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View Full Version : Obtaining a good RAW file when taken-E500


dennisg
31st May 2008, 12:42 AM
I am finally after a year and half diving into the RAW file world. In the past several weeks I have purchased two software packages that I will be using for my RAW files. The first is Picture Window Pro 4.0 and Archsoft PhotoStudio Darkroom 1.5. I intend to use the later one to fimiliarize myself with editing the RAW files that I will be capturing this summer. Then move on to the other for a more advanced editing.

In the past several weeks I have been reading some great Photo Magazines from the UK; Digital SLR Photograpy and Digital Camera World. Both are a great source of information and they both are much better then some of the photo magaizines published here on this side of the pond!

Thus here is my dilema. As I read, using the histogram to monitor the Dynamic Range in a RAW file is not an accurate source to judge the quality of the shot taken. Then they say you need to get the optimim result when shooting RAW! So, if the histogram is not accurate, and you need to get a optimized shot, how do I measure the "Optimum" result using the E500 in the field. I would like very much to get the best possible shot right from the get-go so that editing can be less tiresome and can bring out the most information the the RAW file has to offer!

Believe me I understand the difference between a JPEG and RAW file, but I want to be able to obtain the results expected utilizing the RAW format.

Last, how does one reduce the "Blow-Out" that the E500 exhibits when the lighting scenario has a wide dynamic range? I really need to find a way to get a better result here.

Thanks to all who will put in their own two cents in these questions asked! I am going to purchase an E520 body this fall and I understand that this upgrade does a much better job with RAW files and dynamic range within a file.

Dennis G:confused:

snaarman
31st May 2008, 07:03 AM
I'm not so certain about that advice to optimise for RAW..

I use an E-400 which is a CCD imager, and I think there are some subtle differences in the way that CCD and CMOS imagers top out the highlights, but here goes..

Here is an experiment I did this morning. This is a typical impossible shot, with too much dynamic range for the camera.

Before I switched to RAW mode last year I always set my cameras to -0.3 stop compensation in the hope that it would preserve the highlights. The theory is you may lose the shadows but that looks more acceptable that blowing the highlights.

These days I don't usually use exposure compensation, but shoot RAW + Jpeg. If I check the histogram of the shot then I might see it has hit the upper end but I don't worry too much. I have found the ACR plugin can recover a couple of stops of over-exposure, (but you need to check the recovered colours very carefully).

In this example (left side = RAW) I used something like -1.5 stops of recovery :o, then adjusted "fill light" to lift the shadows up from black. The right side (Jpeg) had a lot of gamma adjustment to bring it down from clipped highlights.

To my mind, the mangled jpeg has an artificial look, and the resultant blacked out shadows can't be recovered, whereas the recovered RAW looks more natural.

I might point out that neither shot is a keeper!




http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/622/rawjpg_try.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/5877)

Pete

Crouchy
31st May 2008, 08:14 AM
There is a very good article on the Photopro web site by Andrew Rodney on shooting Raw. Also on the Luminous Landscape web site about exposing to the right (on your histogram). One main problem is the histogram shows the JPEG not the raw. But generally it is best not to underexpose as this results in noise in the shadows. Look at www.digitalphotopro.com.
Cheers
Andy.

Graham_of_Rainham
31st May 2008, 09:39 AM
Hi,
I have to agree with Pete. I have my E-500 set at -0.7 most of the time and always use RAW. Recovering detail from shadows is much better than from burnt out Hi-Lights.

One tip from the "Old School" is to have a mid grey card handy and expose from a full frame or spot reading off the card. While digital is fantastic, there are some very basic photographic techniques that have served us well for many years and are as valid today as they ever were.

Hope this helps

Graham

PS Well done Pete, one of the best examples and explanations I've seen.

dennisg
31st May 2008, 04:40 PM
To all, thanks for the insights and solutions on this subject.

Now I have also read that you can use ND filters to tame the blowout on the dynamic range. This way the filter does the reduction of light hitting the sensor instaed of using a compensation value. I would think that there would be less noise at the shadow side of the range due to the filter is being the gate keeper for keeping extreme lighting from hitting the sensor.

Is this correct thinking?

Thanks again for your inputs!

Dennis G::D

Nick Temple-Fry
31st May 2008, 04:50 PM
To all, thanks for the insights and solutions on this subject.

Now I have also read that you can use ND filters to tame the blowout on the dynamic range. This way the filter does the reduction of light hitting the sensor instaed of using a compensation value. I would think that there would be less noise at the shadow side of the range due to the filter is being the gate keeper for keeping extreme lighting from hitting the sensor.

Is this correct thinking?

Thanks again for your inputs!

Dennis G::D

Ho - hum - well yes and then again no.

The ND filter will reduce the light and therefore (if all other settings on the camera remain the same) help to tame burnout.

But your camera will, if left to its own devices, determine that the image is a bit darker than optimum, so it will lengthen your exposure and attempt to negate the effect of the filter.

Now what will exactly happen depends on how you are using your camera, so it's all a bit suck-it and see.

Nick

dennisg
31st May 2008, 04:59 PM
Now that's fast service! Thanks!

I kind of thought that the meter within the camera will do other things to get around the NS filter. So I will try to stop down .3 of an f stop and go from there. With everything stated on the forum, you need to get acquainted with the way your camera performs and then you will have abetter understanding on how top compensate to get the maximum return on the shots taken.

Tomorrow I will be shooting a Western Equestrain event here. It will be a dry and sunny spring day so I will report back on how this all worked out.:cool:

Thanks!

Dennis G

photonutter
1st June 2008, 04:11 PM
One thing springs to mind, which histogram were they talking about? Unlike most other companies cameras' that use a histogram from either red or green chanel you get the whole hit from the E500 with all channels.
There is also personal preference and preconception for what your shooting. Things also to consider is the position and impact of any blown high lights, could they add to the composition? Do you shoot hi key shots where it's the norm?
If you use the nd filters or polarizers, both can dramatically increase detail in the shadows due to the longer exposure with higher saturation. You'll have to be careful with a polarizer though, can increase or decrease the dynamics in a shot depending on positioning and whats in the frame.

maccabeej
1st June 2008, 07:00 PM
This is just a minor point but can be important, a blown out white can exist eg specular highlights. Even that great master Ansel Adams recognised it in the Zone system. His methodology for large format negatives is very valid today using levels and curves in post processing where he adjusted development times.
The important thing about looking at a histogram is to know what to expect from the scene in front of you. By just aiming for maximum information ie no or minimal highlight and shadow clipping you may miss the optimum exposure for the most important part of the subject. Sorry if I have not expressed this well.

Jim

dennisg
6th June 2008, 12:46 AM
*chr

To All,

I have gone to an equestrian event this apst weekend and shot fifty some odd pictures of the competitions there. I set the camer's exposure to a mius 1/3 f stop and used my 40-150 mm lens on my E500. The sun was going in and out due to a lot of cumulaus clouds on a sunny day. In addition to the f-stop adjustment, I used the histogram as a tool to monitor the dynamic range and exposure.

I am happy to announce that 85% of the shots came out swell. I use Archsoft's PhotoStudio Darrkroom 1.5 and used various tools including the curve tool. All of the printouts, 8x10s and one 12x18 were all winners.

So from now on I will be shooting the RAW format for my important work and JPEGS for other lesser important work. Now I can take all the pictures I need to publish my book, "The Equestrain Sport on Long Island". I will be using MPIX and their service to publish this book. If you are interested, go to www.mpix.com.