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q2: fw update v4.0: new highlight metering mode


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for my evening walk i set the metering mode to the new highlight mode and kept the idr at /auto/ and i didn't set any shadow/highlight compensation in the photo style. on my outward leg i faced directly into the sun. but given the exact same shot, the highlight metering was 2-4 stops darker in the viewfinder than the multi mode. so dark i couldn't see many details at all. but i kept shooting in this mode anyway. it was crazy! about 50-60% of the shots were unusable, a result i never in my life expected. shame i don't chimp or i'd have picked it up earlier.

here's a representative example of highlight vs multi. the multi is no good in this instance either. but if i'd used exp comp to brighten the viewfinder image up on the highlight mode it would have turned out much like multi. i used exp comp a _lot_ and i'm used to how much to tweak the image i'm seeing. 


here's the very first shot i took using highlight metering. at first glance it's dark, but there's just enough shadow detail to be usable. barely. 



 

my conclusion--too much of a crapshoot. i'd have to shoot hundreds of images under various lighting to get comfortable with when to use it. and the multi-meter is just too good to abandon for something i don't quite understand. 

/guy

Edited by gteague
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i checked the exif for the first two images above and here's what they show the difference was. btw, the metering mode says 'pattern' for the multi-mode and 'other' for the new highlight mode. 

here's the exif for the first dark one and it shows f6.3 @1/600th was set using the highlight metering.



and here's the exif for the second or light one showing f4 @1/250th, a difference, as i suspected from the viewfinder image, of approximately 4 stops. 

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and not to be though a negative nellie, out of the 20 or so shots i took, the highlight meter mode nailed 8-10 of them. here was one i think the multi-meter or the spot meter would struggle with and although the bench in the shade is dark, i think the result is quite good and shows a lot of dynamic range:

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Since you mention "Photo Style", I have to ask.... are you shooting JPEG? If so I would think that highlight weighted metering may not be the appropriate tool for the job, as it would really rely on the shadow recovery ability of RAW files. I say this having not actually tried it out yet... but I would expect many shots in challenging conditions resulting in underexposure to protect the highlights.

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1 minute ago, matted said:

Since you mention "Photo Style", I have to ask.... are you shooting JPEG? If so I would think that highlight weighted metering may not be the appropriate tool for the job, as it would really rely on the shadow recovery ability of RAW files. I say this having not actually tried it out yet... but I would expect many shots in challenging conditions resulting in underexposure to protect the highlights.

i've recently started shooting jpg+raw since dxo now supports editing directly from the mac finder. but i detest editing and only very rarely will edit any image--especially since i can now crop my jpgs in the mac quickview screen. 

and yes, i think i concluded just on one outing that the highlight mode would take more of a learning curve than i'm willing to give it since i know my way around multi-mode so well. and you're exactly correct--it's a mode that protects the highlights at the expense of every other element. my s1 produces near-perfect jpgs once i tweaked the photo styles and superb b&w whereas the jpgs on the leica are still way behind the s1 even with all the tweaking i can throw at them. 

/guy

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14 minutes ago, gteague said:

i've recently started shooting jpg+raw since dxo now supports editing directly from the mac finder. but i detest editing and only very rarely will edit any image--especially since i can now crop my jpgs in the mac quickview screen. 

and yes, i think i concluded just on one outing that the highlight mode would take more of a learning curve than i'm willing to give it since i know my way around multi-mode so well. and you're exactly correct--it's a mode that protects the highlights at the expense of every other element. my s1 produces near-perfect jpgs once i tweaked the photo styles and superb b&w whereas the jpgs on the leica are still way behind the s1 even with all the tweaking i can throw at them. 

/guy

Gotcha, that makes sense. I definitely wouldn't recommend highlight weighted metering in your case then! 

It seems like it would be a useful tool in the right situation, I just don't know what that is yet...

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32 minutes ago, gteague said:

q2

I wouldn’t put too much blame on the metering in the examples you posted above.  Those high contrast conditions will always be difficult for nearly all cameras. Extensive editing of the raw file and balancing the histogram is the only realistic way to salvage an acceptable result.  Additional, your S1 has over 1/2 stop more dynamic range than the Q2 to mitigate the effects of the exposure variation.  Irrespective, relying on the jpg only will likely leave you disappointed.

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i didn't realize the s1 had a slight advantage over the q2, but let's be realistic, nowadays i no longer have a need to wring the last ounce of quality out of images. believe me, i used to obsess over the zone system and 1/4º temperature and 2s time differences and which spot meter was best and i'm glad those days are over. but despite working in photography and computers my entire life i am not compatible with digital editing. whatever paradigms they use to program those editors i will never sync up with. luckily the mac is now building in basic editing capabilities--i can even cut and rearrange video clips in quickview. 

i go walking every evening it's over 70º and i come home and post my photos on facebook which totally mangles them anyway so i figure why waste the effort working on a raw for 20 minutes. the s1 and q2 are two of the absolute best cameras i've ever owned and both are capable of superb jpg quality although the q2 takes more effort to get them tweaked. so no, i'm ecstatically happy with the jpgs i turn out. and i've started shooting jpg+raw, so i do have the raw files if the occasion arises or i just want to show off. :)

/guy

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14 minutes ago, gteague said:

i didn't realize the s1 had a slight advantage over the q2, but let's be realistic, nowadays i no longer have a need to wring the last ounce of quality out of images. believe me, i used to obsess over the zone system and 1/4º temperature and 2s time differences and which spot meter was best and i'm glad those days are over. but despite working in photography and computers my entire life i am not compatible with digital editing. whatever paradigms they use to program those editors i will never sync up with. luckily the mac is now building in basic editing capabilities--i can even cut and rearrange video clips in quickview. 

i go walking every evening it's over 70º and i come home and post my photos on facebook which totally mangles them anyway so i figure why waste the effort working on a raw for 20 minutes. the s1 and q2 are two of the absolute best cameras i've ever owned and both are capable of superb jpg quality although the q2 takes more effort to get them tweaked. so no, i'm ecstatically happy with the jpgs i turn out. and i've started shooting jpg+raw, so i do have the raw files if the occasion arises or i just want to show off. :)

/guy

If you’re satisfied with the jpg the rest of the equation is moot. These conversations are often just exercises in aesthetic values of the photographer and the intended audience. Personally, my photos will sometimes get a little more scrutiny than FB posts so I tend to put a greater effort into the final product.  

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It will be interesting to see how this setting performs and we may need to add some compensation. On My Sony a7r3 and A1 when using highlight metering I add around +1.7 in compensation to get a file with no highlight clipping and better shadow detail. experimentation will be needed to get the best results

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As others have said, this metering is for shooting raw, when you recover the shadows. It's similar to using exposure compensation while checking the histogram, so if you do work that way, then it saves a step of having to adjust the AC. It's certainly not ideal for jpegs. However, the additional dynamic range for jpegs is certainly something to look into. When you shoot jpeg, you really need to depend on what you see in the viewfinder, as that will be pretty much what you get in the final photo. 

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yeah, i knew something wasn't right the very first time i looked into the viewfinder and it was like i was shooting at night. i never thought of taking an image and playing it back because that's just not in my muscle memory to do and i considered that since it was a new feature maybe there was a glitch or bug where the display wasn't going to match the image. 

/guy

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This mode's entire purpose is to preserve all your highlights, without regard to anything else in the scene. The reason for this is that highlight recovery is much more difficult than pushing shadows in digital cameras, at least at lower ISOs. So for people shooting raw it can help. But as you determined, it is not for general use, and certainly not for jpegs when the picture includes the sun or a very bright highlight. Stick to your multi metering or center weighted, and you should be much better off!

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i do a lot of sky/cloud shots and it might be useful for those. i usually do -2 or -3 ev and it looks like it might do that for me automatically. i'll give it a try on that before writing it off completely for my use. /guy

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Regarding the first image in this thread... if you meter for specular highlights regardless the camera or the metering mode the rest of the image will not be its best.  Specular highlights such as the sun, reflections from water or chrome, etc., have no detail.   Lowering exposure in an attempt to maintain detail where none exists simply degrades the exposure for the rest of your image.  Meter for the brightest spots excluding the specular highlights.   They will be blown out whatever you do.

That said, I wish Leica would give me a highlight metering mode for my ancient Q ;)

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really weird, compared to my Ricoh GR III, highlight metering on the Q2 did not protect HL everytime. If you let the camera on no exposure compensation dial in (neutral) it works. But if you set it to positive compensation, it will let the Q2 burn the HL. Very weird.

On GR III, HL metering will protect HL at any given exposure comp. I prefer the Ricoh's way, more foolproof. 

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