Abstract: Canon EOS 30D Review

Bob Atkins Photography


Canon EOS 30D - Hands-on Review

Picture Styles

Canon have added the Picture Styles mode to the EOS 30D. It's also available on the EOS 5D and EOS 1D Mk II N. Canon likens the effects of the picture style modes to the ability to use different types of film in film cameras. The various settings are optimized for various effects and applications, with different settings for contrast, sharpness, saturation and color tone as well as some differences in color mapping and curves which aren't documented.

  • Standard is set to give the results that most people tend to prefer for general photographic subjects. It provides the optimal sharpness for printing images without post-exposure processing.
  • Portrait fine-tunes images for better skin reproduction and is well-suited for shooting women and children with light skin color. It adjusts magenta, red, and yellow color tones to produce healthy skin color with minimum color bias and lowers sharpness to smooth out skin texture.
  • Landscape reproduces color tones in the green-to-blue range more vividly than "Standard", so blue skies and green foliage seem more colorful. I also uses a higher sharpness setting.
  • Neutral is optimized for images are shot with the intent of post-exposure processing an application like Digital Photo Professional or PhotoShop. Without post-processing prints from these images would look subdued and dull but the images allow the greatest freedom in post-processing.
  • Faithful reproduces colors that are colorimetrically as close as possible to the actual colors of a subject shot under 5200K lighting conditions. It emphasizes correctability and tends to produce colors similar (but not identical) to those of the "Neutral" Picture Style and it also uses lower settings for saturation and contrast. However, rather than overall image appearance, it stresses color accuracy as much as possible.
  • Monochrome renders the image in black and white - or black and white tinted sepia, blue, green or purple. It also permits yellow, green, orange and red filters to be simulated.

In addition to the predefined Picture Styles, there are 3 user settable modes in which Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation and Color Tone can be set (as they can with the EOS 20D as described below).

Here are examples of the various picture styles. Differences are subtle, but real. Note these images are NOT of the standard Macbeth color chart (though the color patches are similar) so don't try to gauge absolute color accuracy from them.

Canon EOS 30D Review

It's probably easier to see difference in the following image, which shows samples from the third row of each color image side by side:

Canon EOS 30D Review


The EOS 20D doesn't have built in Picture Styles, but the same (or similar) effects can be obtained in two different ways. If you shoot in RAW mode rather than JPEG, the RAW converters in the Canon software (DPP and Zoombrowser) allow the Picture Styles to be emulated during the RAW conversion - though the RAW converters in  DPP and Zoombrowser may give slightly different results. Applying Picture Styles during RAW conversion is also possible with  30D RAW images of course, the Picture Styles are only directly applied to images saved as JPEGs (though the Picture Style settings are recorded along with RAW images and would be used by default). The 20D also has 3 sets of user settable parameters (user1, user2 and user3), as well as two presets (parameter1 and parameter 2). "Parameter 1" is close to the "Standard" Picture style with slightly higher contrast, saturation and sharpness.

EOS 30D settings to emulate 20D "parameters"
EOS 20D Sharpness Contrast Saturation Color Tone
Parameter 1 3 0 0 0
Parameter 2 2 -1 -1 0

These are the default parameter settings for the 30D Picture Styles

Standard Portrait Landscape Neutral Faithful B&W
Sharpness 3 2 4 0 0 3
Contrast 0 0 0 0 0 0
Saturation 0 0 0 0 0 -
Color Tone 0 0 0 0 0 -

Note that there are "hidden parameters" in the Picture styles since the "Neutral" and "Faithful" settings use exactly the same Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation and Color Tone settings, yet they do yield slightly different results, plus the "Standard", "Portrait" and "Landscape" modes differ only in their sharpness settings, yet again yield images which differ in color rendition as shown above. So "Picture styles" are more than just preset values of sharpness, contrast, saturation and color tone.

NEXT -> Viewfinder and Metering

© Copyright Bob Atkins All Rights Reserved