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Post processing vs. in camera settings

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by Chris C, May 13, 2005.

  1. I'm going to be attending a college graduation ceremony tomorrow. I want to shoot in RAW. Is there a general opinion as to whether to alter the optimization settings in the camera from normal or to handle all those choices in post processing? If some in-camera settings are recommended, what might they be? I'm shooting a D70.
  2. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Set your exposure and white balance in your camera. Since it gonna be harshly lit, set your tone curve to 'less contrast' or use a custom curve that will reduce the contrast. You can add it back in in post, but likely won't need to. Set you color space to Adobe RGB (1998).
  3. GeneR

    GeneR Guest

    Hi Chris. I've been shooting RAW + JPEG most of the time and I don't worry much about the the in-camera settings. My primary concerns are figuring out the correct metering, and picking my aperture or shutter speed as appropriate for a given situation while trying to keep the ISO as low as possible for the given shutter speed and ISO I want. I'll usually turn the sharpening and saturation up some since that will only impact the JPEG.

    Given the ability to adjust most of the settings as you see fit in post processing the RAW files, I just concentrate on the things I can't change in the post processing. If most of the shots are similar, I will adjust one that seems representative of the group, save those adjustments and then apply those settings in a batch process to all the RAW files. The batch can take a good while in Capture, expecially if applying D Lighting and noise reduction, but you can let the batch run while doing something else. I also convert to high quality JPEG during the batch, (leaving the original RAW files unaltered) and use the JPEGs for prints unless I've got a really special shot I want to enlarge, then I'll pull that RAW file again, apply the same adjustments and save a TIFF. The batch also imbeds the printing profile for my local Costco, which really does a good job with prints at a price I can't beat printing at home, plus I don't have to worry about tryng to profile a printer.

    I save all my RAW files to two separate backup hard drives (one at home; one at work) and then delete the RAW files from my laptop's hard drive. I usually burn a CD of at least my favorite shots from each group.

    Good luck,

  4. ckdamascus


    May 14, 2005
    New Jersey
    Sorry, probably too late for this advice now but as a general rule of thumb here is what I have read about.

    You do not really need to adjust your built in camera curves at all since that is easily done in post-processing if you shoot RAW. The issue is there is no one correct curve for every situation. If you shot JPEG, you want to use the curves to avoid lossy multiediting. Of course, if you know the correct curve to use anyway, you can save yourself a step. Many ways to skin this cat... of course as Chris101 mentioned you probably won't need to change this in the end.

    Technically you do not need to adjust white balance either, but it is good to set it to something consistent so if you did mess up you can automate/batch adjust the white balance. Although sometimes I get annoyed if I use fill flash and the hard locked white balance gives a colder look. It is a trade off you wll have to make but should be fixable if your white balance option was remotely close.

    As for the in-camera optimize image settings, a lot of people put sharpening and tone to either 0 or negative 1. You do not want your camera doing any major processing since that hurts your flexibility.

    If you are shooting JPEG and have no intention to process RAW files at all, you might want to do some more in-camera processing.

    As for color space, Adobe 1998 is probably good for dealing with high end photography companies. If you want to use it mostly for the web or print it yourself sRGB is actually a little better at times. And the normal print out places usually prefer sRBG instead of Adobe 1998. You do not have to worry about gamut changes as much and most lower end printers try to get closer to the sRGB space.

    Use Color Mode I for portraits and Color Mode III for landscapes. Color mode II is Adobe 1998 space.

    You can reach these settings via Menu->Green Camera->Optimize Image->Custom.

    Finally, the real key is going to be your exposure. You probably 'want' to underexpose a little bit since it is way easier to recover lost data from underexposure rather than overexposure Of course if you go too far underexposing you can lead yourself into nasty noise issues, got to love digital cameras, eh? :)  For the key shots try bracketing your exposures to avoid that nasty conundrum.
  5. First, you should definitely strive to get the exposure correct. You can make some adjustments after the fact, but at the expense of noise in the image. Second, Ron Reznick explain in a post on DPR that it is important to get the WB close, but I can't remember the details (sorry) so it doesn't hurt to use one of the presets or auto.
  6. JeffKohn


    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Getting the WB close is important if you care about the in-camera histogram and blown highlights indicator.
  7. Well, I'm home now. Didn't get your responses until after the fact, but I'll study them in detail. They were all great and would really have been helpful. But I think I probably did okay. The ceremony was inside a colosseum, and, as you can imagine, the lighting was terrible for everyone except the official photographer. (who was "right there" with a proper flash. Now me, I was at the opposite end of the building, off to the side, with the family. I shot a 200mm and was dependent on a mono-pod and ISO1600 so I could shoot at a maximum of 1/60th. I tried to set the shots up in advance with the histogram. Things looked good on the LCD. I set the WB based on what looked best to the eye on the LCD. Sharpening was -2, Tone comp -1, Mode II, and Saturation -. I'll try to start looking at the pix on the compter tonight. Tough shoot for an old guy with unsteady hands.
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