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Old Aug 7, 2008, 12:43 PM   #1
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One of the primary reasons for my selling the Oly E510 and buying the A300 was the better DR on the latter. However, I've been having a heck of a hard time understanding the camera's metering behavior. When I think I finally got it, I realize I haven't. Last week I went to San Diego for 4 days and visited the Wild Life Animal Park, Legoland and Old Town. I took hundreds of pictures with the Tamaron 28-105mm and Minolta 100-300mm lenses (did not bring the Sony kit lens in favor of the Tammy). Although I got some real good shots, I must admit that over 70% of all images were either over or under exposed (even though they looked quite alright on the LCD, which to me is a big issue). I've set the DRO function to standard since day 1 and have not changed it since. The reason is because from some of the reviews I've read, the advanced DRO setting can do more harm than good. So, once I calmed down after seeing the large amount of bad images the camera produced, I decided to play with the DRO setting. So, I took lots pictures of scenes in total shade, mostly shade+sun, mostly sun+shade, etc, etc, etc. Well, it did not take long for me to realize that I would not beable to come up with a behavior pattern. I used manual exposure (ISO 100) making sure the Ev was always at 0 just to make sure I would not influence the camera's default metering. The results were all over the place but I did conclude a few things:

1. Standard DRO setting is more consistant than Advanced DRO BUT, most images will be over exposed. So, the DRO function is bringing out the shades at the expense of the highlights. Technically speaking, the results could give the impression that DR is increased but in reality, the camera is simply shifting the Ev curve to the right of the histogram.

2. Advanced DRO setting many times mane no difference to the imagebut when it did make a difference, the imagewas more balanced than the ones produced by Standard DRO. Colorswere more saturated and highlightswere more under control. The problem is, in some cases, the Advanced DRO will over expose the entire image and the colors become washed out. Absolutely horrible.

3. DRO OFF. You will have to post process most high contrastimages to recover the shaded areas for it will be too dark. However, the colors are more saturated and the highlights better preserved.

So, what setting should you use? My preference is for DRO OFF in normal conditions and ADVANCED DRO for more challenging light conditions. I may end up with more darker images than if shooting with DRO set to STANDARD but I think I will preserve the highlights a lot more as well, which is certainly beneficial.

Has anyone done any tests with DRO? I'm interested in hearing other user's opinions on the subject!
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 12:05 PM   #2
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I don't have the A300, but the A700 I havehas DRO with slightly different options. I have not had my 700 very long but my observations on DRO as of now are.

1. Standard- DR; I don't really see much of any difference with this setting.

2. AdvancedAuto-DR+; This setting does make a noticable difference ( not sure if auto adjust to different levels or not).

3. Advanced Level-DR+; This setting has an adjustment level of +1 to +5. This is the setting I use most. I usually leave it at a +3 setting.

As I said earlier I have not had my camera very long and I'm still feeling out the DRO settings. Remember, if you shoot RAW you can always adjust after the shot.
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 12:16 PM   #3
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The A700 has a much different DRO implementation than the A300, that's for sure. On the A300, there is no fine tuning for DRO and DRO standard makes a huge difference, over exposing the image quite a bit in most cases. I don't shoot RAW because I don't want to spend hours in front of the computer converting every single image, so I try to get the best quality image possible right out of the camera. If I can only understand in which conditions I will benefit from setting the A300 DRO to standard or advanced, that'd be a great step forward. But, I just can't make much sense out of it.
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