High Dynamic Range Photos with the FZ28.

I was out wanting to test my FZ28 and learn more about the camera and how to take better photos, when I took the photo below:

F6.3, 1/400s, ISO100

The problem with photos like the above is about dynamic range, basically meaning the camera is unable to see and record the range of colors, brightness and contrast that our eyes can. If you play around with metering modes, or compensate for exposure, you'll either get the sky overexposed (too bright) or the mountain underexposed (too dark) and vice versa. I've read and seen some excellent High Dynamic Range (HDR) photos, and decided to shoot the above in RAW, and to try to get it to look better when I'm back on my PC.

The thing is, I don't like RAW mode very much and SilkyPix isn't helping. The next alternative is to use Adobe's DNG converter as the Camera Raw plug-in does not read FZ28 .RW2 files directly. Using the DNG converter creates a .DNG file that's 3 times the already large .RW2 file, so you can now understand my dislike for RAW files.

That's until I stumbled upon the RAW processing in ACDSee Pro. It's easy to use and it has got this "Light EQ", which basically works like your regular audio graphic equalizer. You drag the settings and be amazed at the results.

The same photo as above but with exaggerated exposure and saturation.

I brightened up dark areas, darken bright areas, increased color temperature and saturation, all with a exaggerated settings to really push what can be done. It's not perfect and if you look closely you'll see it's beginning to get noisy. But this is all done without any HDR softwares, only the RAW processing in ACDSee Pro. Wow! I guess I'm beginning to like RAW mode now.

Same photo with more natural settings.

Not only can RAW processing produces HDR photos, it can also give you more natural looking photos too. The above is about as close as I can get to what I'm seeing with my own eyes. Compare it with the first photo and it looks much better. This just goes to show the amount of possibilities that you can control and play with in RAW.

So, am I all sold on RAW mode and RAW processing ? Well, only when the lighting conditions gets difficult, otherwise I'll stick with JPEG for the moment. Oh, by the way, the whitish part on the left of the photo are actually smoke as somebody's burning something over there.

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