I'm DONE with DRO levels 1 thru 5 on the A700...no more ruined shots of people

Discussion in 'Sony/Minolta' started by steve_c.|5, May 12, 2009.

  1. After a great deal of experimentation with DRO in shooting weddings, I must say I'm done with trying to use anything more than DRO+. Levels 1 thru 5 result in progressively worse rendering of skin tones, making everyone look salmon-colored, making the skin areas look flat and grainy rather than smooth tonal gradations, and making grass look like astroturf.
    I get better results in post production, when I use the DRO+ setting and then brighten the shadows in software.
     
  2. .
    Ouch! You do capture Raw+JPG anyway so you can make your own alternatives to DRO JPGs, right?
    Share some examples of both Photoshop and DRO, okay?
    ----------
    DRO is a supplemental tool intended for difficult contrast situations. Are you just discovering that DRO is inappropriate for non-high contrast situations, or is the subject closeness and detail an issue, or what?
    DRO is a small program on-chip that acts on the sensor data during capture prior to recording.
    I wish it was expanded out to software so we could gently move a slider to explore alternative interpretations of any scene presented to the engine. It is, however, intrinsically tied to the ISO of each pixel relative to the real time ISO of the rest of the pixels in the capturing image, AND it is protected intellectual property, so I can see why there's no software version. Plus, Sony wants to have the feature exclusive INSIDE the camera.
    I'd say a 3 MP image result might be one target of DRO (1/2 size of your current maximum capture), such as journalists might send over the wire from field reporting, where such detail is less important than overall clear content balance for publishing. Look at the AstroTurf at 1/2 dimensions and print it as a newspaper or magazine might, and you're probably getting close to at least one of the intentions of DRO.
    I concur -- familiar tweaking in Photoshop often accomplishes my picture wide and local dynamic range and inner contrast goals, and I'm not sure how to quickly predict and asses the "best" DRO settings for a given scene in front of me.
    DRO is yet another complex, sophisticated, and mysterious control for us photographers to reverse engineer and figure out.
    Egads! What has Sony / Apical wrought? Amazing, nonetheless:
    .
     
  3. How are you shooting these days Steve? I know you get through a hell of a lot of images at just one event, and like to keep processing at a minimum (naturally), so are you trying to perfect straight-out-of-camera JPEGs at the moment? I've never really shot JPEGs. I think I experimented with level 5 DRO on the A700, just with some random snapshots, but other than that I've never been that interested in it.
    Could you set up some 'presets' in what ever software you use (lightroom I think?) which would boost up the shadows of large numbers of files that you need? (like a batch process).
     
  4. To address Peter and Rich's questions, I shoot mostly JPEG, extra fine. I only use RAW for critical portraiture. The instances where I'm trying to use DRO are when shooting scenics, where the sky and ground have 6-10 stops or so of difference in brightness between them, and I'm trying to retain the sky details/colors while bringing out the people in the shot on the ground. It's not so noticable when shooting scenery or buildings, but people's skin tones look awful when you jack up the DRO. They look all pink and salmon colored, and subtle skin variances are lost, resulting in a flat appearance with higher grain.
    As for software, I don't use Lightroom, I use ACDSee Pro 2.5 (soon to get 3.0 when it comes out). I find it much faster/easier to use, half the price, and has the best shadow/highlight tool I've ever seen, whether you're shooting RAW or JPEGs. Very fine control of tonal ranges with it. And, batch processing does help with workflow, but once you screw up the colors with a 1-5 DRO setting, nothing will fix it.
    I'll post some examples to demonstrate the DRO later this evening.
     
  5. .
    Pull out and share the EXIF -- I'm curious to see what color space you're using.
    I appreciate you're comparing good images to bad images, so you can apparently see good images, right?
    But on screen or printer? How bad is bad?
    Is ACDSee color space managed? Can you identify your screen and settings, such as
    • "Ersatz LCD 1280 x 768 native, set at 1024 x 600, ~84 dpi measured, 10-bits per channel, sRGB, uncalibrated, 2.2 gamma"
    ... or whatever. My screen is
    • "Gateway VX900 discrete RGB (CRT, not LCD) 1,280 x 1,024 ~96 dpi, 2.2-2.3 gamma, 10.6-bit per color, sRGB, uncalibrated"
    Get information help at:
    And, as always, how many fingers am I holding up? ;-)
    http://www.geocities.com/peterblaise/gamma.gif
    [​IMG]
    Adjust your screen brightness/contrast for 20 shades of black to white​
    .
     
  6. Are you taking a light reading or setting your white balance manually or using presets ? For tech.stuff I always take a meter reading or use a white balance filter to set it spot on to get a more true color, and less post proc.
     
  7. Peter, how many fingers am I holding up?
    But seriously, I'm using twin Acer 22" LCDs, 1680 x 1050, 32bit color, 2.2 gamma, calibrated by a new Colorvision Spyder 3. I'm using the Vivid setting in the A700 and not changing the color space in ACDSee.
    I'm posting examples...
    00TL7r-134083584.jpg
     
  8. An explanation: I was shooting these scenic shots of an engagement session, using DRO to see how it would balance the bright sky with the darker area under the trees. I used Level 2 for this series but did not like the grainy skin and salmon color skin tone with flat appearance. Not much tonal gradation here.
    00TL8K-134085684.jpg
     
  9. Here is a groom I shot in 2007. The first example here is with DRO Level 2. I had been using the DRO in some shots before this one which were scenics, so I was trying to balance bright sky with a shadowy ground scene. I shot the groom below without changing the DRO. In this example, I actually took the image into Photoshop to dial down the reds, so the face is not as "salmony" here as when I originally downloaded the image.
    00TL8R-134087584.jpg
     
  10. Now, the same groom moments later after I realized DRO was Level 2, and I dialed it back down to DRO +. Skin tones much more natural, less grainy, and more realistic. See what I mean?
    00TL8V-134087684.jpg
     
  11. .
    Wow. Amazing camera.
    And, I honor what you do -- promising strangers you'll make their event well documented with pleasing pictures on demand -- argh!
    Aside from bringing your own lighting, I can only suggest a working vacation someplace to master:
    ... and so on, for millions of results form Google searches for "accurate skin tone" and such, pity they each don't have a traveling circus to inculcate the needy.
    Read Mark Dubovoy in PhotoTechniques Magazine ( http://www.phototechmag.com/ ), May/June 2009,
    • Beautiful Skin Tones: A quick and Effective Method , pages 31-43,
    (on newsstands, but contents NOT online yet at http://www.phototechmag.com/current.htm ).
    You have Photoshop CS3 ... so, what's the problem? Perhaps automation help is in order?
    Your challenge:
    • Vivid in-camera JPGs -- versus -- unsatisfactory skin and grass tones, UFO color space management.
    Hmm ... I can say no more.
    ----------
    My route would be calibrated Raw and new, conservative work flow, heck, even http://www.picasa/com/ auto might please you, and they have an auto, a selection point, and a sliding scale neutrality rebalancer along with midtone recovery. Quick, and free. I dunno!
    I wish I could help more, but I imagine you could use a complete audit to find perhaps the one or two choices that defeat the other choices that otherwise would work fine, and maybe do work fine most of the time. The variables are enormous, voluminous, hence I don't envy you making promises to produce any results for others on contract.
    ----------
    Apparently unrelated, regarding your screen, 22" LCD, 1680 x 1050 pixels, that's 1.6:1 or 8:5 aspect ratio, and if the diagonal is really 22", then the across and down are 18.66" x 11.66", and that's ~90 dpi, right? No wonder I like my old CRTs at 96 dpi, up to 120 dpi for photo editing -- nice! Anyway, other than making sure you're set at native dpi across and down, and maximum bit depth and 60 Hz refresh ... contrast, dynamic range, brightness, gamma ... what's the gamut? Oh, nevermind.
    Anyway, this is unrelated IF you sometimes see pleasing pictures on that screen, and if you sometimes print close-as-possible satisfactory pictures that appeared on that screen, and just these photos above, via Sony DRO and in-camera JPG aggravate and challenge you.
    ----------
    The "how many fingers am I holding up" was a reference to sharing the 20-step grayscale so frequently when we wonder how images should look, my way of offering in-thread a neutral reference. The 20-steps compares to 10 fingers, I guess, as in "how many squares do you see?". The phrase, "how many fingers am I holding up", is so often used to see if someone who is dazed has regained their composure, but I get the humorous reference to other gestures. Good one. =8^o
    .
     
  12. Peter, you've written War and Peace here again, though I know you're well-meaning and trying to be helpful, which I appreciate. However, I don't think your text responds to the problem, which is the way Sony's DRO affects skin tones/colors as you raise it higher and higher. There are any number of texts on the internet about pleasing skin tones and color theories, etc. However, the Sony DRO feature (at least in my experience as demonstrated here) does really weird and unpleasing things to my images, and people in particular.
    Now, I don't expect anyone here to have an answer to why this happens. You can point to monitor calibration, color settings in camera, workflow (new and conservative? how would you judge my existing workflow as being otherwise?), using RAW, etc. but none of these things will fix an image ruined by the DRO algorithm. RAW capture may give you an apparent extra stop or two in dynamic range, which ain't bad, and is always available, but I really feel Sony should go back to the drawing board with DRO and do some more fiddling. If they fix it, I'd like a firmware update posthaste.
    My monitors, by the way, are running at native aspect ratio and 96ppi (dpi is a term used in printer technology, whereas ppi refers to raster image pixels per inch). Yes, I typically do see pleasing pictures on the screen, unless I blow an exposure or something. Sony DRO does not "aggravate and challenge" me, it just screws up pictures when you set it too high. The tradeoff of a perceived brighter shadow area does not balance with how it makes people's skin look like a side of smoked salmon. Ugh.
    I'm glad you got my little jab about fingers held up. I was only holding one up, as you guessed, but in good jest. By the way, I appreciate the kudos on shooting weddings - I love it, but it's not for everybody...
     
  13. .
    Just trying to help.
    Earlier: "... your text [does not] respond ... to the problem, which is the way Sony's DRO affects
    skin tones/colors as you raise it higher and higher ...
    "​
    Right. I'm only trying to help you
    • (a) fix what you've got, and
    • (b) come up with alternative ways to get what you want without Vivid and without DRO and without in-camera JPG
    ----------
    Earlier: "... There are any number of texts on the internet about pleasing skin tones and color theories, etc ... [the challenge is how to] fix an image ruined by the DRO algorithm ..."​
    And you've implemented any one of the solutions out there over the nasty images to your satisfaction ... how?
    Yes, your images can be fixed, somewhat, though being 8-bit JPGs, there's a serious limit compared to if you had 12-bit Raw originals to revisit on demand untily you master Vivid, DRO, and JPG.
    ----------
    Earlier: "... the Sony DRO feature (at least in my experience as demonstrated here) does really weird and unpleasing things to my images, and people in particular ... [blows] an exposure or something. The tradeoff of a perceived brighter shadow area does not balance with how it makes people's skin look like a side of smoked salmon. Ugh ... "​
    Hence my suggestions on fixing what you've got, and avoiding it in the future:
    • -- turn off Vivid
    • -- turn off DRO
    • -- turn off JPG
    ----------
    Earlier: "... Now, I don't expect anyone here to have an answer to why this happens ... but I really feel Sony should go back to the drawing board with DRO and do some more fiddling. If they fix it, I'd like a firmware update posthaste ... "​
    Me neither. Me too. I'm sad that neither Sony nor any Alpha Mount Camera aficionado has explored and documented DRO in accurate and complete detail with copious examples.
    I'm beginning to think DRO is a misapplication of a video display solution where video source material with too wide a dynamic range get "intelligently" compressed for cheap, er, "current-day" LCD and plasma screens. It's a live processing chip that can produce output live without delay for immediate display in a live video stream (only ~2 MP), and Sony souped it up for 12 MP still images in your camera. Why? Because it needed to compete.
    Sony first released the A100 with DRO to the press in the desert where all other digital cameras in the world at the time would have risked blown highlights or lost deep shadows, but with DRO, the A100 shined, and the press went oooo and aaahhh and Sony DRO was set for life ... but, DRO was never documented in full "how to" tutorials by anyone.
    ----------
    Earlier: "... color settings in camera, workflow (new and conservative? how would you judge my existing workflow as being otherwise?) ... "​
    Combining DRO with Vivid and JPG is anything BUT conservative! Why choose ANY setting you have not mastered, and no one knows what fuzzy logic DRO implements? 1993 Minolta si sophisticated intelligence exposure fuzzy logic was amazing and hard to predict, but produced reasonably predictable results partly because film latitude is so wide. Digital sensors ain't so forgiving!
    • DRO does ... what?
    • Vivid does ... what?
    • JPG does ... what?
    Until you calibrate your Camera Raw as a known, neutral starting point, you have no idea what these settings are doing, let alone in combination!
    ----------
    Earlier: "... Sony DRO does not "aggravate and challenge" me, it just screws up pictures when you set it too high ... "​
    So, why choose ANY setting you have not mastered?
    ----------
    Earlier: "... RAW capture may give you an apparent extra stop or two in dynamic range, which ain't bad, and is always available ... "​
    Yes and no. More importantly, Raw gives you the ability to develop and redevelop and tune an original latent image capture to any new goal, including color balance without clipping, and Raw awaits your command, rather than pre-making choices and tossing 90% of the original capture (did you know how much JPG tosses?).
    ----------
    Earlier: "... I'm glad you got my little jab about fingers held up. I was only holding one up, as you guessed, but in good jest. By the way, I appreciate the kudos on shooting weddings - I love it, but it's not for everybody ... "​
    I appreciate the pressure you are under, and the inability to go back and try again:
    • "Could you all do your wedding over while I try out some different camera settings, please? "
    [Aside/Anecdote: Years ago I worked in a car dealership parts department, handing out parts to the mechanics. One mechanic, let's call him Thor for his hammer collection, rebuilt an engine, put it in the car, and cranked the starter. It didn't start even though he cranked and cranked. Usually his rebuilt engines immediately purred. Crank, crank, crank, nothing. The whole shop fell silent as we all heard the familiar sound of a camshaft inserted 180 degrees backwards, requiring a complete re-teardown and rebuild from scratch to remedy. Some people tip-toed out just in case Thor started hammering people, not just objects, in what they expected to be his frustrated anger response. We all waited for the repercussions. Silence. Pause. Silly me, I left the parts counter and went and sat beside Thor as he stood there, head hanging, hammer in hand -- BIG hammer in hand, slowly shaking his head. I saw the shocked googly-eyes of others aimed at me to get out of his way, out of harm's way, to get out of there quick. Thor looked up at me as I sat there as his only witness. Pause. Pause. Pause. Smile. He broke out laughing, and dropped the hammer. Within a couple of days he had rebuilt the engine again, and was back on his game. There was absolutely nothing anyone could do to fix the problem other than rebuild the engine anyway -- we all knew it immediately, no way 'round it. Others feared his anger. I saw he needed someone to commiserate with him, and somehow, no longer alone, he figured out that hammering things would not change anything for the better, and he moved on.
    Moral: All we can do sometimes is commiserate at each other's mess, such as your Vivid DRO JPGs . I feel your pain. There's not much we can do but dive back in and rebuild those images, and find ways not to have it happen again.]​
    If I were really treating you as an incessant newbie, I'd have asked what Sony said when you called them to ask for help. Hahahaha! =8^o
    ;-)
    ----------
    Earlier: "... You can point to monitor calibration ... My monitors, by the way, are running at native aspect ratio and 96ppi (dpi is a term used in printer technology, whereas ppi refers to raster image pixels per inch). Yes, I typically do see pleasing pictures on the screen ... "​
    As I said, monitor settings are sort of irrelevant if you see some pictures that print nicely. Monitor choices are another endless topic.
    .
     
  14. Peter, when you "master" DRO, get back to me, okay? I've tried every setting the camera offers, and shot RAW, with the same DRO results. Personally, I feel this is an algorithm problem in the firmware, or a half-baked feature that has limited use, and is a poor compensation for creating sensors with a wider native dynamic range (more closely emulating the human eye's dynamic range). Hey, I can dream, can't I?
     
  15. Steve, I have the same experience as you, I have personally never been happy with anything more than DRO+ and that is where I leave it.
    Looking at your photos, you do obviously have better dynamic range in the sky/background but at the cost of texture and colour of the skin, at the end of the day you can't get something for nothing. Most of it is probably fixable in photoshop by why would you bother with all that extra work.
    I am surprised that you don't use fill flash to better help with the contrast. Surely you can expose for the background and fill flash the couple (foreground). Obviously it depends on the distance you are from the couple and and therefore range of HSS. If push cames to shove, you can use a neutral density to try and bring the shutter speed within flash sync range. A bit fiddly but better than try to fix in photoshop afterwards, particularly if you use jpg.
    I am also surprised that you don't use RAW + JPG, at least it gives you the option of a RAW file to work from in the difficult situations or when you exposure wasn't quite spot on. For the cost of some larger cards, I would have thought that it would be worth it.
     
  16. Jiun, I do use fill flash and HSS quite a bit in most daytime photos. In the scenics above, I did not use it, but did use it in most of the rest of that particular shoot. In fact, I have a long dedicated sync cord so I can get the Sony flash on a stand, to add directional lighting where applicable, just did not use it on those particular shots. We were walking around and the flash was sitting on a stand a distance away at the time. Just the way it went down.
    I really only use RAW for critical portraiture or very difficult lighting (could have used it above) but I'm a pretty happy JPEG shooter. My A700 RAW files are 19 megs each, and I really don't want to have to process and store RAW and the resulting JPEG data for all the images I shoot. For most shots, it's really overkill. I've tried DRO with RAW before and had the same issues, even after RAW processing.
    As for an ND, what you say is true, but in the engagement shots, we were under some shady trees late in the evening, and an ND would have taken me down two stops, a penalty I could not afford.
     
  17. Actually, my reference to RAW + JPG was general rather than the specific issue of DRO. I agree that the skin colour etc issues would be similar whether you use RAW or JPG.
    I personally find RAW really useful for indoor shots. Even with flash bounced off the ceiling, backgrounds in large spaces tend to be quite dark and I can pull out a lot more shadow detail with RAW than I can with JPG. I kind of figure that after the wedding, you can always delete the RAW if the JPGs have turned out acceptable. For portraiture, I use film, mostly B&W because I get much better tonality and dynamic range.
    Incidentally, what would the advantage of using a off camera flash be in outdoor fill light? I wouldn't have imagine that you would read the directional light that much in an outdoor situation. Could you post a couple of photos to show the difference?
     
  18. Actually, my reference to RAW + JPG was general rather than the specific issue of DRO. I agree that the skin colour etc issues would be similar whether you use RAW or JPG.
    I personally find RAW really useful for indoor shots. Even with flash bounced off the ceiling, backgrounds in large spaces tend to be quite dark and I can pull out a lot more shadow detail with RAW than I can with JPG. I kind of figure that after the wedding, you can always delete the RAW if the JPGs have turned out acceptable. For portraiture, I use film, mostly B&W because I get much better tonality and dynamic range.
    Incidentally, what would the advantage of using a off camera flash be in outdoor fill light? I wouldn't have imagine that you would read the directional light that much in an outdoor situation. Could you post a couple of photos to show the difference?
     
  19. .
    So the first challenge is to fix what's broken -- the series of pictures, and that's what the links to skin color correction tools were for.
    The second challenge is to master the tools and know where they are appropriate or not, and someone's gonna have to send me an A700 for a few years for me to be the source of that.
    I concur and forgot about daylight fill flash being an excellent tool for bringing up dark shadows to within the capture medium dynamic range (though I did suggest to bring your own light). I'm re-reading
    • Ansel Adams' book Artifical-Light Photography Basic Photo 5
    • Fil Hunter's, Steven Biver's, and Paul Fuqua's book Light Science & Magic An Introduction to Photographic Lighting Third Edition
    • Minolta HS D flash manuals
    ... to enlighten myself, so to speak. Perennial. Does this never end? In death only, I guess.
    Until someone, anyone, explores DRO to the same depth (and Vivid, and Sony JPG), we're on our own.
    But there ARE fixes for crappy skin JPGs. G'luck. Show us some salvage results!
    .
     
  20. Jiun, in retrospect, I should have shot these scenic shots with RAW and left DRO off, because, as you stated, I would have had better dynamic range from shadow to bright sky. Next time.
    On the subject of directional light, I was shooting closer portraits of this couple previously, and was using the off-camera 56 flash shooting thru an umbrella to add a soft portrait key light and using the ambient as fill (which was mostly coming from the bright sky above and big white house on camera right) on the subjects faces. Using the flash to the side like that gives better modeling than if you just put the flash on the camera, which tends to render the facial contours more flatly. The white shoot-thru umbrella gives a very soft shadow instead of a harsh sharper shadow with bare flash. The guy in particular has pretty deep-set eyes and I needed some good directional light to bring them out.
    00TLzi-134511584.jpg
     
  21. Hi again Steve,
    As I've said, I have limited experience with the DRO on the Sony Alpha cameras, but I've atleast like to think I've used my Sony quite extensively at times, so can alteast share some system specific advise...
    First off, I agree with your thoughts on the A700 sensor. When you push it to it's limits, it can look a little frail. The tonality of the sensor can be questioned... specifically when shooting higher ISO or when lifting the shadows (even very slightly). This may well be simply because the sensor is overcooked/crammed, it may just be that the camera is nearly two years old now and new technology is on the horizon, it may be a bit of both.
    Secondly, I definately think the DRO feature should be completely re-thought. There has been talk for a while about in camera HDR being more useful, where you could literally take two seperate exposures and the camera would combine to a 'realistic' effect. Look at the new ricoh cx1 - they have that feature! Ultimately, I think it would take a lot of processing power to make it a practical feature, but I think it would be a great feature if pushed forward to DSLR's. It would applicable with some wedding shots, but I feel it would save processing time with so many different genres of photography.
    Finally, the lighting on those last shots are really great! Really makes them jump out at you. When you keep it simple the A700 can give you really good tones like you show. For the situations you're having problems with, have you considered using a couple of wireless flashes to even out the foreground exposure with the sky? I guess when it comes down to it, there are lots of tricks you can work in where you could combine exposures, but this wouldn't really solve the problem as it would only add more processing time :(. Only thing I have to add is to shoot cRAW. Honestly no real life difference at all. I started shooting it months ago and never looked back. Brings files down to around 12MB. Still pretty large, but when you're shooting hundreds of images it does help bring down the total.
     
  22. Thanks for the comments, Peter. One difference in your use of Alpha cameras and mine is that the A100 has a CCD sensor and the A700 has the Exmor CMOS sensor, which has better dynamic range, cleaner ISO at higher settings, better performance in low light, and a smidge more resolution. I shot an A100 before I got into A700's, and I've got plenty of A100 shots to compare the two. It's a big difference in terms of overall quality. However, as you note, it's not a perfect camera or sensor. Neither is the A900, which we've all bandied about in prior posts. I guess we digital shooters could have worse problems to carp about. Without these cameras, we'd have to traipse back and forth to a film lab all the time. Those are days I simply don't want to go back to. Cheers.
     
  23. Oh god, you called me Peter! I need to stop visiting this place...
     
  24. My God, I DID call you Peter! My apologies! I'm losing it, I guess...
     
  25. All this crap. Jeez. Maxxum 7. Lightsphere on Program without any softining filters. Toss your digitals. It's more work but it's worth it. As shot, minor sharpening after reduction in size.
    00TNXM-135119584.jpg
     
  26. Outside in direct sunlight. Fill Flash Minolta 7000, Fuji 160 S.
     
  27. Outside in direct sunlight. Fill Flash Minolta 7000, Fuji 160 S. 70/210 F4.
    00TNYO-135131584.jpg
     
  28. Hi Steve, those are some really nice shots and great lighting. I can see what you mean by the deep set eyes, you wonder if you almost have to place your flash low down in order to light them.
    I think you would have gotten a reasonable result with on camera flash for the shots where the couple are further away, I guess in that situation the directional lighting is not particularly important. Whilst the range of HSS is greatly reduced, every little bit of fill helps.
    So you normally bring along a stand and a umbrella? I know you have 2 HVL-56AMs so why not use them wirelessly? You could dial down the ratio of the master (admittedly I have not experimented much with wireless as I only have one flash unit) and not be tied to the stand with the sync cord. Personally I think that would irritate me as I like to move around alot when I am shooting.
     
  29. Sam, forgive me, but in what way do your film shots relate to the use of DRO to increase dynamic range? Neither of the shots have a bright sky and darker ground areas. Anyone shooting an A700 could accomplish those same shots with no DRO at all, so how are they appropriate here? Is it just an argument for going back to film (as if that would happen)?
    Jiun, thanks for the compliment. True, at a longer distance, on-camera flash would do just fine.
    I don't use the 56 flashes with the IR wireless, because they're tricky to get communicating with each other (especially when people are standing there waiting on you to shoot) and inconsistent in being triggered, requiring line of sight. When you put the flash in an umbrella, you lose that line of sight required.
    I do use wireless triggers, but mine do not support HSS or TTL functions, they just trigger the flashes and sync under 1/200 sec. I use them for normal lighting situations where HSS is not required. I only use the cable sync cord with the strobe on the stand in brighter daylight conditions where HSS is required. True, the cable is a pain, but my only alternative right now is to wait until RadioPoppers come out with their new PX triggers that have the firmware update to work properly with Sony gear. They're not quite out on the market yet, but are coming. A transmitter and two receivers will run me about $800US, so they're not cheap. I'll deal with the cable for now.
     
  30. Steve, you are correct. The post was out of line, unrelated to the topic and problem you are attempting to solve and not called for. Just a bad day that your topic happened to get in the way of. Sorry.
     
  31. No worries, Sam. Everyone's allowed a bad day. Cheers.
     
  32. Steve: I'm coming in on this thread a little late, but I did notice in one of your earlier posts that you might have been using the Vivid setting for wedding subjects: "I'm using the Vivid setting in the A700 and not changing the color space in ACDSee." Was that the right context? I'm asking, because Vivid is probably too punchy for flesh tones, regardless of what's happening with DRO. It could definitely cause the salmon colored faces. BTW, I discovered the nice color rendering along with shallow DOF for human subjects on the Sports Scene Mode a few weekends back on a family outing. I know most pros would probably not want to be caught using the scene modes, but I think this did a nice job (file attached). Not meaning to get off topic too much.
    00TO9s-135465684.jpg
     
  33. .
    Earlier: "... shots have a bright sky and darker ground areas ... "​
    Thinking ... thinking ... something caught my eye on that thought.
    I wasn't aware that "bright sky" nor "darker ground areas" were the "subject".
    Earlier: "... shooting weddings ... rendering of skin tones ... "​
    Is this part of the challenge -- trying to sneak landscape photos into "wedding" portraits?
    Earlier: "... making grass look like AstroTurf ... "​
    Does the customer care? Is this the real assignment?
    Just thinking.
    2 cents spent.
    .
     
  34. Thanks, Howard. Yes, I typically leave Vivid on for most of my work, including the portraits above. I'll try some DRO Level 2 shots of people with it off, just for general investigation, but I don't think I'll see much difference. The Vivid setting seems to work pretty well for wedding and portrait, though.
    Peter, neither bright sky nor darker ground areas are necessarily the "subject", but are part of the scene in which I put my subjects, so the objective is to render all the best as possible.
    Some of my wedding photos include scenic shots as above, with the bride and groom being romantic, shot from a distance. It helps set the location, the way everything looked, the sky, the surroundings, etc. Just my special touch.
    I don't want grass to look like Astroturf, I want it to look like grass. Don't we all? After all, I'm not usually shooting in a football stadium.
    Thanks for the $0.02, though!
     
  35. Steve, if and when you get around to buying into the radiopoppers, I'd like to know how you'd go. I can definately see the possibilities of having a remotely triggered flash around the corner is an interior space or even to backlight a subject.
     
  36. Found something interesting Steve! 'Leaked info' on the latest Pentax K-7 body suggests 'auto HDR mode'. If you're optimistic, you might think that the A700 replacement (as they're similar cameras) would have such a feature (one that I'd welcome with open arms): http://ricehigh.blogspot.com/2009/05/pentax-k-7-is-here-finally.html
     
  37. Jiun, the RadioPoppers are certainly nice. My only impetus for purchasing them would be for working in bright sunshine with high speed shutter, but doing it wirelessly. No cords to trip over.
    As long as you don't need shutter speeds over 1/200 sec. (like working in shade or indoors), any good RF trigger will work fine. I use the Alienbees Cybersyncs and mount my 56 flashes on a Minolta shoe with a mini plug wired in, which plugs into the Cybersync receiver. It works great, and is pretty cheap too.
    Rich, we'll see if HDR mode comes to our cameras any time soon. Keep fingers crossed!
     

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