A couple observations of a newcomer

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Bob D., Aug 26, 2003.

  1. Bob D.

    Bob D. Guest

    I'm new to the newsgroup, long time photo hobbyist who just bought an
    Olympus C-4000. It didn't take long to discover the limited latitude
    (dynamic range) of digital cameras. I go to a lot of car shows, and the
    shots of white cars in broad daylight are always washed out. Everything
    around the white cars are perfectly exposed, including the non-white cars.
    Is there anything I can do about this, other than bracketing my exposure and
    picking the best compromise?

    Other than "white cars", I'm very happy with the results of my new camera. I
    think the new digital cameras easily hold they're own against 35 mm film.
    Some people complain that digital cameras don't have the resolution of film.
    To them I say - Don't you remember the golf-ball grain in 35 mm 8x10s? I
    find pixels much less objectionable than grain.
    --
    Bob D.
     
    Bob D., Aug 26, 2003
    #1
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  2. Bob D.

    mcgyverjones Guest

    "Bob D." <> wrote in message
    news:uMz2b.260075$YN5.178081@sccrnsc01...
    > I'm new to the newsgroup, long time photo hobbyist who just bought an
    > Olympus C-4000. It didn't take long to discover the limited latitude
    > (dynamic range) of digital cameras. I go to a lot of car shows, and the
    > shots of white cars in broad daylight are always washed out. Everything
    > around the white cars are perfectly exposed, including the non-white cars.
    > Is there anything I can do about this, other than bracketing my exposure

    and
    > picking the best compromise?


    Not too familiar with the Oly C-4000 but does it have contrast control in
    the menu settings?
    If so, is it set to low? In general with digital, treat it like slide film
    as far as exposure is concerned.

    MJ
     
    mcgyverjones, Aug 26, 2003
    #2
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  3. Bob D.

    Lisa Horton Guest

    "David J. Littleboy" wrote:
    >
    >
    > Use the spotmeter. Set an EV correction of +1.6 or +2.0 f stops and meter on
    > the white car and see what you get. You can also use spot meter + manual
    > mode and adjust the exposure until the EV readout reads +1.6 or +2.0.
    >
    > That technique will work nicely on white dresses; you can adjust the EV
    > compensation you use to get exactly the amount of detail you want. White
    > cars are probably a bit harder, though, since there really isn't much detail
    > there to render...
    >


    To add to what David said, you can use the histogram to fine tune your
    exposure. Do a shot as he instructs, then check the histogram. It
    should taper down at the right (white) side. If not, go another half
    step + EV correction (sometimes called exposure compensation) and check
    the histogram again. Repeat until you get the histogram you want, and
    you've got your exposure correction for that car in that light at that
    time of day in that location :) Seriously, once you do this a bit you
    can pick up a feel for how much compensation is needed. This whole
    capability of course being one of the benefits of digital in the first
    place.

    Lisa
     
    Lisa Horton, Aug 26, 2003
    #3
  4. "Lisa Horton" <> wrote:
    > "David J. Littleboy" wrote:
    > >
    > >
    > > Use the spotmeter. Set an EV correction of +1.6 or +2.0 f stops and

    meter on
    > > the white car and see what you get. You can also use spot meter + manual
    > > mode and adjust the exposure until the EV readout reads +1.6 or +2.0.
    > >
    > > That technique will work nicely on white dresses; you can adjust the EV
    > > compensation you use to get exactly the amount of detail you want. White
    > > cars are probably a bit harder, though, since there really isn't much

    detail
    > > there to render...
    > >

    >
    > To add to what David said, you can use the histogram to fine tune your
    > exposure. Do a shot as he instructs, then check the histogram.


    Does the Oly C4000 have a histogram display? The C5050 does, but the C3040
    appears to not. I'd guess not.

    > It should taper down at the right (white) side.


    Huh? The white area of the car should not appear as a spike at the very far
    right; it should appear as a peak with a certain amount of width somewhat to
    the left of the far right. Exposure compensation of +2.0 will probably put
    that peak too far to the right, so start at +2.0 and move the exposure
    compensation down.

    Alternatively, use enlarged (magnified view) in playback mode to see when
    the white of the car begins to have some detail in it.

    Just for the fun of it, though, take a whole series from +2.0 to 0.0 in
    1/3-stop steps, and also at -1.0 and -2.0. Also, save the images, download
    them to your computer, and inspect them closely.

    > If not, go another half
    > step + EV correction (sometimes called exposure compensation) and check
    > the histogram again. Repeat until you get the histogram you want, and
    > you've got your exposure correction for that car in that light at that
    > time of day in that location :) Seriously, once you do this a bit you
    > can pick up a feel for how much compensation is needed.


    Exactly. Try spot readings from other things bracketed by EV and see how
    they look. You can learn to control your exposure very accurately, and get
    your subject exposed exactly as you want.

    > This whole
    > capability of course being one of the benefits of digital in the first
    > place.


    Well, as long as you don't make the mistake of buying a 10D or 300D. The
    "partial metering" mode is an exceedingly poor excuse for a spot meter.
    Sigh.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
     
    David J. Littleboy, Aug 26, 2003
    #4
  5. Bob D.

    Godfrey Guest

    Both David and Lisa gave you excellent advice. Let me add a little, hopefully
    it will be as good.

    Shooting with a digital camera is like shooting with slide film up to a
    point, follow the adage of "expose for the highlights and fix up shadow
    values with post processing". The big difference is that even the most severe
    of slide films has a softer shoulder when the highlight clipping point
    happens compared to a digital sensor ... Once you've moved past the threshold
    of too much light, you just get flat, featureless white.

    Similarly, at the bottom end, is noise. Just like with slide film, the only
    way to truly combat noise in the shadows is to keep from underexposing them
    .... Add light with fill flash when necessary to flatten severe contrasts and
    keep the exposure up. You can always readjust the dynamics of the photo in
    post processing.

    Twice mentioned, yea, post processing with Photoshop or other image editing
    software is an absolute essential for serious work with digital photography.

    One other point...
    A few weeks ago, I was noticing that my newly acquired Konica KD500Z was
    producing smoother, cleaner low-end tonal values than I was getting with the
    Sony F717 unless I mucked with the exposure compensation. When I went to look
    at a number of my F717 exposures, I found they were clipping at the high end.
    Hmm. So I ran a few calibration tests between the two cameras using a
    standard target and a Sekonic incident light meter. What I found was that the
    default auto-exposure values of the Konica and the Sekonic readings were in
    perfect alignment, but the Sony was underexposing by 0.3-0.7EV ... hmm ...
    So now I customarily keep the Sony set to +0.3EV with the EV compensation
    control when I'm shooting on Program, A or S modes. My results are brighter,
    with truer, richer colors and need far less noise control or curves/levels
    shaping.

    Moral: calibrate, calibrate, calibrate. :)

    Godfrey
     
    Godfrey, Aug 26, 2003
    #5
  6. Bob D.

    Lisa Horton Guest

    "David J. Littleboy" wrote:
    >
    > "Lisa Horton" <> wrote:


    >
    > > It should taper down at the right (white) side.

    >
    > Huh? The white area of the car should not appear as a spike at the very far
    > right; it should appear as a peak with a certain amount of width somewhat to
    > the left of the far right. Exposure compensation of +2.0 will probably put
    > that peak too far to the right, so start at +2.0 and move the exposure
    > compensation down.
    >


    Why the confusion? We're saying the same thing, you in substantially
    more detail.

    Lisa
     
    Lisa Horton, Aug 26, 2003
    #6
  7. Bob D.

    Lisa Horton Guest

    Jack Mac wrote:
    >
    > I'm sure Bob found it helpful.


    Either that or he's wondering what allergies have to do with digital
    photography :)

    Lisa
     
    Lisa Horton, Aug 26, 2003
    #7
  8. Bob D.

    Steve D Guest

    On Tue, 26 Aug 2003 12:28:39 +0900, "David J. Littleboy"
    <> wrote:

    >
    >"Bob D." <> wrote in message
    >news:uMz2b.260075$YN5.178081@sccrnsc01...
    >> I'm new to the newsgroup, long time photo hobbyist who just bought an
    >> Olympus C-4000. It didn't take long to discover the limited latitude
    >> (dynamic range) of digital cameras. I go to a lot of car shows, and the
    >> shots of white cars in broad daylight are always washed out. Everything
    >> around the white cars are perfectly exposed, including the non-white cars.
    >> Is there anything I can do about this, other than bracketing my exposure

    >and
    >> picking the best compromise?

    >
    >Use the spotmeter. Set an EV correction of +1.6 or +2.0 f stops and meter on
    >the white car and see what you get. You can also use spot meter + manual
    >mode and adjust the exposure until the EV readout reads +1.6 or +2.0.
    >


    I am confused about this advice. He said the whites were washed
    out-which I thinks he means blown out, over exposed. And you're saying
    add more exposure? I would thing spot metering is all he needs to
    do...


    >That technique will work nicely on white dresses; you can adjust the EV
    >compensation you use to get exactly the amount of detail you want. White
    >cars are probably a bit harder, though, since there really isn't much detail
    >there to render...
    >
    >> Other than "white cars", I'm very happy with the results of my new camera.

    >I
    >> think the new digital cameras easily hold they're own against 35 mm film.
    >> Some people complain that digital cameras don't have the resolution of

    >film.
    >> To them I say - Don't you remember the golf-ball grain in 35 mm 8x10s? I
    >> find pixels much less objectionable than grain.

    >
    >Don't tell that to the 35mm crazies: they like grain. Sick. Very sick.
    >
    >David J. Littleboy
    >Tokyo, Japan
    >
    >
     
    Steve D, Aug 26, 2003
    #8
  9. Bob D.

    smitty Guest

    > Some people complain that digital cameras don't have the resolution of film.

    Great, so then they can go on with the expensive and time consuming process of
    film developing in between sending morse code messages to family and doing the
    laundry with a wash board in the nearby creek.

    These people complain about cars not being as good as their horses too.

    Always respond: "You are right! So then, you will NEVER be buying a digital
    camera then, right?"

    Then when you see them with a digital camera, you get the fun of having them
    explain why they are using something that doesn't have the resolution of film.
     
    smitty, Aug 26, 2003
    #9
  10. Bob D.

    Stuart Guest

    >
    >Does the Oly C4000 have a histogram display? The C5050 does, but the C3040
    >appears to not. I'd guess not.


    Yes, the Oly c4000 has a histogram. I really should use it more.
    This string is a good reminder to me to do so!

    BUT!

    Even better, the Oly has a real spot metering _plus_ the long loved
    Olympus multi-metering (ala the Olympus OM-4Ti). Really.

    It is rather clumsy to turn on the multi-metering on this camera. I
    had to read lots of the PDF manual to figure it out) but you can meter
    5 (or is it 7?) different spots and the camera will determine an
    "average" which is likely to be a great guess at the right exposure
    for the overall picture. You need to make the custom button be the
    exposure lock in order for the menu to let you turn on multi-metering.
    Probably one other step I'm forgetting. Very tough to setup
    multi-metering by intuition, I assure you.

    Since digicams do not forgive over-exposure, I tend to bracket a fair
    amount. I also will occasionally use a gray card (when that's
    feasible).

    The Olympus forum on dpreview.com is a good resource. Plus, there are
    one or two sites I've run across that cover Olympus specific material
    in great detail. Michael M <something> has a fantastic collection of
    data on external flashes.

    I love my external flash (a Promaster, something or other, with the
    TTL module for Oly). No more red-eye --- and light out to ~40 ft.

    The C-4000 is a sensible critter. Quite affordable, but packing a
    relatively large assortment of features and capability. You'll enjoy
    it a ton, but do read the PDF manual (all 270+? pages).

    Stuart
     
    Stuart, Aug 26, 2003
    #10
  11. Bob D.

    Geoharry Guest

    I am also new to digital photography and have to agree with the
    original post regarding the limited exposure range of digital cameras.
    I was spoiled by the huge range of exposures that the new print films
    can tolerate. Point and shoot digital is MUCH tougher than point and
    shoot film. One shot is a little washed out and the next IDENTICAL
    shot is a little dark. Also, no TTL flash metering!!! Too close and
    washed out, too far and too dark. The flash only carries 12 feet,
    what's up with that?

    Whole new learning curve. Tons of fun and I'm getting the hang of it,
    just forget point and shoot.
     
    Geoharry, Aug 27, 2003
    #11
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