Levels in Camera

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by gabrielh, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. gabrielh

    gabrielh TPF Noob!

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    Hello everybody,
    I wanted to know if there was any way of setting a photoshop-like "levels" in the camera itself when taking pictures in the field. It seems to me that my pictures are "dull" when they are SOOC and once the levels adjusted in the computer, the contrast increase and the pictures pop up more... But is there a way to do this in the camera itself, so one doesn't need to do it at home? Is this a pure digital possibility, or does film photography also have such a possibility in the darkroom?
    Thank you all for your answers!
    G.
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    If that info is anywhere, it will be in your camera's manual.
     
  3. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Follow mikes suggestions looking under image settings.

    Failing that the lowest camera in Nikon's current lineup which supports writing a custom tone curve to the camera is the D300.
     
  4. gabrielh

    gabrielh TPF Noob!

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    I have already looked into the whole camera manual, without seeing anything... Seems as if this is ["only"] possible in post-production with my camera... Thanks for the comments!
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    Most cameras have the option to adjust things like saturation, contrast etc. I'd assume that yours does as well.

    Personally, I don't mind a bit of editing...so I'm not really concerned about how it looks right out of the camera, as long as the details/info is there when I go to make my edits.
     
  6. mrodgers

    mrodgers No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I want to expand the questioning going off your comment here. At the moment, we will completely assume shooting JPEG since, well, if you shoot RAW, you have to "develop" the photos anyways. My questioning stems from the fact that I do not have RAW capabilities.

    I too always give my photos some levels, curves, and sharpening work in "development". This is about all I do to them for the most part though. I do have settings in the camera (only shoots JPEG) for saturation, contrast, and sharpening. I've wondered this and have asked before, but I'm still not sure which way to go. Would it be better to leave a JPEG-only-camera at it's default or make the adjustments to the camera?

    The sharpening is the big thing for me. I have soft, normal, and hard sharpening. I usually crop and resize, thus sharpen after resizing anyways in post process "developing", so I don't know if it would benefit having a sharper image straight from the camera or not. I have put the setting on soft and it does indeed come out very soft straight from the camera.

    I am just wondering of any benefit when you don't have RAW capabilites of these camera settings. I know that the internal processing in a camera to a JPEG would lose information as opposed to shooting RAW if you have that capability, but would increasing these type of settings lose anything in the image from the default JPEG output in comparison to the JPEG output of the increased settings?
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    I don't think that you necessarily loose anything when you adjust these setting while shooting JPEG. If you can find settings that give you results that you like, then it's probably easier to do it 'in-camera'.

    One concern for me, would be the flexibility. For example, you might have 5 or 6 choices for each setting. Two or three 'clicks' in either direction. You have three choices for sharpening etc. When you take the image into Photoshop (or whatever) you have pretty much unlimited flexibility in terms of how much editing you want to apply.

    When shooting RAW, those settings (in-camera) are mostly for show. They can be changed later anyway, so I don't bother with them at all.
     
  8. bigalbest

    bigalbest TPF Noob!

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    It is possible to get proper levels right out of the camera using exact exposure settings and these are the types of pictures that need little post work. This takes a lot of skill and even more practice and can often involve using lights to balance your levels.
     
  9. gabrielh

    gabrielh TPF Noob!

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    I have seen these options about saturation, sharpening and contrast but haven't tried these out. Will surely do that someday. But when shooting RAW, like Big Mike said, these options are mostly of show. But do they still have (if little) consequences on the image? Thanks for any answers!
     
  10. Big Mike

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

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    They way I understand it, they do have an affect on the preview image that you see on the camera's LCD screen...and perhaps on the preview image that you see when you first view the RAW images. But they are only recorded as a setting 'as shot' to go along with the RAW file...you can change those settings before you convert the RAW image, and it would be no different (probably better) than if you had changed them in-camera.
    Actually, many people complain that RAW images don't look as good (at first) because they haven't had all those settings & sharpness applied. That's OK because those that really care about image quality, want the control to make those decisions themselves, rather than leave it up to the processors in the camera.

    Many RAW conversion software programs, do show you the shots with the 'as shot' settings. So maybe adjusting those settings in-camera, can bring you closer to the final product that you want, so you would have to do less editing later...but for the most part, it's just a matter of adjusting a slider, so it doesn't take any more time.

    Try out some different ways of doing it, and see what works for you. It's not a right/wrong type of issue...there are many ways to get there.
     
  11. gabrielh

    gabrielh TPF Noob!

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    Ok! Thanks Big Mike for the answer! It helps! I will try it out! ;)
     
  12. Jedo_03

    Jedo_03 TPF Noob!

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    Just a thought - but you might want to wonder what it is that is making your pictures "dull"...
    Not wanting to sound hoighty-toighty... but you sound like a newbie who is "blaming the camera" for imperfect images... There are fundamental factors involving proper exposure and white balance that directly affect the quality of an image: get the exposure value wrong, or the WB wrong - and your images will be "dull"...
    My interepretation of what you are asking here is that you want a camera that will "think" for you - and adjust the images to exactly what you saw...
    Bad news is - there is no such camera:
    Remedy is: expose properly and adjust your WB manually...
    No more "dull" pictures...
    Jedo
     

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