Friday, February 1, 2008

G9 and the In-Camera JPEG

The G9 can create its own JPEG; I’ve taken to calling this the in-camera JPEG.

The G9 in-camera JPEG can make quite a nice picture and is very convenient. It can even be customized and fine tuned through the G9 options. I sometimes think of the in-camera JPEG as being analogous to a slide made with transparency film. A particular type of film would be purchased to match the conditions and purpose of the photo shoot; for example, a high speed, outdoor (sunlight) film having saturated colors and high contrast. When shooting in-camera JPEGs, you can, in fact should, make such adjustments. To many photographers, this is only natural. Alternatively, the G9 can and will do this for you.

When the G9 is set on full (green) Auto mode, all adjustments are made for you. In fact, you can’t change the settings for color saturation, contrast, etc. In order to fine tune the G9 JPEG to suit your own tastes, you’ll have to shoot in either P, Tv, Av or M mode – the “creative” modes.

When fine tuning or customizing the G9 image settings, the first decision to be made is about the lighting – or rather the light source. With the G9 in either P, Tv, Av or M mode, press the Func button to get to the various options. The very first option, top left on the LCD, probably shows “AWB” for Automatic White balance unless you’ve already changed it. Across the bottom of the LCD screen, is a picture of the sun, a cloud, etc. Scroll through these and pick the one that seems to match your setting and light source.

The options just below the white balance (light source) setting are labeled “My Colors”. These are very popular adjustments. The default setting is “Off” (as shown in the first image) but along the bottom of the LCD screen you’ll see options for increasing saturation (“Vivid”), decreasing saturation (“Neutral”), and many more. The very last option, “Custom Color” offers the most flexibility. By selecting “Custom Color” and then pressing the Display button, you’ll have access to fine tuning the contrast, sharpness, saturation, red, blue, green, and skin tone. It may take some tinkering to find the settings that you like. In all honesty, I’ve never used these features.

Even though a JPEG image has been sort of condensed from the full data set collected by the sensor, JPEGs can be edited. Many photographers who routinely edit their JPEGs seem to set their cameras for slightly less contrast, less sharpness, and less saturation. If necessary, these parameters can be fine tuned later during the editing process.

In a future post, I'll show some comparisons of in-camera JPEGs using the default and adjusted settings.

No comments: