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04-20-2016, 07:53 AM   #1
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Keeping highlights from blowing on 645Z

First time poster on the forum (I have been posting for years on Fred Miranda.com mainly).

I just bought a used 645Z and love it, and while the shadow recovery is incredible, I am finding it noticeably easier to blow highlights than on my other cameras and am finding myself adjusting exposure compensation downward severely. Given that the camera is known for its dynamic range I am a bit surprised at how easy it is to blow highlights that can't be recovered in Lightroom. Are most people finding this to be the case, and any tips for how to deal with this except dialing down exposure compensation?

I understand that Live View reads the histogram from the raw sensor data so that gives a more accurate view of blown highlights, but I usually prefer using the viewfinder, especially when not using a tripod.

Thanks!

Peter

---------- Post added 04-20-16 at 07:55 AM ----------

Whoops - thought this was being posted on the medium format forum but since I am a first time poster it went to the Introductions forum. If the moderator could move it I would greatly appreciate it, Thanks!

04-20-2016, 08:13 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by peterm1 Quote
First time poster on the forum (I have been posting for years on Fred Miranda.com mainly).

I just bought a used 645Z and love it, and while the shadow recovery is incredible, I am finding it noticeably easier to blow highlights than on my other cameras and am finding myself adjusting exposure compensation downward severely. Given that the camera is known for its dynamic range I am a bit surprised at how easy it is to blow highlights that can't be recovered in Lightroom. Are most people finding this to be the case, and any tips for how to deal with this except dialing down exposure compensation?

I understand that Live View reads the histogram from the raw sensor data so that gives a more accurate view of blown highlights, but I usually prefer using the viewfinder, especially when not using a tripod.

Thanks!

Peter

---------- Post added 04-20-16 at 07:55 AM ----------

Whoops - thought this was being posted on the medium format forum but since I am a first time poster it went to the Introductions forum. If the moderator could move it I would greatly appreciate it, Thanks!
Have you shoot in digital before? (as oppose to film where you want to expose for the shade, digital you want to expose for the highlight, in general)
if you have an example to illustrate will be great.
04-20-2016, 08:26 AM   #3
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If you are in a mode other than Manual and taking pictures of an image with varying contrast (dim/bright) the interpretation of the complete metering of the scene may be be difficult for the camera to satisfy. I usually use TAV mode for example, but I have had scenarios where the bright/dim extremes have caused blowout or higher than usual ISO reactions. That is why I resort to Manual mode, which I can regulate F stop, ISO, Shutter Speed, and EV Compensation with. Another example is, to control my settings while taking a picture of an Osprey (white/brown feathers) on a branch in the bright sunlight, I switched to Manual mode due the variation in subject color snd possible reflection of direct sunlight on the feathers. That way I do not get interpretations of the subject based on reflection or just one part of the subject that I would in an automated mode. Otherwise, as I mentioned I usually use TAV mode. I presently have the K-3II and K-5IIS.

---------- Post added 04-20-16 at 11:42 AM ----------

You also have the option of "Highlight Correction" that you can utilize in your camera. Similarly, there is also "Shadow Correction" that can be utilized.

Last edited by C_Jones; 04-20-2016 at 09:25 AM.
04-20-2016, 09:28 AM   #4
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If you are doing landscape (still/near still) you could also resort to using your HDR option.

04-20-2016, 10:31 AM   #5
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Thanks - will definitely be using HDR bracketing more. Will check out highlight correction and whether and how it works on Raw or if its JPEG only.
04-20-2016, 11:41 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by peterm1 Quote
Will check out highlight correction and whether and how it works on Raw or if its JPEG only.
Highlight correction doubles the ISO then underexposes by a stop, so it does work in RAW, but it's the same as just underexposing and later lifting the exposure by 1ev manually. Shadow correction is for JPEGs only.

If you could post an example of a shot you're dissatisfied with, that would be helpful.

Also, are you in matrix metering mode?

Adam
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04-20-2016, 12:02 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by peterm1 Quote
First time poster on the forum (I have been posting for years on Fred Miranda.com mainly).

I just bought a used 645Z and love it, and while the shadow recovery is incredible, I am finding it noticeably easier to blow highlights than on my other cameras and am finding myself adjusting exposure compensation downward severely.
A few questions:
1. Are you actually blowing highlights or are you looking at the histogram in your raw converter to make the call?
2. Can you recover all the captured highlight information with the exception of specular highlights?
3. Assuming you are shooting raw which editor are you using?

QuoteQuote:
Given that the camera is known for its dynamic range I am a bit surprised at how easy it is to blow highlights that can't be recovered in Lightroom. Are most people finding this to be the case, and any tips for how to deal with this except dialing down exposure compensation?
I guess that this answers the second question but maybe you could expand a bit on how bad. Or ideally post an example or if ok send a pm for a link to a raw image that demonstrates this.

QuoteQuote:
I understand that Live View reads the histogram from the raw sensor data so that gives a more accurate view of blown highlights, but I usually prefer using the viewfinder, especially when not using a tripod.
I am not at all sure that Live VIew can read the data from raw and build a histogram although technically possible I do not think Pentax implemented this (Neither did Nikon - just a rumour). Well at least that is the opinion I had when I looked at the histogram in LV vs the histogram shown in play - they appeared to be the same.

If you are using the histogram view of a captured image you are looking at a JPEG representation and therefore a 'correctly exposed' JPEG is an underexposed raw. So you should be able to judge how much extra headroom you have when jpg histo, starts to hit the wall.
04-20-2016, 12:59 PM   #8
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I asked this same question a few weeks back so I tested it myself.

It varies from scene to scene, but basically if you use the highlight warning indicator in live view and adjust exposure until the blinkies disappear, you still have anywhere from 1/3stop to a full stop remaining in the highlights, so that means you can then ramp the exposure back up a further 1/3, 2/3 or 1 stop and even though the highlight warning indicator will say it's blown, the raw file won't be.

From now on I will be setting exposure until the blinkies disappear then pushing it and taking 2 shots, one at +1/3 and one at +2/3. Even on the Z when the highlights are blown by just a 1/3 stop, you can still use a touch of highlight recovery in Lightroom and it comes up fine.

Scott

04-20-2016, 01:29 PM   #9
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Hi Scott,

I have not looked in depth yet but can I ask if you noticed that the 1/3 - 1 EV remaining overhead is exactly the same as what you would see on the display screen outside of live view?

I suspect that the raw editor plays a very large role here as well as the manufacturers thoughts on leaving headroom in raw capture.

For instance Adobe applies hidden baseline exposure compensation to many cameras (+0.35 Nikon D800 for instance ) and I think it is the case that for the 645 this is a negative value of around 0.55 EV. This coupled with other Process changes could lead to exposure errors particularly if a user tries to compensate in the wrong direction being reliant that exposure info correct.

Must have a look at 645 files in Rawdigger when I have time
04-20-2016, 02:52 PM   #10
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Exposing to the right means pushing the histogram as far to the right as possible without blowing highlights (unless you are happy to deal with clipping in PP). I am a slow shooter because I repeatedly check the histogram in digital preview before capturing a scene proper, and even then I've started to get into the habit of heavy bracketing.

What sort of photography are you doing?
04-20-2016, 05:36 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by peterm1 Quote
Thanks - will definitely be using HDR bracketing more. Will check out highlight correction and whether and how it works on Raw or if its JPEG only.
You're welcome.
04-21-2016, 12:49 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by peterm1 Quote
First time poster on the forum (I have been posting for years on Fred Miranda.com mainly).

I just bought a used 645Z and love it, and while the shadow recovery is incredible, I am finding it noticeably easier to blow highlights than on my other cameras and am finding myself adjusting exposure compensation downward severely. Given that the camera is known for its dynamic range I am a bit surprised at how easy it is to blow highlights that can't be recovered in Lightroom. Are most people finding this to be the case, and any tips for how to deal with this except dialing down exposure compensation?

I understand that Live View reads the histogram from the raw sensor data so that gives a more accurate view of blown highlights, but I usually prefer using the viewfinder, especially when not using a tripod.

Thanks!

Peter
It's a known characteristic of the 645Z, most of the sensor's dynamic range is in the shadows, so as long as you make sure that the histogram doesn't clip, you can recover as much off the shadows as you need.
You can safely push the shadows a few stops without introducing noise.
04-21-2016, 01:06 AM   #13
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Welcome Peter and congrats on the 645Z!
I am not experiencing any issues with blown highlights with center weighted metering, which I use most often (sometimes spot metering for concerts and other situations).
If you post some examples, we can get a feel for the scene and what may be going on.
I find Pentax metering in general to be extremely consistent and predictable
04-21-2016, 03:07 AM   #14
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Mike I am curious, does the metering setting even matter if you shoot in M mode with live view and live histogram using manual adjustments? I would have thought not?
04-21-2016, 04:06 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by 2351HD Quote
Mike I am curious, does the metering setting even matter if you shoot in M mode with live view and live histogram using manual adjustments? I would have thought not?
Well, if you know about the specifics of the Z's sensor then it doesn't, but If you are using an automatic mode the camera will try to expose the scene "correctly" according to its idea of well-exposed, which is in reality over-exposed.
This can be fixed by dialing in negative exposure compensation and getting used to seeing dark-ish images on the LCD. Of course you could also crank up in-camera shadow recovery, which will only affect the image preview if shooting Raw, but give you a visual more representative of the sensor's capabilities.
It would be optimal if Pentax adjusted via firmware the system's idea of where middle gray should be in the DR scale, so that you have an even amount of shadow and highlight headroom.

Last edited by Kolor-Pikker; 04-21-2016 at 04:12 AM.
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