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Recovering Highlights

Discussion in 'Nikon Capture and View NX' started by ERAUGrad04, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. ERAUGrad04

    ERAUGrad04

    271
    Jan 15, 2008
    IL
    Question regarding highlights. I have been slowly developing my PP skills with NX2 and Elements 6. I always shoot RAW and I can say that I am feeling more comfortable with basic levels and curve adjustments.

    I have read multiple times that with RAW files, up to 1 stop of blown highlights can be recovered. How would one go about recovering hightlights? Could someone walk me through the steps?

    Thanks!
    Morgan
     
  2. daveg

    daveg

    Jul 14, 2008
    UK
    Try clicking on DOUBLE THRESHOLD - the image will turn grey with white patches indicating the blown (RGB) highlights.

    Slide the EXPOSURE COMPENSATION slider to the left (in QUICK FIX) and the white patches will reduce or disappear. When they have disappeared click on DOUBLE THRESHOLD again to show the image, hopefully without the blown highlights.

    This procedure can also be carried out on a per-channel basis - RED or GREEN or BLUE.

    It's far better to ensure that highlights do not burn out by having the highlights feature turned on and checking your histogram regularly.

    DaveG
     
  3. I thought the double threshold was for setting the white and black points? Click in the box, image goes grey, then slide one side and then the other until just a slight black or white appear. I check highlights by going to the top menu and view, then lost highlights, it turns grey and shows you the highlights lost, you can then go to exposure compensation or curves to correct.

    Cheers
    Nancy
     
  4. While I agree that it is best to avoid blowing out highlights in the first place, the camera histogram and Highlights feature are not 100% reliable for that purpose. The in-camera histogram is a representation of the tonal distribution of a processed JPEG image, which is gamma corrected, not the linear capture data in the RAW file. Therefore, the histogram and Highlights display will show highlights as being clipped when they are not really clipped.

    That being said, they are the best in-camera tools available and should certainly be consulted. Just keep in mind that they are not perfect. Experience in reading them and comparing them to RAW images on the computer will help you determine whether the highlights are likely not clipped, which will help with exposure determinations in the field.
     
  5. daveg

    daveg

    Jul 14, 2008
    UK
    Agreed, Geoffrey.

    With experience it becomes easy to spot the amount which can be recovered in software and the amount which it is impossible to recover in software, by keeping the Highlights feature turned on and consulting the in-camera histogram wherever possible.

    DaveG
     
  6. Holmes

    Holmes

    Oct 28, 2006
    Wyoming, USA
    Good explanation, Tom - thank you.
     
  7. ERAUGrad04

    ERAUGrad04

    271
    Jan 15, 2008
    IL
    Thanks for the excellent explanations guys!

    Morgan
     
  8. I won't argue with Tom's method as he, to be sure, is more knowledgeable than I on NX. However, I am using the method stated in Jason's e-book...

    Simply open the image and the "Quick Fix" development step will already be open. Hold down the shift key and hit the "H" key. The screen should turn completely black if no highlights. If you see various color spots (degree will depend on the amount of blown highlights), move the slider (0-100) under "Highlight Protection" until the colors disappear (pure black). Hold down the shift key and hit the "H" key again to return to the normal view. Then do your normal PP on the image. I check/do this as my first step in PP in NX. YMMV.

    If Jason reads this, he can correct my ineptness as needed. Also, Tom's explaination may be be a better method.
     
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