The Colours Of Spring (Through The Eyes Of The Pentax Q)

It’s only mid February but there are plenty of signs of spring here.

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Which means a bit of a shift in palette from my photography – I’ve been shooting probably 90% monochrome and 10% muted colour since October. 

The Pentax Q is very obliging with its array of settings. Most useful are Custom Image and Digital Filter, both easy to access via the main Info button.

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Custom Image has options like Bright, Natural and Portrait, as well as more quirky ones like Bleach Bypass (which I use as the basis for my muted colour preset) and Reversal Film.

Each of these can be be further tweaked to different extents, some just the Sharpness, though most have Saturation, Toning, High/Low Key, Contrast and Sharpness adjustment.

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Back in the main Info menu the Digital Filters include Toy Camera, High Contrast, Extract Colour, Colour, Fish Eye and more. Again, each of these can be further altered, including the intensity of the effect.

Better still, once you have found the combination of Custom Image and Digital Filter you like the look of (which in practice doesn’t take long once you get used to what they do), you can use the Quick Dial function on the front of the camera to save your settings in one of four slots.

Once set up, you just leave the Quick Dial on the setting number you saved under and you’re good to go.

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With a combination of Reversal Film and Extract Colour – plus some fine tuning of each – I think I’ve found a look I like for spring, and possibly summer colours.

Nothing too saturated or digital looking, but more warm and atmospheric and film-like than a standard colour JPEG.

Plus spending a little time setting this up in camera (which really isn’t a chore with the friendly user interface of the Q) means no need for any post processing afterwards.

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One of the major pluses of my DSLRs, the Pentax K10D and Samsung GX-1s, is the colours they produce with very little tweaking, just exporting from RAW to JPEG in LightRoom.

Given that I’ve boycotted LightRoom now anyway, the results I’m getting from the Q, and the fact it’s about a quarter of the size and weight of the K10D, I’m struggling to see when or indeed if the DSLRs might get dusted off and used again…

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Do you change film type, in camera colour settings or processing approach when winter turns to spring? Or do you use a consistent colour palette throughout the year?

Please let us know in the comments below (and remember to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

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13 thoughts on “The Colours Of Spring (Through The Eyes Of The Pentax Q)”

  1. I tend to shoot more b/w in the winter and more color in the rest of the year. I think my brain prefers b/w and my heart prefers color.

    I envy you a little that you’re narrowing in on cameras and settings that give you a look you want. Fortunately I’m having some good luck with my Canon S95 in Positive color mode; post to come on my blog.

    I was in my local camera shop the other day and they have Olympus OM-Ds used for decent prices. I may just need to save my pennies toward one.

    1. Jim, good news about the Canon compact, look forward to seeing the results you’re getting.

      Ooh did you try out any of the Olympus mft cameras in the shop? Would you look to get one with native lens, or use it with an adaptor and vintage lenses?

        1. Must say that’s something I’m enjoying about the Pentax Q. Just using the two lenses I have. The Qs are very adaptable, especially to Pentax K and M42 (for telephoto work – the crop factor is 5.6x) but also to C mount lenses and the old Pentax 110 SLR lenses. But I’ve enjoyed sticking to just the “proper” lenses for the Q, and like that they only made eight different ones, half of which I have little to no interest in. So it feels like a finite kit, not one of endless possibility, like even K mount or M42 mount cameras feel with the massive range available. I like this enforced limitation of the Q mount system.

  2. Nice pictures Dan. The O.O.F. areas are really pleasing. Lucky you to be experiencing Spring, we just got more snow here in New England. It won’t be long though….

    1. Thanks Jon. Yeh we don’t get much snow here these days. I remember as a kid walking across the fields and there being four foot snow drifts up against the hedges. We’ve only had the sledge out once since our son as born and he’s just turned five. Very disappointing!

  3. Dan , thoroughly enjoy your posts, and your color palette! Simplicity is refreshing. I’ve enjoyed shooting my Pentax manual lens with an adapter on my Nikon D3300, at your suggestion. I do have to shoot in manual, but it is refreshing. I have been using an older Panasonic LX-5 with a color and monochrome set up, and enjoying it as you are. Thanks for your inspiring insights. Simple camera set up + simple processing + ore fun, and more like the old days of film.

  4. The funny thing is when some ‘photographers’ totally avoid a camera system because they don’t like the colours it produces. All cameras that I’ve seen allow you to customize the jpgs. The only bad technical thing people say about a Sony is “I hate the colours it produces.” Oh they will also say I don’t like the button layout, but that’s another story. I am loving the Sony colours I have set in jpg and in RAW. If you don’t like your cameras colours, change them. Also I am still using the stand alone version of lightroom 6.xx. I find that the VSCO film simulations are perfect for me, with a little tweeking.

    I do like the colours you are getting from your Q.

    1. Yeh guilty as charged, when I first got my Sony NEX and shot JPEGs I really didn’t like the colours. 😀 So I started using presets in LightRoom, picture by picture.

      But since realising you can do this in camera – and the Q’s options really are versatile and pretty straightforward in this area – was such a revelation. Once you set it up once (then save on the favourites/ Quick Dial/ MY setting or whatever on the camera) you can then just get on with shooting and forget about post processing. Which as you know is an approach I love.

      Thanks re the colours, appreciate you saying.

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