D800: Really serious shadow lifting

Started Jun 1, 2012 | Discussions
Kabe Luna
Kabe Luna Veteran Member • Posts: 9,502
D800: Really serious shadow lifting

Last night I photographed repairs on a sign I designed for a medical system I worked for. My goal was to preserve the vibrant colors of the sign while also showing the surrounding clinic architecture. I didn't have a tripod along, so multiple frames composited wasn't an option. Instead, I metered the vibrant blue letter faces to avoid clipping and fired away at ISO 200 (because I have read that using as low an ISO as possible rather than setting a higher sensitivity may actually result in less noise and greater dynamic range), 1/15 @ f/8 on my D800 + 24-120/4VR (24mm, VR engaged) to get as much dynamic range as I could. The time of exposure was 9:45pm.

This is the original image as shot:

This is the final image after positive exposure compensation, geometric distortion and CA correction and shadow lifting in Lightroom 4–no complex masking, and no further work (other than sharpening) in post. Notice the D800's sensor is even sensitive enough to distinguish the faint blue glow of the very last vestiges of daylight:

I think this is a great example of how the additional dynamic range and freedom from pattern noise allowed by the D800 can be exploited in a real world way to simplify the job of creating images under difficult lighting circumstances.

-- hide signature --
 Kabe Luna's gear list:Kabe Luna's gear list
Nikon D750 Nikon Z7 Nikon Z6 Canon EOS R Panasonic S1 +20 more
Nikon D800
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
reginalddwight Senior Member • Posts: 2,003
Re: D800: Really serious shadow lifting

Wonderful demonstration of the wide DR of the D800 sensor, particularly at or close to native ISO. Good job.

Kabe Luna
OP Kabe Luna Veteran Member • Posts: 9,502
Thanks, Reginal

I love this camera's sensor! The dynamic range and resolution have me thinking about photography again in the way I did when I shot medium format color negative film–I don't hesitate to shoot through difficult lighting.

-- hide signature --
 Kabe Luna's gear list:Kabe Luna's gear list
Nikon D750 Nikon Z7 Nikon Z6 Canon EOS R Panasonic S1 +20 more
rinsephotographic Contributing Member • Posts: 934
Re: D800: Really serious shadow lifting

good lord, that's some DR! great highlight recovery. this may indeed be my camera for nighttime voyeurism and general lurking about. that much recoverable data in the shadows gives a person A LOT of artistic freedom in creating a b&w image.

-- hide signature --

dave

Ed Kalama Regular Member • Posts: 169
Re: D800: Really serious shadow lifting

This is truly unbelievable! And my April 27 D800E is probably at least two months away yet. I'm sadly stuck with Amazon.com because of gift certificates and store credits that I'm using for the purchase.

-- hide signature --

ed
Sometimes, I SHOOT LIKE CRAZY!
http://edgarces.smugmug.com

Kabe Luna
OP Kabe Luna Veteran Member • Posts: 9,502
Actually, there is no highlight recovery to speak of

because I was careful to keep the highlights from clipping when determining exposure. The shadows, though...that is where this sensor shines! Handled properly, you can dig and dig and dig into the shadow areas. I'm going to have to actually do a controlled test under similar circumstances to see if, in fact, exposing at ISO 100 gives more dynamic range and greater overall image quality than using, say, ISO 3200.

rinsephotographic wrote:

good lord, that's some DR! great highlight recovery. this may indeed be my camera for nighttime voyeurism and general lurking about. that much recoverable data in the shadows gives a person A LOT of artistic freedom in creating a b&w image.

-- hide signature --
 Kabe Luna's gear list:Kabe Luna's gear list
Nikon D750 Nikon Z7 Nikon Z6 Canon EOS R Panasonic S1 +20 more
BJN
BJN Veteran Member • Posts: 5,106
I'd have let them clip

There's nothing in the white areas that's essential to the image. I'd have opened up a stop and reduce the amount of heavy lifting. You'd get less color noise. I think there's too much fear of clipping even when holding highlights doesn't help the image in the least. Expose to the right and worry about clipping when it's important.

-- hide signature --

BJ Nicholls
SLC, UT

 BJN's gear list:BJN's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5
Kabe Luna
OP Kabe Luna Veteran Member • Posts: 9,502
It's not the whites I was worried about clipping

but the intense blue face lighting on the letters. Any more exposure, and I'd have clipped the blue channel, shifting the blue toward an inaccurate purple. It's simplistic to think that neutrals/whites clip first.

What's more, I do consider the reflections of the LED halo lighting behind the letters on the raceway to which they are mounted essential to the image. I prefer not to have those details lost to overexposure. I large areas of featureless white resulting from overexposure far more detrimental to image quality than chroma noise. Especially in the context of this image where there are already so many color temperatures in play.

BJN wrote:

There's nothing in the white areas that's essential to the image. I'd have opened up a stop and reduce the amount of heavy lifting. You'd get less color noise. I think there's too much fear of clipping even when holding highlights doesn't help the image in the least. Expose to the right and worry about clipping when it's important.

-- hide signature --
 Kabe Luna's gear list:Kabe Luna's gear list
Nikon D750 Nikon Z7 Nikon Z6 Canon EOS R Panasonic S1 +20 more
rinsephotographic Contributing Member • Posts: 934
Re: Actually, there is no highlight recovery to speak of

Kabe Luna wrote:

because I was careful to keep the highlights from clipping when determining exposure. The shadows, though...that is where this sensor shines!

haha. yeah, shadows, that's what i meant. shadows. dark places becoming not so dark places. amazing.

Handled properly, you can dig and dig and dig into the shadow areas. I'm going to have to actually do a controlled test under similar circumstances to see if, in fact, exposing at ISO 100 gives more dynamic range and greater overall image quality than using, say, ISO 3200.

that would be interesting to see. i love shooting at 3200 so...get it done man! do the work for me! ha.

dave

-- hide signature --

dave

fromero Contributing Member • Posts: 924
Re: D800: Really serious shadow lifting

Thanks so much.

It is really amazing how the technique is developing. A wonderful camera although in the expensive side for me. I hope this capacity to recover shadows will be implemented in cheaper cameras. Although it is great to have 36 Mp, it is this awesome DR and lack of noise what I am longing for.

Regards
--
Francisco Romero

Zlik Contributing Member • Posts: 990
Re: It's not the whites I was worried about clipping

Kabe Luna wrote:

but the intense blue face lighting on the letters. Any more exposure, and I'd have clipped the blue channel, shifting the blue toward an inaccurate purple. It's simplistic to think that neutrals/whites clip first.

The D800's dynamic range is amazing, but the problem here is that the photo, after such heavy shadow lifting, doesn't look good. 2/3 of the picture is way too noisy and the overall feel of the photo took quite a hit. In this situation, even the D800 can't beat a 2 shot HDR. 1 shot exposed for the LEDs, 1 shot exposed for the rest.

Now about the compromise between keeping the highlight information vs keeping the shadow information in this particular situation when going for the non-HDR shot, I think I would have exposed a little bit more because I find that you compromised the whole picture too much just to save the highlights. But that's my opinion

What's more, I do consider the reflections of the LED halo lighting behind the letters on the raceway to which they are mounted essential to the image. I prefer not to have those details lost to overexposure. I large areas of featureless white resulting from overexposure far more detrimental to image quality than chroma noise. Especially in the context of this image where there are already so many color temperatures in play.

BJN wrote:

There's nothing in the white areas that's essential to the image. I'd have opened up a stop and reduce the amount of heavy lifting. You'd get less color noise. I think there's too much fear of clipping even when holding highlights doesn't help the image in the least. Expose to the right and worry about clipping when it's important.

-- hide signature --

BJ Nicholls
SLC, UT

-- hide signature --
Mikael Risedal
Mikael Risedal Veteran Member • Posts: 4,625
Re: Actually, there is no highlight recovery to speak of

More and more people start to understand the benefits of a large dynamic range and freedom from noise, banding and pattern noise as for example weddings photographers.

Kabe Luna wrote:

because I was careful to keep the highlights from clipping when determining exposure. The shadows, though...that is where this sensor shines! Handled properly, you can dig and dig and dig into the shadow areas. I'm going to have to actually do a controlled test under similar circumstances to see if, in fact, exposing at ISO 100 gives more dynamic range and greater overall image quality than using, say, ISO 3200.

rinsephotographic wrote:

good lord, that's some DR! great highlight recovery. this may indeed be my camera for nighttime voyeurism and general lurking about. that much recoverable data in the shadows gives a person A LOT of artistic freedom in creating a b&w image.

-- hide signature --

Life is a battle wishes aunt Titti

InTheMist
InTheMist Veteran Member • Posts: 3,078
Re: It's not the whites I was worried about clipping

I have to say, this is really an excellent demonstration.

I don't know how everyone feels, but with my Nikon sensors, in Aperture or Shutter priority, typically I expose for the highlights and push the shadows in post.
--
Ridicule is not C&C nor is it being helpful nor "stating your opinion"
http://www.flickr.com/InTheMist

 InTheMist's gear list:InTheMist's gear list
Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) Leica M-Monochrom Nikon 1 AW1 Nikon Df Nikon D810 +18 more
panos_m Senior Member • Posts: 1,586
Re: D800: Really serious shadow lifting

Kabe Luna wrote:

Last night I photographed repairs on a sign I designed for a medical system I worked for. My goal was to preserve the vibrant colors of the sign while also showing the surrounding clinic architecture. I didn't have a tripod along, so multiple frames composited wasn't an option. Instead, I metered the vibrant blue letter faces to avoid clipping and fired away at ISO 200 (because I have read that using as low an ISO as possible rather than setting a higher sensitivity may actually result in less noise and greater dynamic range), 1/15 @ f/8 on my D800 + 24-120/4VR (24mm, VR engaged) to get as much dynamic range as I could. The time of exposure was 9:45pm.

For the same exposure every time you raise the iso by one stop you are potentially creating a bigger file and you potentially clip one stop of highlight DR. So, if you shoot raw, the real question is whether there is a reason to use anything else except iso 100 with a low read noise camera such as D800.
--
Panagiotis

Zlik Contributing Member • Posts: 990
Re: D800: Really serious shadow lifting

panos_m wrote:

Kabe Luna wrote:

Last night I photographed repairs on a sign I designed for a medical system I worked for. My goal was to preserve the vibrant colors of the sign while also showing the surrounding clinic architecture. I didn't have a tripod along, so multiple frames composited wasn't an option. Instead, I metered the vibrant blue letter faces to avoid clipping and fired away at ISO 200 (because I have read that using as low an ISO as possible rather than setting a higher sensitivity may actually result in less noise and greater dynamic range), 1/15 @ f/8 on my D800 + 24-120/4VR (24mm, VR engaged) to get as much dynamic range as I could. The time of exposure was 9:45pm.

For the same exposure every time you raise the iso by one stop you are potentially creating a bigger file and you potentially clip one stop of highlight DR. So, if you shoot raw, the real question is whether there is a reason to use anything else except iso 100 with a low read noise camera such as D800.
--
Panagiotis

You are refering to "ISO-less" cameras were the DR vs ISO graph is linear (1600ISO = 100 ISO pushed 4 stops, etc), and the D800 is almost a ISO-less camera. When I say almost, it's because you still get slightly better results when using the D800 at 1600 than with pushing the 100 ISO shot 4 stops. See here:

http://home.comcast.net/~NikonD70/Charts/PDR_Shadow.htm#D800

A ISO-less camera would be a straight horizontal line at 0. If you compare the D800 to the D3s or 5DmkIII, you will see that the D800 is very close to the ISO-less camera.

panos_m Senior Member • Posts: 1,586
Re: D800: Really serious shadow lifting

Zlik wrote:

panos_m wrote:

Kabe Luna wrote:

Last night I photographed repairs on a sign I designed for a medical system I worked for. My goal was to preserve the vibrant colors of the sign while also showing the surrounding clinic architecture. I didn't have a tripod along, so multiple frames composited wasn't an option. Instead, I metered the vibrant blue letter faces to avoid clipping and fired away at ISO 200 (because I have read that using as low an ISO as possible rather than setting a higher sensitivity may actually result in less noise and greater dynamic range), 1/15 @ f/8 on my D800 + 24-120/4VR (24mm, VR engaged) to get as much dynamic range as I could. The time of exposure was 9:45pm.

For the same exposure every time you raise the iso by one stop you are potentially creating a bigger file and you potentially clip one stop of highlight DR. So, if you shoot raw, the real question is whether there is a reason to use anything else except iso 100 with a low read noise camera such as D800.
--
Panagiotis

You are refering to "ISO-less" cameras were the DR vs ISO graph is linear (1600ISO = 100 ISO pushed 4 stops, etc), and the D800 is almost a ISO-less camera. When I say almost, it's because you still get slightly better results when using the D800 at 1600 than with pushing the 100 ISO shot 4 stops. See here:

http://home.comcast.net/~NikonD70/Charts/PDR_Shadow.htm#D800

A ISO-less camera would be a straight horizontal line at 0. If you compare the D800 to the D3s or 5DmkIII, you will see that the D800 is very close to the ISO-less camera.

Yes. For example I am shooting a D3 and there is no reason to go beyond iso 800. I would like to see a relevant visual demonstration from D800 starting from base iso + a mainstream raw converter as LR4. I can tolerate a little more noise in the shadows if I can capture 4 more stops of highlight DR.
--
Panagiotis

Kabe Luna
OP Kabe Luna Veteran Member • Posts: 9,502
Fair enough

Zlik wrote:

Kabe Luna wrote:

but the intense blue face lighting on the letters. Any more exposure, and I'd have clipped the blue channel, shifting the blue toward an inaccurate purple. It's simplistic to think that neutrals/whites clip first.

The D800's dynamic range is amazing, but the problem here is that the photo, after such heavy shadow lifting, doesn't look good. 2/3 of the picture is way too noisy and the overall feel of the photo took quite a hit. In this situation, even the D800 can't beat a 2 shot HDR. 1 shot exposed for the LEDs, 1 shot exposed for the rest.

I plan to return to the site once all the lighting ratio adjustments have been made and do just that: make multiple shots to merge for much lower noise and greater dynamic range (I'd like to be able to see a lot more information in the dark areas). But I actually like the overall look of this shot. I don't have much interest in a strictly natural rendition of this subject.

I'm thrilled to be able to have gotten so close to what I want from a single image. So, rather than having to blend 3 or 4 shots, I can image being able to get what I'm after from only two.

Now about the compromise between keeping the highlight information vs keeping the shadow information in this particular situation when going for the non-HDR shot, I think I would have exposed a little bit more because I find that you compromised the whole picture too much just to save the highlights. But that's my opinion

Those colorful blue letters are the subject, and more exposure results in inaccurate colors, even on the attempt to recover (I know because I bracketed the shot; 2/3 more exposure, and I can't get the blues accurate on recovery). If the letters had been more neutral, I would agree with you about adding more exposure.

Blending two shots is going to be the ticket. It'll also allow me to more easily correct for the different between the neutral light lighting and the mixed ambient lighting.

-- hide signature --
 Kabe Luna's gear list:Kabe Luna's gear list
Nikon D750 Nikon Z7 Nikon Z6 Canon EOS R Panasonic S1 +20 more
Kabe Luna
OP Kabe Luna Veteran Member • Posts: 9,502
Great information. Thanks

ISO 1600 seems like the maximum ISO I'll need since I never go above 6400. That's where I'll peg my auto ISO max.

Zlik wrote:

panos_m wrote:

Kabe Luna wrote:

Last night I photographed repairs on a sign I designed for a medical system I worked for. My goal was to preserve the vibrant colors of the sign while also showing the surrounding clinic architecture. I didn't have a tripod along, so multiple frames composited wasn't an option. Instead, I metered the vibrant blue letter faces to avoid clipping and fired away at ISO 200 (because I have read that using as low an ISO as possible rather than setting a higher sensitivity may actually result in less noise and greater dynamic range), 1/15 @ f/8 on my D800 + 24-120/4VR (24mm, VR engaged) to get as much dynamic range as I could. The time of exposure was 9:45pm.

For the same exposure every time you raise the iso by one stop you are potentially creating a bigger file and you potentially clip one stop of highlight DR. So, if you shoot raw, the real question is whether there is a reason to use anything else except iso 100 with a low read noise camera such as D800.
--
Panagiotis

You are refering to "ISO-less" cameras were the DR vs ISO graph is linear (1600ISO = 100 ISO pushed 4 stops, etc), and the D800 is almost a ISO-less camera. When I say almost, it's because you still get slightly better results when using the D800 at 1600 than with pushing the 100 ISO shot 4 stops. See here:

http://home.comcast.net/~NikonD70/Charts/PDR_Shadow.htm#D800

A ISO-less camera would be a straight horizontal line at 0. If you compare the D800 to the D3s or 5DmkIII, you will see that the D800 is very close to the ISO-less camera.

-- hide signature --
 Kabe Luna's gear list:Kabe Luna's gear list
Nikon D750 Nikon Z7 Nikon Z6 Canon EOS R Panasonic S1 +20 more
Faintandfuzzy Veteran Member • Posts: 3,328
Re: D800: Really serious shadow lifting

This goes so far beyond the current Canon sensors it's amazing. Glad I made the switch.

 Faintandfuzzy's gear list:Faintandfuzzy's gear list
Canon PowerShot G3 Nikon Coolpix 950 Olympus E-10 Canon PowerShot SX150 IS Canon EOS D30 +10 more
nikhgan Senior Member • Posts: 1,552
Re: D800: Really serious shadow lifting

This is amazing.

Can you share what values you changed on the lightroom?

most importantly

  • exposure

  • recovery

  • fill light

  • black

  • highlights

  • lights

  • darks

  • shadows

Just want to get an idea of how much the D800 files can tolerate.

Kabe Luna wrote:

This is the final image after positive exposure compensation, geometric distortion and CA correction and shadow lifting in Lightroom 4–no complex masking, and no further work (other than sharpening) in post. Notice the D800's sensor is even sensitive enough to distinguish the faint blue glow of the very last vestiges of daylight:

Kabe Luna

http://www.garlandcary.com

Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads