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Maximum dynamic range single image shooting on R6 Mark II

Mkiv
Contributor

What is the best way to capture the highest possible dynamic range in a single frame(not video)on the Canon R6 Mark II? I’m not talking about HDR processing and compositing of multiple images, rather capturing the highest amount of highlight and shadow in a single frame. My guess would have something to do with custom profiles? I realize that the out of camera image may be flat but that is adjustable in post processing. TIA

3 ACCEPTED SOLUTIONS

Unlikely that you will capture larger dynamic range with HDR PQ or D+ when you shoot raw. What you get is a different tone curve in some raw converters. For example DPP or Lightroom.

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if one plans to edit the raw, then there is no reason to enable highlight tone priority nor auto lighting optimizer nor HDR PQ in the camera menus. That can always be done later in the Canon DPP software or maybe in other software. There is also no advantage to enabling Adobe RGB in the camera if one plans to edit the raw file.

Using Av aperture priority will leave the shutter speed and/or the ISO on auto. The camera will choose an exposure which is good when one wishes to document something before it changes, but not good in a studio with controlled lighting. I speculate that enabling those features that I suggest disabling in the previous paragraph will change how the camera chooses exposure.

I suggest that if highlights are most important, use negative exposure compensation and if shadows are most important use positive exposure compensation and adjust brightness, dynamic range, tone curve, and white balance when editing the raw.

View solution in original post


@Mkiv wrote:

 After reviewing your input, I have done some testing. I always shoot RAW in Adobe RGB. I also almost always shoot in Aperture Priority while manually adjusting my Exposure Compensation. I have tried HDR PQ with and without D+ and D+2. I am wondering however, if I am always shooting in RAW, are all of these techniques really capturing more dynamic range? It seems that in my type of photography(photojournalism), that I tend to be more concerned with my highlights not blowing out. On looking at my histogram after shooting with HDR PQ, I noticed that there seems to be a visible limit line on the highlights. Therefore, are HDR PQ and D+ or D+2 just a way of preserving my highlight detail? Or is this method only helping my visual perception of the image on the camera back? Once again, because I am always shooting in RAW, does any of this matter? Is the sensor just capturing everything it can by default when shooting RAW and therefore I should just be concerned with highlight preservation? 


First, I may not have been clear enough on the specific use of HDR PQ in my comments, so I apologize for that. To be clear, HDR PQ is for displaying on HDR compliant monitors (HDR 10). As Peter mentioned, PQ (Perceptual  Quantization) applies a different tone curve which has greater bit depth, 10 bits IIRC, and applies better transition in colors to reduce banding, "It's using the standardized gamma curve called PQ, which is mapped in a way to put more weight on transitions that the human eye is sensitive to and finds pleasing", so using a Raw PQ or HEIF to convert to JPG defeats the purpose as JPG is an 8bit file. Displays may try to emulate HDR with the JPG, but that's it, which is the case for the back camera display and DPP 4 when you don't have an HDR display. If you plan to use HDR PQ, your camera must be set to HDR PQ for the PQ data to be included in the Raw file, so you can not make a PQ HEIF/HIF from a regular Raw CR3 as the PQ data is not there.

Given your type of shooting (low light), I think you are on the right track to figuring it out ("Aperture Priority while manually adjusting my Exposure Compensation"). As to aRGB, If you are shooting Raw, I don't think color space carries much weight in post as it can be changed, so it's for JPG's, your camera LCD, or maybe the initial view in your post editor and thumbnails. I use "Wide Gamut RGB" once I'm in post, but we all have our preferences 🙂 As for the histogram, it's the same on my R5 and R6II in that it cuts off about a third of my entire scale in the highlights. But once I get the HDR PQ files into DPP 4, my histogram expands to 1023.

To repeat: "Once again, because I am always shooting in RAW, does any of this matter? Is the sensor just capturing everything it can by default when shooting RAW and therefore I should just be concerned with highlight preservation?"

That is correct! Unless you are shooting to display your Raw HDR PQ files on an HDR compliant monitor or distributing HEIF to others that also have HDR equipment, it does not matter. Your Raw files are going to have the best dynamic range they can produce. They just won't have the PQ data.

Newton

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27 REPLIES 27

FloridaDrafter
Authority
Authority

The R6 mark II already has above average dynamic range, but if you have the gear, like an HDR monitor and GPU, you can shoot in HDR PQ. It looks amazing on my system and they print nicely. The downside is, sharing the shots can be problematic in that others have to have the same HDR viewing capabilities. I'm not sure how LR or PS handles these files (Raw or HEIF) because I edit them in DPP 4. I've sent the HEIF files produced from the HDR Raw files to my sister who uses Apple products and she says they are superb and her and her daughter are graphic artists. Anyway, visit page 191 of the advanced users manual.

HDR PQHDR PQ

Newton

Thank you for the info Newton. I have been experimenting with the HDR PQ and Highlight Tone Priority. I did some shooting with these features and then exported to jpg and tiff. The results were good on a non HDR monitor. I usually have to export to jpg for my agency. I am a run and gun photojournalist that usually shoots in Aperture Priority. I am looking for a solution that lets me continue to do that while capturing the maximum amount of highlights and shadows. If the image is flat out of camera I don’t mind because I always post process my files. I use Adobe Camera Raw. As far as Highlight Tone Priority goes do you recommend D+ or D+2? or does D+2 go too far in the noise direction? What do you think of Auto Lighting Optimizer? I have also looked into the “shooting to the right” technique. Some people commenting on my post advise shooting at very low ISO. In a controlled situation that works great. I however often find myself in very dark environments. I am noticing a move within photojournalism where the final image looks a bit underexposed and flat and the highlights are rarely blown out with good detail in the shadows and subdued colors.


@Mkiv wrote:

I am noticing a move within photojournalism where the final image looks a bit underexposed and flat and the highlights are rarely blown out with good detail in the shadows and subdued colors.


There is an older article by James Maher who is a NYC based photographer that documents city activity. The article is "Why You Should Make Dark Images". I would post the link, but it would probably get removed per forum guidelines, but you can probably Google it (I did).

I'm not sure it will help with your HDR, but it is an interesting read. There are some good "comments" from other photographers as well.

Newton


@Mkiv wrote:

"Thank you for the info Newton."

"As far as Highlight Tone Priority goes do you recommend D+ or D+2? or does D+2 go too far in the noise direction? What do you think of Auto Lighting Optimizer? I have also looked into the “shooting to the right” technique."


You are welcome, and sorry it took so long to get back with you.

My preference is, for normal shooting, to disable Highlight tone priority but use D+ when shooting HDR PQ. I have "For HDR PQ, use D+" ticked so it activates when I'm shooting HDR PQ. BTW, I don't have that option on my R5, so I have to manually set it to D+. I keep Auto lighting optimizer set to normal, but I sometimes turn it off in post (DPP 4), it just depends on how bad it disrupts the ambience of the shot.

Canon is really banking on the HEIF format replacing jpeg. At this point, it's just a novelty, IMHO, but I really enjoy using it and the HDR Raw files that produce them. It is a superior format in almost every way, it's just getting it inserted into our viewing and editing workflow that's been slow, particularly in the Windows PC world, apple users have at least been able to view it for some time now. Replacing a well established format is tough.

Newton

Thank you for the reply and information. I am sending this same reply to you and a few others that have commented on my post about capture of dynamic range on the R6 Mark II. I am sending this generic reply because for some reason I am not able to log into my Canon Community profile on my desktop computer and can only access it on mobile, so typing takes a long time, but that’s another story. 

 

After reviewing your input, I have done some testing. I always shoot RAW in Adobe RGB. I also almost always shoot in Aperture Priority while manually adjusting my Exposure Compensation. I have tried HDR PQ with and without D+ and D+2. I am wondering however, if I am always shooting in RAW, are all of these techniques really capturing more dynamic range? It seems that in my type of photography(photojournalism), that I tend to be more concerned with my highlights not blowing out. On looking at my histogram after shooting with HDR PQ, I noticed that there seems to be a visible limit line on the highlights. Therefore, are HDR PQ and D+ or D+2 just a way of preserving my highlight detail? Or is this method only helping my visual perception of the image on the camera back? Once again, because I am always shooting in RAW, does any of this matter? Is the sensor just capturing everything it can by default when shooting RAW and therefore I should just be concerned with highlight preservation? 

 

I looked on YouTube for videos on HDR PQ and D+ but was only able to find videos on shooting video and not stills. It seems that most of the instructional videos there cater to video shooters, not still shooters.  

 

TIA 

 

Gabriel 

 

Unlikely that you will capture larger dynamic range with HDR PQ or D+ when you shoot raw. What you get is a different tone curve in some raw converters. For example DPP or Lightroom.

Thank you so much for your help Peter.

I really appreciate it.

Gabriel

if one plans to edit the raw, then there is no reason to enable highlight tone priority nor auto lighting optimizer nor HDR PQ in the camera menus. That can always be done later in the Canon DPP software or maybe in other software. There is also no advantage to enabling Adobe RGB in the camera if one plans to edit the raw file.

Using Av aperture priority will leave the shutter speed and/or the ISO on auto. The camera will choose an exposure which is good when one wishes to document something before it changes, but not good in a studio with controlled lighting. I speculate that enabling those features that I suggest disabling in the previous paragraph will change how the camera chooses exposure.

I suggest that if highlights are most important, use negative exposure compensation and if shadows are most important use positive exposure compensation and adjust brightness, dynamic range, tone curve, and white balance when editing the raw.

Thank you so much for your help John.

I really appreciate your input and time.

Gabriel

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