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Nikon Z8: Color Shift when Using Optimal ETTR — UPDATED with RawDigger Info Windows + Reader Comment

If there is additional interest, I could shoot a color card with the Z8 for another look at this. Such projects take a whole day to present well however.

In Nikon Z8: Color Shift when Using Optimal ETTR (Birch Trees in Winter) I showed premature color shift behavior with the Nikon Z8 when approaching optimal exposure for ETTR.

I’ve now updated that page with a bit more commentary and info, namely the RawDigger info window for each exposure. As well as the Adobe Camera Raw processing settings.

Nikon Z8: Color Shift when Using Optimal ETTR (Birch Trees in Winter)

Note well that the Sony A7R V shows no such behavior. Thus it seems camera specific and therefore it seems wise for the astute photographer to check out their own camera behavior, and not make assumptions about ETTR exposure.

Five exposures in RAW/NEF, pulled to match final brightness
f5.6 @ 1/4 sec, ISO 64; 2024-02-17 12:11:26
Nikon Z8 + Nikon NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S Macro

[low-res image for bot]

Mark J writes:

I am pretty disturbed by your findings for the Z8 on the color shift. I can (grudgingly) work around most of the foibles and shenanigans in Nikon’s metering and Adobe’s software, but the color shifts are a real roadblock in HDR work. It would be a mess to have the camera introducing color shifts simply due to over exposure.

If I understand correctly, it appears that a minor overexposure in the raw data for the Green channel is feeding back and causing a major color shift in the mid-tones and light tones of the blue.

- Am I understanding that correctly? It’s the feedback to the mid-tones that’s most disturbing.
- Do you think this is really cause by the 0.2 EV baseline exposure offset introduced by Adobe? The raw histogram blue channel appears to have at least that much exposure latitude remaining. (Although if you used the logarithm or sqrt scale for the histogram count we might see a few pixels already pushing the limit)
- I assume these are processed using your standard Adobe workflow. Correct?
- I’m curious - which color profile do you use as your standard for the Z8? Is the color shift profile dependent?
- Have you tried to diagnose the problem by processing the push/pull using the NX Studio software? It may help sort out whether the color shift is due to Nikon hardware or Adobe software (albeit, not definitive, because NX Studio could conceivably compensate for the shift).
- Another idea (a lot more work) would be to put a MacBeth color chart (or grey card) in the scene and reshoot the sequence. In that way you can accurately track color shift with exposure in the raw data to see the color shift happening in the background and measure the shift in the reference chart.

In looking at the +4/3 raw histogram, the blue channel does seem to have a subtle change in shape in the brightest tones for the transition from +3/3 to +4/3 exposure, which may indicate that this is in the camera and not the post-processing. (Look at the width and shape of the first peak at around 8000 for the +3/3 then in comparison at +4/3. The red channel seems more consistent during the same transition.

Please forgive the list of questions above, but it’s some questions that occur to me in trying to understand the context and what else you may have done understand the situation.

Thanks for the great work (even though it’s a PITA sometimes!)

DIGLLOYD: with HDR as a goal, ETTR is essential, so these concerns are of serious import.

Correct that it does not seem like the small spike in the green channel should have anything to do with the color shift, since the blowout is only in the bright white areas. It doesn’t make sense, but there it is, so there must be another factor, like non-linear sensor behavior and/or the baseline exposure value.

RawDigger info window

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Latest Adobe Lightroom Update Breaks NEFX File Handling — Zooms out to 50% in Develop Mode

Reader Greg M writes:

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic, version

Today Adobe released an update to Lightroom. It's so f'ed up, I can't believe they did that.... You can now open the NEFX file without problems... there are still problems.

If you open it in the Library and zoom in to 100% you can see it at 100% of the resolution the file is at (I'm talking about only the NEFX pixel shift files at 180MP).

But, when you click on the Develop tab the file will be zoomed out automatically to a 45 MP resolution, not 180MP. LOL At least that's how it works for me. Can you confirm that? Do you experience this same shit?

DIGLLOYD: it was working fine before the update.

Then I updated, and I see exactly the same problem in version 13.2 of Lightroom Classic—you’re zoomed out to 50%, and cmd-option-0 to go to 100% does not work, just beeps.

You can zoom back in with cmd-+, but that kinda sucks.

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Rear LCD on my Sony A7R V Does not Display any Live View Image — SOLVED

Sony A7R V

The rear LCD on the Sony A7R V will not display a Live View image.

But it displays menus just fine, so the screen itself is operational.

Camera is supposed to switch between EVF and rear LCD automatically via:

Thinking that a sensor could be involved, I programmed a button for Finder/Monitor Sel. When I toggle that, the EVF goes blank/black, but nothing appears on the rear LCD panel—neither display has any Live View image. I can then toggle it again and the EVF comes back.

This might have started after the 2.01 firmware update, but not sure.

Powering on/off and/or pulling battery changes nothing.

Defective camera, firmware bug?

Contact me if you think you have an idea.

Solved!

Sony A7R V: Monitor Off hidden

Hidden without scrolling down is the Monitor Off setting, with no indication it exists. It is one of the various displays that can be toggled-to, with off meaning black screen, nothing display. For night shooting or some such.

Uncheck it so that you cannot toggle into it.

Or use the DISP button to toggle to another screen.

What got me is that I had no idea that I had somehow toggled DISP to off.

Below, there it is at the end. It can be seen ONLY if you scroll down; then it will appear. Uncheck the box to remove it as one of the displays.

Sony A7R V: Setup => Operation Customize => DISP (Screen Disp) Set => Monitor Off

Dr S writes:

FYI.... I am very well aware of the black screen and have it as a choice with my Sony's. Why? There may be times I want to be completely stealth in evening situations. With a black screen and the cam set up just right, I can take images in darker places and not disturb anyone around me.

DIGLLOYD: or be noticed. RTFM on me.

Case Study: Sony A7R V: Metering, Dynamic Range, ETTR/ESTR, Camera Histograms, ETTR

re: post processing and Adobe Camera Raw
re: ETTR
re: please fix this Sony

UPDATE: I’ve added discussion of ISO 50 and one thing it can do to improve RGB histogram. Very practical/useful.

This page uses the Sony A7R V, but applies to all mirrorless cameras, because all mirrorless cameras behave essentially the same way in terms of metering and use of the sensor dynamic range. Particular cameras and settings alter specific details slightly, but the algorithmic behaviors are all the same regardless of brand and model.

Twelve (12) frames were shot in 1/3 stop increments, from +0 (as metered) to +11/3 stops, an exposure range of 3.66 stops. Images were pushed and pulled to match in brightness. We look at the following:

  • Camera metering vs perceptual brightness vs sensor potential.
  • Optimal exposure failure: how much more exposure could the sensor accept without showing any difference in the converted RA file?
  • Histograms of camera vs RawDigger: just how far off is the camera?
  • RawDigger blowout indicators vs usable captures in Adobe Camera Raw.
  • What you can do to get the best possible results.

In diglloyd Mirrorless:

Sony A7R V: Metering, Dynamic Range, ETTR/ESTR, Camera Histograms

Since the findings here apply to all mirrorless cameras, I will be posting this also (later) in Making Sharp Images.

Sony A7R V capture vs histograms and info
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Sony Please Fix: Metering Throws Away as Much as 2.33 Stops of Dynamic Range

re: post processing and Adobe Camera Raw
re: ETTR

ETTR = Expose To The Right: increasing exposure for RAW capture so as to minimize sensor noise, maximize dynamic range. The term refers to a histogram pushed right.

ESTR = Expose Somewhat To Right: increase exposure but don’t get greedy!

Sony A7R V

All forms of metering in all of today’s digital cameras are spectacularly bad. Meaning they grossly underutilize the sensor capability most of the time.

Metering is designed to produce a “middle gray” with the goal of producing a JPG. It is not designed to use the sensor to its potential. T

Here in 2024 in the age of AI, cameras are still operating on 'stone age' digital exposure algorithms. Detuning the camera potential to a level far below its potential. A digital race car with the engine intentionally detuned from 500 HP to 100 HP.

This is digital. Fully programmable, not bound to what film could do. Camera designers are in a mental prison, locked into thinking that no longer applies.

Below, compare these two camera histograms. The +0 one is as metered by the Sony A7R V. It is obviously underexposed, even by a perceptual standard.

As it turns out, the sensor can accept up to 2.33 stops more exposure with no visible difference, no clipping, no blow-out. A full exposé on that coming soon. No, not with camera JPEGs of course. But from the RAW certainly.

That’s like shooting at ISO 500 vs ISO 100. That’s what these 'stone age' metering systems are doing for you: delivering grossly inferior capture cquality in order to target a “middle gray” for final-image JPG production. Conflating capture exposure with output brightness. It’s just stupid.

This is 2024 and the age of the AI and that is the shit sandwich we are gagging down.

Sony please fix: there should be an “expose for maximum quality in RAW” metering and exposure mode. The camera knows exactly how much exposure the sensor can accept; it is seeing the data at least 60 times a second while generating Live View. But it’s not just Sony, it’s every camera company. To call out 1/6 stop or at most 1/3 stop improvement in sensor technology while literally throwing away 2.33 stops of dynamic range makes a mockery of judgment and common sense.

Toggle to compare.

Sony A7R V histograms

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Sony A7R V: Strictly Avoid The Lossless Comp (M) and Lossless Comp (S) Formats

re: post processing and Adobe Camera Raw
re: ETTR

ETTR = Expose To The Right: increasing exposure for RAW capture so as to minimize sensor noise, maximize dynamic range. The term refers to a histogram pushed right.

ESTR = Expose Somewhat To Right: increase exposure but don’t get greedy!

re: Color Shift when Using Optimal ETTR (Birch Trees in Winter)
ETTR Too Much of a Good Thing? HARD to Get it Right
“Baseline Exposure” Boost in RAW Converters can Whack Color

Sony A7R V

Evaluating ETTR, I was fooled by Sony’s Lossless Comp (M) format, having inadvertantly set the camera to that (not sure when how).

Not only do the Sony Lossless Comp (M) and (S) formats downsample from 60MP to lower-res, the overall behavior is radically different from full-res RAW files, flattening colors and squashing things in general well before overexposure. Or, the best way to turn your world-class camera/sensor into a 3rd-rate dumpster fire.

Terms and words matter: to call highly processed data "RAW" is ridiculous and misleading at best.

As pointed out by Alex Tutubalin of LibRaw:

Sony Small/Medium RAWs are not RAW but compressed YCC format. 

Compression is lossless, while RAW to YCC conversion is definitely not (white balance applied, out-of range values clipped, etc). In addition, color channels are subsampled.

Generally, it is JPEG on steroids: no lossy DCT-based transform, higher bit range, but closer to JPEG, not RAW).

The good news

ETTR behavior with full-res 60MP Lossles Comp (or Uncompressed) is radically better, indeed spectacularly good.

But matrix metering is spectacularly bad.

Sony A7R V Metering Throws Away as Much as 2.33 Stops of Dynamic Range.

Toggle to compare.

Sony A7R V histograms
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Sigma FE 15mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Fisheye for Sony FE, Leica L-Mount

Sigma FE 15mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Fisheye

re: astrophotography

I’ve wanted a fisheye lens for Sony mirrorless for a long time now, though I didn’t want the huge bulk and weight of this new lens from Sigma. I was thinking more along the lines of the compact f/2.8 fisheyes of yore.

It even has its own lens heater. Retainer. Whatever it is.You know you want a lens with that!

About $1999 Sigma FE 15mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Fisheye for Sony
About $1999 Sigma 15mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Fisheye for Leica L-Mount

Do I want one? Totally. It’s a unique offering that no one else has. That 180° field of view is radically different from even the 130° of the Laowa 10mm f/2.8.

CLICK TO VIEW: Ultrawides

Specifications

Major optical efforts were made. Assuming a well-assembled sample, it ought to be spectacularly good, by far the best fisheye lens ever made.

  • Full-Frame
  • f/1.4 to f/16
  • Bright, Fast Diagonal Fisheye Lens
  • Optimized for Astrophotography
  • High-Response Linear Actuator AF System
  • FLD, SLD & Aspherical Elements
  • Rounded 11-Blade Diaphragm
  • Removable, Rotating Tripod Foot
  • Dust- and Splash-Resistant Construction

It looks to rock in terms of performance.

MTF for Sigma FE 15mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Fisheye

Description

The 4-year warranty is super nice too.

Sigma 15mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Overview

180˚ of high resolution An innovative diagonal fisheye lens

The world's first* F1.4 diagonal fisheye interchangeable lens for 35mm full-frame. Unparalleled resolving power that overturns the conventional wisdom about fisheye lenses.

In developing a fisheye lens featuring an ultra-wide-angle and powerful fisheye distortion, SIGMA has achieved a completely new level of artistic potential, combining the world's first F1.4 aperture for consumer use with outstanding resolving power across the entire image.

In terms of optical performance, the SIGMA 15mm F1.4 DG DN DIAGONAL FISHEYE | Art has achieved excellent point image reproducibility and high resolution by correcting various aberrations, especially sagittal coma flare.

The lens is capable of handling starscape photography, which demands particularly high-quality performance, even when wide-open.

Unlike conventional fisheyes, the SIGMA 15mm F1.4 DG DN DIAGONAL FISHEYE | Art is exceptionally sharp across its entire 180° angle-of-view and offers an ultra-fast F1.4 aperture, making it perfect for a wide range of applications including astrophotography, landscapes and architecture. The expressive power of this all-new full-frame mirrorless lens opens a wealth of creative possibilities in wide-angle photography.

Optical design for Sigma FE 15mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Fisheye

Clarity, Creative Distortion & Epic Sweep

Boasting an expansive 180° angle of view and an ultra-fast f/1.4 maximum aperture, the Sony E-mount Sigma 15mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens is a diagonal fisheye that brings epic scope and sweeping clarity to astrophotography, architecture, and landscape photography. With a minimum focusing distance of 15.2" and high-speed autofocus, the lens also yields dramatic yet intimate images when used in action and sports applications.

Body & Optical Design

With 21 lens elements in total arranged in 15 groups, including four FLD elements, three SLD elements, and two aspherical elements, the lens construction optimizes the reproduction of bright points of light. It also means the lens is sharp across the entirety of its viewing angle. The two rear sheet filter slots and the included Arca-Swiss compatible tripod collar benefit the long exposures necessary for astrophotography. The lens is also designed to handle all conditions of incident light, including high backlight resistance, to consistently promote clarity, sharpness, and overall image quality. Additionally, its dust- and splash-proof body and the water- and oil-repellent lens coating mean the lens can withstand exposure to the elements.

HLA Autofocus System

The HLA (High-response Linear Actuator) focusing motor introduces unprecedented speed, precision, and silence into the Sigma autofocus system. For videographers, focus breathing is minimized through the optical design. The HLA also offers improved focus following performance for sports photography and other subjects in motion such as cars, planes, or birds in flight, ensuring that the decisive moment is not missed.

Additional Benefits

  • Specially designed front lens cap with locking mechanism
  • Tripod socket to distribute weight evenly
  • Custom buttons and switches: manual focus lock switch, lens heater retainer, rear filter holders

In the Box

Sigma 15mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens (Sony E)
Case
LC1040-01 Front Lens Cap
Sigma LCR II Rear Lens Cap for Sony E
Sigma TS-141 Tripod Socket
PT-51 Protective Cover
Sigma GP-21 Guide Plate
Limited 4-Year Manufacturer Warranty

Sigma FE 15mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Fisheye

 

Adobe Camera Raw Enhance Details no longer working with Sony A7R V — OOPS it’s the file format

Something has broken Adobe Camera Raw Enhance Details + AI Denoise such that Sony A7R V files cannot be operated on.

Sony A7R V firmware: 2.01
Camera RAW: 16.1.1.1733
Photoshop CC 2024: 25.4.0

Recent changes include a Photoshop update, and a firmware update 2.01 to my Sony A7R V.

I am not aware of any file format change, and I don’t see any changed version numbers in the RAW file EXIF info. I’ve quit and restarted Photoshop.

Files I shot earlier this month work fine.

UPDATE: somehow the camera got set to Lossless Comp (M), which downsamples 60MP RAW to APS-C pixel count of 26MP, and is no longer a real RAW file. Me bad. That’s right, those stupid "RAW" files of size M and S and not real RAW.

Adobe caught this, thanks Adobe!

The image resolution from the EXIF suggests this is a reduced resolution raw file (i.e., not the full 60 MP). Do you recall configuring the camera configured this way?

Reduced-res raw files have already been demosaiced (by the camera) and are effectively linear RGB raw files. Denoise currently only works on mosaic (Bayer or X-Trans) raw files, hence the error message.

Adobe Camera Raw Enhance Details no longer working with Sony A7R V

 

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Mash the Colors with ETTR or Stay True with ESTR? RawDigger Isn’t Making It Obvious

ETTR = Expose To The Right: increasing exposure for RAW capture so as to minimize sensor noise, maximize dynamic range. The term refers to a histogram pushed right.
ESTR = Expose Somewhat To Right: increase exposure but don’t get greedy!

UPDATE: after finding this on Nikon at full-res, I went to reproduce it on the Sony A7R V. But I made a mistake in using Lossless Compressed (M) which is not real RAW and which downsamples to 26MP. I now have to see if I find the same thing with full-res 60MP RAW. Doh!

...

Below, image _DGL1074 is blown; some of the colors have been mashed into dull and lifeless yuck. I’m not showing the image itself here but will be in an example soon (you need to see the whole range of exposures, in crops).

All of my experience tells me that this is an ideal ETTR exposure. It ain’t. But how could you know?

  • RawDigger shows a poster-child-perfect histogram.
  • RawDigger info window shows 0.0% overexposure.
  • There are no red warning highlights on the image.

And yet it is grossly inferior to the same image with 1/3 less stop exposure. I’m not sure why, but there are reasons.

At this point, I don’t know how to tell an ideal exposure from a bad one in RawDigger. Not from the histogram, and not from the Info window.

I’ll be showing the effects in a piece on the Sony A7R V soon.

On the positive side, I was able to dial in 5/3 (1 2/3) stops more exposure than metered (+0). That's like shooting at ISO 100 vs ISO 320. That’s well worth it, given the very high level of noise in blue skies I’ve seen at +0. The trick is figuring out just how much, but the monkey wrench is in not being able to tell from teh RawDigger histogram and info.

I’m corresponding with the LibRaw folks—there is at least one thing they can do to help, and that’s adding a cutoff line showing the value at which the baseline exposure boost occurs. But baseline exposure boost alone won’t account for what I’m observing. In particular, I am seeing values up to about 25000 in the red channel, and that’s a full stop past where the colors are maintained properly. Somewhere around 12000-14000, things get wonky on the Sony A7R V.

The Sony A7R V has 15-bit files. Maximum recordable value varies by color channel, but is roughly 25000 (red), 18500 (green), 25400 (blue). However, values beyond 13000 or so produce mashed lifeless colors. Something else is involve besides just maximum recordable value, including baseline exposure boost and perhaps sensor non-linearity.

Ideal ETTR exposure or blown image
Sony A7R V with 15-bit files
Ideal ETTR exposure or blown image
Sony A7R V with 15-bit files

 


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Venus Optics Laowa 10mm f/2.8 for Sony FE and Nikon Z, Canon RF, L-Mount

When I tested the Venus Optics Laowa 12mm f/2.8, I was impressed with the low optical distortion. Not so much the sharpness in outer zones.

A 10mm focal length is seriously wide with a 130° field of view—I enjoy 12mm with the Sony FE 12-24mmf/2.8 GM (122°) but 10mm really stretches it significantly.

I’ll test the 10mm f/2.8 and see if it can yield good sharpness over the frame. Laowa has been careful to show only low-res sample images and no distortion chart (why?). MTF chart for the 10/2.8 looks promising, better than the 12mm f/2.8, but I dont’t trust such charts vs real lenses.

Just announced today and shipping soon.

Venus Optics Laowa 10mm f/2.8

About $799 Venus Optics Laowa 10mm f/2.8

CLICK TO VIEW: Ultrawides

Specifications

Venus Optics Laowa 10mm f/28 at VenusLens.net

  • Full-Frame
  • f/2.8 to f/22
  • Lightweight Wide-Angle Prime
  • Manual Focus Design
  • Three Extra-Low Dispersion Elements
  • Two Aspherical Elements
  • 77mm Filter Thread
  • Available with either 5-blade or 14-blade aperture

Description

Distinguished by its rectilinear manual focus design, the Laowa 10mm f/2.8 Zero-D FF Manual Focus Lens from Venus Optics pairs an impressively wide perspective with a bright aperture, making it apt for capturing landscapes, architecture, and nature.

Is 130° angle of view allows you unique perspectives and enables you to fit everything you need in your frame. Low image distortion is made possible by Laowa's signature Zero-D feature which helps ensure straighter lines, even in the corners of your images. With its 5-bladed aperture, this lens produces a unique 10-point sunstar effect, enhancing the aesthetic appeal of your images.

Zero-D Optical Correction

Laowa's Zero-D feature allows you to capture scenes without dramatic distortion and curvature. Not only does this save you time in post-production, but it gives you a preview of your images without distortion in real time.

Lens Construction

Weighing less than 1 lb, this lens won't slow you down while shooting and is perfect for traveling with. Two aspherical elements and three extra-low dispersion elements contribute to sharpening image quality and ensuring reduced optical aberrations. The manual focus design permits working with subjects as close as 4.7" away.

Built-In Filter Thread

Unlike many ultra-wide-angle lenses, the Laowa 10mm f/2.8 features a built-in 77mm filter thread for attaching various lens filters.

Venus Optics Laowa 10mm f/2.8

 


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Fujifilm X100VI — 40 megapixels in Compact Form Factor

Does the 23.5 X 15.7mm 40-megapixel sensor suggest that a 93 megapixel full frame sensor is now feasible? That would be what you’d have at the same pixel pitch.

Just announced today and shipping soon.

Fujifilm X100VI

About $1599 Fujifilm X100VI in black or silver

40 megapixels, 6K video, built-in flash, IBIs, etc make this a standout carry.

  • 40.2MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS 5 HR Sensor
  • X-Processor 5 Image Processor
  • Fujinon 23mm f/2 Lens
  • 35mm Full-Frame Equivalent
  • 6-Stop In-Body Image Stabilization
  • 425-Point Intelligent Hybrid AF System
  • Hybrid 0.66x OVF with 3.69m-Dot OLED EVF
  • 3.0" 1.62m-Dot Tilting Touchscreen
  • Built-in flash
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Connectivity
  • 20 Film Simulation Modes with REALA ACE
  • 1.1 pounds

I think it looks better in silver than black, but you decide.

Fujifilm X100VI

 


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How do you get an ideal exposure for RAW capture? ETTR ==> ESTR

re: post processing and Adobe Camera Raw
re: ETTR

Perfect ETTR histogram? maybe not

ETTR = Expose To The Right: increasing exposure for RAW capture so as to minimize sensor noise, maximize dynamic range. The term refers to a histogram pushed right.

ESTR = Expose Somewhat To Right: increase exposure but don’t get greedy!

How do you get an ideal exposure for RAW capture?

I’m not entirely sure. Please see these previous posts.

Color Shift when Using Optimal ETTR (Birch Trees in Winter)

ETTR Too Much of a Good Thing? HARD to Get it Right

“Baseline Exposure” Boost in RAW Converters can Whack Color

Just add more exposure? yes, but carefully

UPDATE: I was fooled by Sony’s Lossless Comp (M) format, having inadvertantly set the camera to that (not sure how). Its behavior is radically better with full-res RAW files. Behavior with full-res Lossles Comp (or Uncompressed) is radically better. Thus what follows still applies to some cameras and some formats, but does NOT apply to the Sony A7R V full-res RAW/ARW.

....

Today’s digital cameras regularly deliver very poor metering, often metering up to two stops below what appears to be ideal, with a full stop lost on a regular basis

It’s the same ’ol film-era “middle gray” idea which works very poorly for some subjects. Think metering a black cat vs white cat—it’s not going to end well, with two gray cats.

For example, Birch Trees in Winter meters around 1.5 stops less than it ought, leaving maximum values for pure white areas around 4000—grayish not white—when they should be in the 12000 range or at least 8000. Something like ISO 160 instead of ISO 64. Robbing you of full quality. And yet, there are risks to adding too much exposure; see the posts linked above.

Capture methodology

In a nutshell: ETTR (Expose To The Right) ===> ESTR (Expose Somewhat To Right).

My working assumptions are as follows:

  • Base ISO (64/80/100) on today’s cameras is outstanding.
  • I am unwilling to embark upon a new workflow involving linear raw processing.
  • Pushing aggressively for the very best exposure is not an acceptable trade vs the risk of whacking colors.
  • The camera histogram tool sucks, but it’s useful enough to rely upon.

Backing off to “somewhat”, give up 1/2 to 2/3 stop vs what I otherwise thing may be ideaL:

  • Expose to avoiding significant “blinkies” in most situations, as this tends to be conservative on most cameras.
  • Get the camera histogram to the right, but not aggressively.
  • Bracket exposure if the time and image justify it.

Example

See my note.

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ETTR Too Much of a Good Thing? HARD to Get it Right

re: post processing and Adobe Camera Raw
re: ETTR

Perfect ETTR histogram? maybe not

ETTR = Expose To The Right: increasing exposure for RAW capture so as to minimize sensor noise, maximize dynamic range. The term refers to a histogram pushed right.

How do you get an ideal exposure for RAW capture? It’s really hard. I’ve used ETTR and written about it for 13 years or so, and now I find that at least with some cameras, unexpected behaviors upend my assumptions, forcing me to reassess my capture approach.

I’m not the only one; I talked to Rich Seilig today (a professional printer and also a practitioner of ETTR), and what follows was news to him too. Few of us really had it right I would bet.

Accordingly I am taking a fresh look at my capture methodology, revising ETTR to ESTR (Expose Somewhat To Right). Why? See Nikon Z8: Color Shift when Using Optimal ETTR (Birch Trees in Winter). Same or worse on Sony A7R V!

What looks like an optimal ETTR exposure in RawDigger may in fact already be damaging the image.

Example below. The 2nd from right is already shifting color and the rightmost is shifted in a major way, even though the blues are well below maximum raw value—not blown seemingly, but a major color shift. Similar shifts are seen with Sony and also in reds and yellows—stomped/flattened.

Continues below.

Five exposures in RAW/NEF, pulled to match final brightness
f5.6 @ 1/4 sec, ISO 64; 2024-02-17 12:11:26
Nikon Z8 + Nikon NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S Macro

[low-res image for bot]

What is causing the shift?

At least two considerations are involved:

  • The baseline exposure boost that Adobe Camera Raw (and other converters) can silently apply push highlight areas beyond their limit, shifting color and damaging detail. This “midpoint boost” just doesn’t work out well for bright areas.
  • Sensors themselves may capture up to some maximum value X (which can differ for R/G/B channels), but those limits may have long since gone non-linear. For example, the Sony A7R V sees values as high as ~25000, but color shifts are already happening at values around ~14000!

Yesterday, I spent hours testing the Sony A7R V. Its ETTR behavior is at least as problematic as the Nikon Z8. I could easily generate flattened reds and yellows at exposures that, like the Nikon Z8, look absolutely ideal in RawDigger.

Capture challenges

It is difficult to expose properly for ETTR because the camera provides no reliable tools to do so. The camera RGB histogram itself is seriously compromised vs what’s in the RAW file—it is based on a JPEG with all parameters including WB and color space baked-in. The Zebra indicators may be your best bet, together with ISO 50 RGB histogram.

Raw conversion challenges

To fully exploit the sensor range, you must engage in a more complicated workflow which involves linear processing of RAW files. This throws your past experience into disarray since everything changes. I am not going to get into that here, or do it myself—too much hassle, too many cameras.

Expert take

Alex Tutubalin of LibRaw eg RawDigger writes

I hit Alex up with a bunch of questions. Some are answered here. See also his comments in the prior post.

I'm not able to answer all in full detail. Also, I'll reply in a single message to avoid discussion split over multiple partial threads. It is very likely I've missed something to reply because of lot of messages come this night.

1st: Camera Vendors are not limited by any standard on RAW exposure. ISO 12232 standard explicitly forbids ISO measurements for RAW, only rendered (JPEG) images are subject of ISO measurements/standards.

So, Camera Vendors may do anything in RAW and correct for ISO standard on JPEG generation.
RAW Processing SW authors try to achieve same overall look as camera JPEG (to avoid support overload).

Things become even worse with today cameras 'Dynamic range extension' modes. In fact, these modes are simply underexposure by 1...2-stops and correcting this on postprocessing.

2nd: Linear (dull, non-contrast) RAW image needs to (at least) S-shaped-curve contrast increase to get 'good looking, happy, vivid image'.

Such correction is usually performed by S-shaped tone curve, complex 3-D-LUT color profiles, etc, etc.
This does not work well if source RAW is 'overexposed' in terms of standard postprocessing (midpoint lift-up, etc).

So, yes, if one want to use ETTR (with higher exposure and so better S/N ratio) the first thing he need to implement is LINEAR PROCESSING with accurate rendering of full camera range (see article I've send you in one of previous reply).

Also, one need to study how exposure metering/ISO combo works in his specific camera (for example, LOW ISO in many cameras are usually lowest 'NORMAL' ISO sensor settings plus fooled exposure meter to provide +1 or so exposure correction. Same things may happen with HIGH iso, intermediate ISO values, etc, so one need to study equipment used).

Here are starting points for that:
https://www.rawdigger.com/howtouse/calibrate-exposure-meter-to-improve-dynamic-range
https://www.rawdigger.com/howtouse/lightmeter-calibration

Alternatively, one may trust Camera Vendor and Adobe and do not use ETTR (in today low-noise cameras at low ISO the ETTR quality gain is not that big as 20 years ago).

If unknown non-linear transformations hiddenly applied by a RAW converter are in use: ETTR will produce unpredictable results (like tone shifts in highlights: 3D-lut non-linear color profile/conversion used is not suited well for lifted midtones).

Of course, after linear (dull, not-contast) processing one will need to increase contrast/saturation of resulting image. This is extra work compared to applying predefined 'happy-vidid colors' profile built-in RAW converter.

Short one-line reply to your specific proposals

1) Yes, display of OE/UE limits on a histogram looks like a good idea, probably we'll implement it in some future RawDigger upgrade.

Baseline exposure display looks not applicable here.

With default settings, RawDigger uses metadata-provided 'Linearity limit' for Overexposure limit. This may bee too strict in many cases (e.g. some Canon cameras sets it to about ~10000 while data limit is ~14-16000, so half to 2/3 stop lower then data maximum). That's why we always suggest to study your camera based on your specific limits/processing specifcs/etc and use own (manual) Overexposure limits....

2) When determining BaselineExposure applied by Adobe: please use DNG converted from your RAW using (latest) Adobe converter. Fujifilm own files does not contain BaselineExposure tag, but uses own RawExposureBias/DynamicRange tags.

How do you get an ideal exposure for RAW capture?

How can I consistently obtain a max-quality exposure using the lousy tools the camera offers?

The big problem I see is the camera consistently metering badly; it’s the same ’ol film-era “middle gray” idea which works very poorly for some subjects. A conflation of amount of exposure vs subject brightness (think metering a black cat vs white cat, same exposure for film, but radically off for digital).

More recently, Birch Trees in Winter meters around 1.5 stops less than it ought, leaving maximum values for pure white areas around 4000—way too dark—when they should be in the 12000 range or at least 8000. Something like ISO 160 instead of ISO 64. Robbing you of full quality.

You have two choices, the The simplest approach is to back off exposure a little, giving up a little on the ETTR front.

  1. Expose less optimally for RAW, losing a little dynamic range. And having to know for each camera what its baseline exposure value is.
  2. Engage in a convoluted process to defeat the RAW converter shenanigans.
  3. Shoot at "LO" ISO? Since the baseline exposure value is negative, maybe this will avoid the highlight clipping? Update: no, it won't.

The “fix” seems to be relearning just what to do to get the desired look. Yuck. I just want my raw converter to do something smarter, not this JPEG-oriented dreck.

I am not going to do that for multiple reasons. First I publish for others, and that would make my work deviate from what most people do. Second, I shoot many cameras, and it becomes an overhead and a burden. Third, full maxed-out ETTR benefits are marginal vs a “mostly there” approach.

OWC ROVER PRO wheels for Mac Pro

No tools or hassle… just place your Mac Pro’s factory feet into the Rover Pro’s polished stainless-steel housings and secure with a few hand twists.

When you’re done moving your Mac Pro around, the Rover Pro makes it just as quick and easy to convert back to the factory feet for stationary use.

“Baseline Exposure” Boost in RAW Converters can Whack Color

re: baseline exposure

Perfect histogram  — but overexposed!

Baseline exposure value = how much to adjust brightness of a RAW file in order to generate an image the same brightness as a JPEG that camera would have produced.

Is baseline exposure boost yet another example of making things worse and adding complexity in order to mimic a JPEG?

Adobe Camera Raw and other raw converters silently apply this boost when raw converting. This can affect color and highlight detail.

Below, the color shifts subtly at 2nd-to-right, and then in a big way at right. Which means my perfect ETTR exposure is not perfect, but blown. Which cannot be told from the histogram.

This might not be the only issue: sensor non-linearity as the capture gets brighter can also shift color.

With Sony A7R V, I am seeing capture values up to 25000 in the 15-bit files. And yet capture values in the 14000+ range are causing color shifts.

It turns out that ETTR exposure is far more complicated than I had belleved.

ETTR: Too Much of a Good Thing? HARD to Get it Right

Baseline exposure values for Sony, Nikon, Fujifilm

Here is what I obtained for baseline exposure, converted various NEF/RAF/ARW/etc files to DNG first, as explained below by Alex Tutubalin further below.

(!) These figures can change when certain camera settings are in force eg Dynamic Range expansion. If you are shooting RAW, turn off most/all such features to avoid inconsistent expectations, or check all combinations.

exiftool -make -model -iso -baselineexposure -r -ext dng *.dng

Camera                ISO    Baseline Exposure
Fujifilm GFX100 II     80     -0.01
Fujifilm GFX100S      100     -0.01
NIKON Z8 Lo1 32 -0.8 NIKON Z8 Lo0.7 40 -0.46 NIKON Z8 Lo0.3 50 -0.13 NIKON Z8 64+ 0.2 NIKON Zf 100+ 0.2
Sony A7R V 50 -0.65 Sony A7R V 64 -0.65 Sony A7R V 80 -0.65 Sony A7R V 100+ 0.35

Can using a sub-ISO value like pseudo-ISO 50 on Sony A7R V avoid the issue, since the baseline exposure is negative? Nope— I tried it—it makes no difference, so I don’t know what Adobe Camera Raw is doing with it. Or maybe something else is going on such as sensor nonlinearity—I don’t know.

Continues below...

Five exposures in RAW/NEF, pulled to match final brightness
f5.6 @ 1/4 sec, ISO 64; 2024-02-17 12:11:26
Nikon Z8 + Nikon NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S Macro

[low-res image for bot]

Alex Tutubalin of LibRAW writes:

1) Adobe tools (silently) applies exposure correction to RAWs: https://photographylife.com/adobes-silent-exposure-compensation

The idea behind it is simple:

- RAW middle point is not specified by any standard (the ISO-standard on ISO-sensitivity for digital cameras: operates with out-of-camera JPEGs only and explicitly denies RAW ISO-sensitivity determination).
- So camera vendors may 'underexposure' for RAW and correct this via in-camera processing (lifting midpoint).
- So, to match Adobe tools' rendering with in-camera JPEG, RAW processing should do the same: lift the midpoint.

This is called 'baseline exposure' in DNG specs; In most cases this is positive correction.

So, ETTR-exposed RAW image will be silently 'exposure corrected' (also: non-linear curves applied; see below) in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom.

Here are several our articles/howtos on this topic:

a) How to derive hidden exposure applied by converter:
https://www.rawdigger.com/howtouse/deriving-hidden-ble-compensation

a-2) FastRawViewer also displays 'Baseline exposure' in EXIF panel if enabled via EXIF display preferences.

b) How to force no adjusted processing:
https://www.rawdigger.com/howtouse/overriding-raw-converter-default-adjustments-settings

c) How to force FastRawViewer to not apply Adobe's correction (applied by default to match Adobe tools): https://www.fastrawviewer.com/blog/fastrawviewer1-7-new-view-mode

2) Also, we've implemented 'Forced Adobe noncorrected mode' in FastRawViewer, see corresponding section in the manual:
https://updates.fastrawviewer.com/data/FastRawViewer2-Manual-ENG.pdf#page=125

Finally: although ETTR looks a way to deliver better signal/noise, the entire workflow is very hard due to decisions made by Camera Vendors (let's underexpose and correct in JPEG) and Software vendors (our 'default' rendered image should match OOC-JPEG)

DIGLLOYD: once again the anachronistic film-era demon strikes: degrading the potential of RAW files and their processing so that the casual user can have JPEGs. Gah!

OWC ROVER PRO wheels for Mac Pro

No tools or hassle… just place your Mac Pro’s factory feet into the Rover Pro’s polished stainless-steel housings and secure with a few hand twists.

When you’re done moving your Mac Pro around, the Rover Pro makes it just as quick and easy to convert back to the factory feet for stationary use.

Nikon Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8 S VR Macro Aperture Series: Birch Trees in Winter (Z8)

re: pixel shift
re: Nikon Z 105/2.8S

This aperture series from f/3 to f/8 was shot using Nikon Z8 4-shot pixel shift*. It shows precisely what the Nikon NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S can deliver when shot optimally on a planar target at close range.

In diglloyd Mirrorless:

Nikon Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8 S VR Macro Aperture Series: Birch Trees in Winter

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/3 to f/8, plus crops.

f4 @ 0.4 sec pixel shift 4, ISO 64; 2024-02-17 15:28:23
Nikon Z8 + Nikon NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S Macro
RAW: Camera Standard, vignetting corrected, WB 6100°K tint 25, pull 0.33 stops, +10 Whites, +10 Clarity

[low-res image for bot]

Connect and charge all of your devices through a single Thunderbolt or USB-C port.

Nikon Z8: Color Shift when Using Optimal ETTR (Birch Trees in Winter)

re: post processing and Adobe Camera Raw

UPDATE Feb 19: I’ve added an explanation further below.

UPDATE 2, Feb 19: Sony A7R V has even more problematic behavior. It is devilishly difficult to expose properly (ETTR) as I”m finding—as you get close to the max, the baseline exposure value thing is blowing out colors. This is very easy to see when comparing to less bright exposures. And yet you’d think you were still almost a stop under optimal. This throws a serious monkey wrench into doing ETTR correctly! It means that while the RAW may be perfect, Adobe Camera Raw will deliver an image with mashed flattened colors. It is obvious with the right image content.

...

An optimal ETTR exposure minimizes noise and maximizes dynamic range. Since most cameras routinely cheat the sensor of at least a stop of headroom, it makes sense to pay close attention to achieving the optimal exposure.

But a mystery (to me at least) has popped-up: a color shift at the optimal ETTR exposure, even when the highlights are proven intact with no blowout.

This behavior makes me question my ETTR approach, at least with the Nikon Z8. In particular, it appears that actual sensor/camera behavior when approaching full-well capture values might be problematic, in spite of what the RawDigger histogram otherwise suggests.

Nikon Z8: Color Shift when Using Optimal ETTR (Birch Trees in Winter)

Includes images and RawDigger histograms, discussion and analysis.

Five exposures in RAW/NEF, pulled to match final brightness
f5.6 @ 1/4 sec, ISO 64; 2024-02-17 12:11:26
Nikon Z8 + Nikon NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S Macro

[low-res image for bot]

Explanation —  Baseline ExposureValue

There is an explanation (see below). It’s not to my liking, being a huge PITA to deal with across different cameras, and not dealing with it still means dealing with it by avoiding too much exposure, which is now even more complicated.

It’s called baseline exposure value. Crudely speaking, it means how much to adjust brightness to generate an image with the same brightness as a JPEG that camera might have emitted.

The film-era mind virus strikes: degrading the potential of RAW files and their processing based on trying to mimic a JPEG. Gah!

Thing is, that baseline exposure boost can blow highlights if you have an ideal ETTR exposure in RAW. You have two choices, the The simplest approch is to back off exposure a little, giving up a little on the ETTR front.

  1. Expose less optimally for RAW, losing a little dynamic range. And having to know for each camera what its baseline exposure value is.
  2. Engage in a convoluted process to defeat the RAW converter shenanigans.
  3. Shoot at "LO" ISO? Since the baseline exposure value is negative, maybe this will avoid the highlight clipping?

The “fix” seems to be relearning just what to do to get the desired look. Yuck. I just want my raw converter to do something smarter, not this JPEG-oriented shit.

Baseline exposure values

Here is what I see for baseline exposure, as explained below by Alex Tutubalin.

exiftool -make -model -iso -baselineexposure -r -ext dng *.dng

Camera                ISO    Baseline Exposure
Fujifilm GFX100 II     80     -0.01
Fujifilm GFX100S      100     -0.01
NIKON Z8 Lo1 32 -0.8 NIKON Z8 Lo0.7 40 -0.46 NIKON Z8 Lo0.3 50 -0.13 NIKON Z8 64+ 0.2 NIKON Zf 100+ 0.2
Sony A7R V 50 -0.65 Sony A7R V 64 -0.65 Sony A7R V 80 -0.65 Sony A7R V 100+ 0.35

Can using a sub-ISO value like pseudo-ISO 50 on Sony A7R V avoid the issue, since the baseline exposure is negative? I tried it—it makes no difference, so perhaps something else is going on involving sensor linearity.

Alex Tutubalin of LibRAW writes:

1) Adobe tools (silently) applies exposure correction to RAWs: https://photographylife.com/adobes-silent-exposure-compensation

The idea behind it is simple:

- RAW middle point is not specified by any standard (the ISO-standard on ISO-sensitivity for digital cameras: operates with out-of-camera JPEGs only and explicitly denies RAW ISO-sensitivity determination).
- So camera vendors may 'underexposure' for RAW and correct this via in-camera processing (lifting midpoint).
- So, to match Adobe tools' rendering with in-camera JPEG, RAW processing should do the same: lift the midpoint.

This is called 'baseline exposure' in DNG specs; In most cases this is positive correction.

So, ETTR-exposed RAW image will be silently 'exposure corrected' (also: non-linear curves applied; see below) in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom.

Here are several our articles/howtos on this topic:

a) How to derive hidden exposure applied by converter:
https://www.rawdigger.com/howtouse/deriving-hidden-ble-compensation

a-2) FastRawViewer also displays 'Baseline exposure' in EXIF panel if enabled via EXIF display preferences.

b) How to force no adjusted processing:
https://www.rawdigger.com/howtouse/overriding-raw-converter-default-adjustments-settings

c) How to force FastRawViewer to not apply Adobe's correction (applied by default to match Adobe tools): https://www.fastrawviewer.com/blog/fastrawviewer1-7-new-view-mode

2) Also, we've implemented 'Forced Adobe noncorrected mode' in FastRawViewer, see corresponding section in the manual:
https://updates.fastrawviewer.com/data/FastRawViewer2-Manual-ENG.pdf#page=125

Finally: although ETTR looks a way to deliver better signal/noise, the entire workflow is very hard due to decisions made by Camera Vendors (let's underexpose and correct in JPEG) and Software vendors (our 'default' rendered image should match OOC-JPEG)

DIGLLOYD: once again the anachronistic film-era demon strikes: degrading the potential of RAW files and their processing so that the casual user can have JPEGs. Gah!

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Nikon Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8 S VR Macro Aperture Series: Focus Breathing

re: focus breathing

Many lenses have focus breathing, a change in focal length as the focus distance changes. This is a bad thing for video usage, far from ideal for focus stacking, and is the way to "cheat" on macro photography for a faster aperture—a 100mm might be a 60mm by the time it is at 1:1 magnification.

Nikon Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8 S VR Macro Aperture Series: Focus Breathing

Includes a 9-frame series showing the changing in field of view.

f8 @ 3.0 sec, ISO 64; 2024-02-16 17:48:46
Nikon Z8 + Nikon NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S Macro RAW: Enhance Details, AI Denoise 10

[low-res image for bot]

Connect and charge all of your devices through a single Thunderbolt or USB-C port.

Nikon Z8: Camera Profile Renditions in Adobe Camera Raw

re: post processing and Adobe Camera Raw

Over the years, I keep getting comments along the lines of “the color of Camera X is Better than Camera Y”.

Since most of today’s cameras use nearly identical sensor technology, that makes little sense: even camera electronics are not altering color (for RAW) but just translating analog signals into digital bits, doing it a little clear/better or not.

But all (or nearly all) of the look-and-feel happens during raw conversion.

Nikon Z8: Camera Profile Renditions in Adobe Camera Raw

Some, as seen below, are a little 'hot'.

See also: Fujifilm GFX100S: Camera Profiles in Adobe Camera Raw. Related screencasts:
diglloyd Making Sharp Images: Adobe Camera Raw: Changing Image Look & Feel Using Camera Profile
diglloyd Patreon.com: Adobe Camera Raw: Changing Image Look & Feel Using Camera Profile

f4 @ 1/6 sec, ISO 64; 2024-02-16 17:34:42
Nikon Z8 + Nikon NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S Macro
RAW: Camera Pop, Enhance Details, WB 5600°K tint 14, push 0.33 stops, +30 Shadows, +10 Whites, +10 Clarity, AI Denoise 10

[low-res image for bot]

Connect and charge all of your devices through a single Thunderbolt or USB-C port.

Nikon NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S: Bokeh Example with Crops

re: Nikon Z 105/2.8S

Nikon calls out the bokeh aspect of the Nikon NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S as a key feature:

...virtually eliminates chromatic aberrations for clearer, sharper images with no color fringing
...Wide open at f/2.8, it creates a beautifully artistic background blur, or bokeh effect—gentle, soft and round without discernible edges and no “onion rings” or spirals.

Beautiful, beautiful bokeh

The NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S isn’t only about the technical; it’s focused on aesthetics and style, too. Wide open at f/2.8, it creates a beautifully artistic background blur, or bokeh effect—gentle, soft and round without discernible edges and no “onion rings” or spirals.

How does it look?

Nikon NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S: Bokeh

Image up to full camera resolution, plus crops and commentary.

f4 @ 1/6 sec, ISO 64; 2024-02-16 17:34:42
Nikon Z8 + Nikon NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S Macro
RAW: Enhance Details, WB 5600°K tint 14, push 0.33 stops, +10 Whites, +10 Clarity, AI Denoise 10

[low-res image for bot]

Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8 S VR Macro: Distortion and Distortion Correction

re: pixel shift
re: Nikon Z 105/2.8S

A traditional macro lens should have near-nil distortion, for example the Zeiss Milvus 100mm f2 Makro-Planar whose distortion is essentially zero at 0.15% or so.

The Nikon 105/2.8 macro is a mongrel design vs traditional macro lenses.

This page looks at distortion and distortion correction for the Nikon NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S. In diglloyd Mirrorless:

Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8 S VR Macro: Distortion and Distortion Correction

Includes crops showing corrected vs uncorrected sharpness.

Adobe Camera Raw: distortion correction

Connect and charge all of your devices through a single Thunderbolt or USB-C port.

Nikon Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8 S VR Macro Aperture Series: Old Map (Z8)

re: pixel shift
re: Nikon Z 105/2.8S

This aperture series from f/3 to f/11 was shot using Nikon Z8 4-shot pixel shift. It shows precisely what the Nikon NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S can deliver when shot optimally on a planar target at close range.

Reproduction ratio is about 1:8.5 or roughly 1/8 life size. This falls short of “macro” range. It is in the range of a very tight head shot for portraiture. At this range, maximum aperture is f/3.

In diglloyd Mirrorless:

Nikon Z8 Pixel Shift vs Single Shot, Enhanced (Old Map)

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/3 to f/11, plus crops.

f5.6 @ 0.5 sec pixel shift 4, ISO 64; 2024-02-14 20:05:22
Nikon Z8 + Nikon NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S Macro
RAW: Camera ST, LACA corrected, vignetting corrected, WB 4800°K tint 12, pull 1 stops, +20 Whites, +10 Dehaze, +10 Clarity

[low-res image for bot]

Connect and charge all of your devices through a single Thunderbolt or USB-C port.

Nikon Z8 Pixel Shift vs Single Shot, Enhanced at 45/91/181 Megapixels (Old Map)

re: pixel shift
re: Nikon Z 105/2.8S

re: Nikon Z8 Delivers Best Pixel Shift Out There... and botches the win by not doing the obvious

This definitive study compares a single shot processed without and with Enhance Details + AI Denoise against 4-shot pixel shift (45MP) and 16-shot pixel shift (181MP).

In diglloyd Mirrorless:

Nikon Z8 Pixel Shift vs Single Shot, Enhanced (Old Map)

Full-resolution images are provided at 45 and 91 and 181 megapixels, along with crops. Sharpening and resampling approaches are noted.

f5.6 @ 0.5 sec pixel shift 4, ISO 64; 2024-02-14 20:05:22
Nikon Z8 + Nikon NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S Macro
RAW: Camera ST, LACA corrected, vignetting corrected, WB 4800°K tint 12, pull 0.8 stops, +20 Whites, +10 Dehaze, +10 Clarity

[low-res image for bot]

Connect and charge all of your devices through a single Thunderbolt or USB-C port.

LibRAW updates FastRawViewer and RawDigger for Nikon Z8, Nikon Df NEFX Files

re: pixel shift

re: Nikon Z8 Delivers Best Pixel Shift Out There... and botches the win by not doing the obvious

FastRawViewer and RawDigger are outstanding tools by highly skilled devlelopers who write oustanding code.

TIP: for evaluating exposure technique, use RawDigger on the NEF files for pixel shift, not on the NEFX. Ditto for Sony, Fujifilm. Reason being that some things change in the processed files.

Hopefully, PixelShift2DNG is coming soon.

With Nikon NEXF

RawDigger 1.4.8 Beta

https://www.rawdigger.com/news/rawdigger-1-4-8-beta

Camera/RAW format support

  • Nikon NEFX (Zf/Z8 Pixel-Shift shot merged via NX Studio)

Camera support

  • Canon EOS R100
  • DJI Air 3
  • Fujifilm GFX100-II
  • GoPro HERO12
  • Hasselblad CFV-100c, CFV-50c
  • Nikon Z f (standard/lossless compression only)
  • Olympus TG-7, OM-1 Mark II
  • Panasonic DC-ZS200D / ZS220D, DC-TZ200D / TZ202D / TZ220D, DC-G9 Mark II
  • Pentax K III Monochrome
  • Sony A7C-II, A7CR, ILX-LR1, A9-III

Fixes/changes

  • DNG 1.7 support, incl JpegXL compression (not available in Windows/32bit and Mac/Legacy versions)
  • Better handling of DNG RAW previews with Stage2 opcodes
  • Better handling of PhaseOne compressed files
  • Exiftool updated to version 12.68

FastRawViewer 2.0.8 Beta

https://www.fastrawviewer.com/blog/FastRawViewer-2-0-8-Beta

Camera/RAW format support

  • Nikon NEFX (Zf/Z8 Pixel-Shift sequences merged via NX Studio)

Camera support

  • Canon EOS R100, EOS R5C
  • DJI Air 3
  • Fujifilm GFX100-II
  • GoPro HERO12
  • Hasselblad CFV-100c, CFV-50c
  • Nikon Z f (standard/lossless compression only)
  • Olympus TG-7, OM-1 Mark II (tested with standard resolution files only)
  • Panasonic DC-ZS200D / ZS220D, DC-TZ200D / TZ202D / TZ220D, G9 Mark II
  • Pentax K III Monochrome
  • Sony ILCE-6700, A7C-II, A7CR, ILX-LR1, preliminary support for A9-III
  • Better handling of PhaseOne files

Minor changes and bugfixes

  • DNG 1.7 support, incl JpegXL compression
  • (Faster) RawSpeed3 decoder
  • Implemented PhaseOne flat field correction control (on/off) via UseP1Correction hidden setting
  • Fixed PhaseOne flat field correction problem
  • The number of rating stars shown is limited to five
  • It is possible to close/accept Title/Description edit dialog via Ctrl-Enter (Cmd-Enter on Mac)
  • New GPS display formats: dd mm.mmmm and dd.dddddd
  • DNG Display: ignore vendor-provided linear limit for DNG files w/ Stage3 opcodes.
  • Images sorting by Vendor/Model.

Connect and charge all of your devices through a single Thunderbolt or USB-C port.

Please fix this Nikon/Sony/Fujifilm: Pixel Shift Assembly Should Generate Finished Images, not Make-Work for Us

re: pixel shift
re: please fix this Nikon
re: please fix this Sony
re: please fix this Fujifilm
re: please fix this camera

re: Nikon Z8 Delivers Best Pixel Shift Out There... and botches the win by not doing the obvious

Nikon Z8

This commentary applies to Sony and Fujifilm and Nikon pixel shift.

Why did Nikon do so much right and then botch it?

Reader Michael Erlewine writes:

When I pixel-shifted 32, the Z8 went through the process like pixel-shift, one at a time, but what was produced were NEFs and not the pixel-shift extension. I wonder why that happened.

DIGLLOYD: this is not the first comment I’ve received with this type of confusion about what the camera does for pixel shift. I guess it’s time for a screencast.

Nikon and Sony and Canon all do the bare minimum: capture and save ordinary RAW files in the pixel shift sequence, then save them. That’s it.

Gratuitously forcing users to use computer software to merge captures into a usable pixel shift file is unacceptable.

In the age of computational photography, it’s ridiculous. It is botched design, unjustified by technical reasons. It is trivial by comparison to JPEG or TIF processing (except perhaps for Sony’s motion-correction computer software stuff).

I’m not even asking (yet) for sophisticated multi-shot high-res mode as on Leica SL2 and Panasonic S1R, which generated finished-ready-to-go RAW files from 8 shots and taking motion correction into account very competently—vastly more useful and usable.

Who does it right?

The Leica SL2 and Panasonic S1R offer a multi-shot high-res mode that takes motion into account and produces a finished ready-to-process image It can also be used with focus stacking mode. Pentax K1 provides a finished image also, but not with motion correction. Strictly speaking, the approach is not simple pixel shift, but computational photography applied to 8 captures. Which is why I use the term multi-shot high-res mode to distinguish it. My only beef is perhaps allowing 16 or 32 frames, to further reduce possible artifacting.

Nikon Z8 pixel shift setting

Basic pixel shift competence

Cameras should not create gratuitous work for the photographer.

At a minimum, a pixel shift camera should do all of the following. The firmware code to do so is orders of magnitude simpler JPEG or TIF processing.

  • Shoot as fast as possible, to minimize artifacting eg Sony shoots quite slowly, for unknown reasons.
  • 4/8/16/32 shot options should be available, as per Nikon.
  • Captures MUST be lossless compressed, not space-wasting uncompressed.
  • All output options should be possible! Options to save: (1) all original frames, (2) first frame only, (3) 4-shot/8-shot/16-shot/32-shot combined shot, all sub-variants thereof also eg 8 X 4-shot from 32 shots. The user can record some or all and just throw away what is not wanted.
  • Don’t do Stupid Shit that makes taking images harder eg (1) Sony has no delay option, which forces manually engaging self timer, (2) Nikon won’t allow pixel shift if self timer is engaged.
  • Automatic prompt for pixel mapping for bad pixels if this has not been done in a reasonable time.

Advanced:

  • Deliver multi-shot high-res mode as on Leica SL2 and Panasonic S1R. In my experience, these modes are far more useful than standard pixel shift.
  • Possible “smart mode” that detects motion artifacts and re-takes up to N times in an attempt for the maximum quality result.
  • Auto-detect areas pixel shift frames with motion, and flag in EXIF as possibly troubled.
Nikon Z8/Nikon Df pixel shift options

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Nikon Z8 Delivers Best Pixel Shift Out There... and botches the win by not doing the obvious

re: pixel shift
re: Nikon Z8 and Nikon Df
re: please fix this camera

re: Frame Averaging: How it Should Work on Every Camera

Nikon Z8
Nikon Z8

Resolution matters, but it isn’t everything. While Sony A7R V easily beats the Nikon Z8 on resolution, the implementation is botched*, doubly. When and if Nikon delivers a 60+ MP camera, I’ll be a buyer unless Sony gets their act together.

See “Nikon Z8 Technical Guide (Pixel Shift Edition)”.
https://downloadcenter.nikonimglib.com/en/products/616/Z_8.html

Sony could learn a lot from Nikon*. Sony has the higher-res camera, but Nikon does it way better. Nikon Z8 users should be very pleased and with more than pixel shift—as far as I can tell Nikon is serious about delivering better value for cameras already sold even as Sony lets its users hang out to dry (failing to fix bugs or update firmware in any useful way). Seemingly, Sony’s market leadership has resulted in stagnation and laziness.

It’s not quite what I was thinking in Frame Averaging: How it Should Work on Every Camera, but if you have eight (8) pixel shift frames, eliminating problem ones with motion/lighting artifacts and frame averaging the remaining ones (even if there is some low-level artifacting in any one image) is WAY better than just one 4-shot capture.

Nikon has done a lot right:

  • Extremely fast captures. That’s a BIG deal outdoors whenlight/scene is changing/moving—the faster the better.
  • 4-shot mode is standard pixel shift. Sony has this, Fujifilm GFX 100S has it too. Artifacting issues arise unless there is no subject motion (or camera stability issue) and no lighting changes in the subject. Any changes, and pixel shift artifacts are poor to unusable. Sony’s motion correction software can address this in some cases, but often doesn’t work out.
  • 8-shot mode gives you one frame-averaged result. Or two separate 4-shot results in case one has artifacting issues.
  • 16-shot mode offers 2X linear resolution, or 4 separate 4-shot results in case one has artifacting issues. Should one of the 4-shot frames be a problem, you can also frame average 2 or 3 of 4 frames if desired.
  • 32-shot mode... wow.

* Sony’s implementation forces a huge waste of space via uncompressed RAW, and has only 4-shot and 16-shot options. Chanbces of unusable results outside are so poor that the feature is useless there.

Continues below...

32-shot mode

The Nikon Z8/Nikon Df 32-shot mode shows how well Nikon thought this out. Clearly Nikon is well aware that pixel shift is subject to all sorts of artifacting issues in real photography.

32-shot mode gives numerous possibilities:

  • One 32-shot NEFX consisting of two frame-averaged 16-shot double-res images, for the ultimate in low-noise equivalent of ISO 3.1.
  • Two separate 16-shot double-res NEFX (in case one has artifacts), each equivalent ISO of 6.2.
  • Four separate 8-shot standard-res NEFX, each equivalent to ISO 12.5.
  • Eight 4-shot standard-res NEFX (in case one or more has artifacts). Probblem images can be discarded, and the best of 8 selected.

Botched design at the same time

re: please fix this camera

Why do we have to use software to do all this?

Why can’t the camera directly generate NEFX files, with options for some or all variants and/or one or more originals, like picking the best flavor from a box of chocolates? Why make it so tedious and work intensive? I don’t care if the camera has to take 10 or even 20 seconds to do that! Because it will take far longer on the computer.

Furtermore, why can’t the camera tuto-detect areas of motion given 8 shots to choose from? And then produce a best capture result automagically?


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Photoshop and Lightroom with Nikon NEF Pixel Shift Files (Nikon Z8, Nikon Df): “Could not complete your request because Photoshop does not recognize this type of file.”

re: pixel shift
re: Nikon Z8 and Nikon Df

With Nikon NEXF

NEFX is the output format from Nikon NX Studio for pixel shift files.

I confirm here that reports of Photoshop and Lightroom are unable to open some Nikon Z8 NEFX files, with no obvious rhyme or reason other than full-frame (no sensor crop) files operate correctly.

What follows applies to both Nikon Z8 and Nikon Df NEFX.

It appears to relate to sensor crop mode, eg 1:1 crop fails but full frame works fine. But only with 4-shot mode.

Photoshop 25.4.0 with Adobe Camera Raw 16.1.1.1733

Flaky support. Surely is a bug in ACR.

Nikon NEFX support in Adobe Camera Raw in Photoshop
Crop mode 4-shot 16-shot
Full Frame
APS-C "does not recognize type of file"
16:9 "cannot parse" "cannot parse"
1:1 "does not recognize type of file"
Photoshop 25.4.0 with Adobe Camera Raw 16.1.1.1733

With Adobe Lightroom 25.4.0 with Adobe Camera Raw 16.1.1.1733

Lightroom behaves differently, which make no sense, since Lightroom and Photoshop use the same ACR engine.

In the Import dialog, all files are acceptable to it except the 4-shot NEFX. The other files can be imported and exported, and all behave correctly.

Nikon NEFX support in Adobe Lightroom
Crop mode 4-shot 16-shot
Full Frame
APS-C Import: "Preview unavailable for this file",
"Failed to find a place for the imported file"
16:9
1:1
Adobe Lightroom 25.4.0 with Adobe Camera Raw 16.1.1.1733
Import of NEFX in Lightroom 25.4.0 with Adobe Camera Raw 16.1.1.1733

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First Look, 16-shot Pixel Shift: Nikon Z8 vs Nikon Df vs Sony A7R V

re: pixel shift and multi-shot high-res mode
re: Nikon Z8 and Sony A7R V

Kinda tells the whole story.

In diglloyd Mirrorless:

SHOOTOUT, Pixel Shift: Nikon Z8 vs Sony A7R V (Res Chart, Siemens Star)

Go big or go home.

f4.5 @ 1/15 sec pixel shift, ISO 100; 2024-02-11 18:33:51
Nikon Z8 + Voigtlander Z APO-Lanthar 35mm f/2 Aspherical @ 45mm equiv (35mm)

[low-res image for bot]

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