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Old Mar 10th, 2005, 10:14 AM   #1
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Unhappy Image Capture, embedding ColorSync profile

I'm trying to automatically embed a colorsync profile into the pictures from my DSLR camera (Pentax *ist DS) once it's on the computer. In the camera's settings there are two choices of "colour space", and I have chosen AdobeRGB rather than sRGB.

I have Photoshop Elements 2 preferences set to manage colour for eventual print destination.

Image Capture has an option to "Embed ColorSync Profile" where you can choose the profile, but no matter what profile I choose to embed (eg. Camera RGB or AdobeRGB or my monitor), Photoshop Elements 2 detects "Pentax *ist DS" profile and prompts me to convert and so on. If I choose not to embed a profile, or just drag the photos manually from the mounted "drive", or use iPhoto, PSE 2 detects no profile.

Is this a problem with PSE 2 or Image Capture or the Pentax? Is there a way I can check the embedded tag to see who is right? Can I get a script to add as an action to Image Capture's import that will fix the profile tag for PSE 2?

(Running 10.3.8, all software fully up to date)
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Old Mar 11th, 2005, 10:32 AM   #2
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First of all, you need to be sure the camera's chosen image format supports profiles at all. TIFF and JPEG do, DSC does not (well, it does, but only CMYK for 4-colour printing; your Pentax image will be RGB so the CMYK profile won't be much use for working with the image on a computer).

I'm working from PhotoShop here; I don't use Elements and it could well be somewhat different. Still, the principles are the same.

First of all, calibrate your monitor with the tools Apple provides with a default OS installation.

AdobeRGB (it's probably actually AdobeRGB 1998) is a "device independant" profile. Embed this profile when you open an image in Elements and make sure it's the chosen working space for PSE. I would say check because sRGB is the default if you never go there and adjust preferences, and if Elements doesn't let you change that, I would assume it's sRGB rather than AdobeRGB-1998.

Note: if you work for web output, sRGB would be better. If you intend to print images, use AdobeRGB; you can convert to sRGB when you output to web from time to time. For CMYK presets, choose US Prepress defaults (if it's offered as an option).

PSE will automatically use your calibrated monitor profile along with the embedded profile to adjust colours on your monitor. Don't select a monitor profile within an application. Set your monitor profile in ColourSync and forget about it.

Whether you embed a profile in your camera or not is up to you, but as a guideline consider that:

You should have a different, calibrated profile for every shooting condition. There is absolutely no such thing as a single profile that is "correct" with a digital camera. Every lighting or white balance change requires a new profile.

By design, RAW format does not embed a profile.

The profile you have from Pentax is a fairly generic one that was not made specifically for your camera model. Pro Photographers consider camera-manufacturer supplied profiles as next to useless, a one-size-fits-all solution to what should be a custom profile for your specific CCD which is not same as the one beside it on the production line, and will change over time anyway as the image sensor ages.

Typically studio photographers with known, controlled lighting conditions use profiles in camera and everyone else (news, photojournalists, etc) do not, because conditions change from shot to shot for them, making the profile pretty much always wrong anyway.

So, I would suggest:
No embedded profile in the camera;
Don't worry about Image Capture; (you might be able to change the profile when you save, but I would personally let Elements do that);
Convert to AdobeRGB when opening the image in Elements;
Leaving it there. You can select a printer profile when you print and doing so won't alter the embedded AdobeRGB profile in your saved or working images.

Hope that helps.

Last edited by gordguide; Mar 11th, 2005 at 10:46 AM.
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Old Mar 12th, 2005, 05:09 PM   #3
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Thanks - you've said quite a few things I didn't know. In the cases where I care a lot about accuracy/integrity I'm probably going to use RAW anyway, because this camera's highest quality JPG is still very compressed. I'll just drag the RAW files over from the mounted USB "drive" and use Pentax Photo Labratory to convert the RAW. In future I might upgrade that to Bibble Lite. For my JPGs I guess I'll just import them with iPhoto. Elements 2 is my default editor in iPhoto 4 and I'll colour manage that way for printing the JPGs.

In the camera's own settings, there's no way to embed a profile. There is a setting to shoot the pictures in a colour space, either AdobeRGB or sRGB (no way to set it to neither). I don't think that's the same thing as embedding the profile, although information about which one was used is saved. They say AdobeRGB is better for printing, so I have it set that way.
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