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Old Oct 9, 2010, 10:48 PM   #1
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Default Highlight and shadow options

Just wondering what other people think of these options, and how well they improve dynamic range?

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Old Oct 10, 2010, 4:30 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by tony3dd View Post
Just wondering what other people think of these options, and how well they improve dynamic range?
Well - the information is in your image or not. Highlight and shadows are just postprocessing methods to make certain image information better visible.

So they can NOT improve dynamic range (technically), but they can help you to see stuff that would be hidden otherwise due to limitations of hardware/print.

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Old Oct 10, 2010, 7:15 AM   #3
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I'm in two minds about it, I find it works only in shots (ironically) without much contrast, the noise it generates in dark areas for me isn't worth bothering with it most of the time.
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Old Oct 10, 2010, 9:31 AM   #4
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I'm in two minds about it, I find it works only in shots (ironically) without much contrast, the noise it generates in dark areas for me isn't worth bothering with it most of the time.
Ya, I noticed the noise in shadow also on my K7. I also don't like the fact that the ISO low limit is 200. What's with all that added noise?
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Old Oct 10, 2010, 9:55 AM   #5
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While we often talk of there being more noise in the shadow areas, the noise throughout a frame is pretty much constant - the brighter areas have a higher signal level, though, so the signal to noise ratio is greater in lighter parts. If we use the shadow/highlight function, either in camera or post, we are amplifying the signal and noise in the dark areas more than in the light, resulting in the noise being more visible.
If you want to get detail in shadows, without the noise being too visible, there really is no substitute for a multi-exposure HDR. At least until sensors get a lot better.
It should be interesting to see what the 645D can do in this respect.

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Old Oct 10, 2010, 12:36 PM   #6
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Hi Tony,

IMO, this is a feature that is still showing some growing pains. In theory, it's a good idea -- essentially context variable ISO sensitivity in a single shot, where the camera tries to use higher ISO sensitivity in the shadows to increase the capture of details and lower ISO in the highlights to prevent blow outs on a pixel-to pixel basis. I believe all of the brands have a version of this feature.

I think that there's a possibility that general improvement in sensor s/n ratio and improved algorithms will make this a more interesting feature in future models, and it might be a mistake to discount it's usefulness while the implementation is in its infancy. Just because you don't particularly like it now, doesn't mean that it won't work acceptably with an improved sensor.

Personally, I have found it useful when shooting certain types of birds which are especially prone to blow outs because of small areas of white or yellow feathers that are particularly reflective. Adult Great Blue Herons have a small stark white area on the top of their heads, the yellow in Goldfinches will fool the metering sensor in bright sunlight, and White Crowned and White Throated Sparrows, with their small stark white areas on their heads, are species that I've frequently had blown highlight problems with, especially in bright direct sunlight and when they are in mixed direct light and shadow.

I don't keep it on all the time, as it would be like turning a noise setting up all the time, but if I think of it, setting Highlight Correction to "on" sometimes works in these situations. I'll gladly trade a small increase in noise at low ISO for blown highlights on my subject. Noise is just bothersome, blown highlights can ruin a shot. The alternative is to use negative Ev comp to underexpose the majority of the frame, and underexposure increases noise levels, so it's a six of one, half dozen of the other thing for me, and Highlight Correction is automatic, which gives me one less thing to worry about in a fast paced shooting situation.

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Old Oct 10, 2010, 4:58 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone. What about just shooting Raw, does that help? I have yet to try raw.
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Old Oct 10, 2010, 5:02 PM   #8
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you should always shoot raw - makes a huge difference unless you are a fantastic photographer who always gets everything perfect first time - and even then it still offers control that you simply dont have when shooting jpeg's
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Old Oct 10, 2010, 7:31 PM   #9
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Yes, shooting Raw will help - it won't eliminate noise, but does give you a little more leeway in recovering detail, particularly in the highlights. This can allow you to use a little brighter overall exposure, which does help somewhat with shadow noise. A Raw converter such as Raw Therapee lets you do noise reduction before the conversion, which seems to me to work better than doing it later.

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Old Oct 10, 2010, 8:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony3dd View Post
What about just shooting Raw, does that help? I have yet to try raw.
Hi Tony,

Shooting RAW will definitely give you a bit more headroom, but you don't have to give up this potential advantage if you normally like to shoot jpgs -- For me at least, that's what the RAW button is for. . .the occasional situation where I might want a RAW file for its potentially higher DR. This happens only very rarely. . .

I won't get into the RAW vs jpg thing. There is no definitive answer that works for everyone, or this would not continue to be a controversy. There are advantages to both formats, and each photographer has to choose which format benefits whatever style of shooting that they might do. I'm a jpg shooter, and with constantly improving in-camera jpg engines and photo editing tools, it's unlikely that I'll ever change.

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