Subject: Re: raw 3.1 professional custom profiles for highend digital cameras
"No Jeff, I am perfectly aware of the linear nature of digital sensors (if you read my post )."
You may be aware of the linear nature, but you may not fully grasp what implications linear has. . .no, we don't currently use a gamma 1.0 color space, although we could and it could be argued that for digital capture vs scans of film, a 1.0 gamma WOULD provide a useful conversion from raw captures. In fact, DNG allows just that, a conversion that demosaics the image but leaves it in a linear gamma.
The real implication of the linear nature of a raw capture is that there is a whole lot of data clumped near clipping. With careful tone mapping a lot of that data can be visually useful to preserve textural highlight detail. As Bruce says, darking midtones will always produce a better result than trying to lighten the midtones. So, assuming one is careful with exposure to NOT pin of blow out the highlights-and this is crucial-then careful application of the curve function of Camera Raw can recover a lot of useful textural data even if the image appears very light. That is the main difference between film and digital. Since film is already locked into a tone map, you can't really go a get more data cause there isn't any more data. With digital, there is. And there's a _LOT_ more highlight data than shadow data.
I also agree with Bruce that today's light meters were simply not designed to provide enough information for digital. The camera sensor itself is an extremely precise light measuring device that could be hooked into the info display of the camera to provide a lot more control over exposure. Unfortunately, the cameras companies are still pretty much dedicating themselves to try their best at producing a "film-like look". Their heads are still pretty much stuck in the analog realm and not so much in the digital. That will change. . .I hope.
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