Too dark

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by christian_stahl, May 16, 2008.

  1. I got a Nikon D40x with the kit lens. Here are some of the pictures I took:
    http://gallery.mac.com/stahlchristian#100120

    They are all unprocessed RAW, exept for the "Konzert". Compared to the average photo.net
    picture, they are all too dark. Is it the lens? Is it the missing post-production? Is it me?

    I chose a high ISO (if you enlarge the picture and click on "i" below, you can see the respective
    ISO).
    Do I need another lens (please don't say yes, I don't have the money)? Would Aperture 2 help?

    Hope I sound helpless enough ; )
     
  2. SCL

    SCL

    They don't look too dark to me. If they're too dark for you, just dial in some compensation when shooting or be prepared for additional post processing.
     
  3. RAW can't be "unprocessed" if you can see the image, I guess you just applied the camera settings in conversion.

    I wouldn't say they're too dark, quite natural actually (which sometimes translates to dull), little post work is needed if you want them to have more punch.

    Aperture / Lightroom are great but I think you simply need to read about the basics first. It's not the lens.
     
  4. They are not too dark. There may be to great a range of light to dark to capture to your satistaction, in which case a bit of highlight/shadow control in photoshop will fix these easily.
     
  5. Here's one minute adjustment in Gimp. Just levels, saturation and little sharpening.
    00PUxL-43859584.jpg
     
  6. That was quick! Thanks.
    Kari, what's "Gimp"?
     
  7. Free image editor, quite capable though many people don't like the GUI - it handles much the same way as any other but has some quirks. Here's another one: Levels selectively for the sky and ground. Photoshop's shadow/highlight works too. Or Curves or... RAW images always need some amount of adjustment and sharpening. And jpgs too, depending how you expose and with what settings. "Straight from the camera" is rather mythical beast. ;)
    00PUxl-43861584.jpg
     
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Christian, none of the images is actually dark. In some cases the lighting is not ideal. For example, the Concert (Konzert) image, the background is very bright but the two musicians are not well illuminated. If you can, you might want to add some fill flash in that case.

    A couple of the building images have a bright blue sky but the sun seems to be behind the buildings. I would shoot when there is better light on the buildings. I would try again early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the quality of the light is better and the subject is better illuminated.
     
  9. They don't look too dark to me either, and a new lens wouldn't help an exposure issue if there was one. If they look too dark on your computer perhaps the monitor needs to calibrated.
     
  10. Those images look perfectly fine to work with, as others have outlined for you above.
    You can expect Nikon's RAW images to look as yours do... a bit darker to preserve
    highlights from clipping, but rich in potential tonalities. There's a world of possibilities
    in tuning a RAW image to your specifications. It just takes time to learn the controls
    that are open to you in the many photo editing products available. I've been reading
    about this, since I've been a recent new student to Nikon DSLRs and RAW. The
    majority of posts here recommend Nikon's own Capture NX for the best conversions
    from RAW - especially if you use the custom settings in your camera's menus.
     
  11. You're off to a great start with this camera! But perhaps your monitor is set too dark! If
    it were me, I'd tweak them a bit in PS, but that's me...

    And even though you don't need a new lens... you'll want more... trust me...
     
  12. They look great to me.
     
  13. Try calibrating your monitor.
     
  14. Christan, a raw file is like a musical score, after getting it, you must interpret it. All the
    'music' information is in the raw file, but it's only an orchestra. You're the director. Viele
    Grüsse aus Spanien!
     
  15. [[But perhaps your monitor is set too dark]]

    Indeed. It's a wonder this was not suggested immediately.
     
  16. Well, thanks so far, I guess there's some work to do. I was a bit surprised to hear Capture NX is more than a cheap addition to the camera - I might try that + download
    the Aperture 2 trial. I used to work with scanned pictures + iPhoto, but that seems to
    be very limited with the RAW files.
    I understand the clear blue sky + the shady church are a trial for the sensor (although it
    was in the afternoon...)
    And, well, about the lenses - it seems there are not too many around for the D40, but
    maybe that'll change.
     
  17. pge

    pge

    There are lots of lenses for the d40, lots. But that is getting off topic.
     
  18. I agree with all of the other posters. The images are not too dark for me. Your monitor plays an extremely important role in how your images will appear to you and it must be properly cailbrated and this must be done monthly.

    And the RAW processor you use is also important. I use Capture NX because it is the only one that will read all of the camera settings you have allplied to the NEF images. Yes, you can use another raw processor, and many of us do. But you need to know exactly what the starting point is for that raw processor and what you have to do with it to have your images look like they came right out of your camera as a JPEG which is a processed image.

    Go here for more informatiuon:
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/u-raw-files.shtml

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/monitor_profiling.shtml

    Joe Smith
     
  19. You used iPhoto (or other not-so-hot application) to convert your raw-files? It explains the dull images as your camera settings were not correctly applied. Raw images have much more latitude *to work with* than jpg and if you make very "straight" conversion the images will look washed out and soft. Yes, Capture NX is more than a cheap addition but I think you'll love Aperture (or Lightroom) - bit expensive but worth every penny.
     

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