YOU'VE seen this in your camera menu and disregarded it until you heard somebody use it. Those who are guilty raise your right hand.
I have to admit, I never really cared about this feature in my camera until one of my students actually played with his camera settings and somehow can’t get a decent studio shot. It turned out, it was the peripheral illumination correction that actually caused the problem. Of course, before I figured it out, I took me hours to run through all the different settings in the menu.
Photography as Mark Nicdao mentioned in his interview is a problem solving matter. The “Auto Light Optimizer and Adaptive D-LIghting is actually a solution to a technology gap that camera manufacturer has been trying to resolve entering the digital era.
Eventually they’ll figure this out but until then, film will still hold the title in highest dynamic range.
The human eye can see about 10-14 stops of light while a digital sensor can only recognized a range of about 7-9 stops. Exposure range is usually expressed in “stops” which is equivalent to double the light intensity after every “stop”. This would simply mean that if the light you are capturing is far apart (more than 7 stops), the details outside the range will be washed out.
Using a graduated density filter will solve this problem when shooting landscape.
Normally the intensity of the light between the sky and the landscape is more than the range of your sensor. Using a GND filter will help you reduce the intensity of the light in the sky and thereby bringing the light intensities within range.
Another solution is to shoot in HDR to extend your exposure range. HDR stands for high dynamic range and can be done using multiple shots in different exposure value. By capturing the image underexposed, you’ll be getting details from the light zones and likewise in dark zone when shooting overexposed. By combining these different frames in post processing, you’ll be able to retain both details in shadows and highlights.
Using in-camera features such as Light-Optimizer in Canon or D-Lighting in Nikon, you can bring back the details in the shadows area and extend your exposure range. The feature actually offers correction in different strengths, from standard to strong recovery of details. Note that this feature can only affect your JPEG image and not your RAW file.
My advice is for you to shoot RAW + JPEG. All the JPEG files will be applied with the preset corrections and if you’re not happy, you can post process your RAW files. You can even post process your RAW files in your camera and select the best corrections to be saved in your JPEG files. This feature is available on selected Canon and Nikon cameras.
During the last SunStar Impromptu Photo Contest, there were photos submitted that could have made the cut if a small contrast or saturation or lighting adjustments were done in-camera. Check your camera and explore the different settings available for you to take advantage.
Keep on shooting everyone! For comments and suggestion, you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org