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Jpeg exposure

Discussion in 'Retouching and Post Processing' started by RKnecht, May 30, 2007.

  1. I posted this in the technical forum and got some input, but I thought I would post it here to see if someone could help me in the processing department. I recently bought a D2x. At first I thought it was hard to get a sharp picture, but I resolved that problem with practice and a steadier hand. Now I am trying to get exposure right. I just can't believe how different this camera is than my D2h. All that aside, here is an example of the type of pictures I am getting:


    All my dark subjects look like this. Also, the colors surrounding the dogs seem over-saturated or just look fake. Here is a landscape picture. Not so bad, but still the greens look "drab".


    I guess what I am looking for is some workflow advice when it comes to exposure and the D2x. Any help would be most appreciated. Also, you can see/download the originals from my smugmug page. Beware though, they are huge!
  2. Let me start with your 2nd picture for it is a better example of what I am about to say. The first thing I did was to look at the histogram for this image and noticed that it was approximately 1 to 2 stops underexposed and this leads to increased saturation. To correct this I went to levels and moved the right slider to the left until it contacted the data in your histogram. Voila, the whole image brightened and the greens looked great. I would guess that the reflection of the sky in the lake "tricked" your camera into underexposing this scene.

    In looking at the first image I would guess that the same problem exists; however, I have not looked at the histogram on that image. It is important when taking images with the D2X to get the exposure correct and the histogram should be pushed to the right but not so far that it is overexposed. If you do get it wrong it is an easy matter to correct this in post processing but I would work on getting it correct out of the camera. The beauty of digital is that you can chimp (or view) the histogram right after taking the image. This is important when using a new camera.

    I hope this is helpful to you and that you will try the simple levels adjustment that I mentioned on your second image.
  3. Gordon gave you some great advice.

    Here's something else that might help:

    On Iliah's advice I've started using a magenta CC40M filter over my lens for daylight shots, and it has done wonders for my greens. An inexpensive one should work well.
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  4. jfriend


    Nov 11, 2005
    SF Bay Area
    Your histogram is your friend

    As greyflash said, the second one is easy. It's simply underexposed significantly. The histogram looks like this:

    If I add this curve to fix the exposure and add a little contrast

    I then end up with this image:

    You don't say what type of metering you are using on your D2X or whether you are using any exposure compensation. This 2nd image looks like a perfect image for matrix metering (true for many landscapes) because it will examine the whole scene and find a balance for the whole scene. In any case, you just need to learn how to meter properly and how to check your exposure on the camera's histogram. You should see a full histogram, no big gaps on the left or right of the histogram and no blown highlights when you have a proper exposure except in extremely low contrast (usually fairly dark) situations. Check your histogram early and often, then either change your metering mode or your exposure compensation to adjust.
  5. Peano


    Jun 22, 2006
    Washington, D.C.
    I checked the original images on your site, and the exif info is pretty sketchy. The following three points have no bearing on the underexposure, but they're food for thought:

    - What color space were you shooting in? When you post on the web, it's a good idea to embed an sRGB profile.

    - I'm also wondering why you used 400 ISO in open sunlight.

    - If you usually shoot jpeg, you might buy a WhiBal card and use it to set custom white balance. The image below has a slight yellow cast (which is sometimes desirable, as in late afternoon sun). http://www.rawworkflow.com/products/whibal/index.html

    In any case, you can fix the underexposure and color cast with a levels adjustment. I generally get better results by adjusting each channel separately, which is what I did here:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  6. Thanks for all the great reponses. I really appreciate the input. When I switched from the D70 to my D2h, there was a steep(for me) learning curve when it came to correct exposures. When I bought the D2x, I figured that it would perform similar to the D2h. I was wrong. I used spot metering on both shots just to see what difference it made with the black dogs when compared to matrix metering. It did make it a little better, but still not "right". After reading the suggestions here, I went back into Capture and did a little tweaking. I think that I am just going to have to alter my present workflow for the D2x. Not that I mind, since the sharpness this camera is capable of is simply amazing.

    As to why I was shooting with ISO 400 in direct sunlight...that was a oversight. I was so busy trying different metering methods that I overlooked ISO.
  7. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Beautiful pics
    First one fix
    Use shadow highlights, crop and sharpen. Great pic

    Peano is spot on with the second one:>))))

    When shooting ALWAYS watch your histogram:>))))
  8. StephanieHelen


    Jun 9, 2006
    There's a link from the nikonians site, one of the moderators posted his settings on the D2X, might be useful to compare if you don't have time to try out everything :) 

    It's an excel spreadsheet, I'll email to you.
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