Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2008/09/03

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Subject: [Leica] INF : worried about blown highlights - LINK inside
From: philippe.amard at (Philippe AMARD)
Date: Wed Sep 3 02:59:15 2008
References: <>

You may find this informative and useful, I have.
Sorry if it is no news to some.

Alastair Firkin wrote:

>Simon, I think all digital recording suffers from a tendency to blown 
>highlights. The good news is that unlike slide film, you can really "delve" 
>into the shadows (esp with b/w and the IR effect). For this reason, all our 
>cameras are set to a -ev setting. I usually take a couple of test shots in 
>the current light, review the histogram and wind the ev compensation back 
>till the highlights are controlled. This usually means -2/3 to -1 ev, but 
>in some lighting I've shot with -3 ev. You MUST shoot RAW, so that when the 
>image is "developed", you can use compensation development to bring the 
>range of tones into line with the result you want. 
>Another technique is to combine multiple exposures, but this is not going 
>to work well with most of your work, although if you are shooting on a 
>tripod, you could look to exposing incident for the subject and spot for 
>the highlights and work hard in PS later. 
>Think of digital as slide film, but with greater low latitude, keep those 
>highlights in control by using the power of RAW, and I think you will be 
>very happy with your M8, remembering IT IS NOT A PERFECT CAMERA ;-)
>Cheers and show us the images
>--- wrote:
>From: Wyndham Pulman-Jones <>
>To: Leica Users Group <>
>Subject: [Leica] About to take M8 plunge - but worried about blown     
>Date: Tue, 02 Sep 2008 10:10:04 +0100
>The one thing that has held me back from buying an M8 is my dislike of the 
>look of blown highlights in digital photos. Almost all of my shooting is of 
>people interacting in social and working situations - and I always expose 
>by taking incident readings for people's faces and letting everything else 
>fall where it may. This frequently means that lighter exteriors visible 
>through windows or doors are overexposed - but when using fast colour 
>negative film there is almost always some tone and character to the 
>overexposed area. The same also applies to highlights on people's hair when 
>strongly backlit. 
>When I have used digital (Epson RD-1, Canon 1Ds) I have not liked the 
>totally white blown out highlights, fringed with un-natural looking 
>chromatic aberation, that often result from shooting in this way (when you 
>are not able to worry about exposinig for areas of the photo not carrying 
>the narrative interest, which might end up significantly overexposed.) 
>Does the M8 suffer from this just as much as any other digital camera? If 
>so, what's the best technique for stopping those 'outside the scene' 
>highlights from blowing out? Or is it just not possible with the M8 to 'set 
>and forget' exposure in the way that you can with incident metering for the 
>latitude of negative film?
>(I found some M8 DNG samples which show totally blown out 'through the 
>window' highlights which have the digital look that just doesn't look right 
>to me:
>Cambridge, UK.
>Leica Users Group.
>See for more information
>Leica Users Group.
>See for more information

In reply to: Message from afirkin at (Alastair Firkin) ([Leica] About to take M8 plunge - but worried about blown highlights...)