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GH2 - best settings for RAW?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by Sapphie, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. Sapphie

    Sapphie Mu-43 Rookie

    13
    Jun 16, 2010
    RAW is RAW, right? Well, that's what I have always thought. On some forums, however, I have seen references that suggest that some settings can affect how the RAW image ends up.

    For example, the film mode setting (Standard, Smooth, Dynamic etc).

    Also, the NR setting- possibly if it isn't set to the minimum then some NR is applied to the RAW?

    On a slightly different tack, can anyone recommend good settings that make the live view display and the associated histogram *most* resemble what we see in RAW?

    Also, I have been pleasantly surprised how well Silkypix SE renders the photos - by default seems to have a less contrasty tone curve, so I see detail in shadows not initially apparent in Lightroom.

    Lee
     
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  2. StephenL

    StephenL Mu-43 Regular

    78
    Sep 1, 2010
    I set mine to Nature with NR increased to plus 2. This seems to affect the raw file positively and gives a smooth default image in LR3.4 rc. At the moment I'm unsure whether to use iISO or Auto ISO, each with an upper limit of 800.
     
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  3. Howi

    Howi Mu-43 Veteran

    208
    Feb 23, 2011
    Sheffield
    Howard
    Nothing actually affects the raw file, it's just that 'raw' data, some editing software can take the in camera settings and apply these as defaults to the raw image though.
    If you want to use the histogram, you need to understand that the histogram is based on the JPG seen on the camera LCD, to get an accurate histogram (for using ETTR) you need to make sure saturation is set as low as possible.
    Film modes generally only affect the JPG (you can check by shooting raw + jpg and compare in whatever software you use.)
    Noise reduction has no effect on raw either as it is applied during processing (in or out of camera).

    StephenL - I have AutoIso set to on with an upper limit of 800 - anything above iso800 I want to be my decision.....
     
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  4. StephenL

    StephenL Mu-43 Regular

    78
    Sep 1, 2010
    If I recall correctly - which will be unusual - in the DP Review test of the camera they intimated that setting NR to +2 had a positive effect on raw files. I set this in Nature mode, as I can't find a way of instigating a NR setting other than in a film mode (any film mode). I settled on Nature because that looked the smoothest when checking results on the LCD display.

    I'm still unsure of the differences between Intelligent ISO and Auto ISO - I agree that anything over 800 I want to be my decision. Sometimes less. :smile:
     
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  5. mick / Lumix

    mick / Lumix Guest

    169
    Oct 3, 2010
    Intelligent ISO will give a low ISO with a still subject or higher ISO if the camera senses a moving subject. That way the shutter speed will increase for a moving subject. Details are in the instruction manual.
     
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  6. StephenL

    StephenL Mu-43 Regular

    78
    Sep 1, 2010
    Does it sense the movement by the stabilization mechanism in the lens (if there is one) or by a subjects motion on the camera sensor? If the former, then it surely will not work with legacy lenses.

    Also, it is my understanding that the shutter speed used is not displayed when using iISO as this is a variable which is not confirmed until the instant the shutter fires. Is my understanding correct?
     
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  7. Howi

    Howi Mu-43 Veteran

    208
    Feb 23, 2011
    Sheffield
    Howard
    Hi StephenL - The GH2 might be different in this respect (NR) as this camera really pushes the boat out to get amazing results. With more mp than the (ordinary) 4/3 and m43 cameras you would expect to see more noise - perhaps raw is no longer 'raw' as we know it .......
    The more agressive the NR the more detail is (usually) lost, maybe the extra mp allows some leaway here.....
    If it works, I'm certainly not going to knock it :biggrin:
     
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  8. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Raw hasn't been wrong in a long time now. I don't know about the GH2 specifically, but I can point to a number of other cameras which cook their raw files.

    I shoot the GH2 on basically default settings and process the RAW files in LR3. Extremely happy with the results I am getting.
     
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  9. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    Very interesting discussion. Good job in getting it started Lee!
     
  10. Trigeek

    Trigeek Mu-43 Regular

    Hi Amin,
    I am getting used to my GH2 and so far I am impressed. I do find that if I leave the camera at default settings that when shooting a scene with fairly uniform lighting the camera will tend to underexpose. I will usually change the exposure compensation to nudge the histogram to the right and get much better results. Have you noticed that you the same? Changing the EV for different scenes is not a real problem as I am used to it, but I was wondering if others have noticed the same. Other cameras that I have owned have not required as much EV adjustment to get repeatable results.

    Thanks,
    Jim
     
  11. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Jim, I haven't really noticed this, at least not as a problem. I bring my RAW files into Lightroom, and usually the first thing I try in Lightroom is "Auto Tone" to see if that helps or harms the overall image. That serves as my starting point for further adjustments. As I general rule, I can't say that "Auto Tone" ends up brightening most of my images, which I guess is another way of saying that I am not noticing a general trend towards underexposure with the GH2.
     
  12. Trigeek

    Trigeek Mu-43 Regular

    Here is an example of what I am talking about:

    Image at default settings... Iso 200, f/2.5, EV=0 (1/40 sec)
    2011-04-19_12-40-20.
    2nd image with +1EV dialed in on camera 2011-04-19_12-40-40. (1/20 sec)

    The default image is dark, as shown in the histogram. I could auto tone, but that increases the noise.
     
  13. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    Debi
    It seems like I've read a few places that Panasonics really tend to try and avoid blown highlights at all costs, to the extent of underexposing the entire image.
     
  14. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Yes, sometimes that happens, especially when there is so much of the frame is covered by high tones. I start with auto tone for an image like that, and while there is more noise than if the image were exposed to the right, I can't say that I've been troubled by it.

    From a RAW standpoint, the Oly cameras (and the GH2 for that matter) are all underexposed by a stop compared to the earlier Panasonic cameras (eg G1, GF1), with the tone curve serving to "push" the Oly files (thus giving them more shadow noise and more highlight headroom). Even with that full stop of relative underexposure, the difference in noise between an E-P1 and a GF1 was not all that significant to me.
     
  15. Trigeek

    Trigeek Mu-43 Regular

    Thanks for the info, I would agree that I have not noticed this with my GF1. There are times where the exposure is spot on at default, so keeping a +1 EV dialed in is not an option. I took a look at a number of images that were underexposed and then had Silkypix auto-adjust the exposure. Adjustment varies but tends to center around +1.3 EV.
    Guess I'll look at the well exposed and under exposed images in my library and try to find a pattern that would explain this behavior.

    Thanks again,
    Jim
     
  16. Trigeek

    Trigeek Mu-43 Regular

    Regarding the noise, it's not enough to cause any concern or something that can't be cleaned up easily. Was more a comment of one image relative to the other.
     
  17. Underexposing

    Trigeek: I am seeing exactly what you are. In many cases, perhaps most, 1 to 1.5EV needs to be added to get the histogram into the upper half of the range. As your photos demonstrate, not doing this will underexpose and increase the chance of unwanted noise. I haven't found any way to permanently dial in a little more exposue other than keeping EV adjustor set high, but then you need to keep checking it. (And usually it gets set wrong when I use the alternate feature of the thumb dial. I don't care for the way the thumb dial operates.)

    Yesterday I was taking some photos of a waterfall. I wanted to drop the shutter speed to ~1/30 but the water was really bright. I threw on a polarizing filter and took the shots. They are terribly under exposed. I don't have access to the metadata right now, but I though I bumped the exposure a bit.

    Still learning how to use this camera!:rolleyes:
     
  18. Sapphie

    Sapphie Mu-43 Rookie

    13
    Jun 16, 2010
    I have read in one or two reviews that the GH2 is 'pathologically' designed to not blow the highlights. Reminds me of older Pentax gear :). It is odd that this can happen on a dull day for example.

    I have a related question which I have also posted in DPR but thought I'd tap into the collective wisdom here:

    I have discovered to my amazement that when in iA mode the GH2 automatically adjusts the contrast in high contrast scenes to attempt to accommodate the highlights and shadows. This actually makes for very good pictures but better than that, the view in the EVF doesn't get all washed out and 'highlight blown' ...

    I checked the manual and assumed that it was the i DYNAMIC feature that was doing this. The manual says I can use that in other modes eg Program and Av. However, I tried that with this option switched on and it made no difference to the view in the EVF, i.e. it didn't perform that 'magic' contrast/tone curve adjustment for modes other than iA.

    Does anyone know how I can replicate what iA is doing in this regard when in the other exposure modes?

    I am shooting RAW.

    Lee

    (still not decided if I prefer GH2 or Pentax K5 but the fact that neither has been sold must say something?)
     
  19. Sappie: I'll have to play more with the advanced automatic modes. I confess I tend to put the camera in P, A or S and then drive it kind of like a stick shift. I've read the manual an still don't understand all the automated features this thing has! Must of been shooting with a Spotmatic for too many years.
     
  20. Sapphie

    Sapphie Mu-43 Rookie

    13
    Jun 16, 2010