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when I import the .DNG files using Lightroom 5, the .dng images in the library look nothing like the ones I took on the phone (they are completely bleached out: color, contrast, detail, noise - nothing seems to correspond). (Also, they show up as DNG icons in the import box, so I can't see the image prior to them landing in the library)
First DNG files are raw data. They will rarely look the same as the (camera processed) JPG of the same image.
Lightroom (when you import the DNGs) applies it own rules when it converts the raw data to a visible image. It is a well documented characteristic of Lightroom (and other 'raw' interpreters) eg. link-
I do not have enough knowledge to correctly answer the rest of your questions-
But I do not think that 'Copying as .dng' will have any effect.
There would not appear to be any purpose in using the DNG Converter to convert DNG to DNG.
Seeing DNG icons in the import screen may be influenced by your LR v5, or your graphics card drivers. (Can you update to LR 5.71 or buy to upgrade to v6?)
'DNG Profile editor' would indeed help get 'correct' colours but you will need to photograph a colour chart to use the profiler. (Although the imported DNG and JPG will still look different.! )
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I struggled with this a bit a while ago. It also happens when you shoot raw with the camera app in Lightroom itself. The reason is actually quite simple. Procam and Lightroom show you the jpeg that apple's camera system code generates at least initially and during shooting as a preview to the dng file (all dng and other raw files have a built-in jpeg preview) Apple does a lot of processing to these images including some hdr techniques ( even when that is not on). There is no way to approximate this in Lightroom reliably without using Apple's code so they don't even try and you will get a fairly flat and boring image that you will need to edit. I had reported a bug on this in feedback.photoshop.com when mobile Lightroom started shooting raw and Adobe looked at it and concluded that this is expected.
note also that this isn't unique to iPhone raw files it is just much more noticeable than on other cameras due to the extensive processing that Apple does on the jpegs. All raw files do this to a degree.
Thank you for your reply and the link. I am unable to follow the latter (directions are from 2010 - see pasted below). In LR5 the only camera calibration drop down Profiles I see are "embedded" no matter if I am using .jpg, .dng. or tiff (the drop down for "Process" offers options a) 2003 b) 2010 or c) 2012 ) and switching between them doesn't seem to create any more drop down options in Profiles. Either the instructions are old, or I am missing something....
It would seem that there is no workaround here, per Jar vdl's helpful response as well.
Link: "To those that really like the look of their camera’s JPEGs and want to replicate the look with their raw files, or work their raw files in a camera manufacturer proprietary raw converter because of this issue, Adobe has provided camera-specific profiles that attempt to match what your various camera settings produce. In the Develop module, under the Camera Calibration panel in the bottom right, click on the drop-down next to Profile, and choose one of the Camera profiles. If there is one you want to apply often, consider creating a preset. Or, if there is one you always want applied to your images, set it as the new default — change the profile (and nothing else!), then go to Develop> Set Default Settings. (Note: In the camera calibration tab you will only see camera profiles for raw files. JPEGs will only list one “embedded” profile — JPEGss have already been “cooked”, so it is too late to change your mind on color rendering.)
There really is no workaround. With raw files from normal cameras, you can use the camera matching profiles and get really close to the jpeg rendered by the camera since most cameras do not do much processing. However the iPhones do a lot of adaptive processing tailored to the scene and camera matching profiles are not very useful in that case and you have to do your own adaptive processing using Lightroom's tools. The feedback thread is here BTW: Lightroom: Large color changes after iPhone dng files sync to desktop | Photoshop Family Customer Community
Thank you Jao vdl. I found your first reply very helpful, if not disappointing: basically, I should stop trying to search for a solution. That there is no approximation by Lightroom to work with any of these camera apps is disappointing.
That said, the LR5 import of .jpgs taken with the standard iPhone 7 camera app more closely approximate the images as they appear in the iPhone camera roll. The LR imports taken with the LR app or ProCamera app are not even close to what they look like in camera roll and it seems the manual settings that these app offer (and which I spend time adjusting) become useless in LR5. I don't know if other professional processing applications are similar, or if LR6 (per wobertc) would offer a better solution...
The link in your second reply seems to deal with gamma issues related to the display....
>That said, the LR5 import of .jpgs taken with the standard iPhone 7 camera app more closely approximate the images as they appear in the iPhone camera roll.
Of course they do. jpegs are baked in renderings from the original raw data using the Apple engine that uses a lot of scene adaptive logic to make decisions such as lifting shadows, etc based on the content in the scene. When you have a jpeg, there is only one correct way to display it and every correctly color managed app (everything on the iPhone is color managed nowadays) will display it the same. To the contrary, there is no single correct way to display a dng/raw file. It all depends on the rendering engine. Lightroom uses Adobe's camera raw engine whether on iOS or on the desktop that is tuned to be be by default pretty true to live which looks almost always boring and flat. Apple uses their own engine in the camera app and in Photos on the desktop (when you shoot dng and take it into photos you get the same rendering as in the camera app shooting jpegs). This engine as I said above tries to make every image pop instead of being strictly faithful. There is an interesting effect that goes on (from a how does a human brain function perspective) when you are looking at a scene in real life. Your eyes and brain automatically adapt parts of the scene and do a lot of processing. Your brain does an awful lot of adaptive logic that we don't fully understand yet. This is why a faithful rendering of a scene recorded by a camera looks flat and dull because none of that was done and you just get a direct display of luminance and chroma as recorded in the scene. Strangely enough your eyes and brain don't do any of this adaptive processing when looking at an image on a display or print. Raw conversion engines such as Apple's built-in camera app code do a lot to try and approximate what your brain naturally does by using dynamic range reduction (i.e. lifting shadows and lowering highlights) and other techniques that give extra saturation to certain colors and such. Lightroom does not do these things by default. You have to edit to get these effects.
>I don't know if other professional processing applications are similar, or if LR6 (per wobertc) would offer a better solution...
Unfortunately there is no difference between LR 5 and 6 in this respect and no other raw conversion applications will do much better. LR 6 has a few more profiles for iPhones built in but they don't fundamentally change the equation. Note that even though you get flat looking initial renderings from the dng files you have far more editing latitude and can get far better final renderings than the jpeg rendering you see when shooting. It just takes more work.