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05-02-2010, 11:56 AM   #1
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Dark images out of camera

Attached are a couple of images take earlier this afternoon, conditions were bright and sunny. The lens (Sigma 18-50) had a CPL attached.

Whilst the results look pleasing, what really bugs me is that Lightroom adjusted the exposure for all three (and others shot from the same location), by +1.5 - +2.05EV.

Metering used was central weighted average, with the scenes metered slightly below the sky.

In some images the sky becomes washed out, even though conditions are favourable.

The JPG out of the camera are slightly darker than the results Lightroom produces.

How can I improve my technique so that images straight out of the camera better resemble the actual scene?

Regards
Adrian


Last edited by bychan; 06-11-2010 at 12:34 PM.
05-02-2010, 12:18 PM   #2
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Adrian,

I see nothing wrong with your images.

However, what were you metering on?
The bare earth? The green or brown grass? The flowers?
Dark or light areas of either?
It will make a difference.

Have you set your camera to lock the exposure as long as you keep the shutter release depressed half way?

Mickey
05-02-2010, 05:32 PM   #3
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Maybe this has something to do with the use of the CPL filter- it does eat about 1.5 stops after all, and definitely changes the photo levels.

Adam
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05-02-2010, 05:42 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by bychan Quote
...Lightroom adjusted the exposure for all three (and others shot from the same location), by +1.5 - +2.05EV.

...The JPG out of the camera are slightly darker than the results Lightroom produces.

How can I improve my technique so that images straight out of the camera better resemble the actual scene?

Regards
Adrian
Increase the exposure, perhaps by using +1 EV compensation.

05-02-2010, 06:24 PM   #5
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Metering on a camera is designed to give a photo that is some level of gray (18% I believe on most modern cameras). If you use spot metering then the place on that spot (and a little around it) will be 18%. If you use center weighted then most of the frame weighted to the center more (kind of like an average) is 18%. With multipoint metering multiple spot readings (the number and placement depends on the camera) are used. An algorithm (a mathematic formula) is used weighing each point with the intent of not over or under exposing any part but still 18%.

The problem with this is regardless of the metering type used the camera can’t know what the relative brightness (the sky needs to be much brighter then the ground) so the camera is going to try and make it 18%. This on average is OK but as the parts of the photo become more extreme the camera get further off of what the photographer may want. Even then it is still the photographer to decide how light or dark they want the photo. Your not going to get a “dark and stormy night” if it is up to the camera.

This is why the camera has an EV compensation so that the photographer can put it in to bias the metering, as to what the photographer thinks is needed. With expertise the photographer will know that if there is sky in the photo to add some EV comp and if the photo is overly dark to take some out. The histogram and blinking over/under can help with this.

Although in this case only a little EV comp is needed. You can get a photo so extreme that the metering is of no use. It maybe better to use manual settings and look at the photo (histogram and blinking over/under can help) and then make adjustments.

DAZ
05-02-2010, 07:06 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by bychan Quote
Attached are a couple of images take earlier this afternoon, conditions were bright and sunny. The lens (Sigma 18-50) had a CPL attached.

Whilst the results look pleasing, what really bugs me is that Lightroom adjusted the exposure for all three (and others shot from the same location), by +1.5 - +2.05EV.
That's just some software algorithm. You can ignore it or maybe tell it to stop doing that.

QuoteQuote:
Metering used was central weighted average, with the scenes metered slightly below the sky.

In some images the sky becomes washed out, even though conditions are favourable.

The JPG out of the camera are slightly darker than the results Lightroom produces.

How can I improve my technique so that images straight out of the camera better resemble the actual scene?

Regards
Adrian
I looked at all these examples in my editing software, and they were at least a great starting point for processing, in my opinion. I don't think I'd make a lot of changes from that point either. Have these examples already been processed?

In the examples as posted, the small white clouds are the closest to being overexposed and clipping to white. That's when they'd lose detail and look odd. (White clouds are often a potential clipping point.) I think you're just below it here, so I don't see why Lightroom pushes the exposure up that much. You could maybe go another half-stop if you really had to, but I wouldn't.

When taking these photos, look for those points first. Set your camera to show them blinking if it doesn't already. If you see blinking spots for areas where detail should be preserved, reduce exposure and try another shot. You should also make sure not to overexpose one color channel. Older cameras like mine don't show them separately; yours might show individtal red, green and blue channels. The red channel is most likely to wash out first. Usually it's a solid-colored object the same color as the channel that causes trouble - red flower, blue sky, green foliage. Again, if it's an important element, make sure it's not overexposed.

If the scene is well-lit, and your exposure is not overexposed, but within 1 stop of it, you should have enough information to make the image look like you want in processing. For a scene with a wider range of light, like a night scene with city lights or a concert, you may have to make more decisions when shooting. You might have to overexpose some bright lights and lose detail there, to get detail in very dark areas of the scene. Otherwise, when you try to brighten those dark areas in processing, you'll brighten the noise too.

I am not sure how to answer your last question, since I do not usually need the image to look great straight from the camera - in fact my camera is weak in that area.
05-02-2010, 10:53 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by bychan Quote
In some images the sky becomes washed out, even though conditions are favourable.

The JPG out of the camera are slightly darker than the results Lightroom produces.

How can I improve my technique so that images straight out of the camera better resemble the actual scene?
I'm not sure what problem you are seeing. These look fine as is - much brighter and the sky would be washed out. That's the basic age-old problem in photography, and it's almost always better to expose as the camera did here than to expose to wash out the sky - you can always brighten the foreground in PP, but you can't recover a washed out sky (except a little).
05-10-2010, 03:14 PM   #8
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Original Poster
Thanks for all your replies and advise, greatly appreciated.
My initial thoughts were that I was doing something wrong when Lightroom was adjusting the exposure in what were perceived to be good conditions.

Practice and learn is the order of the day!

Regards
Adrian

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