Tuesday, August 2, 2016

I Almost Gave Up On Digital Photography

Peace, 'Kay? - Ogden Canyon, Utah
This is a color out-of-camera JPEG from my Fuji X-E1.
I almost gave up on digital photography recently. I've been frustrated with different aspects of digital photography at different times, but nothing drove me as nuts as something that I discovered just last week.

How much research have you done to understand the different color space options? Some of you have probably looked into it to understand which one to use and why. But my guess is most don't really know or care. You could put me in the latter category.

I'm not going to get into the really boring technical details that I've uncovered about color space. I'm still not certain I really understand why there isn't one single color space standard so we don't have to think about this stuff. Most people use sRGB or Adobe's RGB and don't think twice about it.

But there are other color space options. For example, I unknowingly have been using ProPhoto color space for the last eight or so months. ProPhoto is supposed to be superior to sRGB, and some will say that it's hands down the best color space choice. I didn't even know that I was using it, as it was the default color space in Alien Skin Exposure X software (which I've been using), and I never paid attention to which color space was selected. I never knew there was a good reason to care.

Why does this matter? If ProPhoto is superior why wouldn't I be happy using it?
Regular Unleaded Pool - Gray Mountain, Arizona
Do the colors look normal in this ProPhoto color space image to you, or dull and weird?
Something I discovered is not all software can read ProPhoto color space correctly. My monitor showed it correct. My tablet showed it correct. Many people saw my photographs colored correctly. But not everyone. In fact, I've discovered that a lot of people saw very ugly weirdly colored photographs. Their monitors and screens didn't show my photographs colored correctly. Their software couldn't read ProPhoto color space. I also discovered that some (cheaper) labs (like Costco) can't read ProPhoto color space, either.

It bugs the heck out of me that a whole bunch of my photographs are being incorrectly displayed by software. People all over think that my color images are dull and weirdly colored. This shouldn't even be an issue that I have to think about. It should be automatic that the color I display my photographs should be the same color that everyone else sees it.

It was enough that I wanted to quit digital photography and return to film. I never had these kinds of problems with film photography. Digital photography, with all of its conveniences, can be a real pain in the rear sometimes.

What kept me from jumping over the ledge was my recently purchased Fujifilm X-E1. I've been getting great out-of-camera JPEGs from this camera. I haven't post-processed a single photograph in the last week! And I'm thoroughly enjoying not having to post-process my photographs. Photo editing software has been a thorn in my side at times, and I feel liberated from it with the Fuji camera. I'm not thinking about color space and other nonsense.

I'm just photographing, which is what I love.

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