Determining Saturation in Raw Images

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Alan WF
Alan WF Senior Member • Posts: 1,854
Determining Saturation in Raw Images

I have an a6000. I'd like to determine while shooting whether my raw images will be saturated. However, the in-camera exposure tools (zebras and histogram) seem to be based on saturations in the JPEGs, which often occurs before saturation in the raw images. (I can of course adjust the exposure to avoid saturation in the JPEGs, but this is not optimal means constantly tweaking the exposure compensation and often underexposing unnecessarily.)

Here is an example. This is an OOC JPEG image of a high-contrast scene taken with my a6000 (with DRO set to Auto), imported into Lightroom, and with red and blue showing saturation and underexposure.

OOC JPEG image showing saturation (red) and underexposure (blue).

In the OOC JPEG, the sky seen through the window is saturated and the chair to the lower left is underexposed. That's not surprising; the zebras told me before shooting that the sky would be saturated and the blinkies in the display after shooting confirmed this. The camera was correctly showing me saturation and underexposure in the JPEG. The histograms are also consistent with this, as they extend from the extreme left to the extreme right.

However, if I import the raw image into Lightroom, I can recover the highlights and shadows. Here is the result, again with red and blue showing saturation and underexposure. The sky and the dark areas are recovered; the only residual saturation is on parts of the flower pot.

Raw image after recovery of highlights and shadows, showing saturation (red) and underexposure (blue).

Now, recovery of highlights and shadows is nothing new. That's not my point here. What I want is some means for the camera to tell me, while shooting, whether the raw image will be saturated (and unrecoverable) rather than the JPEG image.

Any suggestions?

Regards,

Alan

 Alan WF's gear list:Alan WF's gear list
Sony a6000 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS Canon EF-S 24mm F2.8 STM Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM +11 more
Sony a6000
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