The Advantages of DR400 vs DR200 vs DR100 - High Contrast Scene

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Trevor G
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The Advantages of DR400 vs DR200 vs DR100 - High Contrast Scene
11 months ago

Following some off-topic exchanges in another thread I decided to shoot and display some comparison images showing the advantages of using DR400 at any time, or most of the time.

Fuji call this highlight headroom extension technique (among other things)  EXR processing, which is not to be confused with EXR sensors in the smaller Fuji cams. It exists in every X camera from the X100 to the X10, the X100s to the X20, and the X-Pro, X-E1 and so on.

DPR insist that the large X Series cameras can afford to run DR400 most of the time because they have very low noise characteristics up to and including ISO800, which is where DR400 operates.  If you don't want to take the chance you can still benefit from using DR200 at ISO400.

Background:

DR200 and DR400 come in handy by extending highlight headroom to reduce the chance of clipping or crushing highlights in JPEG, but it's especially valuable in RAW.

It's a bit of a party trick - you can get the same highlight results by under-exposing by 1 or 2 stops and then lifting the resulting image in PP by 2EV or so.  However, if you use DR200 or DR400 in-camera, the resulting JPEGs will have their lowlights lifted as  a bonus.

The main benefit of DR higher than 100 (which means straight off the sensor processing, no tricks) is seen when you have a high contrast scene, or one where scene elements would exceed 0EV.

Enough talk, here are examples.  This is a scene where highlights were 2EV above 0, or 2EV higher than where  the metering produced a fully exposed image according to the playback histogram in processing software.

Unfortunately, because Fuji won't give us a proper in-camera RGB histogram, you cannot use the on-board histogram to do anything other than give you a very rough guide as to where exposure should be.

First, DR400 RAW:

Next the matching ooc JPEG - notice how the highlights are close to being blown and lack contrast because of the compression which occurs at the top end during JPEG processing.  The lowlights have been lifted:

Next we see what happens with DR200:

If you look closely you will see that the clouds are just starting to clip in spots (bright white, loss of detail). Still, it's an amazing result for DR200 at 2EV higher than 0.

The ooc JPEG doesn't fare as well, but then again, it's not all that much worse than the DR400 effort.:

And finally, DR100.  The RAW is badly clipped (it might look better in Adobe, I'll try that later, but it still won't be good).

In this case if we had exposed at -1EV on the dial the DR100 image would have been quite OK, even though the histogram was suggesting that at +0.7EV it was not clipping:

I'm only showing the DR100 JPEG for consistency:

Note the cyan skies in each JPEG, showing that they were all clipping.

Of course, if I had exposed at -1EV even the DR100 image would have been fine, but that's not the point.

Most times with high contrast scenes we don't really know where exposure will end up because of that lousy in-camera histogram.  Consequently, because DPR insist that DR400 is fine for the APS-C X cams you can be assured of not losing highlights on almost any shot you are likely to take.

Note: For best results on standard contrast scenes (no scene elements will expose higher than 0EV) use DR100 and ISO200.

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Cheers
Trevor G
Silkypix tutorials at: http://photo.computerwyse.com

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