Dynamic Range

23 posts
20 Feb 2014
Skid2
Photographer
Skid2
Does anyone use the dynamic range of there camera to maximise the tonal range of their images and reduce the post production time.

If so how did you calibrate your DR and did you relay the information back to your light meter to reduce the chance of clipping when using the light-meter either in the studio of on location.

Posted 20 Feb 2014
Preime
Photographer
Preime
Not sure I fully understand your question. The dynamic range of your camera relates to the tonal range you can capture with the sensor and output as a RAW file. This doesn't change,regardless of settings used. There is nothing to calibrate and the lightmeter in the camera is already set to maximise the DR of the sensor.

Posted 20 Feb 2014
RedChecker
Photographer
RedChecker
I intended to work like this with my Sekonic L-758D with the mk1 calibration target they sell (mk2 wasn't available when I bought it) but unfortunately it's damn-near impossible to use for flash work. The mk2 corrects this and makes it easily do-able but I'll be damned if I'm spending another £150 on one. That said I've recently discovered that X-Rite Passport cards can be used to perform the same function (which I have) so some day I'll get off my backside and have a go.

As to whether or not I would actually use it regularly, it's unlikely, primarily because I almost always balance with ambient and with cloudy British weather I don't have the luxury of faffing about to get that perfect exposure and I don't think my work warrants it. I can see it being useful for interior architectural photography or where you have large sets.

Posted 20 Feb 2014
redbaron
Photographer
redbaron
Skid you sound like the sort of chap who would love Guy Gowan personally I'm content with simply shooting to the right the odd stop then pulling back in development. When I remember. Snag is I'm so ingrained with seeking to get it right in camera that if feels all wrong.
Posted 20 Feb 2014
OldMaster
Photographer
OldMaster
You don't have the benefits with digital we had with film...(push/pull) and you are stuck with the DR the sensor is capable of which decreases with increasing iso. You should aim to expose for highlight retention as you would do with positive emulsions such as slide material. RAW processing may pull in more detail in the shadows. In terms of metering the incident method would usually be preferred for exposure measurement but is not that convenient! As ever, if in doubt bracket and always use the histogram?

For some subject types you have the powerful tool of fill flash...preserving the highlights and lifting the shadows to ensure a DR that "fits"....

Posted 20 Feb 2014
Edited by OldMaster 20 Feb 2014
Rawandthecooked
Photographer
Rawandthecoo..
Want the highest dynamic range? Then it's a fuji S5 pro, or a Nikon d800…….

Posted 21 Feb 2014
RedChecker
Photographer
RedChecker
Rawandthecooked
Want the highest dynamic range? Then it's a fuji S5 pro, or a Nikon d800…….
Have you looked at dxomark.com? The S5 is quite a way down in the list for dynamic range, the Fuji bodies aren't class leaders any more for DR. If I hadn't invested in so much Canon gear I'd have a D800 without hesitation. I've seen photos my boss took with his of his kids against the sun on his Caribbean holiday and the exposure's perfect, nothing blown/washed out, the tonal range is astonishing.
Posted 21 Feb 2014
Edited by RedChecker 21 Feb 2014
profilepictures
Photographer
profilepictu..
I'm just confused here. What's to be calibrated? Your sensor has a native dynamic range and you then choose exposure to suit your own requirements. Some go ettr others meter the middle, some aim to underexpose a fraction..but the dynamic range of the sensor doesn't change.

Are you hinting at HDR with multiple exposures taken? Or am I really missing something here?

Posted 21 Feb 2014
RedChecker
Photographer
RedChecker
profilepictures

I'm just confused here. What's to be calibrated? Your sensor has a native dynamic range and you then choose exposure to suit your own requirements. Some go ettr others meter the middle, some aim to underexpose a fraction..but the dynamic range of the sensor doesn't change. Are you hinting at HDR with multiple exposures taken? Or am I really missing something here?


Some light meters (Sekonic L-758D for example) can actually be calibrated to any given camera to actually understand the camera's dynamic range.  Once this is done it can display multiple meter readings on a chart, along with the absolute limits of the camera's dynamic range (as well as 'safe' limits).  The OP is asking whether anyone has metered using this (I think) or by observation of what their camera is capable of (along with meter readings).

We're not talking about simply calibrating a meter to match the camera's understanding of 18% grey.
Posted 21 Feb 2014
Edited by RedChecker 21 Feb 2014
profilepictures
Photographer
profilepictu..
Ah right, thanks checker.

I've no bloody idea why it's a big issue now though, without an external light meter the cameras own gubbins seem to be guide enough to shoot a brides dress In bright sun or a necked lass in front of a lighthouse at night pretty well. HDR is easily achievable if you like that malarkey, so what's the point then?

Posted 21 Feb 2014
Skid2
Photographer
Skid2
Interesting reading the responses.

The reason I asked about how you calibrate is that have a canon 7D that's supposed to have a dynamic range of 12 stops but when I did a basic test I found my camera had only 7 stops and when I followed the Sekonic DTS system it came out as -3 stops to +3 stops (ie 6 stops) and the clipping range of 5 stops -2.5 to +2.5 stops.

It does not take much imagination to see the implications of this both in the studio and on location. The biggest is the increase post production time for which you don't get paid.

More to follow.

Posted 21 Feb 2014
RedChecker
Photographer
RedChecker
Are you using RAW? (and also using Canon's own software as this seems to squeeze more DR out than others)

Posted 21 Feb 2014
redbaron
Photographer
redbaron
OldMaster

You don't have the benefits with digital we had with film...(push/pull) and you are stuck with the DR the sensor is capable of which decreases with increasing iso. You should aim to expose for highlight retention as you would do with positive emulsions such as slide material. RAW processing may pull in more detail in the shadows. In terms of metering the incident method would usually be preferred for exposure measurement but is not that convenient! As ever, if in doubt bracket and always use the histogram? For some subject types you have the powerful tool of fill flash...preserving the highlights and lifting the shadows to ensure a DR that "fits"....


Thats rubbish. With slide film the guidance was to slightly underexpose by around a 1/3 of a stop to give richer colours. You had to be very carefulabout controlling light too as you only had a few stops range.

With digitial the advice is to 'shoot to the right' That is OVERexpose slightly, or even a lot. The reason is digital sensors record far more detail in the highlight area of the curve than the shadow areas. Over exposing slightly in camera then redusing the same amount during development gives much richer shadow detail than shooting correctly. Conversely underexposing then trying to bring it back later in say Photoshop or lightroom can make the shadows and image in general look quite muddy. Of course all this assumes you are shooting raw.

Problem is a lot of people insist on switching on the highlight warning function even when shooting raw. They then panic when they see bits flashing and underexpose to ensure they have everything in. What they do not realise is that the camera tells porkies. It will wail that everything is hoplessly bleached out when in fact you have anything up to two stops still left to play with. Ditto the histogram which only tells you what you will get if you leave it to the cameras processor to create jpegs rather than doing it yourself. Akin to shoving it into Boots and hoping they don't screw up

Posted 21 Feb 2014
profilepictures
Photographer
profilepictu..
Ok, so you find your camera has half the dynamic range you thought. You can't alter it though surely, isn't it just time for another camera ( which might also have less range than you imagine?)

I'm still struggling a bit to see what you're hoping to achieve? Technology is maybe limiting but it's pretty capable I'd say.

Posted 21 Feb 2014
Rawandthecooked
Photographer
Rawandthecoo..
I use an incident light meter and meter exactly how i used to for slide film. A histogram is just a tonal map and means nothing to me. i also tether using an eye fye card and an i pad ,using shutter snitch (better than polaroid!) Technically, the boys are correct, profile pictures, calibrating is a good idea for studio use I would say, not that i have done it….

Posted 21 Feb 2014
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