Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Lesson on Canon Picture Styles

Blogger Witch recently posted photos of her trip – with hubby Saucer – to Australia. In one instance, she posted two nearly identical shots of Lake Mulwawa – one taken with her Lumix LX3 pocket camera, and the other one taken with Saucer’s Canon DSLR 500D. Witch asked, “Which is nicer?” Apparently she was hinting that the Lumix shot was better, which I agree.

But this is not to say that the Canon 500D is inherently inferior to the cheaper Lumix. Canon DSLR, by default settings, tend to have lower color saturation. This is great for portrait, not so great for landscape. (Nikon DSLR, on the other hand, usually have higher color saturation.) There are workarounds, such as editing the pictures with Photoshop. There is a simpler way though, that is, by applying appropriate Picture Styles.

Newer Canon DSLR has a couple of built-in Picture Styles, such as Standard, Portrait and Landscape. There are additional Picture Styles which can be downloaded from Canon’s official site or third-party sites. Here, I will demonstrate the use of Picture Styles to alter a picture.

This is a picture taken in Bukit Tinggi (Berjaya Hills). Picture Style is set to Standard:

Standard Picture Style

Next, I change the Picture Style to Landscape. Landscape Picture Style increases the saturation of blue and green. Note how the color of the sky has changed:

Landscape Picture Style

Next, I change the Picture Style to RDP III. This is a Picture Style which tries to mimic the film of the same name. It was created by an unknown photographer, who generously shares it:

RDP III Picture Style

Now back to the picture taken by Witch (or Saucer) using the Canon 500D. I believe Landscape or RDP III Picture Style should yield better results…

Note: Nikon has something similar called Picture Control.


  1. Canon DSLR, by default settings, tend to have lower color saturation. This is great for portrait, not so great for landscape. (Nikon DSLR, on the other hand, usually have higher color saturation.)

    this is exactly what the salesperson told me at pc fair the other day! was so tempted to buy a d90 but i think new models are coming out soon lo...

  2. i hv both canon and sony..both serve me comment.

  3. No doubt the lower colour saturation, I am still a Canon fan.

    You can always tweak the settings during editing if you happen to be shooting under the Standard picture style. Or else, you can also set your custom picture style by determining the saturation, sharpness etc.

  4. hmmmm i have been a nikon user all the while, but i always had the impression that canon has very saturated colors

  5. Good information.

    I've tried numerous picture styles and even set everything (sharpness, saturation, color, contrast) to the maximum and played around...I guess different situation we need to apply different setting, even neutral can be nice for some shots..

    But I do not quite understand why Canon says Landscape Picture Style has more saturated color than Standard but the parameter shows that only sharpness parameter differs from Standard..

  6. I only recently started to use the style on my Nikon D60 and I don't find the results to be that impressive. I usually focus on the picture and on other aspects.

  7. You know Saucer was grumbling saying I shouldn't put that picture up because it's not the best picture from his Canon 500D. LOL! But I agree though, because in portrait or food shots, his camera trumps mine anytime! Maybe after he uses the picture style for scenery, it will also be better than the LX3. Thanks for sharing :)

  8. wah, make this as a blog post ar? Blame wifey la, now where to put my face for taking such photo with Canon DSLR? I feel not worth to be a Canon user liao :(

  9. annant
    D90 good enough.

    I haven't used Sony before...

    Mei Teng
    Actually I set Picture Style in PC.

    Maybe Canon pocket cameras have high saturation.

  10. Grass
    I can see color changes when I apply Landscape Picture Style.

    I only apply Picture Styles in PC. When shooting I focus on something else.

    I agree that Saucer's food shots are great.

    Nah... your pictures are not bad.

  11. yes, RDP III Picture Style is better after comparing~
    wow,many photography things hv to learn~

  12. Candlelyn
    Picture Style is easier than Photoshop.

  13. I made a recent notice. I found using landscape, it uses less battery. I had been using auto, and it can't take anymore, but if I change to landscape, I can still click?

    What do you think?