Adjust Image Contrast In D100?
Perhaps someone can suggest a method to increase image contrast in the D100. After applying a Cusotm Curve(tried most all) I am very happy with the impovement. Still, using very fine glass (mostly Nikkor Primes) I find I must increase contrast of images in PS 7. This seems to be the case for most all images. With that change and playing with USM, the images are fine - I just wish I could increase the contrast in the camera. Anyone have the same view? Any suggestions? Flames? Thanks for any help.
Patrick in DC
#9. "There are good reasons..." | In response to Reply # 0RRowlett Charter MemberMon 13-Jan-03 08:08 PM
...not to add more contrast in-camera, especially if you want to get the most out of the images the D100 can capture. Indeed, you might find it wise to LOWER the constrast in-camera to make sure you have the largest dynamic range possible when making the original image capture. You can always add contrast later in Photoshop, but you can never reel back in blown-out highlights and blocked-up shadows. The same kind of reasoning applies to in-camera sharpening. The Nikon digital pros suggest putting your camera on LOW contrast and NO or NORMAL sharpening (just enough to cancel out the anti-alias filter.) This way your digital "negative" will contain all the information it possibly can.
Now, if you just want a point-and-shoot camera mode you can change some things and keep them in bank B. But don't expect these images to be anything more than snapshot quality. My bank B shoots in FINE JPEG mode, AUTO sharpening, custom tone curve with a mid-tone lift, and NORMAL contrast. It's great for those snapshot moments, where I'm expected to give somebody a digital print, and I don't want the fuss of post-capture processing. These photos serve this need well, but I wouldn't prefer to make high quality enlargements this way. If you desire it and it suits your needs, you can put additional sharpening and or contrast (HIGH instead of CUSTOM for example) in bank B. You can also add color snap by selecting color mode III (enhanced sRGB). Experiment. If you think your camera underexposes for typical scenes you shoot, add exposure compensation as a routine matter. (Just like in a film camera, where I might always overexpose certain print film by 0.5 or 0.7 stop for additional shadow detail.)
But my most-used bank A is set to RAW, LOW contrast, color mode II and NORMAL sharpening. Images get tweaked in Photoshop to give me the highest quality image. The only change I might consider making is to take the sharpening OFF.
I am a bit amused about the "underexposure" problem reported by so many. After using the D100 now for about 6 months, I can confidently say that it behaves pretty much exactly like my N80 in terms of metering. Shooting digital is a lot like shooting slide film: you must avoid overexposing highlights at all costs. That often means erring slightly on the side of underexposure in high-contrast scenes, and that's exactly what the matrix metering system will do for you in the D100 in such scenes. For scenes of normal contrast, the D100 matrix meter system is dead-nuts on and uses the entire latitude of the sensor efficiently. You can always check your exposure with the histogram function which every D100 user should enable in the image review mode. If you're really underexposed, add 0.3 or 0.7 EV of compensation and shoot again. Those who are used to shooting slide film will understand the fussiness of exposure for high-contrast scenes. Those who have shot print film all their photographic life will discover when using the D100 that print film latitude covers a multitude of exposure sins.
Bottom line: if the D100 doesn't do what you want in the default mode, change it! The D100 has got more settings than a porcupine has quills, and it should be possible to get it to do something approximating what you want it to do. That's the beauty of a quasi-professional digital SLR. You have COMPLETE control. Use it to your advantage! My guess is no two users have the D100 set up the same way, and that is perhaps as it should be.
#11. "RE: Adjust Image Contrast In D100?" | In response to Reply # 0bill_staples Registered since 23rd Dec 2002Wed 16-Jan-08 12:07 PM
really? can you post an example? do you shoot NEF?
I am amazed at the number of people on this discussion group who are having problems getting good color, exposure, sharpness, contrast... There must be something wrong with Nikon QA, or else a lot of people are having problems getting the camera to perform well.
For comparison sake, here is an image that I shot 30 minutes ago.
Nikon D100, v1.0 firmware, NEF format, ISO 200
Nikkor 60mm 2.8d, manual focus
Aperture priority, f/25, 1.3sec, 0 EV (exactly what the camera meter said)
Tone comp: Auto, White balance: Incandescent
Sharpening : Normal (doesn't matter with NEF anyway)
Noise Reduction: On
Color Mode: II
I used a single incandescent bulb held over the subject, obviously camera was on a tripod.
I didn't change anything to the image, just added a border, resized, and saved as JPG. The results are pretty consistent with what I get whenever I shoot. I always shoot NEF, and recommend it if you haven't tried it yet.
Attachment#1 (jpg file)
#1. "RE: Adjust Image Contrast In D100?" | In response to Reply # 11Sun 12-Jan-03 07:16 AM
I think you only need to add contrast when the scene has flat/dull lighting. Of course you can always improve on what you get out of any digicam. Fred Miranda's digital velvia is a very good photoshop action for such.
Before (straight out of the D100):
After (using Fred's Digital Velvia action):
#3. "RE: Adjust Image Contrast In D100?" | In response to Reply # 1Sun 12-Jan-03 02:08 PM
I would just be happy getting images right out of my D100 the way they looked with your first example. If I had taken that shot with my D100 (with automatic settings of course), I would have gotten a mess - underexposed by up to 2 Stops.
You're right about Fred Miranda's Velvia action - a great buy!
#4. "RE: Adjust Image Contrast In D100?" | In response to Reply # 3Sun 12-Jan-03 04:11 PM
If your camera is severely underexposing when there's plenty of light and it's not a tricky situation for the meetering like backlit scenes you should bring it back to Nikon. I posted a while ago that I did just that here in Canada. They adjusted the CCD and calibrated the meetering. Now I only use curves in dull lighting scenes or poorly lit indoor with no flash.
Fuji also has its share of QC problems with the S2. So before you loose money switching, take a chance on Nikon service.
#5. "RE: Adjust Image Contrast In D100?" | In response to Reply # 4Sun 12-Jan-03 04:38 PM
I intend on sending the camera back to Nikon for servicing - I'm just so afraid though that when I get it back, the CCD will have crude all over it. I tend to keep my CCD very clean and am careful when changing lenses. I can just see a technician at Melville, New York unscrewing the body cap and leaving it sit there open while doing something else...what a nightmare!
As for your reference to holding off on the S2 Pro...well, I already bought it a few months ago (and luckily, it has worked superbly so it was not a waste of money for me). I use both cameras, but I have to do so much more with the D100 to get the photos I need.
#6. "RE: Adjust Image Contrast In D100?" | In response to Reply # 5Sun 12-Jan-03 05:52 PM
I can't speak for your local Nikon service, but my experience with the Toronto service has been great. I've received my camera with the CCD clean and wrapped in a plastic bag to avoid dust. I'm hopping it works out for you as it did for me.
good luck, Herbet.
#2. "RE: Adjust Image Contrast In D100?" | In response to Reply # 11
Nice pic! You hit the nail right on the head. Many of us (those with big underexposure problems) have come to the conclusion that there must be a widespread Q&A problem with the Metering calibration among the D100 units. My photos - taken with the Nikon D100 on Matrix, Program mode (with roughly the same general settings as the one listed in your photo) come out underexposed anywhere from 1 - 2 complete stops. This is both totally unsatisfactory and frustrating.
Custom tone curves help to a certain degree, but are not a catch all. What I find myself doing (which is really unsat given the money you paid for the camera) is to use other forms of metering (i.e. External Incident Meters, or using the Spot Meter in a variety of ways).
I talked with the local Nikon Rep the other day (the guy who includes the Raleigh, North Carolina area into his realm) about these and other issues (JPEG sharpness, underexposure, and getting the camera back from Nikon after servicing with CCD Dust problems). To my surprise (and shock) he completely discounted the problem at hand. He even went so far as to completely dismiss and disparage the various Nikon forums as being places to vent for kids and people who do not know what they are talking about! Once he went down that road, I stopped listening to him.
I do envy those lucky users who managed to get D100s that provide many good exposures (keepers) right out of the camera. I am surmising, however, that those folks are fewer than the numbers who are experiencing underexposure issues. My only other avenue - which I pursued a few months ago - was to go out and also purchase a Fuji S2 Pro, which I hate to say (in my opinion) blows the D100 out of the water in areas such as color balance, saturation, resolution, and out-of-the-camera photo keepers.
#7. "RE: Adjust Image Contrast In D100?" | In response to Reply # 2ojm_webf1_com Registered since 03rd Dec 2002Mon 13-Jan-03 07:41 AM
I too encountered the underexposed "problem" when I first got my camera at the end of October 2002. I have not made any modification to the camera (no new firmware) since I got it and I don't use custom curves. But I do shoot RAW for the most part and in manual mode now. I've gotten to the point where the post processing modification, if any, are minimal. Here is an example of two pics which did not have any color/staturation/level adjustments what so ever. The first picture was shot with available lighting in a classroom setting. The second picture was shot outside at around 3:30pm with full sun. For the 2nd picture I use an polirizer filter and dialed the exposure down to -.7EV when I took the picture. Both pictures have had shaperning adjusting since I had sharpening off in the camera, as I do most of the time.
The transportation section in my site contains a set of picture which had minimal adjustments processing. The only adjustment that most had was a 2 sec change of the curves since I purposely underexposed the pictures due to the intensity of the sun.
Update: I wanted to add this specific link also http://meszar.us/photography/?picturetype=Newest&picturenumber=0003&picturepath=/photography/newest/pics/
This picture didn't have any post processing modification but cropping. The white balance setting used was PREset and measured against the white wall. The light was available sun light inside the house.
#8. "RE: Adjust Image Contrast In D100?" | In response to Reply # 7Mon 13-Jan-03 02:06 PM
the samples you posted are really great. when you say you use manual mode you mean Aperture priority or you use an external meetering and dial the exposure manually?
Your experience is compatible with mine. the d100 does really well when there's good lighting. Another point you're absolutely right is the importance of correct WB. One can see the difference WB makes in exposure by openning a raw file in Capture and changing the WB. the histogram changes considerably. That's why I still prefer shooting in RAW inspite the little difference against JPG files after the new firmware update.
#10. "RE: Adjust Image Contrast In D100?" | In response to Reply # 8ojm_webf1_com Registered since 03rd Dec 2002Mon 13-Jan-03 09:14 PM
What I mean by manual mode is Aperture, Shutter. I carefully watch the Electronic analog exposure display in the view finder. I make sure that I have the proper metering selected for the right picture/subject I'm trying to shoot.
I've shot properly exposed in all kinds of light conditions. For instance this picture was shot only with the light of the candle
and this one, http://meszar.us/photography/?picturetype=Still%20Life&picturenumber=0009&picturepath=/photography/stilllife/pics/ with some available light, a low wattage lamp about 1.5 feet away from it, an frontal SB-80DX flash dialed down -0.7EV and a mirror placed at a 45 degree angle behind it. The only modification it had was to remove a distant object which showed up in the mirror. And of course sharpening since I choose to sharpen in post processing.
So I think the bottom line that we're saying here is that if one takes one's time to learn the camera, and work with the camera, you can get shots out of your camera that are pretty good.
And yes, I do shoot RAW most of the time still b/c I still make mistakes :):) And yes, I'm still learning, every day.