Thursday, December 19, 2013

Using C1 for HDR

Short note using the custom settings dial position(s) of the Panasonic DMC-LX7 for HDR.

If you search the internet about the C1 and C2 custom settings position, folks seem to advice to setup those memories using the P mode. Not sure why that is, maybe those folks believe that the P stands for "programming"... Well it does not, it stands for "Program AE", which is a mode that automatically selects the shutter speed and the aperture value. This mode allows for a little bit more user control over the camera's settings, e.g. ISO, in comparison to the iA auto mode. That's all there is to P.

For my HDR purposes, I actually configured the camera to my likings in A mode, the mode used for exposure bracketing, and saved those setting into C1. Why C1? Very simple, C2 has got 3 sub-modes, which the user needs to select via a menu. Anything under C2 is therefore not directly selectable.

Here are some of the settings (non exhaustive list) I use and why I use those:

AUTO ISO / max ISO 400
In the very beginning I used max ISO 80, which is fine in pure daylight. However, if you allow AUTO ISO, this is what the camera will selected anyway (watch you ND-filter). Under low light, ISO 400 still produces reasonably low noise +3EVframes with handheld-compatible shutter speeds.
Don't go any higher however! My experience is that the camera will select ISO 80-160 for the 0EV and ISO 80 for the -3EV shot.

Stabilizer OFF
Well, I love the stabilizer for single frame shots, in particular in lower light and/or longer lenses. However, the O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) uses a mobile doublet, see image below, which will cause tiny changes to the image geometry.
There is nothing wrong with tiny changes in image geometry, unless you want to match image coordinates from different frames.
Consequently, I want OIS always engage, unless I am taking bracketed frames for HDR.

FN button to "Quality"
This might look funny since you would consider to shoot in RAW only. That is entirely true, however, occasionally it comes along handy to also have a JPG recorded. The LX7 is able to record a JPG file next to the RAW file. The content of this JPG file is actually configurable in the camera itself, even camera effects will have influence on this file. A push on the FN button now allows for a quick decision to include or not said JPG file.

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