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How To Color Match All your Sony Cameras with Simple Tweaks

Updated: Apr 26


RX100 VI vs a7 III vs a6700

Color Matching Sony cameras: RX100 VI vs a7 III vs a6700
Color Matching Sony cameras: RX100 VI vs a7 III vs a6700

Getting accurate, consistent colors across multiple Sony cameras can be super challenging due to subtle differences in their sensor technology and color science.


But these color differences throughout camera models result in inconsistent results in color when using the custom Sony Picture Profiles. And we want to get the same kind of colors even if we switch from our little Sony RX100 to our newer Sony a6700 or Sony a7s III.


In this post, I’ll show you how to easily match the colors of all your Sony cameras by using some simple tweaks. 👇


Table of Contents


Sony Cameras Color Science - yay or nay?

Sony is known for making some of the best cameras in the market, especially for video. They offer a wide range of models, from compact point-and-shoots to full-frame mirrorless beasts. They also have some of the most advanced features, such as autofocus, stabilization, and dynamic range.


However, Sony colors have been criticized over the years by pro and hobbyist videographers alike - no secret around that. It's a controversial topic, for sure.


Throughout the last couple of years, Sony's color science kept evolving pretty fast. Early mirrorless models had a green cast that produced some unpleasant skin tones that made it hard to work with without heavily relying on post-processing.


But to be honest, the only way you’d not rely on some post-processing is if you’re shooting JPEGs. So - this color science argument is geared toward JPEGs. If you’re thinking of switching to Fuji because of their film simulations and color rendering, but you love your Sony camera - mastering the Sony Picture Profiles might be enough for you.


Subsequent models produced some overly magenta-casted skies. Recently, Sony's colors have greatly improved and we get more balanced colors.


In the color category, I feel they did a great job in fixing the main issues with the color shifting and skin tones. It's at a point where it can compete without any struggle with Canon, Fuji, Nikon, Blackmagic, Panasonic, and so on.


There are some areas where Sony still needs to improve, and I would say camera design is a great example.


Some low-tier cameras like the Sony a6700 have degraded in terms of design and build quality, if you ask me. But that's a story for another day.

 

Recently, I tested and adjusted all film simulations on the new Sony a6700 for better accuracy on newer sensors. I also wrote an article showcasing all 51 custom Sony film recipes in a real-life situation for a better understanding of each simulation's characteristics!

 

As Sony keeps improving their color science with each newer model, it seems fair to calibrate their color profiles with the newest sensors available, since they are most likely not going backwards.


How To Color Match All Your Sony Cameras - A Quick Example



Many of us have a combination of older and newer cameras, so what do we do with the color differences? After all, there are some iconic cameras like the a7S III which will continue to be the standard for the next couple of years, being one of the best in terms of versatility, lowlight, color, and features.


I'll take you through a step-by-step color matching process - let's go!


1. Sony colors differences amongst cameras - RX100 VI vs a7 III vs a6700


As I said, different Sony models produce different results in terms of colors. And if you switch from one Sony camera to another, you’ll run into some compatibility issues.

For example, if you want to use the same Sony film simulation on different cameras, you may get different results. Or if you want to mix footage from different cameras, you’ll have to spend more time and effort to match the colors.


The sensor on the Sony a7SIII is still rather new, but the color science differs from the Sony fx30 or a6700. It's more on the magenta side, while the a6700 sensor feels more on the green-yellow side, and less saturated, which brings up problems in usability and compatibility when using various Sony models.


To illustrate this problem, let’s take a look at some examples of how different Sony cameras produce different colors and tones, even when using the same film simulation. 🔽


Let's take the Sony RX100 VI vs Sony a7 III vs Sony a6700, all with the Kodachrome 64 V1 film simulation baked-in.


 

Sony RX100 VI vs Sony a7 III vs Sony a6700

Exposure settings variable to match the Brightness on all 3 cameras.

Lenses: RX100 has its own Zeiss lens, while the a7 III and the a6700 have been shot on the same lens, which is the Tamron 28-75mmm f2.8, and with a black mist filter.


The differences are clear to the eye. Totally different at first sight, but easily matched with some minor adjustments.


From my experience, I would generally say:


  • The RX100 is colder and more on the cyan-teal side with a punchy saturation.

  • The a7III is heavily magenta and less saturated.

  • The a6700 is warmer, less saturated than both, and with a predominance on the green-yellow side.


It's really important to know what color tendencies your own Sony cameras have to understand the weaknesses and how to fix them straight out of camera. This is the very first step to color matching any cameras.


2. Choose a reference model for calibrating your colors. 📷


So, how can we calibrate and match the colors of different Sony cameras, using some simple tweaks?


To fix and color match them, I first need to decide which camera I like the most. This will be my reference model, and my choice falls between the RX100 and the a6700.


I love the colors on the RX100 because they are really easy to work with, but the a6700 has a newer sensor with improved color, so that will be my reference choice.


As I mentioned, with the a6700, Sony did more than improve their color science, they also changed how the sensor reacts to light and shifts colors in accordance with exposure. The yellows and the blues will especially look a lot better, which was the main weakness of Sony colors if you ask me.

 

Pro tip! 👌

With most Sony cameras I've noticed that when overexposed, yellow shifts toward green, and when underexposed, they shift toward red. This can also be noticed with the blues. When underexposed, blues shift towards magenta, while overexposed they start shifting towards teal. This might be because of the color tendencies of the sensor and overexposure might cause most colors to shift towards green-yellow, while underexposure might shift colors towards magenta-blue.

 

Understanding this behavior helps us understand the way Sony sensors interpret color and the shifting tendencies according to exposure. I might create a separate article documenting and explaining this idea. Let me know if you’d be interested in something like that!


Alright. Back to the subject because I don't want to bore you.


I will choose the Sony a6700 as my main reference point, and I will try to bring the other two cameras as closely as possible.


Now, let’s try to match the colors of these Sony cameras.


3 - Perform a Quick test - Adjust White balance parameters - Kelvin, color phase, and color filter 🎨


The Sony RX100 VI is much colder, so to match it with the a6700 I raised the temperature at 3700 Kelvin and shifted the color phase down to -4. These adjustments added more warmth to the image and shifted the blues towards magenta and skin tones towards amber, coming closer to the a6700.


The Sony a7III is cold and on the magenta side, so to fix this issue, first I will shift the color phase at 0 to correct the magenta hue, raise the temperature to 3500 Kelvin and set color filter from A7-M0.75 to A7 straight.


And the colors are already coming much closer than before.


It's not perfect, but it was a quick test that I’ve done in just a couple of minutes before sunset. With more time on hand, we can probably come even closer. This further proves it doesn't take a lot of time to color match or get great color out of Sony cameras if you know what you're doing. It just takes a bit of practice!


Sony Rx100 VI vs Sony A7 III vs Sony a6700

Overall the results are not bad at all for a quick 5 minute test. The a7 III is still too magenta, so we need to test it out in a controlled environment to precisely match it with the a6700 and the RX100 VI, which are similar, both being a little bit more on the cyan-green side.

 

As a general guide!


For cameras with cold and purple tendencies —> you need to raise the Kelvin, shift the color filter towards Green by 0.25 or 0.5 stops, and lift the color phase by a couple of steps on top of the original film recipe.


Example

+200 Kelvin

Color Filter +G0.25

Color Phase +2 steps


For cameras with green tendencies —> you need to Lower the Kelvin, push the color filter towards Magenta by 0.25 or 0.5 stops, and maybe slightly increase or decrease the color phase to shift all the color to your liking.


Check skin tones first! If the skin is too pink, decrease the color phase by -1 or -2 steps, if it's too orange yellow green, start raising it by +1-2 steps.


Example

-300 Kelvin

Color Filter +A1+M1

Color phase between +2 and -2 depending on how skin tones present themselves.

 

4 - Precise comparison of the cameras in a controlled environment


Let's take a look at a test in a controlled environment to see if we can get them even closer.


Kodachrome 64 V1 - Before Adjustments

Sony RX100 VI vs Sony a7 III vs Sony a6700

The a6700 handles the yellows and the reds a lot better than the RX100 VI and the a7 III.

Again, the same adjustments from above will apply, but with further refinement to precisely color match them.


Sony RX100 VI : +200 Kelvin, -1 Color Phase, Black point by +4 levels, Saturation Down by -2 levels according to the original recipe, and Color Filter pushed 0.25 stops towards Magenta.


Sony a7 III : +100 Kelvin, +3 levels of Color Phase, Color Filter slightly shifted towards Green.


Sony a6700 : No adjustments.



Kodachrome 64 V1 - After Adjustments

Sony RX100 VI vs Sony a7 III vs Sony a6700


Still not perfect, and that makes sense. Since they have different color science, it's going to be hard or impossible to fully match, but considering these cameras are 5 years apart, these are great results!


After these color adjustments, the RX100 VI comes much closer in terms of color to the a6700, which is a pleasant surprise. This only makes me recommend it even with more confidence, even if it's a 5-year-old camera, the color science is solid. For the price given, (450 euros second hand) it's an absolute steal!


Color Matching your Sony Cameras - Main Takeaways

Color matching cameras is not an easy feat. This process has a steep learning curve. But once you get it, you’ll see color in a whole different way.


So - here’s the main workflow you’ll want to follow when color matching Sony cameras:


1. Choose a reference model.

Choose a primary camera as your reference point for color calibration. This model will serve as the benchmark against which you align the colors of other cameras in your setup. Consider factors like color accuracy, ease of adjustment, and overall preference when selecting the reference model.


2. Understand how each camera renders colors & its main weaknesses.

One easy trick is identifying the predominant color that your camera renders. Are the colors cold or warm? If cold, what hue of cold, is it teal, blue, velvet magenta, or pink? If it's warm, what hue of warm? Green, yellow, orange or red?


Then, further define the hue. Get into the nitty-gritty of it.


Let’s say the camera has some green tendencies. Is it pure green, teal green, or olive green?


By precisely identifying colors, you get an understanding of the main color issues, and only afterward you can start counterbalancing the hues with the kelvin and the color filter, pushing and adding color into the image to balance out nasty hues of yellow and magenta.


3. Adjust in small increments and check results frequently. Don't over-correct, subtle adjustments are usually best.


Conduct precise comparisons in a controlled environment to assess the accuracy of color matching adjustments. Use consistent lighting conditions and reference images to evaluate how well each camera aligns with the desired color profile. Use the white balance adjustments such as Kelvin values, color phase shifts, and color filters to fine-tune the colors of each camera.


4. Go back and forth until you achieve the desired result!

Continuously refine your color matching settings based on feedback from test shots and comparisons. Pay attention to skin tones, overall color balance, and consistency across different scenes. Fine-tune parameters like Kelvin values, color phase shifts, and color filters until you get that cohesive look across all cameras.


Start with the Film Simulations for Sony

And there you have it - a color matching workflow to help you get your cameras as similar in color as possible.


You’ll see - once you get the hang of it - it will all flow! To make it easier to spot color differences, you can use a free Sony Film simulation and compare the color differences between cameras. Access them here:



P.S - this is the previous version of the Sony film recipes. I’ve updated them to match the color profile of newer cameras! Explore the Sony Film Simulations here.


I hope this short color matching helps you get better colors- let us know what you think or join the forum and showcase your results! 💬



2,579 views8 comments

8 Comments


Guest
Jan 26

Im looking at purchasing the film profile pdf. Just wondering how they will work with a sony zv1. Im new to photography and not sure where this model sits compared to the others. Seems like it would be closer to rx100?

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Replying to

Yeah, the zv-1 is an extension of the rx100 line and has been released on 2020 which generally means it will have improved colors compared to older models.

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Carlo Carnevali
Carlo Carnevali
Nov 01, 2023

Do you by any chance have access to the Sony A7R II (yess, the one released in 2015) so that you could suggest me how to color match it to the original Sony that you used to create all the latest film simulations, so that I could start balance them with my sensor? Or if you don't have it, what would you suggest to change? I guess it's one of the older ones leaning towards magenta...

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Veres Deni Alex
Veres Deni Alex
Nov 19, 2023
Replying to

Unfortunately, I don't have access to that camera to make a straight comparison, but from what I know they are very similar, with the a7RII being slightly more cyan, and the a7III being on the magenta side. Hope this helps!

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Goodbye Calev
Goodbye Calev
Sep 13, 2023

I've been struggling with this since I switched from the FX3 to the A7iv. I assume that the FX3 being the newer camera, has better color science, and a lot of my photos on the A7iv seem less magical than the FX3 with the simulations. Do you have any idea what changes should be implemented to match the A7iv to the A6700 colors?

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Veres Deni Alex
Veres Deni Alex
Sep 14, 2023
Replying to

With the a7iv even tho the color science is improved, it's more on the magenta side compared the fx series.

The a7iv will have corrected skin tones and magentas, and an overall slight push towards green cyan, while the fx3 is a lot more on the green side. I would say it stands between the a7iii and the fx3, so not as magenta casted as the older a7iii but you still have to follow similar steps to match it to the fx3.


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Have you tested the colors on A7C? I suppose they should be similar to or exactly as A7III.

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Veres Deni Alex
Veres Deni Alex
Sep 13, 2023
Replying to

From what I know, the a7c has the same sensor as the a7III.

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