What I learned from Gollywop -- and what I wonder

Started Mar 26, 2013 | Discussions thread
Vlad S
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In reply to bowportes, Mar 26, 2013

bowportes wrote:

Vlad S wrote:

Go ahead with the rules suggested above, but try to test it for your typical scenes. In the past we had threads with test images, and everyone saw what they wanted to see. I think this indicates that the difference is not that big, but everybody has their own criteria what's important and what's not. At any rate, I would encourage you to do your own tests, with your own style of processing, rather than take anyone's word for it.

Vlad

Vlad, I don't know whether the "testing" you are referring to is specific to the question of raising ISO beyond base, or if it refers to the entire idea of going for "full exposure". ??

I saw a thread about Nikon D7000, which is one of the most touted examples of the "ISOless" cameras, and the comment was that the base ISO + PP worked almost as well as high ISO, even though the image looked grossly underexposed, but the chroma noise was a little higher than in the image taken at higher ISO. You need to remember, that all the considerations about the effect of the ISO rest on the assumption "all other things being equal." In reality, the ISO amplification in the camera and the pushing algorithms in the raw converter probably differ in details. If you are trying to eke out every drop of performance, you need to know which of the two algorithms provides better result.

As far as the full exposure is concerned, there is no doubt that maximizing the light lowers the noise, but the practical limitation is that it is quite rare that you will have a lot of headroom without clipping highlights somewhere. It works very well on a foggy day, but in contrasty conditions there may not much of a chance to increase exposure non-destructively.

Most photographers make a conscious decision about clipping some highlights, at least the specular ones, but how far they are willing to go is a very personal choice. In the vast majority of cases covered in this forum, it was 1/3 to 2/3 of a stop above the camera meter. The reduction of noise with such a modest exposure increase can be barely noticeable. Here is an earlier discussion of what techniques work and how well, and the 2nd post in the thread links to some data and discussion of the problem.

Vlad

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