getting from the file that I myself had to double check if the previous owner of the camera had left it on JPEG and that I was editing a DNG. That I was editing a JPEG was my initial assumption, too. However, I was in fact working with a DNG so I knew something else had to be the issue. 

I also appreciate you not jumping to conclusions that my example here is the result of some elementary faux pa as others on separate forums have. I'd only turn to the community after exhausting every other non-Leica specific remedy I've attempted after 13 years of shooting. While I know the sensor in the M10 has limitations re: dynamic range, I've never seen such egregious handling of color in a DNG as demonstrated in the linked files. I'm beginning to suspect that it might be confluence of a few factors:
 

1) Outdated firmware + Factory reset (have yet to attempt as the camera I received was actually sent back due to a dishonest description of the condition by the seller). Though ostensibly, this can produce a magenta cast in the images. 

2) Needed custom profile for the camera. My Canon stuff I use for professional work has more of a green hue SOOC, especially in the shadows. Perhaps a custom profile can push the color in that direction. 

3) Greater sensitivity to IR. I have absolutely noticed this in the fabrics of darker jackets I've shot, wherein lowering the magenta/purple has reduced the exhibition of effect. I suspect that perhaps this effect is less conspicuous when looking at brighter tones, but is still there upon post-processing. 

4) To a lesser degree, using older glass. While I maintain that I've never seen such an issue shooting on my other systems when using vintage glass, and have adapted this lens to an EOS M without any issue, I'm open to the notion that perhaps the M10 is susceptible to IR contamination even moreso on older lenses. 

Once I get another M10 in my hands, I will try to find time to do some A/B testing to see what effect, if any, an IR filter may have on the image. 

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, ggill1313 said:

DNG, absolutely. As a matter of fact, I was so dismayed by the tonal range that I was getting from the file that I myself had to double check if the previous owner of the camera had left it on JPEG and that I was editing a DNG. That I was editing a JPEG was my initial assumption, too. However, I was in fact working with a DNG so I knew something else had to be the issue. 

I also appreciate you not jumping to conclusions that my example here is the result of some elementary faux pa as others on separate forums have. I'd only turn to the community after exhausting every other non-Leica specific remedy I've attempted after 13 years of shooting. While I know the sensor in the M10 has limitations re: dynamic range, I've never seen such egregious handling of color in a DNG as demonstrated in the linked files. I'm beginning to suspect that it might be confluence of a few factors:
 

1) Outdated firmware + Factory reset (have yet to attempt as the camera I received was actually sent back due to a dishonest description of the condition by the seller). Though ostensibly, this can produce a magenta cast in the images. 

2) Needed custom profile for the camera. My Canon stuff I use for professional work has more of a green hue SOOC, especially in the shadows. Perhaps a custom profile can push the color in that direction. 

3) Greater sensitivity to IR. I have absolutely noticed this in the fabrics of darker jackets I've shot, wherein lowering the magenta/purple has reduced the exhibition of effect. I suspect that perhaps this effect is less conspicuous when looking at brighter tones, but is still there upon post-processing. 

4) To a lesser degree, using older glass. While I maintain that I've never seen such an issue shooting on my other systems when using vintage glass, and have adapted this lens to an EOS M without any issue, I'm open to the notion that perhaps the M10 is susceptible to IR contamination even moreso on older lenses. 

Once I get another M10 in my hands, I will try to find time to do some A/B testing to see what effect, if any, an IR filter may have on the image. 

I selected a few properly exposed M10 DNG images that I feel are very pleasingly IQ otherwise and was easily able to replicate your red skin splotches scenario on faces, arms, legs, knees, elbows hands, even white stockings by sliding specifically the Red Saturation slider to +100 in the LR Color Mixer panel. First time I've pushed the Red to +100, but there it is just as you illustrated. 

I'll also try the same with Sony A7rIV files. 

**Edit: I referred to the "white stocking" above--second glance and they are not white rather light skin tone stockings. Seems moving the Red Saturation slider to +100 might effect caucasion skin tones as I don't see it on other landscape, architecture images so far. 

***Edit #2: I DO see the red splotching artifact on caucasian skin tones when sliding the Red Saturation slider to +100 on Sony A7rIV RAW files too. I think Sony has  if not the thickest, probably one of the thickest sensor stacks on the market. 

Edited by LBJ2

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1 hour ago, Dr No said:

In all respect what you are doing is extreme and unnecessary, though I realise you've obviously stated it's for example rather than creative. But without knowing what you re trying to achieve it's not really helping your case here.

If you are comparing this to how you work with other systems then that is not a good start either. You can't expect to have the same workflow for each camera and most systems have different ways of doing things. I don't treat my medium format files the same as my Leica or Nikon files. Every digital camera I've owned has different workflow.

Also Lightroom HSL is not what I'd use for anything other than base level colour editing, especially if needing to push things and expect a professional finish. HSL is just a convenient way to draft ideas in my opinion.

 

Absolutely, as you said, it's to illustrate effect. Though to be clear, the effect is still apparent under less extreme circumstances. The real-world application was trying to bring a bit of color back to her face. Raising the oranges didn't do it, and the areas it did affect were blotchy. Likewise the story for the reds. I had to incrementally raise all Red, Orange, Purple, and Magenta in order to even begin to lift the colors in the face. The blotchy "banding" was apparent at almost all levels of adjustment. To be clear, I was able to get the file to somewhere close to something I'd like, but it was woefully tedious and any adjustment required several other adjustments to make it appear cohesive again.

Alternatively (or perhaps more accurately) I will generally raise the warmth of the shadows by grading them separately using a shadow tone adjustment with an orange/yellow, and adjust the midtones to somewhere adjacent in color. To offset this warmth in the skin tones and ensure the skin tonality is where I'd like it to be, I use the HSL for adjustment. I tried a myriad of looks to get what I wanted. Attempting to desaturate when I was more aggressive on the color grade to warm produced banding regardless of the level of adjustment, and it still required a conspicuous adjustment in the purple slider, even though the apparent color was "orange." The uneven and harsh gradation between the Red, Orange, Purple, and Magenta is what caused the issue to be so apparent. I have used this general methodology without issue on several systems, of which two I own and shoot regularly. 

While I can't expect that my workflow will be identical as you said, I have worked on other system's files before and have never had such a vastly different experience as this. In fact, in other less demanding conditions, the sensor behaved normally and it gave no issues with a workflow similar but adjusted for the system vs. my other systems. 

I understand that many do enjoy C1 for color work, I have never had an issue with LR. Likewise I've never had an issue with HSL across all of my systems of experience. I don't mean to sound argumentative, but please do understand that this isn't my first time having worked on another system, and I'm comfortable making amendments to my workflow as need be and have done so in the past. This isn't a workflow issue. The issue here is the poor gradation in skin tones of which I've never seen exhibited in my 13 years of shooting which only seems to happen in backlit, sunny circumstances. I've given the RAW to several other professional photographers and each one has said something to the effect of, "Yeah, that's definitely weird."

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24 minutes ago, Dr No said:

Without knowing what you've already done to the image it's a little hard to tell. Did you shoot auto white balance and did you shoot fixed daylight to compare? This is often the culprit of colour issues, given you have a mix of colour in your skin tone already in the file there. Comparing Canon colour is always going to be different here. In my own opinion I find Canon colour somewhat wanting for depth at times. Learning to manage it, though a little tedious a process, may find you with a broader palette to work with.

The image here is SOOC shot at 5200K, if I recall correctly. The only adjustments done was maxing out the respective saturation of each slider to completely illustrate the effect, which was apparent even at more reasonable levels of adjustment. 

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10 minutes ago, ggill1313 said:

The image here is SOOC shot at 5200K, if I recall correctly. The only adjustments done was maxing out the respective saturation of each slider to completely illustrate the effect, which was apparent even at more reasonable levels of adjustment. 

See my note above, I found the same red splotch on my Sony RAW file skin tones too when pushing the Red Saturation slider to +100.

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13 minutes ago, LBJ2 said:

I selected a few properly exposed M10 DNG images that I feel are very pleasingly IQ otherwise and was easily able to replicate your red skin splotches scenario on faces, arms, legs, knees, elbows hands, even white stockings by sliding specifically the Red Saturation slider to +100 in the LR Color Mixer panel. First time I've pushed the Red to +100, but there it is just as you illustrated. 

I'll also try the same with Sony A7rIV files. 

**Edit: I referred to the "white stocking" above--second glance and they are not white rather light skin tone stockings. Seems moving the Red Saturation slider to +100 might effect caucasion skin tones as I don't see it on other landscape, architecture images so far. 

Curious, isn't it?

And to be clear, I'm not often (ever) pushing the saturation to those degrees, but in this file, it becomes apparent very quickly. Is it possible  to host DNGs here?

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