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Great pictures straight out of the D70

J3R

Malmö, SE
135 posts

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J3R Basic Member
Wed 30-Nov-05 08:15 PM

I started writing my reply to another post and it became rather long as I strayed into some other topics that perhaps do not concern the original post. I hope that my thoughts will help anyone that is struggling to get great shots out of their D70.

You can get excellent images straight out of the camera. In my opinion, two important things are involved to do so. One is to tweak your custom settings. Keep in mind that custom settings will only be applied to jpg’s and/or raw files that are viewed in Nikon View and Nikon Capture. (You can always change those settings in Nikon Capture if you shoot raw)

For great pictures out of the camera try this:

Optimize image settings:
Sharpening +2
Tone comp auto
Color mode iiia for landscapes ia for people
Saturation enhanced
Hue adjustment 0

Then set your white balance to auto -3
Set your exposure comp to + 0.3


The other step to getting great shots straight out of the camera is to expose "more towards the right" of the histogram. I do not wish to start an argument about if the D70 underexposes, or if it just exposes for the highlights, or if it’s just metering neutral grey, we can call it whatever we want. Regardless of what it does, it is up to the photographer to choose the exposure; the meter reading is just a place to start from. Don’t forget that the camera is basing its metering on neutral grey which I think causes many people to misunderstand why some shots are so “underexposed”. I think it is a great thing that the meter does “what it does” as one can always fix a slightly underexposed picture much easier than one that is overexposed.

So after tweaking your custom settings it comes down to the photographer having to make a decision before taking a picture. For example, if I know that I want to post process something, then I go ahead and protect the highlights, sometimes even exposing under what the meter says. If I am trying to get the picture perfect out of the camera, which I do most of the time, I will usually need to overexpose from what the meter says.

Check your histogram as you shoot, and adjust the exposure compensation as needed. You want to push the histogram to the right! + .03 is a good default setting for starters, but the important part is that you don’t blindly rely on the meter, which is seeing everything in grey, or protecting the highlights at all costs, or whatever you want to call it, even if it means drab dark pictures. This is a good thing, because if you plan on post processing then you will always be able to, but if you want great pictures straight out of the camera you really need to nail your exposures, which means learning to recognize how the camera sees things, and adjusting accordingly.


Color Space Disclaimer (Not meant to start a war): I have seen a lot of half understood information about color spaces on the net and thought I would share my thoughts here. I have also read posts from people that do indeed know what they are talking about, so this is for those that are confused by some of the conflicting information available on the net.

I work with color spaces professionally every day, both with design as well as programming those little things we call bits. Despite what many people will tell you, Adobe RGB does not have more colors. The truth is that it has primaries that are more saturated. Both SRGB and Adobe RGB have the exact same number of colors; it is bit depth that determines the number of color variations. Because Adobe RGB primaries are more saturated, this means that each transition from one shade to the next is farther apart. Because SRGB primaries are less saturated, this means that each transition between each shade is closer together.

The truth is that both wide gamut and narrow gamut color spaces have strong points and weak ones; one should never blindly just use one or the other. For example, if you are shooting something very saturated, you can get more saturation out of Adobe RGB. However, if your subject does not have extremely high levels of saturation, you are better off with SRGB for the tighter spacing between the tones. The tighter spacing of SRGB will create better skin tones, as well as give you more latitude for editing without posterization. While it is true that 12 or 16 bit makes the “spacing” of tones so tight that you can get away with a good bit of editing in a wider space, a narrower color space will always allow more leeway when editing.

cheers,

Jer

http://www.j3r.com/photo/

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

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