Proof: Sony Picture Profiles Do Affect Raw Photo Files

When shooting raw photos, many of us have come to expect we can ignore a few settings on our cameras because some of them only apply to recorded JPEGs. As it turns out, however, raw shooters do need to beware of Sony's Picture Profile settings.

In this video, Gerald Undone provides proof that one thing does indeed change with raw photo files imported into Lightroom and Capture One when switching Picture Profiles. Sony's Picture Profiles are where users, usually filmmakers, change into Slog-2 and Slog-3, Cine4, HLG, and so on. This is not to be confused with Creative Style, which as shown here does not affect raw files, only JPEGs.

Why does this matter? For one, this common misconception leads people to believe that when they switch from recording video to shooting stills, that Picture Profile is another one of those things that can be ignored because they only shoot raw and it won't matter when they import the files into their image catalogs. Thanks to Gerald for setting the record straight, because me, him, and plenty of other people kept repeating the same wrong information when it came to the impact of this setting while shooting stills.

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10 Comments

Only a handful of PPs alter base ISO (the high DR ones). That's the significant thing being changed. They underexpose the image to gain highlight DR. The rest use ISO 100 and don't affect anything in RAW.

Michael Jin's picture

He took all the photos at ISO 2000, so why would the base ISO make a difference? I don't follow.

Michael Jin's picture

Useful information and a reminder that we should actually test this stuff out to verify information rather than simply parroting things that we are told. Just because something is usually true doesn't mean that it's not subject to change at some point or that it is true across all manufacturers.

The gamma curve is likely to be applied at the ADC stage to improve Signal to Noise Ratio for video as you don't have 4.4.4 video raw files to nicely change the gamma later. Its also probably a lot easier to change the linearity of the analogue to digital conversion than try and do it in FFT while encoding into video :-)

Mark Dunsmuir's picture

Is there no way to get to the underlying or original file? I know that for my Canon cameras, when I change the aspect ratio to see framing and then forget to change it back, I have to run it through an app to get back to the full file.

Michael Jin's picture

From the video, he seems to suggest that it might be happening during the analog-to-digital conversion phase as the file is actually being written. If this is indeed the case, then there would be no "underlying" version of the file to access.

Wow this is news to me

I wish we could dive a little deeper under the hood of the metadata being captured in .ARW. I know that for video files you can use catalyst browse to look really far down into the data, to the point you can see the "camera master gain". As others have said this difference probably has something to do with the ADC, since it seems to be fundamentally different than the rest of the camera settings in that it does actually change something about the way the camera writes the data coming off the sensor.

Adam Palmer's picture

Compressed raws or uncompressed? Since sony has a compressed raw setting we know that raw isn't always exactly raw. Good enough for me either way though. Heck-- I love adobe lossy DNG for all but my very favorite shots.

Technically it is the Uncompressed RAW setting that is "abnormal", not the other way around. Either way it should not affect the image in the way described in the video, since what is happening seems to be a fundamental change that happens prior to the image recording.