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RAW Recovery Function  
User currently offlineptrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3944 posts, RR: 18
Posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 2649 times:

Hi all,

When working in RAW editors, I've always used the Exposure lever to treat (slightly) overexposed photos - it seems like the natural thing to do. But recently I've discovered the Recovery function in Camera Raw, and it seems to do a better job. Do you agree? Are there any snags?

Thanks,

Peter 


The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
5 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently onlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4783 posts, RR: 26
Reply 1, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 2637 times:
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Quoting ptrjong (Thread starter):
When working in RAW editors, I've always used the Exposure lever to treat (slightly) overexposed photos - it seems like the natural thing to do. But recently I've discovered the Recovery function in Camera Raw, and it seems to do a better job. Do you agree? Are there any snags?

Recovery is indeed very powerful, but too much leaves a shot flat so a boost in contrast is often needed to compensate. It's a balance.

However, even more powerful is the latest ACR version in CS6. Instead of a "recovery" slider there is a highlight slider that is incredibly powerful, as well as a slider for whites.



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User currently offlineckw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 732 posts, RR: 16
Reply 2, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 2630 times:

It depends  

Basically as I understand it, exposure does pretty much what you would expect, reduces or increases the exposure.

Recovery, however, works differently - if an image appears overexposed, it may be only one or two channels which are blown. Recovery uses the data in the channels which aren't blown to recreate the 'blown' channels.

You can see the difference in the effect by watching the effect in the histogram display while moving the sliders. With exposure you'll notice very significant changes in the midtones, while the effect of recovery is pretty much expected to the highlights.

The best result will depend on exactly what the problem is. Often if the image is correctly exposed with just a few blown highlights, revovery does a good job. If the image is underexposed, then exposure may be the best tool.

But there are lots of different views on this. Some advocate fairly radical use of exposure (eg. up to -1.00) to pull back the highlights then use the brightness control to boost the midtones.

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 9952 posts, RR: 26
Reply 3, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 2591 times:
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I use Recovery rather sparingly. If I've gotten the exposure pretty close, then using the Exposure slider works just fine, even for slight overexposure.

If I've overexposed moderately, then I may use a combo of Exposure and Recovery. I'll do that to quiet down the highlights without darkening the midtones and shadows too much.

The other instance in which I'll use recovery is in photos where there is too large a spectrum for the camera to cover, and I didn't do an HDR for whatever reason. For example, if I'm shooting at dusk, I'll use Recovery to tame bright lights that are otherwise a bit distracting.

As Ryan said, though, using too much Recovery makes a photo look flat and very strange.



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently offlineckw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 732 posts, RR: 16
Reply 4, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 2569 times:

The key thing is to understand that blown highlights and over exposure are 2 different things.

If the dynamic range of the scene exceeds that of the sensor, it is possible to get the exposure spot on - ie. a neutral grey is correctly recorded, but still have the highlights appearing over exposed (or for that matter, shadows gone totally black). This is what "recovery" and "fill light" are for. They don't mess with the exposure (unless you use extreme values), but will attempt to build some detail in the blown highlights or black shadows.

As has been said, this can leave an image looking flat as effectively you are reducing the apparent dynmic range. After RAW processing I sometimes restore the image's "punch" by tweaking the tone curves. It can also look unnatural - remember the recovered detail is not "real" it is data interpolated from other channels - a typical result is solid bands of colour around the sun at sunset/sunrise instead of a smooth gradation,

If the midtones look overexposed, then the exposure slider is the way to go (though I find a combination of the exposure and brightness sliders works better).

Fill light works in a similar fashion to recovery - ie. it attempts to recover data from blocked up shadows. In general I don't think this works as well in so far as it invariably results in noisy shadows. This is because there is much less data to work with in the first place.

Cheers

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently offlineptrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3944 posts, RR: 18
Reply 5, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 2559 times:

Thanks guys. Especially Colin for another fine explanation.

Peter  



The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
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