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In camera JPGs too washed out in highlights!?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by pistolplc, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. pistolplc

    pistolplc New to Mu-43

    Nov 15, 2012
    I currently shoot with an E-P3 in JPG + Raw mode, and I notice that many of the JPGs lose all the detail in the highlights as compared with the RAWs. For example, indoor shots w/o flash (dealing with the suboptimal ambient lighting) come out with the highlighted portions of the subjects face basically totally washed out, whereas the RAW file has plenty of detail. Is there a setting that I can tweak in the camera to prevent this excessive brightening? My settings in "Natural" picture mode are Contrast 0; Sharpness -2; RGB 0; Gradation Normal, and the "keep warm colors" is set to off.

    Any help would be appreciated! I can always tweak the RAWs in LR, but I'd get so many more "useable" (i.e., sharing with parents and friends) JPGs if I could just keep more detail in the highlights from the in-camera JPGs.

    - Pistol
  2. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Just turn your exposure comp down if you want to preserve details in highlights. Turn it up if you want to preserve detail in shadows. Do the opposite if you want your off-subject areas to be blown out or darkened. There is no perfect exposure in photography, it all depends on the tastes and goals of the user.
  3. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    You could also try backing off the contrast.
  4. pistolplc

    pistolplc New to Mu-43

    Nov 15, 2012
    Ned -

    I don't think this is an exposure issue, as the RAW files look properly exposed, and show detail in both the shadows and the highlights. The question is why doesn't the JPG keep the detail in the highlights that are clearly there in the RAW, and can I change any camera settings to correct that?

    Any other thoughts? Thanks.
  5. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    RAW files have more bits of headroom than the JPG files do. You then get to choose how to process said RAW files into JPG/how to 'compress down' the detail present in the RAW that cannot make the transition to JPG, but will survive the transition to, say, 16 bit TIFF just fine.
  6. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    The OMD and later PENs introduced a highlights and shadows control to give better control over this. Oly defaults to a very punchy look that is not great for preserving detail. Try shooting Muted with contrast turned down, it might do a better job for you.

    There is also the gradation control but I think it is only for shadows.
  7. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Go into bracket menu and set ISO-bracket to +1 -1, then take your normal photo.
    You'll find your RAW highlight information preserved in one of the three Jpegs created by the bracket function.
    You'll then know whether you want to use this method to get highlights and shadows from your RAW range but inside extra Jpegs.

    Horses for courses I'm afraid ... and the e-P3 lacks ISO100 Jpegs so sorry about that ... e-P2 is a better machine for this technique.
  8. Naftade

    Naftade Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 23, 2012
    Munich, Germany
    If I am nit mistaken, your jpegs have 8bit of information per color channel whereas raw files may have 14 or sometimes even 16 bit per channel. The data reduction from say 15 mb to 5 mb doesn't come for free. You can either fiddle along and maybe find some settings that solvenyour problem or just skip the jpeg and work on your raw files.
    I also like to shoot both raw and jpeg, but only to be able to keep at least some shots without any retouch.
  9. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Push Contrast down further and Gradation to low. If that's still not enough, try a little negative EV compensation.
  10. pistolplc

    pistolplc New to Mu-43

    Nov 15, 2012
    Thanks everyone - I'll try these alternate settings. Hopefully it will result in more usable JPGs right out of the camera.

    Maybe I should get the E-M5...
  11. Naftade

    Naftade Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 23, 2012
    Munich, Germany
    Maybe you should get the Em5, but not for better jpegs. I have a OMD and can tell you it's jpegs are subject to the same limitations as the ones made by a epl or epm or whatsoever. Dynamic range imho is the next big thing in digital imaging. We have come a long way already, but especially in jpeg-mode i have hardly ever seen what I would like to see.
    If anything, maybe the Fuji X-e1 can deliver a little more in this regard. But I guess even with the new Xtrans-sensors you would be better off with raw files.
  12. littleMT

    littleMT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 8, 2012
    Lucille Sanchez
    i dunno, i only shoot jpg on my e-pl1, I don't have issues with blown highlights and lost details, though I always tend to under expose a tad, I do so on all the bodys I shoot with.
  13. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    This. A jpeg will never capture the full dynamic range the camera is capable of.
  14. bartjeej

    bartjeej Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 9, 2012
    ^well, you could, but then you'd probably be left with low-contrast mid-tones (or lots of banding). Most people don't like that, which is why jpeg engines will usually prioritize mid-tone contrast, meaning highlights will clip earlier or shadows will block earlier (or both). Raw allows you to make the choice for yourself.
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