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My Aperture Workflow For Working With Canon 5D Mark II Files

A while ago I mentioned on the blog how I was having issues with files from my 5DII matching what appeared in the camera. I know this is an issue with all cameras but colours and brightness levels seemed especially off on files shot with my 5D. After some trial and error I think I’ve finally come up with a solution that works for me. While it still doesn’t completely match the in-camera look, it gives me a much better approximation. So here’s what I do now for every shoot I do with he 5DII

The first thing I did was set the boost and hue boost to 50%. Because you can’t make this part of an adjustment preset I set this as the default for the camera. (See this previous tip for how to do that)

Once that is set I have a curves adjustment that I apply to every image on import. Basically, because when you turn down the boost you loose some contrast so I used a curves brick to bring it back to where it should be (and unlike having boost turned all the way up it’s not skewed towards the bright end of the histogram). I saved this as a preset and now when I import I apply that preset to all images. I’m much happier with the results than I was with the defaults.


I know this might not suit everyone. You may prefer the default look, but if you’re finding the same things I am perhaps something similar to this might work for you too. If you want you can download the curves adjustment I used here and try it yourself.

If you’re wondering why I used a curves adjustment rather than a straight up contrast tweak there are a couple of reasons. First, I prefer using curves for contrast as they don’t clip either ends of the brightness scale. (See this old post) Secondly, by separating it from the standard enhance brick you can create a baseline that you can always go back to and it frees you to use the enhance brick how you want without having to worry about adjusting your default setup.

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5 Responses to My Aperture Workflow For Working With Canon 5D Mark II Files

  1. Matt Shelton February 10, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

    Thomas: As an avid Aperture user as well as a 5DII shooter who just discovered your blog a few weeks ago, I have to say thanks – very well done. Anyway, although I personally usually like the default extra punch given to 5DII raw files, I’d always had this nagging feeling that what I was seeing wasn’t what my sensor saw. So, when I first started reading your blog, I tried out the 50/50 boost/hue boost and liked what I saw, especially on portraits. But….I found myself boosting the contrast more than usual! I’ll have to try your latest suggestion. Thanks for making me think about a program that I know very well in different ways.

    • Thomas Fitzgerald February 10, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

      I’ve been messing around with this for ages trying to get it where I was happy, and I’m just glad someone found the info useful!

  2. Cristiano April 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    Just got the 5dMK and I was extremely disappointed by original settings, your post helped me a lot!
    Many thanks for sharing!

  3. Mark April 27, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    The color difference between Lightroom and Aperture is not limited to the 5D series cameras. I see the same color difference using a 5D, 1D, 50D, 20D, & 300D.

    Lightroom’s default colors lean toward brown and red while Aperture leans toward green and yellow. I noticed this after my first week of using Aperture in 2009.

    I always start with a white balance adjustment, then use the tint adjustment under the Enhance brick. Moving the midtones and highlights a little into the red area will often bring the colors right where I want them.


  1. Aperture’s Handling of Colour in 5D Mark II Files, and a Preset to Fix it | The Aperture Blog - April 27, 2011

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