Why is it that when you take a picture of a lake it looks so blue when it's not close to being blue. Not that I don't like it, i think the pictures are always nicer then the real thing but just wondering why ...
The same goes with blue sky.
This got me thinking too when leaping into the digital world about 2 years ago.
It's all about enhancing colors, easy done in digital, I.M.O. it's way overdone! I guess most people like
this, that's why the manufactures do it, no touch up or editing needed.
Some cameras, like my Canon Rebel XT, I can preset colors, sharpness etc. to a degree to my liking.
My thought is that it is ultimately a representation. Its not like putting the scene in a copier and hitting copy.
Also, even with editing, my experience (with my ability and equipment) is that the scene is usually not as beautiful as the naked eye catches it anyway. So, personally, I don't feel editing it to try to get it closer to visual impact it had is bad in any way.
Like with any other effort by us humans, some will have the knowledge, experience and skill to do it better and some won't have quite as pleasing of results.
And, even that is like a taste test between coke and pepsi. Some will like more color and some less.
Lastly, I've had three digital cameras. My experience is that the better the equipment, the less editing has to be done to get a nice rendition of the scene.
As Konrad alludes to, you can tone down the color both in the camera and with even modest photo editing software.
But, like you say, most camera manufacturers set the colors a little high because most buyers like that in their pictures. It sells more cameras.