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05-22-2019, 11:13 AM   #1
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High/Low key adjust vs. exposure compensation

I've had my K-5 IIs for a few months now, and am digging into some of its finer points. I am wondering what the difference is between High/Low key adjustment in the custom image settings vs. using normal exposure compensation. Do they affect the histograms differently? The K-5 e-book by Yvon Bourque doesn't discuss it. I did a search here on the forum and read quite a few threads. Found some useful information about custom image setting tweaks, but nothing that addresses this specific comparison of exposure adjustment methods. Any thoughts or comments from y'all?

05-22-2019, 11:56 AM - 1 Like   #2
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The custom image settings doesn't change the way the picture is exposed. They only affect how the correctly exposed image is processed toward a low/high key look.It's kind of a processing preset or a filter applied to the raw file and not a specific set of exposure settings.

On the other hand, exposure compensation really change how the picture is exposed. Which don't necessarily mean, more often than not, a high or low key look. The goal usually being to compensate exposure for scenes with a large amount of white or dark colors leading respectively to a underexposed or overexposed picture. Or, said otherwise, you want the white to look white and the black to look black instead of grey.

Thse are two completely different things.

Last edited by CarlJF; 05-22-2019 at 12:01 PM.
05-22-2019, 01:10 PM   #3
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So it sounds like the high or low key processing would be applied *on top of* any exposure compensation, correct? The threads I read also indicated that the high/low key adjustment only affects jpgs, not raw files, except for the jpgs embedded in the raw files.
05-22-2019, 01:55 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Apet-Sure Quote
So it sounds like the high or low key processing would be applied *on top of* any exposure compensation, correct? The threads I read also indicated that the high/low key adjustment only affects jpgs, not raw files, except for the jpgs embedded in the raw files.
Correct!

05-22-2019, 03:52 PM   #5
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Apart from their application at different stages of image making (as described above), I think you will find that moving the Key Slider is intended to affect the mid-tones - e.g. higher key makes the mid-tones brighter while preserving the highlights. On the other hand Exposure Compensation will affect all the tones - e.g. + EC will make the whole image brighter, so care must be taken not to go too far and blow out the highlight details in the JPEG image.

Philip
05-22-2019, 04:15 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by MrB1 Quote
care must be taken not to go too far and blow out the highlight details in the JPEG image
Well, the K-5 has a setting for highlight blowout prevention, too. So many inter-related features! I'll never master all of the possible permutations. But I WILL have fun trying!


I haven't tried using the high/low key adjustment yet when capturing a new image, only when seeing its effect on a previously captured image. It will be fun to experiment. All of your helpful feedback will be added to my 'field notes'. Thanks.
05-22-2019, 05:19 PM   #7
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For a variety of reasons, Apet-Sure, I think you're better off going into Manual mode and getting the High or Low key look the way you like it there. Review in the Playback screen because the point of those particular looks is to expose either for the shadows or the highlights and the camera doesn't do that, it's metering is for 12% grey.
05-23-2019, 07:42 AM   #8
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Ahh, yes, the gray card. I still have one from back in the day (the '70s). In fact, I still have my first SLR.


I shoot in manual mode 90% of the time. Took some shots in the back yard this morning trying out some tweaks recommended in the threads I read about custom image settings. High/low wasn't one of them yet. I'm sure in the near future I'll be trying it out. Well, I just now had an idea for a high key shot version of a shot I took this morning. Back out the back door.....

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