Jump to content

Superb new camera profiles and camera & film emulation presets (Cobalt-Image)


Guest Nowhereman
 Share

Recommended Posts

Guest Nowhereman

Advertisement (gone after registration)

There’s now a set of new camera profiles that are at least as accurate as custom profiles that you can get made or make yourself, as @jaapv often suggests — and certainly more accurate than the Adobe Standard and the M10 embedded profile in Lightroom. These are being sold by Cobalt-Image as a DNG Pack for each camera: there are also emulation packs for various sets of films and for for various sets of films, that run on top of the DNG Packs. It’s worthwhile to read a long thread on this on the Fred Miranda Forum, which has comparisons of various profiles and emulations presets — and in which one of the Cobalt-Image people (“Ulysseit”) has been responding to questions. The Cobalt-Image website is here.

At this stage I have only bought the basic DNG profiles for my M10, and am waiting to see what the forthcoming Kodak film pack will be like. However, in the Fred Miranda thread you can see comparisons of some of the film emulation as well as camera emulations. There are some remarkable examples in the thread of M9 emulations as well as emulations of both CCD and CMOS Monochrom files. An interesting example is a M9 B&W JPG emulation in a normal and high-contrast version. @adan has posted about how he achieves, or improves upon, the M9 look with his M10: the Cobalt M9 color emulations may be an easier way to do that, at least for people who are less skilled than adan. The Cobalt film emulations look like they are a lot more accurate than any of the older profile/preset packages available. @evikne has written about his satisfaction with RNI profile/presets: that doesn't match my experience with RNI, and the Cobalt ones seem to look a lot better.

Some photographers use the Cobalt camera emulations for achieving essentially the same look from two different cameras: say, you have a Sony and a Fujifilm camera and want to have the Fujifilm colors from both cameras — as well as the various JPG film simulations that the Fujifilm digital cameras are famous for. 

I'm not going to post any profile comparisons, as there is so much of that in the Fred Miranda thread. Below are a few images that I posted recently that were shot is such difficult light that, previously, I only used B&W versions, but that now I like in terms of the color I get using the Cobalt DNG profiles.

M10 | Summaron-M 1:5.6/28 | ISO 3200 | f/5.6 | 1/180 sec | Chiang Mai

M10 | DR Summicron 50 | ISO 3200 | f/4.0 | 1/750 | Chiang Mai

M10 | Summaron-M 1:5.6/28 | ISO 1600 | f/5.6 | 1/350 sec | Bangkok

 

Here is another image that I've only used in B&W, and for which the Cobalt profile is useful. I'm interested in shooting directly into noon-day tropical light and how the light can be so strong that it "bleeds". (This one requires double-clicking to get a better view.)

M10 | Summaron-M 1:5.6/28 | ISO 200 | f/5.6 | 1/60 sec | Chiang Mai

 

Although I was previously happy with this image using the M10 profile in Lightroom, it works better with the Cobalt profile because the red in the sign on the top of the building is more accurate here. As I said, often the Adobe Standard/Color and the M10 profiles are similar to the Cobalt images. However that is image-specific: for example, when an images had s a lot of reds and yellows, the Cobalt profiles are substantially more accurate on both colors.

M10 | DR Summicron 50 | ISO 200 | f/4.0 | 1/180 | Tokyo




Of following image, taken at sunset, I posted elsewhere a version that I made using a complicated "recipe" in ColorEfex. The following was processed more simply using a Cobalt profile.  As mentioned in the earlier post in the Summaron 28 thread, I was shooting a good number of  color landscapes in this area of Northern Thailand with the Summaron 28, both digitally with the M10 and with film (Portra 400), and coming to the conclusion that this lens simply rendered better with film. Someone on LUF commented that film gave better “color depth”. Like the ColerEfex version, this new Cobalt version made me think differently about that. (As usual of LUF, click on the image for better resolution.)

 @Steven - I think you could find the Cobalt profiles interesting, especially if you end up buying the Summaron 28.

 M10| Summaron-M 1:5.6/28 | ISO 200 | f/5.6 | 1/60 sec | Chiang Mai


________________________
Frog Leaping photobook Edited by Nowhereman
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Guest changed the title to Superb new camera profiles and camera & film emulation presets (Cobalt-Image)

I'm not convinced of any revelatory solution with this over using your own eyes. Just putting the third photo into Photoshop 'Auto Color' and she changes from a green skin lizard to a human skin, and the last photo goes from muddy orange to bright and colourful. I accept if it is your own choice that is up to you, and I like the photos anyway, but as an advert for a profile they don't do it for me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Guest Nowhereman
33 minutes ago, 250swb said:

...I accept if it is your own choice that is up to you, and I like the photos anyway, but as an advert for a profile they don't do it for me.

The advert for the Cobalt profiles is better served by looking at the Fred Miranda thread that I linked, since it has comparison to standard profiles and you can see exactly what the difference is rather than through my processing, which depends on taste. In any case, I am not an advertising agent for Cobalt-Image, which is a small company that, in my view is producing better profiles and emulation presets than anything that I have tried.
________________________
Frog Leaping photobook

Link to post
Share on other sites

Guest Nowhereman

Below, corrected skin tone. On inspecting the history in LR, it seems somehow, in trying to do something else, I clicked on the wrong section on which I had reduced the contrast and that changed the color of the face. M10 | Summaron-M 1:5.6/28 | ISO 1600 | f/5.6 | 1/350 sec | Bangkok

16 hours ago, 250swb said:

I'm not convinced of any revelatory solution with this over using your own eyes...

As I thought I had indicated in the OP,  the revelatory aspect of the Cobalt-Image software does not come just in the base profiles, which are the only thing that I've tried — but, rather, in the camera and film emulations. I was hoping that people would look at the Fred Miranda thread, which has impressive examples of M9 simulations based on images shot with other cameras and also interesting emulations of the various film modes that Fujufilm cameras have in their JPGs. It's disappointing that no one seems to have looked at the Miranda thread, because this aspect of the Cobalt packages can be useful for a lot of people. But never mind...
________________________
Frog Leaping photobook

Link to post
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Nowhereman said:

Below, corrected skin tone. On inspecting the history in LR, it seems somehow, in trying to do something else, I clicked on the wrong section on which I had reduced the contrast and that changed the color of the face. M10 | Summaron-M 1:5.6/28 | ISO 1600 | f/5.6 | 1/350 sec | Bangkok

As I thought I had indicated in the OP,  the revelatory aspect of the Cobalt-Image software does not come just in the base profiles, which are the only thing that I've tried — but, rather, in the camera and film emulations. I was hoping that people would look at the Fred Miranda thread, which has impressive examples of M9 simulations based on images shot with other cameras and also interesting emulations of the various film modes that Fujufilm cameras have in their JPGs. It's disappointing that no one seems to have looked at the Miranda thread, because this aspect of the Cobalt packages can be useful for a lot of people. But never mind...
________________________
Frog Leaping photobook

I looked, but only because you're making a meal of it and  I really dislike what I see in the images you have uploaded.  I remain far from convinced,  most of the images on the FM thread are also poorly processed, particularly with regard to the flesh tones and there is one where the sitter's hair is turning blue/violet in the shadows and mid tones which does not strike me as being intentional on the part of the author.   

There is a very nice black and white which is supposed to emulate a Monochrom image (actually, it's a far better image than the vast majority of Monochrom images seen on this forum) but there's little else to commend anything I see here and on the FM thread.  

I see Cobalt being more suited to hair, beauty and fashion photography where a concept is pre-visualised and deliberately constructed than simply trying to emulate other camera output or run of the mill street and landscape work, but if you're happy with what you're getting from it, that's fine. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not saying these profiles can't be useful, but in the Miranda thread there are some distinctly 'iffy' examples of how supposedly good these profiles are. The best comparative renditions start with a good balanced photo and display a pleasing variety of options, but it's the same as ever, a poor input image means a poor output image, so for £50 per profile set it's still a crapshoot. After all these years of digital photography people are still looking for the Holy Grail of rendering images with third party opinions and not their own opinion. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Advertisement (gone after registration)

21 hours ago, Nowhereman said:

Below, corrected skin tone.

You’ve posted that image 2 or 3 times with the “wrong” skin tone. I honestly thought she was wearing green make up for some reason. Serious question though, don’t you check your photos before posting?

As a general comment, not directed at the photos posted above or anyone in particular, I have seen a couple of times recently bad photos that have been processed to death using presets in hope of obtaining something good. In both instances the output was - as expected - terrible. The SISO method applies to photography too. In both instances if I take such photos they don’t get past the first viewing and end up where they belong, in the bin. I am astonished that 1/ people post such bad photos on a public forum and 2/ comments about how good they are. It’s sad that if anyone posts an objective criticism or advice they are branded as trouble makers, or at least bad people. But that’s how it is we must walk on eggshells and wear rose tinted glasses,... which is probably good as it improves some photos.

Edited by ianman
Link to post
Share on other sites

25 minutes ago, pedaes said:

This also seem to be totally random - and often more influenced by who has posted than any merit of the image.

I don't know about random. There are of course members who bunch together because of similar taste. And maybe they find real merit in the photos they like... but sometimes even accounting for such diverstity of taste I find it hard to believe some of the "that's a great photo" comments. When I post a photo I would much rather someone answer with an honest critique rather than some shallow compliment, after all, I'm here to learn. True compliments are of course greatly appreciated :)

Apologies to @Nowhereman for yet again diverging from the subject of the thread!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Guest Nowhereman

@ianman - Well, the worst is "I'll like yours if you'll like mine" – which is rampant on Instagram and not unknown on LUF. My own approach is to click "like" if I truly like a photo, or if I think it's a good photo from the point of view of craftsmanship even if it's not a style that I particularly like: this happens a lot with photos in an "exquisite" style whose skill I admire while not liking them in aesthetic terms, given the type of photography that I'm interested in.

As for the photos above, I chose numbers 1–4 because I had previously liked them in high-contrast B&W but found that the LR Adobe Standard or embedded M10 profiles that I was using rendered color that I didn't like, while the Cobalt profiles was more accurate and led to a general look that I did like. And this is all image-specific: the Cobalt profiles are very much like Adobe Standard for many photos, but are more accurate if there are certain combinations of color in an image, like the yellows and reds that I mentioned above, in which case the Cobalt profiles are more accurate for both sets of colors while Adobe Standard may get the yellows right and the reds wrong, or vice versa. That is the only point — that the Cobalt profiles offer a more accurate and flexible starting point for post-processing than Adobe profiles — which I've tried to illustrate, as I haven't  yet tried the Cobalt camera and film emulation.

However, what emerges in the Fred Miranda thread is that the Cobalt camera emulations are useful for photographers looking for a consistent look from multiple cameras, such as, say, Fuji and Nikon, or Leica M and Sony — and, quite strikingly, to facilitate cameras with color sensors producing results very similar to Leica Monochrom (both in the Cobalt CCD and CMOS emulations). Moreover, I find the look produced by the Cobalt Leica M9 emulations also to be very good, based on what's been posted in the Fred Miranda thread. However, as the thread is long and sometimes confusing, in the manner of all long threads, I hope some photographers who have used these emulations will post examples here.
________________________
Frog Leaping photobook

Edited by Nowhereman
Link to post
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Nowhereman said:

I hope some photographers who have used these emulations will post examples here.
________________________

Ok. So loaded the software and went in garden with M10 and 90mm Summicron at f2. In LrC. These two images are first Adobe Std with no enhancements, and in the next Post Cobalt M10. You can see a difference but can't say I am 'blown away'. Just hitting the Auto button gets you somewhere near. Fully processed is third (post) image.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Guest Nowhereman
44 minutes ago, pedaes said:

Ok. So loaded the software and went in garden with M10 and 90mm Summicron at f2...You can see a difference but can't say I am 'blown away'...

Looking at an image that had been posted on the Fred Miranda thread comparing the Cobalt DNG profile to the Adobe Standard profile, I asked why there was so little difference and got the this response from the software developer ("Ulysseita"), which is what convinced me to buy the Cobalt profiles — particularly the explanation about the conditions in which the differences in the profiles can be huge.

Incidentally, the original images with the two profiles are the second post up on that page: p.11 #1, which also shows the same image in the Monochrom CCD and CMOS emulations, if that interests you.
________________________
Frog Leaping photobook 

Edited by Nowhereman
Link to post
Share on other sites

35 minutes ago, Nowhereman said:

Umm. Not very convincing. Of course we don't know true colours in his examples. He also writes suggesting that this was designed for 'pros' and not for 'us' - which then starts to sound like total b******t. I will try some other images sometime with the content for which he suggests the profile will make a difference. I don't understand Monochrome 'emulations' either, as the RAW files from those cameras need processing to get the best results. A test would be his software against Silver Effex or the much improved LrC B&W profiles.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Guest Nowhereman
58 minutes ago, pedaes said:

...I don't understand Monochrome 'emulations' either, as the RAW files from those cameras need processing to get the best results. A test would be his software against Silver Effex or the much improved LrC B&W profiles.

On the Monochrom emulations: I assume they would produce Monochrom files from your M10 DNG that would look, except for the higher resolution, like Monochrom CCD or CMOS DNG files — the way they are without further processing. From a higher resolution Sony camera they would have the same tonality, but also the higher resolution. Interestingly, the Cobalt Monochrom emulations come in versions with yellow, green, orange and red filters, and without a filter. Some of these emulations looked very good.

I was impressed by a few M9 emulation images that I saw in the Fred Miranda thread: one was for an M9 DNG, a few others were for M9 JPGs, including a B&W M9 JPG, of which there also was a high-contrast JPG version. As I never shot JPGs with my M9, I don't recall if there was a high-contrast alternative JPG, or whether this is just a Cobalt emulation alternative. In any case, I thought the high-contrast looked very good, although I might prefer to use SilverEfex for a still higher-contrast and rougher look. But it's something that I'll keep looking at.
________________________
Frog Leaping photobook

Link to post
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Nowhereman said:

to facilitate cameras with color sensors

Other than the Sigma Foveon sensor, no digital camera has a color sensor, but I know what you mean.  All pixels present monochrome data, with a Bayer (or similar) color filter array over the pixels for the raw processor to interpret a color from the sensor.  When one uses M10 files and Adobe Camera Raw/Lightroom Develop, is there not a range of Adobe profiles (vivid, landscape, portrait, etc) to de-mosaic the raw data?  Why are we just focused on Adobe Standard?  And are we not making our own profiles with X-rite Passport or something similar?

All I know is that to get an optimized image, I have to start with raw, select a profile that is closest to my liking which is usually the one I made with my camera, and do further processing.  I can't imaging that a single profile is best in every situation.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Guest Nowhereman

^ I'm not focusing on Adobe Standard but only referring to it as an example of the set of Adobe Lightroom profiles available, which appear to be less accurate than the Cobalt set of profiles — and have never said that only one Cobalt profile is preferable: the Cobalt Standard being the one most useful when there are skin tones.

In the OP, I have also referred to custom profiles that you can make or have made for you: in my case, I think that the Cobalt profiles will have been made with more skill, or "more scientifically" than I would have made. The other advantage of the Cobalt profiles is that they can be used for the Cobalt camera and film emulations, for anyone that is interested — and I hope we'll have some example of these here as well.
________________________
Frog Leaping photobook

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...