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D800E & blown highlights (or not)?


Hurricane, US
255 posts

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blubdog Silver Member Nikonian since 29th Sep 2008
Fri 20-Sep-13 01:00 AM

I was shooting at a park this week to test a used lens I just bought. Grass, trees, sky, and clouds. D800e on tripod, matrix metering, Aperture priority (f/8), take a pic. On the builtin display, I'm looking at the "Highlights" screen. Most of the sky is flashing, indicating blown highlights. Not surprising, so I set EV to -1/3, try again; still flashing sky. Down to -2/3 and still some flashing. Now I'm at a full -1 stop before the sky quits flashing.

At home I look at all the photos in Lightroom 5. On the very first photo (0 EV) where most of the sky was flashing on the camera, the LR histogram shows NOTHING touching the right side. Nothing blown (nothing clipped on left either). WHY?

Is it because the camera looks at the exposure of the embedded JPG, where LR is developing the RAW file, and there is a full stop of highlight data in the NEF that isn't in the JPG?

And most important, how can I see accurate information on the camera to tell me if the highlights are really blown or shadows clipped in a NEF? I admit that I was only looking at the flashing highlights display, not the camera's histogram, so I don't know how accurate that is in comparison. I have noticed this before on the Highlights display, but keep forgetting to investigate (until now).