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Dynamic range film vs. digital
Old 01-26-2007, 09:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I have hired to do another beach wedding with the sunset in the background. Although I understand that film may have higher end dynamic range than digital sensors, I want to get as much of the reds and oranges in the Florida sunset as possible in the background of the shoot. What experience has anyone found in getting those beautiful sunsets onto a digital image? How has your digital work compaired to film? I am using both a Nikon D2X and a Canon 5D in case sensor brand makes much of a difference.

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Re: Dynamic range film vs. digital
Old 01-26-2007, 01:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Digital tends to be more similar to slide film than print film. You have he same tight tolerance for exposure. You always had a lot more "slop" factor with film than with slide, or now digital.

Since digital is a linear process you'll find that it is often wise to push the exposure so that the histogram goes as far right as you can get it without clipping. This usually means you need to know how the histogram in your camera compares to the one in Photoshop, since that is usually the ultimate target. Because of the linear nature of digital, half of all the info the camera can capture is in the first 1/5th of the histogram (on the right). Then half of what's left is in the next zone moving left, and so forth.

I don't think the sensor will make much difference, in this case. Also you have to deal with the very narrow window of time for a sunset.

Often times, you get the best control, by using enough strobe power to overpower the sun and then you essentially control the subject exposure with fstop and the sunset exposure with the shutterspeed. You'll want the WB set to produce warm tones.

Here are a couple of examples:

http://www.glamour1.com/photoplog/index.php?n=899

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Re: Dynamic range film vs. digital 


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Re: Dynamic range film vs. digital
Old 01-27-2007, 06:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for your reply. I'm thinking I was so used to metering differently when I used to shoot film... Maybe time for me to do a side by side comparison ah the beach this spring
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Re: Dynamic range film vs. digital
Old 03-06-2007, 02:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi there

as far as i understood that its a little bit different...

With the DSLR´s you have approx 8 EV of Dynamicrange, with film approx 5 and slide 4...

Only thing you have to mind is that if in digital an overexposure happens, its overexposed, no detail, no possibility to regain any information...

But in the Shadows there is normally enough information, only problem, noise, every digital camera generates noise in the shadows, if you push you will see it!

so i intend to meter that i slighty underexpose...

but only a 1/2 or 1/3 stop, so that the histogram doesn´t clips (or if it clips that you really want it that way and know what that means...)

only problem is that raw is generally a little flat and not that dynamic, so on most photos you have to use gradient and histogram in photoshop that it pops ;-)

hope that helped...

have a nice evening....
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Re: Dynamic range film vs. digital
Old 03-06-2007, 03:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Both responses are correct and I, like rob tend to shoot slightly under. I understand the point of exposing to the right of your histogram - in theory. I've just never gotten used to using them in camera to set exposure. I'm a zone system kind of guy. So I expose for digital the way I would expose color slide film (as opposed to neg) by metering for the highlights and placing them in zone 9. I then use additional lighting to bring the rest of the scene into rage if desired. I also shoot a D2X and have had no issues with noise if I expose properly, even if a tad under. Remember exposure is not a black and white, right or wrong thing - to a certain point it is subjective.

Now to address you point specifically, ie, shooting sunset shots on a beach. You definitely want to use an additional light source, preferably a strobe. To get the rich color saturation you are seeking you will have to balance two separate exposures one for the sky and one for your subject matter. Control the sky with aperture and shutter and the subject matter with flash. Do a search for Dragging the Shutter.

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