First _real_ outing with the M6II

Started 2 months ago | Photos
GreatOceanSoftware
GreatOceanSoftware Regular Member • Posts: 322
First _real_ outing with the M6II
15

I've had the M6II for almost 18 months now, I think. But because of COVID, I haven't had much of a chance to use it other than test shots around the house. This weekend we decided to do a belated spring break trip to Bandon, OR, and up through the Humboldt redwood forest. Here are the photos so far.

I'm struggling to control blown out highlights and blue skies that are getting washed out to white in some circumstances. I often have to exposure compensate down to -1. Any suggestions on settings I might need to check would be appreciated.

These are not straight out of camera. All are processed JPEGs in ACDSee.

These skies were white out of camera until I post processed them blue.

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Randy

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Comment & critique:
Please provide me constructive critique and criticism.
Larry Rexley Regular Member • Posts: 328
Re: First _real_ outing with the M6II
1

Lovely images! I'd say you're doing that camera and its lenses justice.

I've been to some of those places. You've done a great job capturing the 'magic' feeling of them.

As for the 'blown out' highlights --- I've only experienced that if the exposure compensation get accidentally bumped up to +1 to +3... you should obviously not be seeing that.

Do the highlights look blown out when viewed on the camera, or is it just in your software when post-processing?

Check your current 'Picture Style' and make sure that the 'default' brightness, contrast, and saturation your camera are using are in the middle settings... if they are cranked up then you might see skies that are too bright. You might try the 'faithful' picture style as a good starting point.

if you haven't tried it, you might consider downloading Canon's own DPP 4.0 software that comes with the cameras, and opening your files using that. Their software was optimized for their cameras (for RAW files especially) and has great functionality for lens corrections, sharpening, and many other things. It allows you to do surprisingly a lot with an image, although it can be quite slow at times.

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GreatOceanSoftware
OP GreatOceanSoftware Regular Member • Posts: 322
Re: First _real_ outing with the M6II

Larry Rexley wrote:

Lovely images! I'd say you're doing that camera and its lenses justice.

I've been to some of those places. You've done a great job capturing the 'magic' feeling of them.

Thanks so much. Very kind. The beauty of the forest and the coast are truly inspiring.

As for the 'blown out' highlights --- I've only experienced that if the exposure compensation get accidentally bumped up to +1 to +3... you should obviously not be seeing that.

Do the highlights look blown out when viewed on the camera, or is it just in your software when post-processing?

I can see the blown highlights on the screen and in the viewfinder even before I press the shutter. I stop down to mitigate it, knowing that I’ll be able to recover the shadows.

I’m shooting matrix metering photometry, so it may be overreacting to the large range of intensity a bit. But I find that it’s easier to just leave it in that mode all the time and exposure compensate when I need to, rather than constantly changing photometry settings.

Check your current 'Picture Style' and make sure that the 'default' brightness, contrast, and saturation your camera are using are in the middle settings... if they are cranked up then you might see skies that are too bright. You might try the 'faithful' picture style as a good starting point.

I double checked the Picture Styles and they were still set to default (0) contrast and saturation. I have C1 set for general color landscapes with Landscape Picture Style, C2 set for landscapes with Monochrome Picture Style, and I try to keep Fv mode set to either Standard or Auto Picture Style. All 4 styles are (were) set to default contrast and saturation. Tomorrow I might try going negative on the contrast to see if it helps. I had changed the default sharpening, fineness, and threshold settings for all of them, but I don’t believe these should have any effect on blowout.

if you haven't tried it, you might consider downloading Canon's own DPP 4.0 software that comes with the cameras, and opening your files using that. Their software was optimized for their cameras (for RAW files especially) and has great functionality for lens corrections, sharpening, and many other things. It allows you to do surprisingly a lot with an image, although it can be quite slow at times.

I do have the software but have only used it a couple of times. Mostly because as you mentioned, it’s slow. But I’ll revisit it to see if I can figure this out.

Thanks for all your suggestions! I’ve never had these issues with other cameras, so it’s either me or my expectations. (It also seems to struggle with white balance indoors — stair steps in large increments rather than a smooth transition as I pan around a room).

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Randy

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Passrider Junior Member • Posts: 46
Re: First _real_ outing with the M6II
1

Have you checked to make sure you haven't accidently engaged Auto ISO? I have found that to be an issue on the M6 at times.

CuriousSerge New Member • Posts: 16
Re: First _real_ outing with the M6II
2

Hi Randy,

It looks like you are having fun on your trip getting those lovely images!  In my experience, M6 Mark II is actually doing a very good job calculating exposure.  I'm getting much fewer blown highlights than I used to with older Canon DSLRs (60D and 80D).  I think it might be because it samples from the entire sensor and uses much more powerful processor.  However, that redwood forest presents a very challenging lighting - the dynamic range of the scene is very high, especially during the middle of the day.  Do you have histogram displayed when you are taking your images?  That will make it much easier to dial in the correct exposure compensation, and M6II provides so many control points that it makes it quick and easy to change it when you need it.

I noticed that your ISO for forest scenes was quite high (500 and higher).  You are using lenses with the image stabilization, so don't be afraid to drop the shutter speed to as low as 1/10 when shooting stationary subjects, or even to 1/5 if you are shooting at 11mm.  As long as you are steady when taking an image, the images should be sharp.  YMMV, depending on your technique, so don't be afraid to experiment.  This will allow you to shoot at base ISO, which will greatly improve your ability to lift shadows in post-processing.  Also, make sure you are using electronic shutter when shooting with IS lenses at the shutter speeds between 1/60-1s.  Unfortunately, M6II suffers from shutter shock at these shutter speeds with stabilized EF-M lenses, so the images will be softer if you use mechanical shutter.

Finally, I noticed that many of your images are shot at F10.  On a camera with high-density sensor such as M6II, anything above F8 suffers from visible diffraction.  The highest sharpness in the center is actually achieved at F5.6. Unless you need a very deep depth of field, I would suggest to keep the aperture a little wider.  Most of my landscape images are shot with F6.3-7.1, which in my opinion gives you the optimal balance in terms of overall sharpness across the frame.  You may want to stop down to F8 when you shoot at the long end of that 18-150 lens of yours, but usually there is no need to stop down any further.  Happy shooting!

Sergei

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R2D2 Forum Pro • Posts: 22,787
Re: First _real_ outing with the M6II
1

Wow, wonderful photography.

Nice job on the “blue” skies too.

You might try using Canon’s Highlight Tone Priority (D+) for some of those scenes. It underexposes the highlights by up to a stop and then combines them (in-camera) with your normally exposed scene. You do lose the use of ISO 100 though.  Works great on jpegs.

Shooting RAW does give you even more flexibility if you don’t mind the extra work. I’ve been REALLY liking DxO’s Photolab 4 for my RAW conversions lately.  PL4’s “Vibrancy” slider does a really nice job with the blue skies too. Plus it has that jaw-dropping Deep Prime noise reduction as well (only works on RAWs).

See what it can do for you (free trial).  

Thanks for sharing your lovely images.

R2

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GreatOceanSoftware
OP GreatOceanSoftware Regular Member • Posts: 322
Re: First _real_ outing with the M6II

Thanks everyone for the great suggestions. I think on today’s outing I will try aperture priority (control diffraction) and the Highlight Tone Priority settings as the experiment variables. Today will mostly be on the beach, so I’ll see what high dynamic range situations I can get into 😉

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Randy

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GreatOceanSoftware
OP GreatOceanSoftware Regular Member • Posts: 322
Re: First _real_ outing with the M6II
6

I think the Highlight Tone Priority settings really helped today. I also tried to stay closer to the center of the aperture range.

I don't think the coastal shots were as challenging to the camera as the forest, but it seemed to keep the highlights in check and I didn't have to post process as much, and didn't have to touch the skies at all.

Photos follow. Thanks for all your help.

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Randy

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R2D2 Forum Pro • Posts: 22,787
Re: First _real_ outing with the M6II
1

GreatOceanSoftware wrote:

I think the Highlight Tone Priority settings really helped today. I also tried to stay closer to the center of the aperture range.

I don't think the coastal shots were as challenging to the camera as the forest, but it seemed to keep the highlights in check and I didn't have to post process as much, and didn't have to touch the skies at all.

Photos follow. Thanks for all your help.

Yup, you nailed it.  Love your imagery.

R2

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CuriousSerge New Member • Posts: 16
Re: First _real_ outing with the M6II
1

Looks like you're having a great time!  Lovely pictures.  My favorite is the sunset scene shot at 11mm (second to last in your series).  IMHO, if you are post-processing, you could probably lift shadows a little bit more on landscape images, while still clipping blacks just a bit (I don't know if your software allows it).  Also, if you are shooting RAW and post-processing, then I don't think the High Tone Priority has any effect on the final image.  It is used only for JPEG processing in-camera.  It might affect the preview on the camera's LCD though.  You may want to try setting the Picture Style to Neutral to have a flatter tone curve just to judge the exposure better when taking a shot.  It won't look as nice on the LCD, but may give you a better RAW file for post-processing.

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GreatOceanSoftware
OP GreatOceanSoftware Regular Member • Posts: 322
Re: First _real_ outing with the M6II

CuriousSerge wrote:

Looks like you're having a great time! Lovely pictures. My favorite is the sunset scene shot at 11mm (second to last in your series). IMHO, if you are post-processing, you could probably lift shadows a little bit more on landscape images, while still clipping blacks just a bit (I don't know if your software allows it). Also, if you are shooting RAW and post-processing, then I don't think the High Tone Priority has any effect on the final image. It is used only for JPEG processing in-camera. It might affect the preview on the camera's LCD though. You may want to try setting the Picture Style to Neutral to have a flatter tone curve just to judge the exposure better when taking a shot. It won't look as nice on the LCD, but may give you a better RAW file for post-processing.

Thanks, Serge! I shoot RAW+JPEG and 90% of the time I wind up processing the JPEGs just slightly. I work to get it as close as possible in-camera with hopefully only minor tweaks to the JPEGs. I develop a few RAWs here and there, but I always feel if I have to resort to saving a RAW, then I didn't get it right in the field (just my OCD-ness ). But I archive everything, so I can always go back if I need to.

The High Tone Priority did seem to smooth things out a bit in the JPEGs. I think Canon did a nice job programming it. But I feel like it shouldn't be required for everyday shooting. But I'll keep tinkering with it to see if I can figure out how to engage it only when I need it.

Thanks again to you and R2 for pointing out these things. It made a difference, for sure!

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Randy

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