Started Apr 29, 2008 | Discussions thread
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lovEU Veteran Member • Posts: 3,177

Hi Iliah, you have put some very basic items of digital imaging like histogram, WB or ISO into question recently. Just by asking simple questions (often enough including implicit answers

Somehow it's fascinating to see how basic concepts seem to be far from good solutions today when many people involved into photography have established their workflows and don't question them too much.

In a perfect world it would be possible to get all the major players around a table within short time, discuss those items and find solutions. That would include photographers and people from camera manufacturers, industry (computers, software, imaging), Adobe, ICC and ISO. People like engineers (cameras, sensors, imaging hardware), software designers & developers, color scientists as well as marketing managers.

Actually, we don't live in a perfect world in that sense. In opposite, we face a whole bunch of problems. I tried to collect/compose the core problems you put a focus on in your recent threads (not sure if I put all of it the right way):

  • Sensor readout: different readouts with unpublished internal working spaces and gamma gradations

  • Sensitivity: wrong understanding of how ISO works (only one native ISO)

  • RAW files: moving target problem; worst case: sensors that do automatically adapt to dynamic range, exposure and WB; auto-optimized images resulting in un-repeatable image taking and processing

  • Metering: disconnection between zone of maximum perceived details (by human eye) and metering standards; no agreement on what gray is

  • Histograms: disconnection/contradiction between histogram (as seen on camera screen / raw conversion tools) and exposure respectively exposure compensation; histograms are displayed in a non-linear space, after WB, after unknown amounts of saturation, sharpening, brightness etc. are applied

  • WB: non-linear gamma; application of tonal curves; application of color profiles before eV compensation

From a photographers view the solutions would contribute to philosophies like "cameras for image-taking, not image-processing", "creating an entire end to end calibrated, precise and controllable digital imaging workflow producing consistent and repeatable results" by means of standards and standardization. Some of the goals en route would be (again, I took this from your posts and, hopefully, expressed it right):

  • Sensor: disclosed native white point; disclosed spectral characteristics of the sensor

  • ISO: ??

  • RAW: getting the true raw data, kind of "null" settings

  • Metering: according to a "comfort zone" for human perceiving details; agreement on gray cards gray and its connection to histogram

  • Histograms: correct connection between histogram and exposure (compensation) = useful histogram; eV grid over histogram

  • WB: eV compensation in 1/6 steps; linear gamma; L* curves

Such items really would be worth starting a panel e.g. at Photokina. It's not realistic for now that an event like this will happen soon. But the first step is creating an awareness of the problems - that's what you started doing long time ago. In the other thread you stated: "I trust we are up to some slow progress in the above; hopefully, step by step improvements instead of gimmicks and "more Photoshop in the camera"" [] .

I was wondering now, how one could speed up that progress a little. Assumption: Major players only will act when pressure comes up to them. So, why not share the problems you're hinting to with journalists and editors working for photo magazines? One could collect samples which demonstrate the problems. When they understand they'll make aware their readers. By that, pressure will grow a little faster than "just" by sharing here. In the best case magazines would start using items like "histogram-exposure-consistency" as test criteria for their camera reviews. What do you think of that?

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regards, eric

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