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Panasonic (LX100) neutral settings


Jacek
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I'm trying to find most neutral settings on my LX100 (partially probably common with GH4). By neutral I mean getting most data from sensor not modified digitally after captured (by camera soft).

What I think after small tests:
Contrast: 0
- it looks like -5 is not getting/protecting any additional data. When I lower contrast in post, I get the same shadow/highlight data as -5. It looks like the camera is lowering the contrast after image is burned.
Sharpness: -5
- sharpening looks like pure 'post'-sharpening. I can get the same pixel level image as 0 after sharpening -5 in post.
Noise reduction: -5
- noise looks nice and I see recovered data (especially with sharpness -5).
Saturation: 0?
- 0 colors look natural and I don't see a difference when lowering in post vs -5 when needed. But not sure how to test it more detailed.

Picture profile: Standard.
- More flat Portrait looks like mostly just Standard with lower contrast..

Highlight/Shadow curve: -5/+5 if needed.
- In opposite to lowering contrast, here I can see some recovered both highlights and shadows. Not much of them, but always something. The noise in shadows people are complaining about is lower (looks better) than by raising shadows in post instead. As side effect, the colors look different, not sure if easily correctable in post.

Do you have any other findings/ideas? Also in GH4 cause probably they are similar.

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I just got my LX100 today and it sure holds up good against a Canon 5d III shooting ML Raw. I will be doing experiments as well the next couple of days. Lots of power for such a small (and relatively cheap) camera!

 

My only problem is that you can't remove the battery or sd card if you mount it on a rig or tripod. I'm already thinking of a custom baseplate for that.

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Did you try in Natural instead of Standard? I find that Natural has lower contrast to start with so my guess was that it would be better for color grading. Especially since I read that many people shoot in Natural picture profile on the GH4 instead of the Cine-D. I shot with both cameras in neutral with C-3, S-5, NR-2 and got the same footage look that was easy to mix together. I did not do any tests though. Since the NR is awful in the LX100, I guess setting it to -5 is the right decision.

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Indeed a lot of people are using Natural profile. Thanks for the hint, I'll try it too.

 

I did some more tests with Highlight/Shadow inverted S curve.

 

Deep shadows are improved, but it introduces also more noise in midtones. So you should be careful with Shadows part and push it to +5 only when you have something important in deep shadow. Highlights part is less destructive and safer to use.

 

To bring back proper colors you will need to lower saturation (in camera or in post), especially noticable when restoring the contrast in post. The stronger the curve, the lower saturation is needed to maintain colors in final image (otherwise they quickly become oversaturated and bright like neon).

 

I do often need to brighten the shadows a little, so I'll probably use something like Shadow/Highlight: +2/-5... (and lower saturation accordingly to have less work in post)

 

So for now it's something like:

Picture profile: Natural

Contrast: 0
Sharpness: -5
Noise reduction: -5

Saturation: -3 (or 0)
Shadow/Highlight: +2/-5 (or 0/0)

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Take away from highlight shadow in mode (lower contrast) with a 8bit codec. You loose the color information.

 

I'm aware of that, but here the image is not becoming too flat (I'm using Contrast:0) and I like the results. I would only advice not to push it too far, but mainly because of noise (the color shift is still small at S/H:+5/-5).

 

It is the same 8bit codec as in GH4. People are using really flat profiles with GH4 - tuning not only highlights/shadows but also Master Pedestal and CineLikeD with low Contrast so don't say we are going too flat with these settings here - go and criticize GH4 users ;).

 

Simply LX100 is a no video oriented device it laks a fundamental settings like a cine profile (aka gh4 for example) and a dedicated movie mode

 

Wrong topic. Deleting.. :lol:

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Why contrast zero but then shadow/highlight +2/-5?

Wouldn't you rather go for contrast -5 and shadow/highlight 0/0?

 

Because I thought (based on my initial tests) that I can recover more details with Shadow/Highlight than with Contrast...

But because You asked, I made more detailed tests and I realized I was wrong.

 

I tested shadows and highlight recovering in high dynamic scene with:

1. Contrast:0 + Highlight/Shadow:0

2. C:-5 + H/S:0

3. C:0 + H/S:-2/+2

4. C:0 + H/S:-5/+5

 

Here are my observations:

- Clipping is exacly the same in all tests. No additional data captured in all tests.

- Test 2 and 3 give similar results (Test 2 has little bit less contrast): C:-5 is almost the same effect as H/S:-2/+2

- Recovered deep shadows are: 1. worst (noise blockiness, blue channel clipping), 2. = 3. better, 4. best

- Noise level in mid-tones is similar in all tests when final contrast is matched. Scary noise :) in flat images disappears when contrast is reversed (Or appears when lowering contrast in post).

 

Conclusions:

- Lowering contrast or H/S curve does not affect overall camera dynamic range.

- Looks like Contrast and H/S are altered after camera captured the image but before encoding (that's why we can get better shadows after lowering contrast).

- You can get nicer deep shadows (mostly when you want to brighten them) by lowering contrast (no matter if by Contrast or H/S curve) only because the shadows move to the right on the histogram.

 

The differences between 'normal' picture profiles (Natural, Standard, Portrait) are small and difficult to measure and I don't have time to do that. By simple comparison they just look like small Contrast/Saturation tweaks, nothing more.

 

 

So in normal situation, especially when you have enough dynamic range to move the histogram to the right, there is no reason to lower contrast - you only loose some color information. You can lower the contrast in post with same effect (Just try - you can push it really hard in post).

 

Lowering contrast can improve only shadow noise. It is usefull when most of the histogram is on the left (or important things are in shadows) or if you want to brighten the shadows in post. The darker the shadows, the more usefull is moving them to the right on the histogram.

 

My default settings will be for now:

Picture profile: Standard

Contrast: 0 (or -5 just in case to have more control over shadows in post)
Sharpness: -5
Noise reduction: -5

Saturation: 0?
Shadow/Highlight: 0/0

 

When need to brighten deep shadows in post: Contrast up to -5 and then additionally S/H up to +5/-5

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  • 2 months later...

Interesting.

I just gota LX100 and a friend of mine has the FZ1000, we will start some mini Docs experiments and mix both cameras together.

In my intial tests I also found out that if you go too flat, you lose color info, if you push too hard on the camera, skin color becomes pretty bad. On 0 Contrast and minor adjustments on the shadow/highlights depending on the scene was what worked best and preserved nuances.

I need to make further tests with both cameras, nonetheless the different between Standard, Portrait and Natural seem very minor indeed.

I will try to make Saturation tests and try to compare messing with the contrast and the shadow/highlight curves to see if there is any difference but at first I think I prefer to set the contrast and only then make some adjustment through the curves.

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