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Subject: Re: raw 3.1 professional custom profiles for highend digital cameras

I've been following this post for some time but at this point I'd like to jump in with a few questions. Bear with me, as I'm still quite new to these kinds of issues (I've only had my D70 a few months. Prior to that I used a sony cybershot, and I exposed by dialing in an exposure compensation until the onscreen image looked nice. Probably not an effecient technique, but it got good enough results). Anyway I think I've grasped the concepts expressed here so far, and I certainly understand the technical implications of linear gama (half the data used for the highest stop, etc), but I'm having a bit of trouble assimilating everything I'm reading here into any coherent practical advice on the actual mechanics of what I should be doing differently as a photographer.

Basically my questions boil down as follows. For any given scene (and of course it varies depending upon the scene) my instincts would be to meter for the main focus. If it is a portrait, I'd meter for the face for example. Now it seems that I should be picking a highlight in my scene (under the spectral highlights of course) and meter to that, regardless of how much this overexposes the rest of my image, at which point I need to go back in ACR and bring my shadows back down? Is my job then to try to judge the scene for which highlights I need to expose for, and then to judge what amount of compensation is needed to push them as far to the right before clipping? Some amount of positive exposure correction will be necessary because exposing for the highlights will naturally underexpose everything else.

An image that has been exposed to the right will be more or less unviewable in its original state, everything will appear washed out. So it seems to me that basically, a "correct" exposure is not necessarily one that looks correct when I'm looking at the image, it will only produce a correct (non washed out) image after pulling the shadows back down to where they belong? And if that is the case what is the best method in ACR to accomplis this? Curves? Exposure slider? Shadows slider?

Now I realize a good deal of the burden is on me to go out and systematically see how my camera performs and note what I did, and judge the results, in other words to train my eye to see how my camera will work. I am certainly planning to do just this and very soon in fact, but my final question to any of you who have already got the experience, is, what kind of difference can I actually expect to see? Will my dynamic range seem noticably wider? Will my shadows be less noisy? If I expose for highlights and then pull my shadows down am I really going to get a noticably better picture than if I expose for my subject? Of course I don't expect any catchall answers,I know that I'm speaking in vague genaraities that don't aply to specific pictures at all. I recognize that its on me to decide which results I like the best and whether it is "worth it" to do it this way but I'm just wondering in the grand scheme of things, what is the general impression? The intracies of digital photography are such that I feel we ca
n always get bogged down in some form of minutia.

Incidentally, forgive me if I've just repeated something someone else has said in a previous post. If I have happened to overlook a post that might directly pertain to my questions, if anyone cared to point that out I would be greatfu.


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