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Old May 12, 2004, 10:07 PM   #1
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I've had my D100 for about 5 months now and I love it! The one thing I haven't been able to figure out is how to not get blown highlights. I've tried underexposing and changing WB settings, but bright whites, like on a football helmet or plastic chair are almost always blown out. Anyone have any ideas for me? :?

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Old May 12, 2004, 10:11 PM   #2
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well.....if exposing it "correctly" means blowing out highlights...then you must be "overexposing" then.....or exposing for a different part of the picture.....like the darker part of the uniform.....

the only way around it would be to expose for the bright area....



hope this helps.....
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Old May 12, 2004, 11:00 PM   #3
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Sometimes blown highlights are just plain unavoidable, e.g. if you're shooting in a very dark forest but the sun is showing through a few places in the canopy. Except for that though, they can almost always be avoided. What I do is:

Leave the LCD set so that when a review image comes up after a shot it shows blown areas as flashing.

If such areas show up and they will be a problem, use exposure compensation to turn down the exposure--I have the D70 set so this just requires turning a control dial without holding down a button, so its easy to do. This is available via a custom setting. Reshoot and recheck. With a static subject you can do this for each photo; with moving ones you'd want to keep your settings the same for a while, but that shouldn't be hard to do.

If the shadows are too dark, I use the brightness slider in photoshop camera raw, or as a last resort, the highlight/shadow command, to lighten them up. If they look really datk while shooting, I may accept a bit of highlight blowout--lightening really dark shadows often results in excessive noise or loss of detail. Another thing to consider is that spectral reflections or areas of truly white stuff with no detail can afford to be "blown out"--that's how they really look anyway.

As the other responder said, turning down the exposure isn't really underexposure, it's just exposing correctly for a different part of the image.


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Old May 13, 2004, 1:03 AM   #4
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Use a reflector when/where applicable, and/or a flash to fill in. Like backlit subjects or subjects with sun light coming from the sides. The wonderful thing about digital is that experimentation is free. Come close to your subject (say, a person sitting on a bench, with a bright background behind that person) and spot measure what the exposure should be on the person's face. Now lock that exposure, recompose and shoot with those values. Your suject should be well exposed but the background probably blown. Now center/matrix meter the exposure value for the background. Lock or manually set that value, turn on your flash to fill in your subject, recompose and shoot. Now your subject should be properly exposed as well as the background. You may want to tone down or up the flash output, depending on how it looks. Sometimes the correct ammount of flash makes a photo look artifical when outdoors. Tone down the flash output and up the exposure value by an equivalent ammount. If you bring the flash down 2/3 stop, bring the camera exposure value up 2/3 stop. That way you allow more natural light to fill in your subject, and not as much flash. Though the background may be brighter than before, the subject will look more natural. Try it, it doesn't cost a thing!
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Old May 13, 2004, 2:42 AM   #5
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Good point re fill in flash. I was thinking of large-scale landscape type and more distant subjects in my previous post. For closer subjects, fill flash is extremely useful.
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Old May 13, 2004, 9:42 AM   #6
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Most of what I do these days is sports photography of my kids middle school and high school lacrosse and football games. White helmets andwhite in the uniforms. I've been using spot metering which could be the problem. I'll try the center-weighted and the other setting that meters the entire picture. I remember that when I first bought the D100 photos seemed dark and that's why I went to spot metering. I didn't realize at the time (I hadn't started using PS) that it's easy to lighten the photo. A dark photo doesn't mean that there isn't a lot of good detail in the picture. I'm shooting a lacrosse game this afternoon. I'll let you all know how the change in metering works.

Thanks for the good input.



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Old May 13, 2004, 10:00 AM   #7
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I find the main problem is burnt out highlights under bright sunlight. In that case I use matrix metering and underexpose by 2 to 3 "bars" on the exposuremeter. I've got mine set to the default setting of 1 "bar" equals 1/3 EV. As I use RAW I can compensate for the underexposure in Nikon Capture Editor, through applying exposure compensation. If I'm still not happy with the result I can create an S shaped curve in NCE that can bring up the mid tones and avoid blowing the highlights.

Regards, Graham.

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Old May 29, 2004, 6:17 AM   #8
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I just purchased Nikon D70. It is an excellent camera but do seem to have the same problem with highlights blownouts. My other camera is Sigma Sd9 that used to have similar problems in the past until Sigma posted a software upgrade about half a year ago. Is it possible the Nikon can do the same ?

Right now I am underexposing my images just a bit to solve the problem. However it is not a perfect solution .

:sad:


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Old May 30, 2004, 2:12 PM   #9
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The best solution I found is using a custom tone curve

Check out this link - it has all the info you need:

http://fotogenetic.dearingfilm.com/c...ne_curves.html

The only other thing is mabe your metering technique??

Hope this helps.
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Old May 30, 2004, 8:47 PM   #10
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Quite often blown highlights are the result of incorrect jpeg processing, not the result of the light exceeding the sensor's capability. Shooting in raw can help you recover highlights. Here's a trick I do in photoshop -

1. shoot in raw

2. convert to a tif with the exposure adjusted for the proper exposure on your subject

3. convert to a tif a second time, but first adjust the exposuse so the highlights aren't blown

4. copy the darker picture to a new layer on top of your correctly exposed image

5. add a layer mask to the top layer and select 'hide all'

6. use a white (or sometimes gray) brush on the mask and brush over the highlights to reveal the darker, non-blown highlights.

you can also play around with the opacity of the layers to get it right.
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