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D200 - LCD Image Bright / PC Image Dark


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I did another posting on studio flash, but the title wasn't quite

right for this problem so another one here.


The image on my D200 LCD is not too bad, meaning bright. I transfer

the pics to my PC, into Adobe Album, and they are much darker, to

the point of almost unusable.


I've used about 4 digital cameras in the same setup, same

application and no problem. I tried the PTP and Mass Storage USB

options, sRGB, AdobeRGB color space, no luck, always the same result.


Any ideas?



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The me the simplist solution would be to change the brightness of the LCD to match (as close as possible) what you're seeing on the computer.

Conversely,change you're monitor settings to reflect what you're seening on your LCD (unless of course you have your monitor calibrated for a specific color space and printing process.)


Mass storage, USB options, sRGB* or AdobeRGB* have no bearing on your problem.


* its probably best (but absolutely nessesary) that you use the same color space (sRGB or AdobeRGB) on your camera that you print from.

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I don't think its the camera-lots of D200 out there and I haven't heard of a problem with the image brightness.

Are you shooting in jpeg or RAW?

Just for kicks see what happens when you view the photo in something other than Adobe album.

I don't know anything about Adobe Album, but maybe there is a issue between AA and the D200 (I'm just guessing here).

Without knowing more details about your setup its kind of hard to come up with a diagnosis.

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A properly calibrated monitor really helps. PC monitors are dark compared to Mac

monitors. Most digital imaging is done on Macs, at least in the photo industry. There is a

huge difference between my calibrated Sony Artisan monitor at work and my cheapo 17"

PC monitor right next to it. So much so that after entering 3 images for a photo contest

and viewing them on the PC monitor (where most of the voting will be done) I realized my

huge error for not making them brighter! :-)


So my recommendation to you is to calibrate your monitor first, then see how the LCD

compares to your monitor. Personally, I never used the LCD for any kind of exposure

check. If I had any doubts, I would just bracket up or down and move on.



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First set the camera LCD brightness for comfortable viewing

for the ambient light that you are shooting in, a bit brighter

for day and dimmer for night. Use the histogram if you want to

evaluate exposure in the field.<br>


Second you must calibrate your computer monitor. Calibrating a

monitor with out a device like the spider thing is difficult and

very dependent on what utilities that were supplied with your

display card and more so I cant give recommendations.

Without the right utilities is like a dog chasing its tail but

never catching it. With the right utilities its damn



Third you need to control you computer work environment. I

recommend a single 48 fluorescent fixture with a daylight

balanced bulb of high quality. If you can do simple electrical

work a nice option is a dual 48 fluorescent fixture with

two ballasts, one for each tube. The fixture will be installed

over keyboard and monitor so you do not cast a shadow with your

head on the desk. By installing a pull switch on one circuit you

can have lower light for photography and twice the brightness for

other work.<br>


Fourth eliminate as much color as you can from your line of site.

Setup a totally gray computer desktop. Color pollution in the

room or on the computer desktop will affect your sense of color.

Colorful wallpaper is not a problem if your image editing program

is maximized as you work.<br>


Fifth use levels and curves, do not use brightness and contrast.

The later are amateur accommodations. They are lousy,

quite lousy as the cause clipping and data loss. <br>


The problem with your images could easily be that the mid tones

are too dark and need to be raised. If any clipping is needed its

best done with levels where you can see what you are doing.

Curves can be used for anything you can do with brightness,

contrast and levels but its best used to control contrast

in specific areas of the image. For example the 1/4 tone can be

dragged down slightly and the 3/4 tone dragged up slightly to

increase mid tone contrast. This will be done at the expense of

shadow and highlight contrast. If this makes the shadows too dark

or if more separation is need in the shadow area you can pin the

1/4 tone at 63/63 and then raise the 3/4 tone a bit. <br>


The use of curves as described here will increase not only

contrast but color saturation. If the exposure is good and the

color a bit dull a slight S curve can give the image

extra punch. It can also cause too much color saturation, at

least for me, so from time to time I follow curves with Hue &

Saturation and back off the saturation slightly. Im not a

fan of Velvia, never was, too contrasty and the saturation was

too hard for my tasted. Velvia can be good for dull, overcast

days but not clear bright days, not to my taste. With a DSLR the

software is a lot of the image quality just as a conventional

darkroom was a lot of a quality print.<br>


There is another approach and that is to use custom curves in the

camera. Youd be doing the same things I mention above but

in the camera when you want finished or nearly finished JPG files

from your camera. <br>


With the D200 and D2 Series cameras you can have your cake and

eat it too. You can shoot NEF & JPG Fine in large image size.

This gives less images per gigabyte with your CF cards but its

not too bad compared to shooting NEF alone. You try to get it

right in camera but have the NEF file for special images that

deserve the best possible presentation.<br>


If you are new to this there is a lot to learn. If youve

shot with another DSLR perhaps it was setup with defaults

tailored to less skilled photographers and to give good JPG

images, sharpness, color, contrast, etc. right from the camera.

You can tweak the camera to give you what you want most of the

time or do it in post processing or both, your choice.<br>


I hope you find this helpful.<br>




Dave Hartman.

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I have calibrated my monitor with a Spyder 2.


I have a Leica Digilux 2 also, and have no issues with the LCD vs PC image.


I tried different applications (like ACDsee) and got the same result, so I'm still a bit lost here, as I've used about 5 digital cameras so far and this problem is new.


David, thanks for all the time you spent answering.


I'm familiar with curves and tuning images, but ideally, I'd like my images to be ok first shot!


I liked your comments on PC environment (fluorescents, grey backdrop), this is something I haven't thought about in my workflow.


I have to debug more now!

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