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Low light Quandary

doc85

West Lafayette, US
397 posts

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doc85 Registered since 17th Jul 2008
Sat 01-Dec-12 06:27 PM | edited Sat 01-Dec-12 06:28 PM by doc85

I am sure this has been discussed some time before, but what is the best way to handle the problem where the image displayed on the camera LCD always looks so much better than it does when you open it in a post processing program?

I have been shooting NEF Auto ISO (6400) with my D700 and a f2.8 70-200 lens at a lot of low light entertainment events in a large room (100 + people) in a retirement home and when I glance at the LCD they look great, but post processing in Capture Nx2 they appear under exposed. Often by a stop or two.

I understand - use the histogram to evaluate the exposure, but is there some way to preset Capture Nx2 to reproduce the same bright image I see on the camera?

I could use flash, but that seems to bother a lot of those old folks.
Thanks Doc 85 (really 89)

JosephK

Seattle, WA, US
7109 posts

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#1. "RE: Low light Quandary " | In response to Reply # 0

JosephK Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Nikonian since 17th Apr 2006
Sat 01-Dec-12 05:59 PM

The first thing I do in a low light environment is to turn down the brightness of the LCD.

If you are using Capture Nx2, its initial loading of the NEF should look like it did on the LCD since Capture uses all the camera settings in the file to display the initial image.

can you post an example NEF file?

---------+---------+---------+---------+
Joseph K
Seattle, WA, USA

D700, D200, D70S, 24-70mm f/2.8, VR 70-200mm f/2.8 II,
50mm f/1.4 D, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX

doc85

West Lafayette, US
397 posts

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#2. "RE: Low light Quandary " | In response to Reply # 1

doc85 Registered since 17th Jul 2008
Sat 01-Dec-12 08:57 PM

Right after I had your post I had to take some shots of a group of carolers. I turned the brightness down on the lcd as you suggested and that made a big difference. the images on my iMac with CNx2 looked much more as they did on the lcd.
f2.8,iso6400 PP in CNX2.
Thanks for your advice it helped and I did not have to adjust the exposure just tweak the WB crop a bit and apply a little noise reduction PP.

Click on image to view larger version

Attachment#1 (jpg file)

dm1dave

Lowden, US
13760 posts

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#3. "RE: Low light Quandary " | In response to Reply # 1

dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006
Sat 01-Dec-12 09:00 PM

Is your computer monitor calibrated?

If not it should be if you need to make prints or distribute images electronically.

As Joseph said, you should reduce the brightness of the cameras LCD.

If you were to just adjust CNX or your monitor to look like your cameras LCD then you are likely to get dark prints and the images will still look dark on other people’s computers.

>> “I understand - use the histogram to evaluate the exposure...

How does the histogram look on these images?

At high ISO you should be exposing as bright as possible (histogram biased to the right) without blowing highlights in order to reduce noise.

Dave Summers
Nikonians Photo Contest Director
My Nikonians Gallery | Current Nikonians Contests

Click on image to view larger version

dm1dave

Lowden, US
13760 posts

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#4. "RE: Low light Quandary " | In response to Reply # 2

dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006
Sat 01-Dec-12 09:02 PM

Nice shot! You posted this while I was typing my post below.

Dave Summers
Nikonians Photo Contest Director
My Nikonians Gallery | Current Nikonians Contests

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doc85

West Lafayette, US
397 posts

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#5. "RE: Low light Quandary " | In response to Reply # 3

doc85 Registered since 17th Jul 2008
Sat 01-Dec-12 10:02 PM

No, my iMac monitor is not calibrated. Here is a iPhone shot of the histogram for the ;picture above.

Click on image to view larger version

Attachment#1 (jpg file)

dm1dave

Lowden, US
13760 posts

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#6. "RE: Low light Quandary " | In response to Reply # 5

dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006
Sat 01-Dec-12 10:47 PM

That looks like a pretty good exposure for that image. The peak on the left is due to the dark cloths they have on.

That’s pretty good shooting in a difficult situation!

Dave Summers
Nikonians Photo Contest Director
My Nikonians Gallery | Current Nikonians Contests

Click on image to view larger version

doc85

West Lafayette, US
397 posts

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#7. "RE: Low light Quandary " | In response to Reply # 6

doc85 Registered since 17th Jul 2008
Sat 01-Dec-12 11:03 PM

Thanks Dave. It really helped me to lower the brightness on the camera LCD.
I have often wondered do you have to recalibrate a computer monitor when ever the ambient light changes?

dm1dave

Lowden, US
13760 posts

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#8. "RE: Low light Quandary " | In response to Reply # 7

dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006
Sun 02-Dec-12 12:34 AM

A lot of the calibration units stay plugged into the computer and measure the ambient light every few minutes and adjusts the display as needed.

Many people doing critical work have their image editing computer in a room with controlled lighting.

Dave Summers
Nikonians Photo Contest Director
My Nikonians Gallery | Current Nikonians Contests

Click on image to view larger version

doc85

West Lafayette, US
397 posts

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#9. "RE: Low light Quandary " | In response to Reply # 8

doc85 Registered since 17th Jul 2008
Sun 02-Dec-12 11:17 PM


Interesting thanks, I don't think I can justify the cost of one of those but I can see how calibration would be a benefit.

gkaiseril

Chicago, US
6739 posts

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#10. "RE: Low light Quandary " | In response to Reply # 0

gkaiseril Gold Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2005
Mon 03-Dec-12 06:20 PM

The brightness of the LCD and the monitor is sort of independent of the image's brightness. The brightness of the LCD is controlled on the camera and the monitor's brightness is set on the monitor and only affect the display of the image, not how bright or light the image will print or look on other's computers, eRaders, phones, tablets, etc.

George
My Nikonian Galleries

doc85

West Lafayette, US
397 posts

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#11. "RE: Low light Quandary " | In response to Reply # 10

doc85 Registered since 17th Jul 2008
Mon 03-Dec-12 06:47 PM


Got it, thanks. Eventually it might come down to how bright the shutter pusher is?

G