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The Nikon D5200 and selective color


The Nikon D5200 selective color mode

Nikon have a winner with their Schindler setting

I must admit, I am not a great fan of some of the scenes and effects on modern cameras. I think some of them are more for show than anything else. Someone somewhere has decided that this camera or that camera should have 16 effects and so the designers and engineers have to come up with modes that will never get used. If you buy a Nikon D5200, will you ever use the Dusk/Dawn setting? or Autumn colors? (and why is it autumn, British season and colors, American spelling?) Will you ever find yourself in a situation when the silhouette effect will be just what you were looking for?

However, the selective color settings on the D5200 open up a whole new perspective on shooting both stills and video. That dramatic scene of the little girl in the red coat in Schindler’s list has spawned a thousand imitators and has made the part color, part monochrome image a right of passage for many photographers. Of course, it is relatively easy to do in photoshop – you just draw around your color object, select the rest of the image and grayscale it. But if you want to have multiple objects colored, you have to draw around them all, and even with the Magnetic Lasso Tool is can get quite laborious. That is the price of having a software that defines color by pantone and is very specific and exact. The selective color option on this digital camera is a blunt tool by comparison. When you choose a color, every object in the image that has that general color will keep it. This sounds pretty rubbish, but I think it works really well. In these two pictures, I chose orange and removed all other colors.

selective color on a Nikon D5200

selective color in a D5200

I particularly like the detail in the lampshade and the fact that the software found orange in the cabinet. Obviously, you need to be careful. I don’t particularly want the buildings outside keeping their color, for example but, used with some forethought, this can be a great effect.

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There are two ways of using selective color for stills. You can either chose it from the Effects menu on the Mode Dial or use it in the retouch menu after you have taken the shot. The pictures above were changed in retouch. This picture was shot having selected yellow through the Effects menu.

selective color in the nikon d5200

With video, you cannot use selective color in retouch (imagine the processing power you would need for that) but you can choose it through the Mode dial. If you choose your color wisely, it can have a very dramatic effect. Which, I guess, is why it was so appealing to Steven Spielberg…

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