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Old May 9, 2006, 6:50 PM   #1
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I have noticed on a number of photos I have taken recently that it seems common for the whites to be blown out.... I realize that they are taken in sunlight, but nothing too extreme..... the rest of the scene is good, in all pictures.....how do I fix this? is it in the metering.... or an nd filter? (it eally only appears in white)



Thanks for your help
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Old May 9, 2006, 7:14 PM   #2
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Something I've notice over the past ten years or so, everyone's desire of "snappy" and contrasty photos seems to be growing. Now when some digital photographers look at a film print, they are disappointed in the lack of contrast. Camera manufactures have responded by making digicams with increased contrast, increased saturation and over sharpening. It's what we have become accustomed to and blown whites are the result. Now enough of my rant.

Lower your contrast level to normal or lower. Try shooting a 1/2 stop under and look at a histogram to see where your white level is. For outdoor shots,you might try shooting in "A" priority and meter at the horizon (half sky / half green) so as to preserve that blue sky.

I seldom shoot in auto. When I do, I use the AE lock andmeter where I choose if I can. Personally, I prefer manual, probably from years of shooting slides.
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Old May 9, 2006, 7:33 PM   #3
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As honus402 mentioned, many cameras have defaults that lean towards a more punchy image. So, dialing back settings like contrast can often help retain detail in both shadows and highlights (to a point).

You'e got a limited Dynamic Range with any camera. So, in a scene that has a big difference between dark and bright areas, you may not be able to capture both.

As a general rule, I'll try to expose for the highlights (using a -EV setting with Exposure Compensation and checking the histogram to confirm that I haven't blown any) in harsh lighting.

It's usually a little easier to pull up detail in the shadows in post processing (if they are not too dark) by using a -EV setting in conditions warranting it.

Shooting raw can also help if your camera supports it. Depending on the camera, it's not unsual for the default tone curves to be a bit contrasty, which can hurt dynamic range. My KM 5D is a bit on the contrasty side that way. By shooting in raw, I can bypass the in camera processing and have more control over it later.

Dave Etchells tested my 5D both ways (jpeg and raw) and raw is definitely better. See the Dynamic Range tests here:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PROD...M5DIMATEST.HTM

But, in some conditions, even raw won't have enough Dynamic Range to handle it. So, may you have to use other options.

One of them is a Graduated Neutral Density Filter. Here is an example:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...#goto_itemInfo

Another way:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...blending.shtml

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Old May 9, 2006, 8:33 PM   #4
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I to usually shoot in manual mode, (sony f 828 ) and really only adjust shutter speed. Obviously, if the shot I took was too dark, I slow the shutter down (I really only shoot at f 2.0 and iso 64)..... am I on the right track? I just have to watch the histogram....something I rarely do? (too much going on you know??)



thanks again for the help so far, and the help to come
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Old May 9, 2006, 9:52 PM   #5
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Well, if you want to shoot using manual exposure, that's up to you.

But, at a minimum, you may want to use the meter in the viewfinder as a guide to help you make the right choices so that you don't under or overexpose your shots too much.

Any camera will take some getting used to as far as it's metering behavior (and yours has three different metering modes).

Since your camera also has a live histogram, you may want to consider using it, too.

If you are only going to shoot at wider apertures (I assume so that you've got the fastest possible shutter speeds), then I'd just use Aperture Priority (Av) mode instead, letting the camera select the appropriate shutter speed for how it's metering the scene. Then, use Exposure Compensation to expose darker or brighter when needed.

At closer ranges, you may have depth of field issues shooting that way (always using f/2), or you could reach the camera limits on shutter speed in some conditions. But, if you want to shoot that way, the camera probably has enough depth of field in most conditions to allow it.

Since the sensor in your DSC-F828 is much smaller than 35mm film, it can use a much shorter focal length lens for any given 35mm equivalent focal length (from an angle of view perspective).

So, you have more depth of field for a given aperture, 35mm equivalent focal length and aperture. So, I guess you could probably get away with shooting at the largest available aperture (smallest f/stop number) in a lot of conditions. You may find that a slightly smaller aperture is sharper though. I haven't seen a controlled conditions test of the lens at different apertures to know where it's "sweet spot" is.

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Old May 9, 2006, 10:26 PM   #6
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I will give it a try.... (aperture priority) I had never used the ev compensation controls...so we will try that out..... I appreciate the advice on the sweet spot as well, as only my wife has noticed but she said often the pictures (i really only shoot people) looked soft, which she liked.....but I didn't necessarily intend for that.. Thanks very much....I will let you know how it turns out.
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Old Mar 19, 2009, 1:36 PM   #7
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General question. Do you guys place a lot of emphasis on eliminating blown highlights when shooting? (e.g. constantly checking the histograms, chimping...etc.). To a point where you don't see any blown highlights? My D300 has a display mode where it will show you were the blown highlights are in black (flashing). Or do you guys just minimize the amount of blown highlights and rely on PP?

I do shoot in RAW so I do know I should be able to recover most if not all the details (e.g. intense sun on lets say the white areas of my dog's fur).

I mean sometimes we just don't have that much time to check the histograms and shoot again. Adjust. Shoot. Check histogram again...etc. Though, I too in situations where there is bright sun (outside) drop the exposure comp down to -.03 or -.07. There bouts. And at times I use a ND filter as well. Has helped me in many instances not get any blown highlights. While shooting in A mode. Unless there is action and I want to minimize the blur.
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Old Mar 19, 2009, 4:47 PM   #8
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DarkDTSHD wrote:
Quote:
General question. Do you guys place a lot of emphasis on eliminating blown highlights when shooting? (e.g. constantly checking the histograms, chimping...etc.). To a point where you don't see any blown highlights? My D300 has a display mode where it will show you were the blown highlights are in black (flashing). Or do you guys just minimize the amount of blown highlights and rely on PP?

I do shoot in RAW so I do know I should be able to recover most if not all the details (e.g. intense sun on lets say the white areas of my dog's fur).

I mean sometimes we just don't have that much time to check the histograms and shoot again. Adjust. Shoot. Check histogram again...etc. Though, I too in situations where there is bright sun (outside) drop the exposure comp down to -.03 or -.07. There bouts. And at times I use a ND filter as well. Has helped me in many instances not get any blown highlights. While shooting in A mode. Unless there is action and I want to minimize the blur.
I use the Auto Gradation contrast setting (D-lighting for Nikon, I believe)a lot whenI shoot inJPEG captureand meter more towards exposing the highlights knowing the camera will compensate in the shadow areas. I know if I am shooting at higher sensitivities that can mean more noise in the shadows when viewing images online, but prints typically look very nice and that's a compromiseI am willing to live with.

There are certain images where clipping some amount of highlights are unavoidable unless you compensate to the point of ruining an image.

Since upgrading from Photoshop CS2 to CS4 I've grown to really like the dedicatedslider in ACR where you can reclaim a certain amount of highlight detail in RAW files that would be lost in an in-camera JPEG.
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Old Apr 8, 2009, 1:14 AM   #9
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Re the original post.

Is this a Fujifilm camera we're talking about, and is it only a recent thing this blown highlights issue ?

If so try this. Compose a shot out in bright daylight, a tree, house etc, with some sky in the back ground. Use P or A mode. Push the +- button and view the histogram before the shot. Note the right hand side levels. Take the shot, then go to shot review, check the histogram right hand side levels again. Is it all MUCH higher level now ?

If so get back to me, if not then don't worry.

Martin
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Old Apr 8, 2009, 1:58 AM   #10
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mr.sneezy wrote:
Quote:
Re the original post.

Is this a Fujifilm camera we're talking about, and is it only a recent thing this blown highlights issue ?

If so try this. Compose a shot out in bright daylight, a tree, house etc, with some sky in the back ground. Use P or A mode. Push the +- button and view the histogram before the shot. Note the right hand side levels. Take the shot, then go to shot review, check the histogram right hand side levels again. Is it all MUCH higher level now ?

If so get back to me, if not then don't worry.

Martin
Hello Martin,

I have been experimenting lately and have just decided to choose my light appropriately. Shoot when the conditions look more favorable (e.g. no shooting in direct intense sunlight when there is white on the subject or near the subject...or any bright color). Has worked for me so far. Totally avoiding blown highlights.

I suppose in conditions where you need that shot that second and there is intense sunlight...then, that's when it gets harder to avoid blown highlights. And when you hope the details are still recoverable via CS4 or some other good photo editing software. Shooting in RAW of course.

And I have used "graduated" and solid ND filters with the exposure comp at minus settings. Helped too. But only under conditions where you didn't need the shot that second.

I still wonder if there is a way to get that shot at a moment's notice under any condition. Even in direct sunlight where the rays are hitting lets say a bride in a white wedding dress. By using an external flash?

Having said all that there are times when some blown highlights are a good thing. Like when the sun hits metal and the blown hightlight is a star pattern on the metal. In this case I think it's acceptable.
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