E-1 metering - question to experienced photographers
Hi to You in the Forum :-)!
Still i am very pleased and happy using E-1!
But after struggling a bit with some high-contrast situations with blown hilight-areas, i am wondering how You deal with the situation.
I wouldn´t be able to say (yet), if this difficulty is (much) worse than with more modern cameras - but i think it is a point (like generelly probably with any FT- and little less mFT-cam).
Take for example a forest. Not to deep shadows. Nicely bright green leaves because of the sun. But a few spots, where the sun hits the ground directly. Result of course: the sunny spots will be blown!
So far i have avoided ESP. As i understand it´s much more "simple" than modern "Matrix"-metering-systems (45 and more areas ..). I haven´t been very lucky using them in criticil light situations aswell (specially if it comes to correction: hard to predict the result). So i left that one out yet.
My first choice is center-weighted metering and correct .. like -0.7 to even -2.0 EV in very difficiult situations. But even that sometimes is not enough.
Additional difficulty: E-1 screen has to low resosultion to give an impression if bright areas are already blown. The shown histogram either doesn´t seem to be accurate. In some images if the right part of the histogram hits just the middle the result will be totally fine - other images though will be pretty underexposed .. !
So the way to go would be: spot-metering the brightest area and correct say 0,3 - 0,7 PLUS not to completly loose the shadows avoiding to totally blow the lights .. - AEL and reframe.
I am rehursing on that one!
(Of course i am aware of the possibility of bracketing and later combine the frames to one "HDR"-pic. To do that "proper" one should use a tripod even in good light .. - AND my goal is to get the best out of just one frame!)
Unfortunatly the harsh blowing of bright light areas in pictures was actually the main reason to give up on my in (m)any other regards beloved e-330 a few years ago. My impression was, that even my only 1 1/7"-sonsor Fuji-Bridge S9100 could do that job better .. without being a master in that regard either.
My little knowledge about DR in digital cameras: the possible range of bright areas above 0 (grey) is about 4 EV, "usable" perhaps 3 EV to stay on the save side. Unluckily even live histogram is not really helpful to avoid blowing, but of course it´s better than nothing.
Where (modern) DR giants like Pentax K5 (II/s) shine is the shadow range. Because of their much smaller noise levels it is possibile to get out much "deeper" shadows than in elder noisier cams.
Do You have any hints or suggestions how to use E-1 metering best in these situations?
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my pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/batuk_bhagwan/
So far i have avoided ESP. As i understand it´s much more "simple" than modern "Matrix"-metering-systems (45 and more areas ..).
ESP works very well. It's very good at preserving highlights. ESP can be fooled by scenes with a lot of black or white in it. If you shoot a black wall ESP will try to make the black middle grey. That usually results in overexposure. The white causes the opposite.
If you really don't want to use ESP, perhaps it would be worthwhile getting familiar with manual shooting. The E1 is an excellent manual shooting camera. Spot meter shadows or highlights (depending on what you want to preserve) and shoot accordingly.
But, seriously, try the ESP first.
My reply may be somewhat peripheral to your question, but...I wonder what software are you using to help you recover blown highlights? I would assume you're shooting raw--i.e., ORF (aren't you?) If not, perhaps you should, IMHO.
Anyway, my post-processing experience is with Lightroom 4, and it (now at version 5) is regarded as doing an outstanding job in regard to highlight recovery. Of course it's best not to blow highlights in the first place, but when you do, Lightroom processing (of a raw file) is supposedly about the best you can do to recover.
Thank You for encouraging me to give ESP a try. I definitly will .. see and compare where it has advantages vs. center-weighted or Spot.
BTW to spot hilight area and compansate + 0,3-07 EV gave me already much better results .. though i have to get the feeling, how much compensation will be good enough. I think even 0,7 was to little ..
@ Phil Rose
You are totally right: ORF is the way to go.
After comparing quite a few converters to my taste still Olympus Studio/Viewer is giving the most pleasing complete results. Unfortunatly it doesn´t offer any hilight-recovery tool - curves is the only thing to do.
So mostly i convert my files to 16-bit-Tiff using the Olympus SW and do further pp if needed using LR or PS.
I totally agree, that LR 4 (haven´t tried 5 yet, as it only works on 64-bit-computers, .. and mine isn´t) is brilliant in saving hilight-data (IF there is any) without touching other parts of the image to much.
Using an E-1-profile it does give very pleasing results not far from Olympus Viewer .. but it´s not the same.
Surprisingly (as most disagree):
If nothing is to wrong with my eyes (or mind) .. i am very happy with sharpened ISO 100-E1-files +4 or even +5 and using Noise filter - IF not much more has to be done with the image later.
Compared to USM in f.e. PS i have the impression that sharpening in Olympus Viewer is more effective and only touches areas where it is needed.
But maybe i am totally wrong about that. Of course i know, that sharpening should be the last step .. and i use it like that, if the image needs more pp say in LR.
Back to handling DR-"issues" of E-1: i have the impression that my best way to go in more difficult light situation will be manual-mode and Spot-metering. And as You wrote, rovingtim, E-1 is a very good manual cam ..
my pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/batuk_bhagwan/
The E1 will take good photos with ESP or spot metering. You still have to control exposure.
-0.3 is probably the best option.
Please don,t forget to reduce contrast. It will improve your shots.
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