Pentax K10D Lightroom custom develop settings


After shooting digital for 10 years I finally started shooting RAW exclusively in September 2008. What took me so long? Probably the same thing that keeps most amateur photographers from shooting RAW: the added time and complexity of post-processing RAW images. That all changed when I discovered Adobe Photoshop Lightroom’s customizable default development settings. By creating a custom set of image adjustments I get Lightroom to do most of the work for me as I import my images. I often refer to my “default import settings” in my blog posts so I figured I should share what those settings are. Here are the settings that I have found that work best for me and my Pentax K10D in Lightroom v1.4 and make shooting RAW work so well for me:In order to create a set of custom develop settings you should start with Adobe’s default settings. To do so, select an image, enter the Develop Module and simply click on “Develop” in the menu bar then select “Set Default Settings…” (Conversely, in LR 2 on a Mac you can hold down the Option key and the “Reset” button at the bottom of the screen changes to “Set Default…”)


When the dialog box appears select “Restore Adobe Default Settings.” You will need to do this for each camera you use with Lightroom. To do so, simply find images shot with each camera and repeat this process (use the Metadata Browser in Library mode to find images shot with specific cameras). Obviously, don’t do this if you have previously saved custom develop settings you want to keep :-/


Once you have established a baseline for your develop settings it’s time to apply the adjustments you wish to make to ALL future images you import into Lightroom. I emphasized “all” because these settings should only serve as the basic image parameters you start with. Keep in mind that RAW files imported into LR do not retain any of the custom image settings that you apply in-camera (ie: sharpness, saturation, contrast, etc.). To automatically apply in-camera settings to your RAW files at import I’m pretty sure you have to use your camera manufacturer’s proprietary RAW software. Personally, I’d rather not be futzing with in-camera image parameter settings while I’m shooting and instead focus my time and attention on focus, composition and exposure. By creating this baseline default development setting you’ll only have to spend time adjusting white balance and applying creative effects.


The first area to adjust are the Basic settings. Be sure to leave the white balance (WB) default set to “As Shot.” Otherwise, LR will override your in-camera “auto” setting to whatever you select here (you are shooting in auto WB, right?). Once you have imported images adjusting white balance shot-to-shot will be one of the few things you will have to do. Of course the WB eyedropper makes this quick and easy and you can efficiently copy and paste settings to entire batches of photos shot in the same light. Sure beats having an entire batch of JPEGs shot at the wrong setting ;-)

Next, I like to dial in a bit of Clarity. I can’t really say what Clarity does but it seems to help define edges and brings out subtle details and gives images more depth. Too much Clarity can create distracting dark halos around edges much in the same way an over-processed HDR image does.

I also like to bump the Vibrance slider up a tad to make the color pop a bit more. I prefer using the Vibrance slider over the Saturation slider as Vibrance seems to be more subtle and does not blow out highlights as bad as Saturation does. This is a highly personal setting as many people prefer more neutral (say: “flat”) color. For me, I like my colors to pop. +25 is my baseline setting. I often go much higher :D


The only thing I do with the Tone Curve adjustment pane is to set the Point Curve to “Medium Contrast.” This seems to give the best overall balance to my images. Any other adjustments I make here are done on a case-by-case basis.


No default changes here. I only use the HSL / Color / Grayscale sliders to tweak specific areas of specific images (mostly to make a specific color pop or to tone map grayscale images).


Again, no default changes here. Thus far in my Lightroom usage the only thing I use Split Toning for is to warm up the occasional B&W image.


I do make a few changes to the Detail settings. I generally like my images to be sharp. However, I hate the look of “sharpened” images. I have found that dialing in a moderate amount of Sharpening at a relatively small radius gives the right look. A handful of Detail does just what you’d expect- pops detail- without over sharpening the overall image.


In my experience, all lenses impart some kind of CAs to images. Unfortunately, they don’t all do it in the same way at all times. The only default setting I have found that works well is setting the Defringe to All Edges. I like to use the Lens Corrections pane to add vignetting to some of my images for creative effect. However, I don’t always do this so I leave the Vignetting settings alone for my default settings.


I don’t know much about what is going on here. Logic would dictate that the specific camera model setting (Pentax 1.00 in my case) would be the way to go. However, my images are all jacked up if I use anything other than ACR 4.4. I’m sure that there’s some pretty useful fine tuning that can be done here but I just keep it on ACR 4.4 and close this pane so I’m not tempted to mess with it ;-)

Now, simply go back to “Develop”–>”Set Default Settings…” and this time select”Update to Current Settings.”


Now the next time you import a batch of RAW images Lightroom will apply your custom develop settings as the default baseline. This will keep you from having to hit every adjustment pane for every image- freeing you up to focus more on composition and creativity while still giving you the most control possible over your images!

4 Responses to “Pentax K10D Lightroom custom develop settings”

  1. 1

    Many thanks!

  2. 2

    Great!!! I felt very lost in tweaking different things, one allways influencing the other, etc.
    This is a very good starting point. I did some minor adjusting in sharpnes (turned it down a notch) and contrast (did more with the curve, less with the ’simple’ contrast) and I am very happy now. Simply import all PEF, with this preset , and only use a little exposure adjusting to start printing. (so the wife is happy: she can get a quick print when the kids do something funny)

    This leads to a humble question: You seem very well versed in what does what in LR, so maybe you could explain to us simple folk a bit more, like the difference between sharpness and clarity, curves and contrast etc.

    Thanks again
    Erik Jeltema
    I know it will be appreciated, at least by me

  3. 3

    It works nice in my Pentax K10D, thanks so much!

  4. 4

    Thanks for explaining this – i’m frustrated right now because the pictures i take in RAW are converted automatically by Lightroom and basically wrecked – weird exposures – right before it finishes “loading” i can see the picture i took, all the colors etc – and then it kind of just wrecks everything. Any idea how to get LR to just back off and take the pictures as i originally took them? It doesn’t do this when i’m shooting .jpg…


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