Subject: Re: raw 3.1 professional custom profiles for highend digital cameras
"So what you really want to do is spot-meter the highlights, and expose for a middle gray that preserves the highlights. There are probably no lightmeters that will do that calculation for you."
Thank you for finding the exact words. . .
Yes, the ideal would be to spot meter the highlights that you wish to have textural detail and expose to just get that texture without clipping.
Because digital captures are linear, there is an incredible amount of detail in that brightest 1 stop of a scene. Looking at the LCD on the back of the camera as a preview or even looking at the histogram (which tells you little that's useful) will not really tell you what is textural highlights vs specular highlights intended to clip.
One of the reasons Thomas put in the curves function of Camera Raw 3.x was because he was convinced by several people (Bruce and Steve Johnson in particular) that there was so much data there in the highlights that only a custom curve function could allow reditribution or useful data and only in the linear stage, not after the image has been processed into a gamma encoding.
Admitedly, this whole dicussion is about taking digital to the max-the flexibility of raw captures, the power of Camera Raw and processing in Photoshop allow SOOOO much control of the tone distribution of digital photography that I suspect many people will see this as a waste of time. And, to be honest, depending on what you are shooting and why, it could well be.
But I thought it would be useful to try to explain exactly why digital capture ain't the same as film. . .particularly in the why optimum exposures are determined.
:-) Also it's fun to remember my old college days and try to make some use of my old darkroom skills.
" I remember a film rated at ASA 250 that responded admirably, but way too grainy, even in 4x5. "
Royal Pan-X is what I think you remember and yes it was a wonderful film for contrast control as long as you were only making contact prints. The grain did look like boulders!
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