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11-11-2009, 05:46 PM   #1
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Shadows or highlights? K20D

Like many others, I've noticed the tendency of the K20D to underexpose in order to avoid highlight blowouts, i.e. the histogram is usually to the left of center. I would assume from this that Pentax feels that preserving highlight detail is more important than the risk of losing shadow detail.

So here are my questions:
  • In a contrasty situation, is it better to overexpose to preserve shadow detail, or to underexpose to preserve highlight detail?
  • Is it easier to recover shadow details or highlight details in post-processing if I shoot RAW?
  • Do you trust your K20D's tendency to underexpose or do you manually overexpose in most situations?
I've had some frustrating results when I've manually overexposed, so I'm asking for input and opinions.

11-11-2009, 05:55 PM   #2
Ole
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It is easier to recover shadow detail. You may get some noise though. But when recovering hightlight detail you may get color cast issues because often-times only one of the color channels were clipped. And those color issues cannot be fixed, whereas noise can.

I always expose conservatively. When in doubt I use autobracketing +/- 0.5 EV. More often than not I end up using either the camera's suggestion, or the -0.5EV exposure, rarely the +0.5EV shot.
11-11-2009, 05:58 PM   #3
Ash
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Blown highlights are unrecoverable.
Hence the paranoia Pentax cams have for overexposure.

I'm with Ole on that one. I also only boost as far as +0.3 or +0.7 in normal conditions for most lenses. In fact my 16-50 lens is bright enough not to need any EV boost.

Bring out the magic in the shot by boosting shadow detail, as long as a low ISO has been used, this should come up fine.
11-11-2009, 06:14 PM   #4
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My K10/20d both live primarily at +0.3 correction, and spend about an equal amount of time on +0.7 or 0.0 correction. Mainly you just need to keep an eye on the histogram. I try to always get the histogram as close as possible to the right edge, without clipping, and everything else is where everthat puts it.

I think part of the reason why Pentax cameras get such a bad rap from noise, is that if you don't take control of your camera, it will underexpose the piss out of just about everything, then you need to brighten it in post, yeilding horendous noise. But if you know you equipment, and get the exposures right, K20d has very good noise handling capabilites.

11-11-2009, 08:12 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by enoxatnep Quote
Like many others, I've noticed the tendency of the K20D to underexpose in order to avoid highlight blowouts, i.e. the histogram is usually to the left of center.
Averaging a bit left of center - about half a stop - is actually *correct* exposure by ISO standards. that's the case even when there are no highlights to worry about - like shooting a gray card. But indeed, if there are highlights in danger of blowing, Pentax cameras will exposure darker still.

I would assume from this that Pentax feels that preserving highlight detail is more important than the risk of losing shadow detail.

QuoteQuote:
[*]In a contrasty situation, is it better to overexpose to preserve shadow detail, or to underexpose to preserve highlight detail?
It is best to decide which area interests you more, and concentrate on exposing for that. You're simply not going to get good detail in both highlights and shadows in a high contrast scene. But if you decide to try anyhow, you can often get *something* (even if noisy and generally not pleasant) out of an underexposed shadow. You'll often get *nothing* out of an overexposed highlight.
11-11-2009, 08:18 PM   #6
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This isn't about Style or Technique, it's camera specific.
Moved.
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