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Author Topic: highlight recovery in C1 vs. ACR?  (Read 3882 times)
gebseng
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« on: February 18, 2014, 06:16:59 PM »
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Hi everyone,

In the past, I used to process my Leaf Aptus (and now Leaf Credo) RAWs in C1 7.x, and my OM-D RAW-s in ACR 8.x.

Since C1 started supporting Olympus lens correction profiles for my Zuiko lenses, I switched over to C1 for both cameras.
This works really great, and I really prefer the C1 workflow , image quality, details and colors to ACR/LR.

One thing I don't like so much in C1 is the quality of its Highlight Recovery tool. It seems to me that in ACR/LR, with most files it is no problem to crank the highlight recovery up all the way to 100%. It mostly affects the highlights, as it should.

In C1, however, as I move the highlight recovery slide past the 30% or 40% mark, the image starts to look "HDR-y", with very dark middle and three-quarter tones, and a low contrast image in general.

I manage to counter this effect by increasing brightness and adding a more contrasty S-curve in C1 or later in Photoshop, but not quite with the same good highlight recovery results as in ACR/LR.

I have not managed to "prove" this feeling of mine by processing the same file in both converters, but will try to do so soon.

What is your approach to this topic? Do you think that C1 highlight recovery is as good or better than LR/ACR? Or do you have similar problems to the one I described?

Curious to hear from some of you on that matter,

best,

Gebhard
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2014, 07:42:49 PM »
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Hi,

Well, I normally use negative highlights on gradients, it is a great way to emulate a split ND filter but without affecting dark details. I do it on almost all my pictures.

From LR4 on (processing pipeline PV2012) Lightroom uses some kind of tone mapping compressing both highlights and shadow detail. This tools are actually extremely good at handling wide contrast ranges.

I would recommend checking out this article (which predates LR4): http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/61-hdr-tone-mapping-on-ordinary-image

The enclosed image shows a mountain-scape with deep shadow across, that I could brighten up with little effort just using graduated filters and highlight/shadow controls in LR5.

In C1 you could check out using "linear curve" instead if "film curve".

Best regards
Erik




Hi everyone,

In the past, I used to process my Leaf Aptus (and now Leaf Credo) RAWs in C1 7.x, and my OM-D RAW-s in ACR 8.x.

Since C1 started supporting Olympus lens correction profiles for my Zuiko lenses, I switched over to C1 for both cameras.
This works really great, and I really prefer the C1 workflow , image quality, details and colors to ACR/LR.

One thing I don't like so much in C1 is the quality of its Highlight Recovery tool. It seems to me that in ACR/LR, with most files it is no problem to crank the highlight recovery up all the way to 100%. It mostly affects the highlights, as it should.

In C1, however, as I move the highlight recovery slide past the 30% or 40% mark, the image starts to look "HDR-y", with very dark middle and three-quarter tones, and a low contrast image in general.

I manage to counter this effect by increasing brightness and adding a more contrasty S-curve in C1 or later in Photoshop, but not quite with the same good highlight recovery results as in ACR/LR.

I have not managed to "prove" this feeling of mine by processing the same file in both converters, but will try to do so soon.

What is your approach to this topic? Do you think that C1 highlight recovery is as good or better than LR/ACR? Or do you have similar problems to the one I described?

Curious to hear from some of you on that matter,

best,

Gebhard

« Last Edit: February 18, 2014, 07:45:29 PM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2014, 02:47:10 AM »
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One thing I don't like so much in C1 is the quality of its Highlight Recovery tool. It seems to me that in ACR/LR, with most files it is no problem to crank the highlight recovery up all the way to 100%. It mostly affects the highlights, as it should.

In C1, however, as I move the highlight recovery slide past the 30% or 40% mark, the image starts to look "HDR-y", with very dark middle and three-quarter tones, and a low contrast image in general.

I manage to counter this effect by increasing brightness and adding a more contrasty S-curve in C1 or later in Photoshop, but not quite with the same good highlight recovery results as in ACR/LR.

Hi Gebhard,

A 30+ Highlight recovery is a lot, and suggests overexposure. Make sure that you use a linear tone curve response instead of the default film curve, because that might regain almost a stop of apparent highlight info. Do you still need and have a better exposed image, then you could use that, and it might require some shadow recovery instead.

If you do not have a better exposure, then a better approach might be to use an adjustment layer with negative exposure first. That will only affect the designated areas that you can paint/mask in, and leave the rest of the image tones untouched. It will affect the tonality differently than highlight recovery/compression.

Quote
What is your approach to this topic? Do you think that C1 highlight recovery is as good or better than LR/ACR? Or do you have similar problems to the one I described?

They cannot really be compared, because LR by default already uses a huge highlight tone compression in PV2012 which produces dull highlights. I very much dislike that because it takes the sparkle out of images. Capture One allows a more traditional, less of a blackbox, type of highlight modulation and will reliably show highlight clipping so one can take appropriate corrective action.

I'm a huge fan of Topaz Labs Clarity, which restores the look of light quality that urged me to take the image in the first place, and it allows to adjust highlight tonality very well. Capture One Pro 7.xx output and Topaz Clarity are very good companions for stunning images.

Cheers,
Bart
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gebseng
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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2014, 02:52:09 AM »
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Thanks Bart and Erik for your insightful replies! I realize I still have to learn a lot in this field,

geb
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Schewe
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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2014, 04:17:33 AM »
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They cannot really be compared, because LR by default already uses a huge highlight tone compression in PV2012 which produces dull highlights. I very much dislike that because it takes the sparkle out of images. Capture One allows a more traditional, less of a blackbox, type of highlight modulation and will reliably show highlight clipping so one can take appropriate corrective action.

Well, some might take issue...

All you need to do is to add a bit of Whites to pop those dim speculars...ain't no hard thing. Fact is, ARC/LR does a remarkable job of adjusting the tone curve of digital captures. In fact, ACR/LR does a better job of dealing with high dynamic range images than pretty much any raw converter out there. C1 would LOVE to approach what ACR/LR can do...but, alas, not at this time :~(

Bottom line? Modifying a really touch raw capture tone curve is easier in ACR/LR PV 2012 (something C1 would admit). C1 does a decent (good) job on color but C1 tone is a bit less that ACR/LR PV 2012. That's a fact...
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2014, 04:16:13 AM »
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Well, some might take issue...

Hi Jeff,

I don't see why... But then some people take issue with the strangest things.

You and I may be familiar with the peculiarities of a couple of Raw converters, but many people are not, hence the warning to pay attention to the highlight rendering of LR/ACR, and also of the default film curve response setting in Capture One Pro. I see nothing wrong with warning.

Then there is also the possibility that people do not know what they are missing, until it is pointed out to them in plain words and examples. A demonstration can help. A good example of an eye opener, is the article by Charles Cramer here on LuLa.

From his article the following example:
Quote from: Charles Cramer
Below is a well-exposed image showing how the new Highlights slider can bring out detail and nicely separate highlights without affecting other tones. Previously, this was very hard to do, but the Highlights slider now makes it much easier.  This is a huge advance, as I feel highlights are very important in an image.
 
Image at the left: Highlights Slider at 0,     Image at the right: Highlights Slider at -100

Mind you, -100 (!) on the Highlights slider to get back some highlight tonality on a correctly exposed image. That means that without such drastic intervention, one will lose a lot of realism right from the get-go.

Quote
All you need to do is to add a bit of Whites to pop those dim speculars...ain't no hard thing. Fact is, ARC/LR does a remarkable job of adjusting the tone curve of digital captures. In fact, ACR/LR does a better job of dealing with high dynamic range images than pretty much any raw converter out there.

You may be confusing the functionality of a Raw converter with that of an image editing application. Capture One's Raw conversion is very good, extracts a lot of detail with few artifacts, and offers a lot of tools that help to produce a very solid baseline image, ready for final editing. It even has some tools to produce final output, but I prefer other software that does a superior job at that specialized task, such as the mentioned Topaz Clarity, but even for capture sharpening there are much better tools than Capture One, or LR/ACR for that matter, offer.

Quote
Bottom line? Modifying a really touch raw capture tone curve is easier in ACR/LR PV 2012 (something C1 would admit). C1 does a decent (good) job on color but C1 tone is a bit less that ACR/LR PV 2012. That's a fact...

Declaring something a bit personal/subjective (comparing usability of feature sets of a Rawconverter versus those of an image editior, i.e. a workflow preference) as a fact of superiority, seems 'a bit' misleading, to say the least. Some might take issue ...

Cheers,
Bart
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thierrylegros396
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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2014, 11:55:43 AM »
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Yes it's very personal.

But I prefer the Lightroom (ACR) PV2012 most of the time.

Recovery is by far better than C1 and DXO.

DXO let some strong color cast in highlights when not "fully burn".

You may always push highlights (full image, or selectively with brush, gradient,..) to obtain "sparkle look".

Thierry
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