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Thread: keep blowing highlights on my GH2

  1. #1
    DolphinDan
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    keep blowing highlights on my GH2

    Hi,

    I got a Panasonic GH2 a couple of months ago and seem to have some difficulty with blowing highlights in daylight. I usually shoot in the early morning around the time the sun comes over the mountains or just before. I use the 7-14mm and 14-140mm lenses at f4-f5 and Aperture Priority. I read the manual, set the image quality to RAW, "iDynamic" (the dynamic range) to "standard", the metering to "Multiple", and usually underexpose by 1 stop (otherwise I blow the highlights even worse). I find that my GH2 performs about as "well" as my Canon PowerShot G10, which makes me question why I should keep my GH2...

    I would appreciate any help you all could offer in solving this problem.

    Namaste
    Daniel

  2. #2
    Super Duper
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    Re: keep blowing highlights on my GH2

    Doesn't sound correct.
    What Raw converter are you using?
    Have you tried any testing using different metering?
    Do you focus half press and recompose?
    Are the problems with both lenses?
    What ISO are you using? base at 160 for the landscapes?

    Sorry for so many questions. There are so many variables. Can you post an example shot at -1 exposure comp and one normal?

  3. #3
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    Re: keep blowing highlights on my GH2

    Quote Originally Posted by DolphinDan View Post
    metering to "Multiple"
    use spot metering to meter the highlights and dial in the proper positive compensation (for your particular camera - test how it is behaving first) to put the highlights in a proper zone (Adams)...

  4. #4
    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: keep blowing highlights on my GH2

    @ DD: this can happen if you are metering for the landscape, rather than the light itself, simply because the rising sun is so much brighter. This is why most landscape photogs. use grad filters, too, as I am sure you know.

    Please excuse me if you know all of this; but all sensors have a range of brightness values that they can handle. You, the operator, select the band of correct range of exposure within the range of brightness values in front of you in the moment: for example, if you meter for the rising sun, the landscape will be very shadowy, if not outright dark; if you meter for the landscape itself, the sun and sky around it will be blown out.

    The art of these shots, if you don't use grad filters (to pull down the sky brightnesses, so that the combined brightnesses of the sky and the landscape do fit the range that the sensor can handle), is to expose sufficiently to the right (on the histogram) that you can pull the sun and sky back to within the values you want in post using highlight and recovery tools. The closer you get this to the limit of the sensor (by exposing so as to move the sun's brightness values to the right of the histogram, without blowing out), the less you will need to lift the landscape.

    As Terry says though, what you report (GH2 vs G10) definitely does not sound right, because the GH2 sensor can handle a broader range of brightness values than can that of the G10.

    I agree with TB that you might try different metering methods; the event you are trying to capture does not yield well to the "Multiple" mode, in my experience (because it will average over the too-great range being viewed). if it's the sun/sky you want correctly exposed (well, not blown out, anyway) then you will need to sneak up on this value in your exposure, and bring up the landscape in post, by lifting the shadows, but there are real limits to how much you can do this.

    Grad filters tame bright skies.

  5. #5
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    Re: keep blowing highlights on my GH2

    Daniel,

    Have you tried bracket burst and something like SNS-HDR?

    The recent software upgrade for the GH2 markedly speeded the burst and it is amazing how many handheld shots you get away with. A lot of the shots in this sequence were shot that way:-

    Ricebarge on the Backwaters

    HDR can look artificial if one is not careful but it's a great way of extending the DR.

    Tony

  6. #6
    DolphinDan
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    Re: keep blowing highlights on my GH2

    Thanks for all of the suggestions. I will try the other metering options, especially spot metering. And I think I tried center weight metering (definitely not spot metering), but my memory is not so good :-(

    I forgot to mention that yes, I am shooting landscapes and the Fall leaves on the trees in October and November. And yes, blowing out the sky and clouds and the highlights on the trees (trunks and branches mainly) is my specific issue.

    I use CAPTURE 1 PRO version 6 to process my RAW files. Works really nice on my RAW files for my P1 645AF and MFBD and also my PowerShot G10.

    Yes, I frequently use half-press to focus/meter and then recompose my images. Yes, I shoot at the base ISO 160. Yes, the problem is with both lenses.

    No, I do not have any 0/-1 dual exposures handy at the moment. I generally delete the 0 exposures when they blow out too bad and reset the exposure to -1. Sorry about that.

    Yes, I agree it is does not sound correct. And I have been playing with DSLRs for about 5 years now, which is why I feel so puzzled about this issue.

    I have not used GND filters because I prefer bracketing exposures. However, I am warming up to GND filters now. I guess my old Nikon D700 spoiled me when it comes to metering (Why did I get rid of my D700? Too big and bulky; I might as well be carrying around my P1 645AF camera. The GH2 and lenses are soo much smaller and more convenient).

    Well I am off to try different metering options. Once again, thanks to everyone for your help.

    Namaste
    Daniel

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