Custom Curves for the D300

Started Dec 28, 2007 | Discussions thread
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ron wrucke
ron wrucke Senior Member • Posts: 1,065
Custom Curves for the D300

I personally think it’s time to just admit that the D300 seems to have a tendency to over-expose images. I really don’t have a problem with that. My old D100 under-exposed everything, so I loaded up a custom curve which pretty much acted like a general fix .. it’s still loaded up. I’m not sure what the fix is for my D300, but it needs something.

A little background: over the holidays, I was P&S’n the g’kids opening up their presents on Christmas morning and with my SB-800 I was blowing out the images (even with the diffuser dome on and bouncing it). I was shooting Spot, so the flash was just TTL. I dialed in a 1-stop exposure compensation on the flash, and the images were still too bright, so I dialed in another 1-stop compensation on the camera and the images were finally OK .. so, I plan on doing some flash experiments just to see what was going on because that seems like an awful lot of compensation. With the D100, I used to get pretty good results and never had to fiddle with any compensation ..

In the interim (i.e., yesterday), I decided to try out my Nikon 70-200VR with a 1.7 TC attached. With my D100, this combo was slow to focus and I was curious to see how the combo would work on my D300. I went into the backyard pines and just tried it out on a few backyard songbirds. I was amazed at how fast the lens combo and D300 could find focus ( I was using Continuous focus mode, Spot metering, with Dynamic Area Mode (9 points) ... much, much more 'efficient' than on my old D100. On the latter, picking out the birds sitting in the pines would have been excruciating and manual focus would probably have been required. On the D300, there was hardly any searching at all ... finding a little bird buried in the branches is a pretty tough task, and I was dumbfounded at how easy it was.

The attached aren't award-winning images by any stretch of the imagination, but just having the ability to take these images of 'flitting' birds back in the pine branches with ease has me scratching my head since these types of images used to be close to impossible ..

OK .. so back to exposure .. I forgot that exposure compensation doesn’t reset when you turn the camera off, so the attached were all shot with a 1-stop negative compensation. However, out of the camera they looked just about spot-on exposure-wise. I took one of the bird pics into NX, put in a +1-stop compensation, and then played with the curve a bit just to see how much adjustment was needed. You can move the mid-point adjuster to the right, or just pull the curve down, but in general it looks to me like a ‘reverse White Wedding’ curve is what is needed. I had to bring the midpoint of the curve down to an output level of about 100 (vs. a 127 input) to get things to look ‘right’ ..

I know I’m tempting the fates by posting this, but I’m curious if anyone else is thinking like I’m thinking and if anyone else has done any experimenting with custom curves .. ?

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Ron Wrucke (Va Eastern Shore)

 ron wrucke's gear list:ron wrucke's gear list
Nikon D100 Nikon D300 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Sigma 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM +2 more
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