View Full Version : Horrendous under-exposure? It CAN be recovered!

27th March 2012, 10:31 AM
(Also posted on fourthirds-user.com)

Um, no it wasn't night time - I had accidentally left the spot meter setting on and so this shot is horrendously under-exposed at f/7.1, ISO 100, 1/2500th sec using an E-620 and a 40-150 II Zuiko Digital kit tele zoom on a cloudless spring sunny day around noon.

http://fourthirds-user.com/galleries/data/550/P3251228-1.jpg (http://fourthirds-user.com/galleries/showphoto.php/photo/23253)

Going by the Sunny 16 rule (ISO 100 and 100th second shutter speed at f/16, the correct shutter speed would have been around 1/500th at f/7.1. So my shoot is at least 2 1/3rd stops under exposed and I think it was actually more than that.

After 3.54+ on the exposure slider in Lightroom 4 (working on RAW file) plus shadows boosted and other tweaks, this is the recovered image:

http://fourthirds-user.com/galleries/data/550/P3251228-2.jpg (http://fourthirds-user.com/galleries/showphoto.php/photo/23254)

If you look at 100% the necessary smoothing has cost some fine detail and there is some film like grain in the dark areas, but I'm sure it will make a perfectly adequate 6x4 print.


Ulfric M Douglas
27th March 2012, 12:07 PM
Unbelievably decent, you on a commission for LR4? (Kidding)

Grumpy Hec
27th March 2012, 02:19 PM
That's amazing. Demonstrates how much acsesable information there is in a RAW file. If anyone had any doubts as to the merits of shooting RAW I think this should dispel them.


27th March 2012, 02:59 PM
I tried to recover the JPEG and although it looked OK in a thumbnail, it would not sharpen up at all and remained 'fuzzy'.


27th March 2012, 03:38 PM
I did once hear that someone asked if "SPOT" metering could be used to take pictures of her dog :D

There's always a reasonable chance of getting something back from an underexposed image, good thing it wasn't at the other end of the histogram...

Interesting to see what techniques work best in these situations.


27th March 2012, 03:49 PM
I tried to recover the JPEG and although it looked OK in a thumbnail, it would not sharpen up at all and remained 'fuzzy'.


AMAZING the detail ! RAW all the way ... :D

29th March 2012, 04:55 PM
I used this experience in my DPNow blog and have followed up with a look at recovering from extreme over-exposure:



Ross the fiddler
29th March 2012, 10:24 PM
The dog photo was very nicely recovered & the over-exposed raptor came up OK too. I prefer to save JPEG & RAW for the sake making changes in RAW that does not happen too well in JPEG (& I only use Oly Viewer 2 so far) & have on a number of occasions been thankful that I had. I think it is a good practice to save both for that reason (even if most JPEG's are fine as they are), so long as the CF (or SD) card is fast enough & there is enough storage space on the computer (or attached) hard drives.

Thanks for showing us those examples of what can be recovered from the RAW files.