Warning/guidance to new Zf and Z8 shooters - HLG

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areallygrumpyoldsod Senior Member • Posts: 1,860
Warning/guidance to new Zf and Z8 shooters - HLG

Hi all

I am beginning to see folk complaining that they cannot reduce ISO below 400 when shooting stills with a Zf or Z8.

Well folk - welcome to Hybrid-Log Gamma.

If you did not know what you did you probably went into the Photo Shooting Menu - the Tone Mode setting and selected HLG.

The Zf and Z8 both now offer users the option to switch from SDR (Adobe RGB color space) into HLG (which uses Rec.2020 colour space AND applies a Log-curve to tonal data rather than a single ISO setting. The fact that ISO settings are used when in HLG is purely a convenience. HLG ISO 800 is the base ISO for the camera and is the settings that offers the maximum dynamic range the camera can deliver. The HLS ISO 400 is equivalent to using L1.0 - i.e. 1 stop below the base ISO. What Nikon appear to have done is suppress the brighter tones to reduce overall exposure by about 1 stop.

Yes N.Log and Log curves have been the domain of Video shooters and recording, but now they are also applied for stills.

What does this mean -- well if you got here unintentionally then go back into the Tone Mode menu and select SDR and do not worry about it. You should then be able to select the full range of ISO settings as before.

If you did intend to use HLG then while shooting JPG you will be delivered a HEIF file not a JPG.

While shooting RAW the RAW file will have a HEIF image embedded in it rather than a JPG - this results in these RAW files being slightly smaller than those saved shot on SDR. AND most importantly you need to slightly adjust how you process these RAW files -- obviously you can use NX Studio to do this OR now since Adobe has updated Lightroom, Lightroom Classic 2024 (13.0) and Adobe Camera RAW you can select the new HDR processing function (Auto, B&W and HDR) in the develop module and this will show a histogram that shows you what tones have been captured in the 5 normal SDR tone bands and add a further 4 bands for the brighter HDR tones (in 1 EV intervals). Users can then choose to visualise/highlight those parts of their images that would clip if developed as an SDR image and adjust tones in the image to "pull these brighter tones" back into SDR range.

Obviously you should consider how you will use these images how they will be printed or displayed and the capabilities of these media to display colour spaces and tones. Most Internet based displays are still sRGB, some are P3 as a result any very bright tones that are beyond these need to be pulled back if tonal data is to be seen.

Since Adobe provides highlighting tools you do not need to use a fully HDR / Rec.2020 capable monitor - you can use almost any monitor while you are processing images -- but recognise that your viewing experience will be far better and more accurate if you were to use a suitably capable HDR monitor if you plan to use HLG/Rec.2020 images and videos (rec.2100) frequently.

Other forum members have posted extensively about N.Log and HLG and how ISO 400 -vs- ISO 800 works. A further refinement in relation to the Zf and Z8 is that these cameras use a Dual Gain Amplification as a result the largest dynamic range occurs at ISO 64/100 and ISO 500/800. {Ref Thom Hogan and others}. It is NOT clear to me whether or not N.Log also has two "base" settings 800 and 3200 or not. Others will no doubt resp[ond to this.

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Nikon and Hasselblad shooter -- wildlife and and --
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 areallygrumpyoldsod's gear list:areallygrumpyoldsod's gear list
Nikon Z9 Nikon Z 24-70mm F2.8 Nikon Z 70-200 F2.8 VR Nikon Z 14-24mm F2.8 Nikon Z MC 105mm F2.8 VR S +28 more
Nikon Z8 Nikon Zf Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1
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