Less dynamic range? (d80 vs d40x)

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Antithesis, Feb 1, 2008.

  1. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It's probably just because it's overcast, but I feel like I'm constantly conflicted with either losing detail in my blacks or blowing out the sky. It seemed to me that with the d40x I used to have, it was less of a problem and it had a broader dynamic range. If I meter for the sky, everything else is going to turn black on me, but if I overexpose by even like a 1/3 EV I end up with blown skies. I'm getting frustrated because I'm losing a whole lot of pictures, and I'm not really into bracketing every single picture for HDRs.

    Question: Is it just "that time of year" and I have to deal with it? Was the d40x known to have higher dynamic range than the d80? Will a polarizer help keep my skies in check (even with clouds)?
     
  2. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    i have no clue about the two cameras you mention. but certainly, this time of the year you might have a bright featureless grey or white-ish sky with dark foregrounds.

    those are certainly the days where you feel the limitation of digital cameras the most!
     
  3. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Oh, and I was going to ask: is it better to err on the side of underexposure with a d80? Like, easier to salvage detail?
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Actually, as long as you don't count the white skies...an overcast day is better for capturing more range in a scene...or I should say that an overcast day will usually make the scene less contrasty...so that you can capture it better.

    So when it's overcast, get out there and shoot, but try not to get the sky in the shot.

    It's better to err on the side of overexposure...but without blowing out detail that you want to keep. This is the theory of 'Expose to the Right'...there is more digital information in the brighter parts than the darker parts. Google it or read about it HERE
     
  5. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    The D40x uses the same sensor in the D80.
     
  6. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I see where your coming from, I'm just having my biggest issue whenever the sky sneaks its way into my pictures. I think also what's happening is that I have the blow-out warning activated so it causes my images to blink in the LCD, which may be triggered by a close to white sky.

    That article does have some very valid points though, a lot of things I hadn't thought of.
     
  7. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I know they use the same sensor, I was just wondering if perhaps they have a different processing engine or something that lended the d40x slightly more dynamic range, or just the ability to capture highlights without blowing out so easily.
     
  8. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    Could it be the dynamic range thing that D40's can do after you shoot the picture?

    Set up both bodies on a tripod, same exact settings, the shots will be identical.
     
  9. photogincollege

    photogincollege TPF Noob!

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    Are you shooting in jpeg also? It could be that your d80 is set to different processing settings, saturation, exposure comp, etc.
     
  10. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sensor data is Linear from darkness to brightness. This is significant because the eyes do not see contrast in a linear fashion. After data is captured a contrast curve MUST be applied to it to get something resembling a normal looking picture, or the result will be simply washed out.

    To get the appearance of more dynamic range you can drop your contrast in the camera menu. Or shoot in RAW and process in lightroom which has it's own curve but then also gives you complete control on manipulating it.

    Some cameras like the D200 even have the option to have custom curves uploaded into the camera firmware which can be selected in the image settings menu, however I have yet to find a use for this feature.

    What I am saying is the post processing done by the camera can account for the difference.
     
  11. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I try to shoot in RAW whenever I can for obvious reasons, unless for some reason I only have one or two SD cards with me and then I shoot in jpeg. I think I'm seeing it more in jpeg as I had the camera set on "More Vivid" and that may be accounting for some loss of detail.

    I was just suggesting that maybe the d40x, being the newer camera, might have different processing hardware. But, shooting in RAW that obviously wouldn't affect anything and the files would probably be similar if not identical.

    After doing a bit of research (measurbating) I found that the d80 supposedly has about 7.5 usable stops of dynamic range. I was playing around and I found that I could take a meter reading of the sky, then overexpose by about 2 stops and still not be blown out (although it was optimal about 1 1/3 stops over). maybe just metering for the sky, overexposing by 1 1/3 stops might be the best route to keeping my skies from blowing out. Atleast, for overcast days.
     

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