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Consensus on the Nikon Green Cast Problem

Lee Phillips
March 14, 2013

I like to keep tabs on the websites of two gentlemen named Bryan Jones and Ken Rockwell. The entire subject of keeping tabs on websites, by the way, happens to be itself difficult to keep up with at the moment, after the discombobulating news that Google is planning to shut down its Reader service. Google Reader has been my feedreading tool for years, and now I must join the multitudes in searching for a replacement. But that is a subject for another time.

Jones and Rockwell are both serious, talented photographers who make informative comments on their creative processes and equipment. Rockwell, who is an engineer, has turned equipment reviews into a business, supporting himself with his website. Jones, who is a scientist studying the retina, focuses more on particular images and photographic essays, often related to his research, and mentions his photographic equipment more as an aside.

Rockwell, I should say, is both admired and reviled for his writings. I think most of his detractors fail to appreciate his deliberate use of overstatement and irony. If you take him too literally, or seriously, he will seem to contradict himself.

One thing Ken Rockwell has been consistent about recently is his perception that Nikon’s recent full-frame DSLRs exhibit an undesireable green cast in their images. He corrects for this by adjusting the white balance. He has come to prefer Canon’s recent models for this reason (and perhaps others), greatly preferring their color rendition.

I was recently admiring Bryan Jones’ picture of a duck, shot with a Canon 1DX, when I noticed that, below the image, he commented that he thought that Canon’s color rendition was “really nice” and better than Nikon’s. And then: “It just looks more natural while the Nikon has a slightly green cast to it.” So there you have it! If these two guys agree on this, I’m inclined to suspect that there is something to it.

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