Good highlight recovery more important than good shadow recovery?

Started Oct 27, 2017 | Discussions
(unknown member) Contributing Member • Posts: 975
Good highlight recovery more important than good shadow recovery?

Isn't it better to have a camera with very good highlight recovery instead of good shadow recovery?

I think that good shadow recovery and bad highlight recovery means that one often should underexpose = more noise. Sometimes it's also unpredictable how much noise you will get in the end (in particular when there's a lot of vignetting).

I have the impression that the Canon M6 doesn't offer good highlight recovery.

Which Aps-c / MFT cameras offer the best highlight recovery? Is there a website that measures this?

Canon EOS M6
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FingerPainter Veteran Member • Posts: 9,333
Re: Good highlight recovery more important than good shadow recovery?
7

Once you've blown a highlight, you cannot recover it. Shadows can always be recovered to some degree.

Wahrsager
Wahrsager Senior Member • Posts: 2,241
Re: Good highlight recovery more important than good shadow recovery?

noisephotographer wrote:

Isn't it better to have a camera with very good highlight recovery instead of good shadow recovery?

I think that good shadow recovery and bad highlight recovery means that one often should underexpose = more noise. Sometimes it's also unpredictable how much noise you will get in the end (in particular when there's a lot of vignetting).

I have the impression that the Canon M6 doesn't offer good highlight recovery.

Which Aps-c / MFT cameras offer the best highlight recovery? Is there a website that measures this?

Maybe you could expose differently using exposure compensation or the light meter if shooting manually and learn the zone system.

I'm having to adjust they way I expose as I recently bought a camera that lacks bountiful shadow recovery that I'm used to.

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Tom Axford Veteran Member • Posts: 7,347
Re: Good highlight recovery more important than good shadow recovery?
5

noisephotographer wrote:

Isn't it better to have a camera with very good highlight recovery instead of good shadow recovery?

I think that good shadow recovery and bad highlight recovery means that one often should underexpose = more noise. Sometimes it's also unpredictable how much noise you will get in the end (in particular when there's a lot of vignetting).

I have the impression that the Canon M6 doesn't offer good highlight recovery.

Which Aps-c / MFT cameras offer the best highlight recovery? Is there a website that measures this?

Highlight recovery is a complete fiction. No camera offers highlight recovery. They all record essentially the same thing as far as highlights are concerned (assuming images are captured raw).

The reason people talk about highlight recovery is all to do with how the raw image is processed to a jpeg. It has nothing to do with how the raw image is captured (assuming that the highlights are not overexposed). If the highlights are overexposed (clipped) then nothing can be done to recover them.

A program such as Lightroom in its default setting compresses the top three stops into about one in the jpeg image. This reduces the contrast so much that a lot of highlight detail is lost. Highlight recovery is done by pulling down the Highlights slider which has the effect of increasing the contrast in the highlights (partly by increasing local contrast instead of global contrast), thus making the highlight detail more visible. This all depends on Lightroom and has almost nothing to do with the camera.

OP (unknown member) Contributing Member • Posts: 975
Re: Good highlight recovery more important than good shadow recovery?

Tom Axford wrote:

noisephotographer wrote:

Isn't it better to have a camera with very good highlight recovery instead of good shadow recovery?

I think that good shadow recovery and bad highlight recovery means that one often should underexpose = more noise. Sometimes it's also unpredictable how much noise you will get in the end (in particular when there's a lot of vignetting).

I have the impression that the Canon M6 doesn't offer good highlight recovery.

Which Aps-c / MFT cameras offer the best highlight recovery? Is there a website that measures this?

Highlight recovery is a complete fiction. No camera offers highlight recovery. They all record essentially the same thing as far as highlights are concerned (assuming images are captured raw).

The reason people talk about highlight recovery is all to do with how the raw image is processed to a jpeg. It has nothing to do with how the raw image is captured (assuming that the highlights are not overexposed). If the highlights are overexposed (clipped) then nothing can be done to recover them.

A program such as Lightroom in its default setting compresses the top three stops into about one in the jpeg image. This reduces the contrast so much that a lot of highlight detail is lost. Highlight recovery is done by pulling down the Highlights slider which has the effect of increasing the contrast in the highlights (partly by increasing local contrast instead of global contrast), thus making the highlight detail more visible. This all depends on Lightroom and has almost nothing to do with the camera.

But raw files from certain cameras have better highlight recovery in Lightroom than raw files from other cameras: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/41305475

FingerPainter Veteran Member • Posts: 9,333
Re: Good highlight recovery more important than good shadow recovery?
2

noisephotographer wrote:

But raw files from certain cameras have better highlight recovery in Lightroom than raw files from other cameras: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/41305475

This post from the same thread gives a different view.

John Deerfield Veteran Member • Posts: 3,510
Re: Good highlight recovery more important than good shadow recovery?

noisephotographer wrote:

Tom Axford wrote:

noisephotographer wrote:

Isn't it better to have a camera with very good highlight recovery instead of good shadow recovery?

I think that good shadow recovery and bad highlight recovery means that one often should underexpose = more noise. Sometimes it's also unpredictable how much noise you will get in the end (in particular when there's a lot of vignetting).

I have the impression that the Canon M6 doesn't offer good highlight recovery.

Which Aps-c / MFT cameras offer the best highlight recovery? Is there a website that measures this?

Highlight recovery is a complete fiction. No camera offers highlight recovery. They all record essentially the same thing as far as highlights are concerned (assuming images are captured raw).

The reason people talk about highlight recovery is all to do with how the raw image is processed to a jpeg. It has nothing to do with how the raw image is captured (assuming that the highlights are not overexposed). If the highlights are overexposed (clipped) then nothing can be done to recover them.

A program such as Lightroom in its default setting compresses the top three stops into about one in the jpeg image. This reduces the contrast so much that a lot of highlight detail is lost. Highlight recovery is done by pulling down the Highlights slider which has the effect of increasing the contrast in the highlights (partly by increasing local contrast instead of global contrast), thus making the highlight detail more visible. This all depends on Lightroom and has almost nothing to do with the camera.

But raw files from certain cameras have better highlight recovery in Lightroom than raw files from other cameras: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/41305475

Assuming this is true, what is the question? Different RAW software produces different results. You have the software that came with the camera. Arguably, this should produce the best results as this software hasn't backwards engineered the RAW conversion. On the other hand, I have read that some prefer Capture One's conversion to even the camera manufacturers software.

OP (unknown member) Contributing Member • Posts: 975
Re: Good highlight recovery more important than good shadow recovery?

FingerPainter wrote:

noisephotographer wrote:

But raw files from certain cameras have better highlight recovery in Lightroom than raw files from other cameras: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/41305475

This post from the same thread gives a different view.

But what does this have to do with exposure metering when I choose the exact exposure in manual mode? In the post that I mentioned the exposure was identical.

OP (unknown member) Contributing Member • Posts: 975
Re: Good highlight recovery more important than good shadow recovery?

John Deerfield wrote:

noisephotographer wrote:

Tom Axford wrote:

noisephotographer wrote:

Isn't it better to have a camera with very good highlight recovery instead of good shadow recovery?

I think that good shadow recovery and bad highlight recovery means that one often should underexpose = more noise. Sometimes it's also unpredictable how much noise you will get in the end (in particular when there's a lot of vignetting).

I have the impression that the Canon M6 doesn't offer good highlight recovery.

Which Aps-c / MFT cameras offer the best highlight recovery? Is there a website that measures this?

Highlight recovery is a complete fiction. No camera offers highlight recovery. They all record essentially the same thing as far as highlights are concerned (assuming images are captured raw).

The reason people talk about highlight recovery is all to do with how the raw image is processed to a jpeg. It has nothing to do with how the raw image is captured (assuming that the highlights are not overexposed). If the highlights are overexposed (clipped) then nothing can be done to recover them.

A program such as Lightroom in its default setting compresses the top three stops into about one in the jpeg image. This reduces the contrast so much that a lot of highlight detail is lost. Highlight recovery is done by pulling down the Highlights slider which has the effect of increasing the contrast in the highlights (partly by increasing local contrast instead of global contrast), thus making the highlight detail more visible. This all depends on Lightroom and has almost nothing to do with the camera.

But raw files from certain cameras have better highlight recovery in Lightroom than raw files from other cameras: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/41305475

Assuming this is true, what is the question? Different RAW software produces different results. You have the software that came with the camera. Arguably, this should produce the best results as this software hasn't backwards engineered the RAW conversion. On the other hand, I have read that some prefer Capture One's conversion to even the camera manufacturers software.

My question was not about different software, but raw files from different cameras in Lightroom.

FingerPainter Veteran Member • Posts: 9,333
Re: Good highlight recovery more important than good shadow recovery?
1

noisephotographer wrote:

FingerPainter wrote:

noisephotographer wrote:

But raw files from certain cameras have better highlight recovery in Lightroom than raw files from other cameras: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/41305475

This post from the same thread gives a different view.

But what does this have to do with exposure metering when I choose the exact exposure in manual mode? In the post that I mentioned the exposure was identical.

The exposure settings were identical but the full well capacity, fixed amplification, camera-added noise and ISO implementation were not. All of these will effect DR. You should note that the link I posted made everything relative to saturation level.

OP (unknown member) Contributing Member • Posts: 975
Re: Good highlight recovery more important than good shadow recovery?

FingerPainter wrote:

noisephotographer wrote:

FingerPainter wrote:

noisephotographer wrote:

But raw files from certain cameras have better highlight recovery in Lightroom than raw files from other cameras: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/41305475

This post from the same thread gives a different view.

But what does this have to do with exposure metering when I choose the exact exposure in manual mode? In the post that I mentioned the exposure was identical.

The exposure settings were identical but the full well capacity, fixed amplification, camera-added noise and ISO implementation were not. All of these will effect DR. You should note that the link I posted made everything relative to saturation level.

But in which way is this helpful when camera A is able to recover more "highlights" than camera B in Lightroom at the same exposure & brightness?

FingerPainter Veteran Member • Posts: 9,333
Re: Good highlight recovery more important than good shadow recovery?

noisephotographer wrote:

FingerPainter wrote:

noisephotographer wrote:

FingerPainter wrote:

noisephotographer wrote:

But raw files from certain cameras have better highlight recovery in Lightroom than raw files from other cameras: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/41305475

This post from the same thread gives a different view.

But what does this have to do with exposure metering when I choose the exact exposure in manual mode? In the post that I mentioned the exposure was identical.

If you are shooting RAW and trying to show as much detail in highlights as possible, you shouldn't be exposing the same on two cameras which have different dynamic ranges. You should be exposing to just below the point where highlights will be blown. This will be at a lower exposure on the camera with the smaller DR.

The exposure settings were identical but the full well capacity, fixed amplification, camera-added noise and ISO implementation were not. All of these will effect DR. You should note that the link I posted made everything relative to saturation level.

But in which way is this helpful when camera A is able to recover more "highlights" than camera B in Lightroom at the same exposure & brightness?

Tom, Horshack and I are all telling you the same thing. You are finding it unhelpful.

Perhaps we have a different understanding of what is meant by "highlight" or "highlight recovery". If you look a the pictures in the digifotopro article, you should be able to see that what wasn't "recovered" in the Canon photos were highlights that were blown. What was "recovered" in the Nikon photos are highlight that were not blown. The difference between the Nikon and the Canon is that the Nikon has a higher dynamic range. The two shots used the same exposure, which caused highlights to blow on the Canon but not on the Nikon. Nothing was actually recovered on either camera. It is just that some things were blown on the Canon that were not blown on the Nikon.

Since you should be exposing to just before the point where highlights are blown, there is no functional difference between cameras except in how much shadows can be recovered. Saturation is the meaningful reference point, and DR is the range below saturation.

OP (unknown member) Contributing Member • Posts: 975
Re: Good highlight recovery more important than good shadow recovery?

FingerPainter wrote:

noisephotographer wrote:

FingerPainter wrote:

noisephotographer wrote:

FingerPainter wrote:

noisephotographer wrote:

But raw files from certain cameras have better highlight recovery in Lightroom than raw files from other cameras: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/41305475

This post from the same thread gives a different view.

But what does this have to do with exposure metering when I choose the exact exposure in manual mode? In the post that I mentioned the exposure was identical.

If you are shooting RAW and trying to show as much detail in highlights as possible, you shouldn't be exposing the same on two cameras which have different dynamic ranges. You should be exposing to just below the point where highlights will be blown. This will be at a lower exposure on the camera with the smaller DR.

The exposure settings were identical but the full well capacity, fixed amplification, camera-added noise and ISO implementation were not. All of these will effect DR. You should note that the link I posted made everything relative to saturation level.

But in which way is this helpful when camera A is able to recover more "highlights" than camera B in Lightroom at the same exposure & brightness?

Tom, Horshack and I are all telling you the same thing. You are finding it unhelpful.

Perhaps we have a different understanding of what is meant by "highlight" or "highlight recovery". If you look a the pictures in the digifotopro article, you should be able to see that what wasn't "recovered" in the Canon photos were highlights that were blown. What was "recovered" in the Nikon photos are highlight that were not blown. The difference between the Nikon and the Canon is that the Nikon has a higher dynamic range. The two shots used the same exposure, which caused highlights to blow on the Canon but not on the Nikon. Nothing was actually recovered on either camera. It is just that some things were blown on the Canon that were not blown on the Nikon.

Since you should be exposing to just before the point where highlights are blown, there is no functional difference between cameras except in how much shadows can be recovered. Saturation is the meaningful reference point, and DR is the range below saturation.

But when I want to take photographs without thinking about the exposure (because there is not always time for it) and when I also don't want to get underexposed/overexposed out-of-camera jpgs (before I edit the raw files or if I don't want to edit every raw file), isn't a camera better that has less blown highlights at a certain exposure and brightness? That's my main point. I don't want to care about the perfect exposure for every shot.

Iliah Borg Forum Pro • Posts: 27,765
Re: Good highlight recovery more important than good shadow recovery?
8

But when I want to take photographs without thinking about the exposure

How so?

I also don't want to get underexposed/overexposed out-of-camera jpgs

Optimal exposure is different between raw and JPEGs. Blown highlights on a JPEG happen not just because of exposure, but also because of ISO, white balance, and tone curves which clip the highlights, compared to raw: "How to Trash a Good Shot in One Step..."

isn't a camera better that has less blown highlights at a certain exposure

Cameras do not blow highlights, we photographers do. Check how your exposure meter is calibrated for raw, and use appropriate metering technique and exposure compensation.

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OP (unknown member) Contributing Member • Posts: 975
Re: Good highlight recovery more important than good shadow recovery?

Iliah Borg wrote:

But when I want to take photographs without thinking about the exposure

How so?

I also don't want to get underexposed/overexposed out-of-camera jpgs

Optimal exposure is different between raw and JPEGs. Blown highlights on a JPEG happen not just because of exposure, but also because of ISO, white balance, and tone curves which clip the highlights, compared to raw: "How to Trash a Good Shot in One Step..."

I don't care about the highlights or the perfect exposure of the jpgs. For me the jpgs just have the purpose to get a decent image immediately. But I just don't want jpgs that have been underexposed/overexposed by several stops.

isn't a camera better that has less blown highlights at a certain exposure

Cameras do not blow highlights, we photographers do. Check how your exposure meter is calibrated for raw, and use appropriate metering technique and exposure compensation.

-- hide signature --

As I said this is related to the cases where I don't want to care about the perfect exposure.

Iliah Borg Forum Pro • Posts: 27,765
Re: Good highlight recovery more important than good shadow recovery?
1

noisephotographer wrote:

Iliah Borg wrote:

But when I want to take photographs without thinking about the exposure

How so?

I also don't want to get underexposed/overexposed out-of-camera jpgs

Optimal exposure is different between raw and JPEGs. Blown highlights on a JPEG happen not just because of exposure, but also because of ISO, white balance, and tone curves which clip the highlights, compared to raw: "How to Trash a Good Shot in One Step..."

I don't care about the highlights or the perfect exposure of the jpgs. For me the jpgs just have the purpose to get a decent image immediately. But I just don't want jpgs that have been underexposed/overexposed by several stops.

The article I referenced shows a very common case when a shot correctly exposed for a JPEG is 2 stops underexposed for raw.

isn't a camera better that has less blown highlights at a certain exposure

Cameras do not blow highlights, we photographers do. Check how your exposure meter is calibrated for raw, and use appropriate metering technique and exposure compensation.

As I said this is related to the cases where I don't want to care about the perfect exposure.

There is correct exposure. And incorrect exposure.

If you have highlights blown out in a JPEG, it on its own tells nothing of the raw.

For the cases when you do care about good exposure, or if you feel that your camera has not enough dynamic range, blows highlights, clips shadows - it's good to know exposure 101.

When you say "good highlight recovery", it often means that your raw converter applied positive brightness correction, and moving "exposure" slider in the raw converter to the left, you force it to display what was initially hidden. https://www.rawdigger.com/howtouse/deriving-hidden-ble-compensation

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John Deerfield Veteran Member • Posts: 3,510
Re: Good highlight recovery more important than good shadow recovery?

My question was not about different software, but raw files from different cameras in Lightroom.

Lightroom is software. I guess I still don't understand your question. Can Lightroom take a RAW file from a camera with less dynamic range than another and process the images the same way? From the software (Lightroom) standpoint, sure. But you won't get the same results because the captured information (dynamic range) was different from each camera. Maybe it would help if you tell us (or better yet show us) what you are trying to do? Do you have images with blown highlights you are trying to avoid?

OP (unknown member) Contributing Member • Posts: 975
Re: Good highlight recovery more important than good shadow recovery?

FingerPainter wrote:

If you are shooting RAW and trying to show as much detail in highlights as possible, you shouldn't be exposing the same on two cameras which have different dynamic ranges. You should be exposing to just below the point where highlights will be blown. This will be at a lower exposure on the camera with the smaller DR.

I have the impression that Olympus raw files (for instance E-m10 ii) have less blown highlights at the same exposure and Iso although they don't have more dynamic range than Canon according to Dxomark.

Iliah Borg Forum Pro • Posts: 27,765
Re: Good highlight recovery more important than good shadow recovery?

noisephotographer wrote:

FingerPainter wrote:

If you are shooting RAW and trying to show as much detail in highlights as possible, you shouldn't be exposing the same on two cameras which have different dynamic ranges. You should be exposing to just below the point where highlights will be blown. This will be at a lower exposure on the camera with the smaller DR.

I have the impression that Olympus raw files (for instance E-m10 ii) have less blown highlights at the same exposure and Iso

That's because Olympus are calibrating their exposure meter 0.8 EV below standard-recommended  12.7% (that is, 1 1/3 EV below 18%).

although they don't have more dynamic range than Canon according to Dxomark.

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KCook
KCook Forum Pro • Posts: 18,586
Re: Good highlight recovery more important than good shadow recovery?

noisephotographer wrote:

FingerPainter wrote:

If you are shooting RAW and trying to show as much detail in highlights as possible, you shouldn't be exposing the same on two cameras which have different dynamic ranges. You should be exposing to just below the point where highlights will be blown. This will be at a lower exposure on the camera with the smaller DR.

I have the impression that Olympus raw files (for instance E-m10 ii) have less blown highlights at the same exposure and Iso although they don't have more dynamic range than Canon according to Dxomark.

I shoot RAW with both Canon and Olympus.  Never noticed much difference.

Good highlight recovery comes by underexposing a bit (not 2 or 3 stops).  Ditto good shadow recovery, though that means overexposing, of course.  Which is more important depends on the scene and how you want it to look.  We don't all see things the same.

Kelly Cook

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