I wrote a post on Friday entitled Are ND Filters Dead? in which I surprised myself as to how well I could pull up the shadows in an underexposed foreground from a Nikon D800e file. I went to bed that night quite chuffed at myself for the scientific rigour that I had imparted upon that test (sad, I know) until I was wrenched from my near slumber by a thought (yes, this is how far I go for you guys – the least you could do is comment ;-(.
That thought: What about the ‘over-exposed’ images? Can they be brought into line with a bit of Lightroom magic?
The answer is of course yes.
Look at this finished image:
Nikon D800e Landscape Image | Finished image after Lightroom exposure and highlight recovery. The histogram shows a perfectly contained tonal range.
- Histogram and adjustments to the image – of course a grad adjustment was applied to the sky – exposure adjustment.
And here is the original image: This was shot at the camera’s suggested exposure – turns out the D800 knows best?!
Nikon D800e Landscape Dynamic Range Field Test | The original un-edited image – Yuk!
So, yet more compelling evidence that the world of landscape photography has taken yet another really big leap forward. I can’t remember witnessing such a quantum leap forward in meaningful and useable image quality between camera bodies. As you will see in my next post, the Dynamic Range capabilities of the Nikon D800/e are in a totally different league to my previous camera body, the ground breaking Canon 5d mkii.
So are Graduated Neutral Density filters still needed? That depends, if you are shooting any other DSLR the answer is yes (unless you are into HDR or serious exposure blending). If you are toting a D800/e the answer is no – not at all IMHO. That makes me a little sad, as I genuinely like my Grad filters and Singh Ray are a great company – but like my postcards, which are being purchased less and less, times change and products become obsolete as technology marches on…..
My advice – if you want to be making the best landscape images possible for an ‘affordable’ price – buy the Nikon D800 (Amazon)
Cheers – Todd