NEX-6 Exposure Range at Gettysburg

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I have waited for a bright sunny day to continue my evaluation of the Sony NEX-6 and I finally got one and went to the Gettysburg Battlefield to check it out.  I took all of my pictures in program mode in raw format and used the electronic viewfinder rather than the LCD to compose my shots.

While we were there, a drum and fife corps marched up playing Civil War music.  In the above picture they were standing in the shade in front of the entrance to the Visitor Center.  The exposure range was quite severe with their dark uniforms in deep shade and the bright sky and trees in the background.

When I first put the picture up on my monitor after basic LR conversion, I was initially scared.  The camera exposed for the bright areas of the scene so that there weren’t any blown-out areas.  That was good; but the soldiers in the shade with their dark uniforms were extremely dark.  It took me some time to recover the scene to the level shown above.  In my final analysis, I was pleased with the picture but it took me a while to learn how to handle the files.  In all fairness, the Sony did well considering the dynamic range of the scene.

After a brief period (they probably got cold) they moved around to a sunny area in front of Abe Lincoln.  As you can see in the two pictures below, I still had a challenge with the exposures.

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After my initial apprehension, I was finally relieved to learn that I was the problem and all I had to do was learn how to develop them differently.  I won’t know for sure unless I take the same pictures with both my K-5 and the NEX-6, but I think that it takes a different touch in LR4 for each camera.  This shouldn’t have surprised me given the different sensors and lenses, but I hadn’t thought about it before hand.  I used the evaluative setting for exposures in all of my pictures.  I might change that to center-weighted … something else to test at a later date, but I don’t think it would have made much, if any, difference in these scenes.  Before someone asks … I didn’t take any jpeg pictures so I don’t know how the camera would have handled them.  I know that with the K-5 the raw files are better than the jpegs.

Another factor that I’m pondering is the electronic viewfinder.  With the extreme light variations, etc. it wasn’t easy to see the details around the edges of the scene … it’s nothing like an optical viewfinder.  Fortunately, I captured a slightly wider scene than needed and I was able to crop the originals a little to achieve the above pictures.  I need to check the viewfinder some more … wearing and not wearing my glasses, diopter setting, etc.; but I don’t expect it to be a problem.  With the eye shield it sure worked a lot better than an LCD in the sun.

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