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Reduce blown out highlights?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by SteveNunez, Feb 9, 2015.

  1. SteveNunez

    SteveNunez Mu-43 Veteran

    444
    Oct 11, 2010
    South Florida
    Steve Nunez
    Hello fellow Olympus shooters......I used my new EM10 for the first time today and came across an osprey eating a fish about 70 feet or so up a tree......I mounted a Sigma 50-500 with a manual adapter and shot away........I'm very pleased with the sharpness of the images but am somewhat disappointed at the blown out highlights- is there a way, in camera, to tone down the highlight capture?
    I sold my full frame Sony A7 and while it occasionally blew out highlights it had great dynamic range which I know the m4/3 cameras cannot match- but I'm desperately trying to find out if the Oly EM10 is capable of toning down highlights- thought maybe some of you advanced users might have tips on taming highlight captures.
    Shooting any bird with white feathers in direct sunlight is a challenge with any camera- but I purposely shot with -1EV to try to tame the blown highlights and shot in RAW but I'm still not 100% happy with the captures. I could have shot with -2/-3 EV but didn't know if I should sacrifice the dark tones to preserve the highlights........what do you guys think? Should I have gone down 2 or 3 steps on the EV and bring back the lights in RAW?
     

    Attached Files:

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  2. SteveNunez

    SteveNunez Mu-43 Veteran

    444
    Oct 11, 2010
    South Florida
    Steve Nunez
    More

    Additional shots- highlights toned down in RAW but not ideal!
     

    Attached Files:

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  3. SteveNunez

    SteveNunez Mu-43 Veteran

    444
    Oct 11, 2010
    South Florida
    Steve Nunez
    The only reason you're not seeing the blown out highlights is due to HL recovery with Adobe Camera Raw- but this is not ideal- I prefer captures that have highlight info in tact without need for recovery....any help is appreciated.
    Thanks guys~~~~
     
  4. ex machina

    ex machina Mu-43 Top Veteran

    803
    Jan 3, 2014
    Northern Virgnia
    When I'm worried about excessively blown highlights I underexpose as needed and bring up the shadows in post, fwiw. Isn't always a great solution as it brings up the noise as well, but works often enough for me to continue using the technique.
     
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  5. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    I'm not sure I understand the issue. If you have highlight detail available in the RAW file, then I would not say the highlights are blown out. If a particular JPG has blown highlights then this is simply due to the particular rendering, which can be corrected in post.
     
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  6. SteveNunez

    SteveNunez Mu-43 Veteran

    444
    Oct 11, 2010
    South Florida
    Steve Nunez
    There really isn't much detail in the RAW highlights- ACR just has a feature that "dims" the pure whites down......not an ideal solution.....more of a visible fix.
     
  7. SteveNunez

    SteveNunez Mu-43 Veteran

    444
    Oct 11, 2010
    South Florida
    Steve Nunez
    Thank you exmachina
     
  8. MarkoPolo

    MarkoPolo Mu-43 Regular

    141
    Jan 25, 2014
    Greeley, CO
    Mark Brown
    I'm not sure about the EM-10, but with the EM-1 you do not need to expose to the right nearly as much as I needed to with Canon gear. It took me a while to figure that out and once I adjusted my exposures the whites have been much better.
     
  9. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    pellicle
    yes, its always a problem with whites and a long tonal range. Full sunlight really challenges digital (still). The answer is to always use the VF to check for blinkies after the shot. This is one of the (many) reasons why I don't like screen only cameras, I can see and review each shot without taking my eye off the EVF.

    I set my Panasonic's JPG so that if there is blinkies in the JPG there will be blowouts in the RAW. Depending on your "setting" for contrast and tones (and pseudo films) the RAW may or may not have blown channels.

    One more reason to understand RAW.
     
  10. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    OK, then isn't a simple matter of not exposing quite so far to the right? If you want detail in the highlights then they have to be properly exposed even at the expense of the dark areas. The only alternative is HDR, which won't work for this type of subject.
     
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  11. SteveNunez

    SteveNunez Mu-43 Veteran

    444
    Oct 11, 2010
    South Florida
    Steve Nunez
    oldracer- yes I'm aware of exposing for highlights- was hoping there was a "highlight" adjustment I could use with the EM10 as I recalled running across a feature where tonality could be controlled "in camera" as a parameter adjustment preset........was just hoping an experienced user would chime in with a possible solution but perhaps this isn't possible.
    Thanks so much guys for the replies.

    I guess it's time for me to spend time looking into the full feature set of the EM10's menu offerings.
     
  12. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    If such a setting existed, it would likely only apply to JPEG.

    The only way I can see any other possibility would if if the RAW files had less dynamic range than the sensor (which wouldn't make much sense).

    Barry
     
  13. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I think for this kind of shot, if you can't get the highlights back during RAW processing, then in retrospect you would have wanted more negative exposure compensation. Not all RAW processors are created equal when it comes to reclaiming highlights though.
     
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  14. tosvus

    tosvus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    632
    Jan 4, 2014
    I'm sure the em-10 has metering setting where you set spot, center weighted or average, or something similar. Depending on the scene you need to adjust this for the best result, and use exposure compensation in addition if needed. How the metering is set has a huge impact. It won't affect the dynamic range in itself of course, and you have a bit less latitude on m43 vs newer FF cameras, especially in pulling back highlights in raw, but also some on shadows.
     
  15. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    I have all my cameras to show highlights (orange) and lowlights (blue). I dial in exposure compensation as necessary to keep from clipping on the high end. Since it's possible to see what's clipping, I don't worry much about specular highlights. Often, this will cause darker parts of the image to block up with no detail. The solution is to set the Gradation to Auto. Basically, it's expose for the highlights and bring up the shadows, and it's all done in the camera.

    ETTR made sense in 1999 when digital cameras had much smaller dynamic ranges, much worse noise and marginal in camera processing. Clippings looks much worse than a little noise. Not only is detail lost, but color shifts often occur, because one color channel clips before the others.
     
  16. SteveNunez

    SteveNunez Mu-43 Veteran

    444
    Oct 11, 2010
    South Florida
    Steve Nunez
    Excellent posts guys, much appreciated!
     
  17. johnvanatta

    johnvanatta Mu-43 Regular

    181
    Aug 5, 2014
    Oakland, CA
    I find the histograms not directly reliable on any camera, Em-5 no exception. I can often be pretty well clipped into blue sky or red flower before it actually is a problem in LR. Green seems to be less forgiving though.

    Compared to Nikon raw files, I've found Olympus files are much better exposed as far right as possible: better highlight recover and worse shadow pull.

    But if you've jammed the highlights slider to -100 in LR and still want more, you are running out of options for post. Other converters might be able to squeak out a *little* more. Dropping the highlights section of the tone curve (gamma curve) directly can also help slightly. Dropping overall exposure and pulling up everything else can help a little too, but it'll take fiddling to get the tones looking natural again.
     
  18. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    I'm not sure I see a problem here. In mid day sun in southern Florida, you should expect to be giving up some small amount of highlight range in any exposure that is remotely balanced for the entire frame. You have to make the call when the subject is white, to either say goodbye to shadow detail and dial in proper -2 or more exposure comp, or use spot metering(for highlights). I really doubt many cameras could have done better with these conditions, and -1 exposure comp with matrix metering. Honestly I think you have enough detail to make for excellent presentation, even if the hottest areas got blown out a very little bit. The rest of the image is well out of the noisy shadow range, as a bonus.

    Adjusting the highlight slider in lightroom isn't really "recovering" anything, it's just spreading out the data that's there, enough so that you can discern the difference between tones. If we all had screens that displayed 100% of the RGB color gamut, we wouldn't need to adjust highlight and shadow detail to bring them into the range that our actual screens are capable of displaying(at that point we'd be adjusting to the weaknesses of our eyes). Having to make these adjustments isn't a shortcoming of the camera or the metering, and shouldn't be seen as an indicator that you or the camera got something wrong. It's just the nature of the beast. This is the fundamental difference between being a RAW shooter and being a jpg shooter. If you find you'd rather get it as close to correct in camera as possible and be done with it, I'd suggest using spot metering, and just shoot jpg, with whichever in camera jpg settings you find most pleasing. If you are neurotic and want to squeeze every extra bit of DR out of the sensor, shoot RAW, expose as well as you can(using spot metering or extreme compensation in a situation like this), and be prepared to spend some time processing your keepers. I fall into the latter category.

    Nice images by the way, despite your not being pleased with them. Looks like a nice meal for that guy. Pretty soon all the visitors in your neck of the woods will start returning to my area. Can't wait!
     
  19. 350duser

    350duser Mu-43 Veteran

    313
    Sep 26, 2012
    Brisbane, QLD
    Highlights/Shadows under the multifunction button??

    Nice photos tho.
     
  20. SteveNunez

    SteveNunez Mu-43 Veteran

    444
    Oct 11, 2010
    South Florida
    Steve Nunez
    You guys have posted informative replies- thank you all for the time in replying- much appreciated.

    I will shoot under -2EV instead of the -1EV I normally shoot with direct sunlight on white plumage........my Sony A7 was able to capture those tiny details in those areas but these m4/3 cams don't have that sort of sensor capability just yet- I'm sure they'll get there in future generations. I do think it's remarkable how good the m4/3 cameras are already- very impressed......I'm glad I ditched FF cameras and large lenses- m4/3 brings back the joy of photography in a smaller lighter backpack!

    I guess I was hoping there was a setting that would allow the toning down of highlight tonalities- but since I'm primarily a RAW shooter- those settings probably would have not mattered- I'll just expose for highlights.