Your guide to digital camera scene modes
By Jon Sienkiewicz
March 7, 2008
Generally, your camera does a very good job of recording the world in accurate, genuine colors—unless you tell it otherwise.
There are times when you can improve an image by adding a bit more intensity—when photographing flower gardens or fall leaves, for example. And other times when things look better when the colors are toned down a bit—for instance, to emphasize the drabness of a dull winter day.
The Vivid Mode increases both color saturation and contrast, so reds are redder, blues bluer, etc. And the difference between dark tones and light tones will be emphasized. (Note that certain Canon cameras have color modes that allow you to accentuate red, green or blue individually.) This is a fun mode to experiment with, so get into the habit of shooting bright, colorful scenes both in normal mode and in Vivid Mode.
The Neutral Mode is essentially the opposite of Vivid. Color saturation is reduced and contrast is dimmed. It’s a bit like looking at the world through a dirty window. The Neutral Mode adds a pastel charm to rainy-day images, faded buildings and antique cars.
Default (normal) color setting: Closest to how the eye sees.
Neutral color setting: Colors look more pastel-like.
Vivid color setting: Accentuates all colors.