Landscape Update

My first attempt at a landscape with the G9 and PL 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 here yielded mixed results, all be it in rather tricky lighting.  My major concern was the amount of noise apparent in the shadows even at base iso of 200, my conclusion was that in such circumstances it is critical with the G9s relatively small sensor not to underexpose.

Until now I had set the exposure zebra warnings to kick in at 80%, I always new that was conservative but I am very wary of blowing out highlights especially in the sky.  I have now altered the zebras to kick in at 100% as testing suggests that even at this level there is still a little headroom – in doing this I hope I will be less inclined to underexpose and therefore not need to lift shadows as much in post.

As of yet I have have had little chance to try this change out in anything other than the really harsh light that has been a constant recently.  As today was forecast to be somewhat stormy I thought it would give a good opportunity to see how the G9 can handle interesting contrasty light under a dramatic sky, if the G9 can’t manage a scenario like this it is not going to work out as a viable camera for me.

By way of a test I decided to capture a landscape and process both a conventional as metered exposure image, a 1.67 stop over metered exposure and a 5 shot bracketed exposure to be processed as a high dynamic range image in photoshop.

Here are the results, as always click on the images to see large.

Firstly at the metered exposure.

land single (1 of 2)
At metered exposure

Secondly at 1.67 stops over the metered exposure.

land single + (1 of 1)
At 1.67 stops over metered exposure

And finally a 5 shot bracketed HDR exposure – brackets at 0.67 stops.

land single (2 of 2)
5 shot bracketed (0.67 stops) HDR

Once again the exposure at the metered exposure has, to my eye, quite a lot of noise in the shadow areas and the darker parts of the sky. The good news is that the 1.67 “over” exposed image is much cleaner and in fact very nearly as clean as the 5 shot HDR image – in fact overall there is very little to tell between these two images and I am happy with both.

So I think the conclusion of this test, as expected, is that to minimise noise in the shadows it is critical to push the exposure as far as the highlights will tolerate thus avoiding as far as possible having to lift the shadows in post and that this generally will entail over-exposing against the metered exposure especially where a bright sky forms a significant part of the image.

3 thoughts on “Landscape Update

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  1. I have always used 105%. In RAW, have never had blown highlight when using that. I have not thoroughly tested, but I believe you have more that 1 stop over that available. RawDigger is best tool to check RAW headroom.

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