Dy­namic range ex­ten­der

Practical Photography (UK) - - Hidden Camera Features -

YOUR CAM­ERA’S DY­NAMIC range is a mea­sure of the dif­fer­ence be­tween the max­i­mum and min­i­mum light in­ten­si­ties that can be saved to a sin­gle file. In other words, it’s the cam­era’s abil­ity to record in­for­ma­tion in both very dark shad­ows and very bright high­lights in the same shot. Even on the best cam­eras, this makes cap­tur­ing very high con­trast scenes a real prob­lem.

HDR pho­tog­ra­phy, which we look at in more de­tail in Tip 3, is usu­ally the go-to so­lu­tion, but there’s a much quicker and lesser-known way to give your im­ages a more bal­anced ex­po­sure. On a Canon, it’s called the Auto Light­ing Op­ti­miser, and on a Nikon, Ac­tive D Light­ing. Both work by restor­ing de­tail in ex­treme shad­ows and high­lights. The ef­fect, which can be used for any high-con­trast scene, in­clud­ing back­lit por­traits and land­scapes at sun­set, is very sim­i­lar to us­ing the Shad­ows and High­lights slid­ers in the Adobe Cam­era Raw win­dow.

On both Canon and Nikon sys­tems, there are sev­eral strength lev­els to choose from, al­low­ing you to tai­lor the func­tion to dif­fer­ent scenes, and on Canons you can dis­able the func­tion for man­ual and bulb modes. As dy­namic range ex­ten­sion in­volves in-cam­era pro­cess­ing, it can only be ap­plied to JPEGs and not RAWs. This makes it better suited for shoots where you don’t have the time or fa­cil­i­ties to process RAW files on a PC.

Above A dy­namic range ex­ten­sion func­tion for JPEGs, which is found on all Canon and Nikon mod­els, helps pro­duce im­ages with a more bal­anced over­all ex­po­sure.

TURNED OFF Above The dy­namic range ex­ten­sion func­tion con­trols shad­ows and high­lights on very high-con­trast scenes, like this im­age of a deer stand­ing in the shade against strong sun­light.

Above You can eas­ily switch on the dy­namic range ex­ten­sion func­tion in your cam­era’s main shoot­ing menu.


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