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Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR TOOLS - Hardware & Software Digital postprocessing & workflow (Public) Adobe postprocessing software (Public) topic #9247
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Subject: "Lightroom makes "auto exposure"" Previous topic | Next topic
blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Sun 11-Nov-12 09:49 AM
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"Lightroom makes "auto exposure""


Richmond, US
          

I have always been a bit skeptical of "auto exposure." (Recall that I've been around since before it came out.) Don't get me wrong, I use it a lot - probably 90% of my frames are done with some kind of auto exposure metering mode. But as people eventually discover, it is hardly foolproof, and in fact it often gives results that are not entirely expected. Probably the most typical example is the gross underexposure resulting from a shot in brilliantly lit snow or beautiful white sandy beaches, although gross overexposure of a groom's tuxedo may be a close second. I've learned to cope with the problem over the years.

But I have discovered recently that this innocent little button in Lightroom is VERY much better than most camera's auto exposure modes. Auto Tone, which is in the basic develop panel, seems to be VASTLY better at yielding an automagic rendering that is fairly close to what one saw. It's not perfect either, and of course the basic exposure has to be in the right general neighborhood. But it's very much worth a try. Obviously try to get it right in camera, but if it isn't perfect, try Auto Tone.

There's another enormous difference, too, of course. If you don't like Auto Tone's results (and on about one in eight times, I definitely do not), you can just type control-Z and the nasty bits go away. Not like the auto exposure and the shutter.

Auto Tone is not good at deciphering your intentions, though. If you have some specific goal in mind, especially if it's not a bit of a literal interpretation of what you saw, it doesn't usually go there. For example, it usually tries to render something like what it guesses was really there, and often it's right about that. But if you really mean to render a black and white with a low key bias, Auto Tone is highly unlikely to go in that direction. On the other hand, if you have that kind of idea in the beginning, you probably metered it that way manually to begin with, and Auto Tone isn't relevant anyway.

Give it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised at how much work it is not.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Lightroom makes "auto exposure"
pdekman Gold Member Winner in The Nikonians 10th Anniversary Photo Contest Awarded as a regular contributor who offers in-depth knowledge to members who are interested in building efficient work flows.
11th Nov 2012
1
Reply message RE: Lightroom makes "auto exposure"
Antero52 Silver Member Awarded for his expertise in post-processing, being  consistently helpful and professional.
12th Nov 2012
2
Reply message RE: Lightroom makes "auto exposure"
Antero52 Silver Member Awarded for his expertise in post-processing, being  consistently helpful and professional.
12th Nov 2012
4
Reply message RE: Lightroom makes "auto exposure"
coolmom42 Silver Member Awarded for her enthusiastic support of the community and exemplifying the Nikonian mission “Share, Learn and Inspire”
13th Nov 2012
5
Reply message RE: Lightroom makes "auto exposure"
blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas
13th Nov 2012
6
Reply message RE: Lightroom makes "auto exposure"
blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas
13th Nov 2012
7
Reply message RE: Lightroom makes "auto exposure"
Nitehawk5169 Gold Member
12th Nov 2012
3
Reply message RE: Lightroom makes "auto exposure"
pdekman Gold Member Winner in The Nikonians 10th Anniversary Photo Contest Awarded as a regular contributor who offers in-depth knowledge to members who are interested in building efficient work flows.
13th Nov 2012
8
Reply message RE: Lightroom makes "auto exposure"
blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas
14th Nov 2012
9
Reply message RE: Lightroom makes "auto exposure"
blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas
16th Dec 2012
10
Reply message RE: Lightroom makes "auto exposure"
William Symonds
16th Dec 2012
11

pdekman Gold Member Winner in The Nikonians 10th Anniversary Photo Contest Awarded as a regular contributor who offers in-depth knowledge to members who are interested in building efficient work flows. Nikonian since 17th Nov 2005Sun 11-Nov-12 08:08 PM
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#1. "RE: Lightroom makes "auto exposure""
In response to Reply # 0


Swisher, US
          

I often give Auto Tone a try to see what the result is. It is far from perfect, with the largest miss usually coming on the Exposure slider. The white/black/shadow/highlight details are typically pretty close.

So, hitting Auto Tone to see the result and then double-clicking the exposure slider back to 0 if necessary can be a time-saver also.

Thanks for writing the tip.

Paul
My Nikonians Gallery

  

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Antero52 Silver Member Awarded for his expertise in post-processing, being  consistently helpful and professional. Nikonian since 07th Jul 2009Mon 12-Nov-12 07:46 AM
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#2. "RE: Lightroom makes "auto exposure""
In response to Reply # 0


Vantaa, FI
          

I use Auto tone as a third adjustment after Camera calibration and WB. If Auto tone gives me what looks like a good starting point, I will go on with it, otherwise I try adjusting Exposure for a while, as Paul says, but sometimes I reset and start afresh with all manual adjustments.

A couple of months ago, someone used my camera to take a picture at a family gathering, without realizing that the speedlight was off. Naturally the photo was hopelessly underexposed and almost completely black on first sight. Surprise! Lightroom’s Auto tone increased Exposure by 10 (!) stops and gave me a passable, if grainy, shot. Yes, I call it grainy and not noisy because the noise was very coarse and looked like film grain. But I found it surprising that 1) LR’s Auto tone applied 10 stops of exposure compensation while manual adjustment is limited to 4 stops, and 2) the D800E held enough shadow detail to make a passable shot in these conditions.

Regards, Antero

  

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Antero52 Silver Member Awarded for his expertise in post-processing, being  consistently helpful and professional. Nikonian since 07th Jul 2009Mon 12-Nov-12 07:13 PM
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#4. "RE: Lightroom makes "auto exposure""
In response to Reply # 2
Mon 12-Nov-12 07:15 PM by Antero52

Vantaa, FI
          

This is the picture where LR applied +10 stops of exposure because the speedlight didn't fire.



Regards, Antero

Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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coolmom42 Silver Member Awarded for her enthusiastic support of the community and exemplifying the Nikonian mission “Share, Learn and Inspire” Nikonian since 01st Dec 2011Tue 13-Nov-12 04:01 PM
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#5. "RE: Lightroom makes "auto exposure""
In response to Reply # 4


McEwen, US
          

Nothing wrong with that image at all!

I've been pretty pleased with Autotone, too. And as others said, it's easy to undo.

Another LR trick that works pretty well is to apply "camera neutral" on import. I made a preset that combines that with my copyright info and use it a lot. It's a good starting point for most images, requiring some minor tweaks depending on the subject and desired result.

working on it in Middle TN
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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Tue 13-Nov-12 05:49 PM
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#6. "RE: Lightroom makes "auto exposure""
In response to Reply # 2


Richmond, US
          

> I found it surprising that 1) LR’s Auto tone applied 10 stops of exposure compensation while manual adjustment is limited to 4 stops

I think this is new - as of 4.1. I would guess that it's a consequence of the new capability to deal with 32-bit files "as normal." Ie if you use CS5/6 to create a 32-bit HDR file, you can just save it, yes even as a 32-bit file. That's not really new, but what IS new is that LR4.1 can deal with the 32-bit file using the entire dynamic range, which I find much better than fiddling around with the HDR tone mapping, etc. The only issue is that at least CS5's HDR sometimes yields some wonky colors when this is done. Haven't yet gone back to re-edit those files with CS6.

> 2) the D800E held enough shadow detail to make a passable shot in these conditions.

I'm surprised at that too. This doesn't even look noisy at all, which completely stuns me. I know that if I do +4 stops on my D3's files, I get "corduroy" artifacts, as well as pretty horrible noise. If you hadn't have told me that it was -10 stops, I'd have NEVER, EVER guessed!

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Tue 13-Nov-12 05:49 PM
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#7. "RE: Lightroom makes "auto exposure""
In response to Reply # 2


Richmond, US
          

I guess there actually some color artifacts right at the bottom of the frame... but not much for 10 stops worth of editing!

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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Nitehawk5169 Gold Member Nikonian since 22nd Feb 2010Mon 12-Nov-12 06:01 PM
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#3. "RE: Lightroom makes "auto exposure""
In response to Reply # 0


Williamstown, US
          

Brian,

Thanks for the tip. I will give this a try on a few pictures I have in mind. This is why I love Nikonians.

Mike

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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pdekman Gold Member Winner in The Nikonians 10th Anniversary Photo Contest Awarded as a regular contributor who offers in-depth knowledge to members who are interested in building efficient work flows. Nikonian since 17th Nov 2005Tue 13-Nov-12 06:21 PM
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#8. "RE: Lightroom makes "auto exposure""
In response to Reply # 0


Swisher, US
          

Not sure if everyone knows this, but just as double-clicking an individual slider name will reset the value to it's default, holding the shift key while double-clicking a Tone slider will set that slider to it's 'Auto' value. This is done on an individual slider basis, so if you have the exposure/contrast where you want it, but want the Auto black assigned, a quick shift-double-click on that slider accomplishes the task.

Paul
My Nikonians Gallery

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Wed 14-Nov-12 01:06 PM
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#9. "RE: Lightroom makes "auto exposure""
In response to Reply # 8


Richmond, US
          

I did not know that... although I am not sure how I'd go about using it yet.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Sun 16-Dec-12 01:21 PM
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#10. "RE: Lightroom makes "auto exposure""
In response to Reply # 0
Mon 17-Dec-12 12:00 AM by blw

Richmond, US
          

After considerable experimentation, I have discovered that Auto Tone seems to work better for more recent cameras. It isn't particularly worthwhile, for example, on NEFs from my D100 - even ones produced this week. Files from the D2h aren't much better. But files from the D3 - it's like magic. The D2x files are a bit of a lottery. Sometimes it works very well indeed, as well as the D3. Sometimes, not so much. Again, Undo is your friend if you don't like the results, so you barely risk anything at all (just a couple of clicks on the mouse).

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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William Symonds Registered since 22nd Jan 2007Sun 16-Dec-12 10:56 PM
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#11. "RE: Lightroom makes "auto exposure""
In response to Reply # 10
Sun 16-Dec-12 11:01 PM by William Symonds

Bogor, ID
          

Brian

I could not agree more, Auto Tone is a stunning tool, my only criticism being that it can over-lighten images in dark surroundings. If only you could click it twice to undo it, but thanks for the reminder about control Z.

The other tool, and it is nigh on essential with FX is lens correction to Fix vignetting and distortion with a single click. Oh and camera calibration is pretty damn canny too.

As a new LR user, I am staggered by the program, it is unbelievably powerful, but so much has the simplicity of Picasa. Shooting RAW just becomes so easy with LR. The only thing I dislike is the twirly logo at the foot of the left and right hand columns, but you can change that in set-up.

By comparison Aperture looks puny alongside LR. Apple appear to have lost the plot - Aperture cannot even render skin-friendly RAW conversion of D600 NEFs without heaps of work, (D300 conversion is fine though) and has no lens correction tools.

W i l l

Nikonian in Bogor, West Java
www.willsymonds.com
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Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR TOOLS - Hardware & Software Digital postprocessing & workflow (Public) Adobe postprocessing software (Public) topic #9247 Previous topic | Next topic