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I’m really enjoying the electronic viewfinder in my Fuji cameras. Being able to adjust the image to approximate how you see the final version after processing is such a time-saver. My colour processing (albeit the smaller portion of my processing – I do far more monochrome images) has speeded up because I now have to do very little in Lightroom and Photoshop.I still use RAW but once imported into Lightroom I normally apply a camera calibration in the form of Classic Chrome. White and black points are checked and adjusted if necessary and then I export the image out to Photoshop CC for sharpening with NIK Sharpener.

The two images below are the same image but processed to a different final image. Both were taken in the ice-house at Calke Abbey. As its use implies, the structure is below the ground. There was light coming in from the window high in front of me and some soft light to my rear from the open door.

I always use manual mode and auto ISO on my cameras and so taking a picture with matrix metering will mean the camera will use the ISO it deems suitable for a correctly exposed picture with the shutter speed and F stop I have set on the camera. In my case this could be 6400 and it will use the ISO to try to raise the dark areas of the picture tonally to an 18% grey reflectance. This will result in a blown out window and very noisy shadows. So I used spot metering and took the exposure reading from part of the window and the wall. I then altered the aperture and shutter speed to get the ISO down to 1250. Back-button focussing means I can focus and then take my time over the exposure without worrying about holding the shutter button down to retain focus.

This enables me to obtain a RAW image which allowed me to process it as I saw fit. The first image below is a more tonally open image allowing some detail of the ice-house to come through. The second image is meant to be more mysterious and could perhaps even be an old prison cell.

Metering carefully with a visualization of how you want the final image to look will always produce more effective RAW files than shooting and hoping for the best.

 

ice_house-35865

 

ice_house_2-35865

 

clive_sig2

Today I was wandering around Bradgate Park in Leicestershire with the D800. The weather was bright and sunny, but with a vicious northerly wind that cut across the top of the hills and sliced into the valleys.

bradgate_park-28173

I decided that I would use the camera on manual with auto ISO which I have never done before. I normally use Aperture priority with Auto ISO and I am quite happy with that but it can be a struggle with the 24-120 f/4 to keep the shutter speed up to avoid camera shake and also keeping the aperture setting at f/8.0 +.
With the camera on manual I can keep the shutter and aperture where I want them whilst the ISO is automatically increased or decreased accordingly. The D800 handles high ISO so well, it’s not a problem if the ISO sometimes hits 800. I normally have the auto ISO on a ‘high limit’ of 800 and very rarely use more than that, although the D800 is very good up to 3200 with very little noise degradation.
When I use the D800 handheld, I also try and keep the shutter speed at double the reciprocal lens focal length. I do this because of the D800’s 36 megapixel sensor. It only takes a slight movement when taking the picture to blur detail. I was used to doubling up focal length to arrive at shutter speeds with my old Olympus four-thirds gear so it really isn’t a problem for me to do the same with the D800 to ensure I don’t get camera shake and long focal lengths.

 

 

I spent my early photography days using film, especially reversal film which resulted in slides to show in a projector. Reversal film is not as forgiving as print film and that meant that you had to be pretty accurate with all camera settings and that included using the ISO recommended by the manufacturer.
I started shooting digital with Olympus E cameras and as they didn’t handle high ISO settings very well, it was usually kept at the default of 200 ISO or sometimes 400 ISO and very, very rarely went above that.
Now I’m shooting with Nikon on a D800 and D7100 both of which have a fantastic latitude for high ISO’s and for still returning noise-free results. However, years of being careful of excessive high ISO’s have meant that it has taken me some time to get used to the fact that I can increase the ISO setting and still get low noise images.
So, yesterday I spent the day shooting with the D7100 in auto ISO mode for the first time. I set the maximum ISO to 800 (still playing safe) and the minimum was set to ‘Minimum Shutter Speed – Auto’, which means it uses the set focal length of the CPU lens. I increase that setting by one of the two plus increments.

Nikon Auto ISO settings

Nikon Auto ISO settings

ISO Minimum Shutter speed

ISO Minimum Shutter speed

How did it go? Well, it was strange seeing the increased ISO readings in the viewfinder, and I had to stop myself from turning auto off out of sheer habit of seeing 200 ISO in the readings, but I persevered and the results seem fine.
It’s not something I would use when I’m taking landscapes with a tripod etc, but it certainly is worth using whilst walking around.


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