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Highlight clipping different between NEF and TIFF

Community Beginner ,
Aug 31, 2021 Aug 31, 2021

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Today I noticed that a NEF converted to a TIFF behaved completely differently on the highlight clipping on the histogram in Develop.  Adding 0.5 to exposure in each  (NEF was +0.2 before conversion) showed different amounts of red highlight burning on the image (NEF more), but dramatically different on the histogram. I had to add almost 1.5 stops to the TIFF before the histrogram flashed overexposed.   The histograms look identical on first conversion, but you can see the red chaneel on the NEF is a lot more pronounced with the +0.5 and highlight warning is flashing. 

 

Can someone explain this as not something I have seen or noticed before, but quite suprising.  Basically the highlight warning on the TIFF is way out

Thanks for any advice. 

Mike

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Adobe Community Professional , Sep 04, 2021 Sep 04, 2021
I checked your DNG file with your Camera Standard setting and with Adobe Standard and the clipping level differences were about the same. So we can rule out Camera Standard profile as the cause. Checking the DNG file further I see that you have a Local Adjustment Brush applied as below. Again this changes the settings adaption characteristics, which is causing the difference you are seeing between the NEF and TIFF White clipping level. With the Adjustment Brush removed the White clipping point f...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 01, 2021 Sep 01, 2021

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{Moved from Lightroom Cloud to Lightroom Classic Forum}

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LEGEND ,
Sep 01, 2021 Sep 01, 2021

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Zoom in to at least 1:1

I suspect Smart Preview is getting in the way

 

although, histogram indicates, in both, that you are viewing original.

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 01, 2021 Sep 01, 2021

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The LrC Basic panel controls are image adaptive. The Highlights and Shadows controls when set to 0 apply a small amount of black and white clipping recovery. Because of this a TIFF file created with all controls set to 0 the image data will be different than the NEF file's raw data. In fact a raw file will often display Whites and Black clipping with all controls set to 0 that can be fully recovered using the Highlights and Shadows controls. A TIFF created from such a file (with 0 settings)will have that clipping permanently applied to its image data, which is NOT recoverable.

 

Also make sure you are exporting to ProPhoto RGB profile and 16 bit, which is what LrC uses internally.

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 02, 2021 Sep 02, 2021

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Ah seems you are saying the distribution of pixels in the TIFF has already been truncated so less extreme values. Therefore requires a bigger movmeent in expsoure to hit the clipping warning. 

 

So my TIFF images looks supper bright, but there is no highlight clipping so does that mean its bright, but not actually burnt out? 

 

Thanks for link very useful

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 02, 2021 Sep 02, 2021

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When you export a raw file to TIFF in LrC or use Edit in PS the resulting TIFF should look exactly like the raw file inside LrC with whatever settings you have applied.  If it doesn't then you have some other issue we need to investigate. Just make sure your Export settings and Edit In PS preferences are set to ProPhoto RGB and 16 bit.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 02, 2021 Sep 02, 2021

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@masplin wrote:

Ah seems you are saying the distribution of pixels in the TIFF has already been truncated so less extreme values. Therefore requires a bigger movmeent in expsoure to hit the clipping warning. 

 

Again, a it can depend on the color space (and it's gamut/encoding) of the TIFF which differs from the raw. What color space was used to create that TIFF? 

The current rendering of a raw shows pixels that are burned out indeed, with that rendering. It doesn't tell us if the pixels are actually burned out (over exposed). 

To produce a TIFF with the identical color space as the raw being shown to you, you'd need to create an ICC profile using ProPhoto RGB with a 1.0 TRC, something that can easily be created using Photoshop. 

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management" (pluralsight.com)

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 02, 2021 Sep 02, 2021

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Hi Todd. I'm using the RGBPro and 16 bit as the coversion. Yes when I bring the TIFF back into LR the histograms look identical.  Its just when you start to move the exposure they change quite differently with the NEF flashing highlights much earlier (+0.5) then the TIFF (+1.5).

 

Thanks

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 02, 2021 Sep 02, 2021

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"the NEF flashing highlights much earlier (+0.5) then the TIFF (+1.5)."

 

Again, this is due to the image adaptive behavior of the Tone controls. You have some Tone settings applied to the NEF, but all 0 settings for the TIFF. So you're starting at a different adaption point. Try setting the NEF Tone controls to all 0, create the TIFF file, and then compare the Exposure control highlight clipping points. They should be very close to the same. It's really not something you need to worry about other than to understand that any clipping visible in the NEF will cause the TIFF to lose pixel data. If you want those image areas to remain fully clipped (White and Black) in the TIFF then there's no issue. The article I linked to should provide some more insight on the Tone control usage.

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 02, 2021 Sep 02, 2021

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My immediate thought is that your different responses are characteristic of JPG versus raw histograms. We're told cameras present their histograms based on JPG data (restricted dynamic range) and will always show histograms on the monitor showing less dynamic range than the eventual raw file.

So how come we have a JPG-like response from an NEF? Could it be because the histogram you're seeing in LrC is based on the embedded JPG, not the NEF's raw data? Now I certainly don't know that for a fact, but that would be a simple answer.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 02, 2021 Sep 02, 2021

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Neither. The Histogram in ACR/LR is not based on any kind of raw Histogram but of the current rendering using ProPhoto RGB primaries and a linear tone response. Which is not anything like the camera Histogram based on the JPEG.

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management" (pluralsight.com)

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 03, 2021 Sep 03, 2021

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So for an experiment I took a NEF file with no adjustments and converted to TIFF.  As you woudl expect the histograms look identicalNEF Before.JPGTIFF before.JPG

 

Adding 0.85 exposure to the NEF generates a hgihligh warning and starting to show red on the rabbits tummy

 

NEF after.JPG

 

On the TIFF I have to jack it up to +2.1 to get a warning and rabbit tummy seems extremly bright, but not highlighted .  I'm still struggling to understand why this area is burnt out in the NEF, but not in the TIFF despite the extra 1.25 stops of exposure.  Is it because the brightest pixles in the NEF were removed in creating the TIFF so you can push it alot further?

 

TIFF after.JPG

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 03, 2021 Sep 03, 2021

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I'd ignore the clipping overlay and examine the Histograms that tell you about channel clipping using this to do so:

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management" (pluralsight.com)

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 03, 2021 Sep 03, 2021

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I just tested three different Canon 5D MKII CR2 files and the Exposure adjustment Highlight clipping level was about 0.2 to 0.5 EV higher for the CR2 file conpared to the TIFF file. Please export the NEF to DNG file format and post it and the TIFF export file to Dropbox or another file sharing website and we can take a look at it.

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 04, 2021 Sep 04, 2021

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 04, 2021 Sep 04, 2021

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I checked your DNG file with your Camera Standard setting and with Adobe Standard and the clipping level differences were about the same. So we can rule out Camera Standard profile as the cause. Checking the DNG file further I see that you have a Local Adjustment Brush applied as below. Again this changes the settings adaption characteristics, which is causing the difference you are seeing between the NEF and TIFF White clipping level. With the Adjustment Brush removed the White clipping point for the DNG (i.e. NEF) file is Exposure +2.23 and for the TIFF +2.73. So much closer to the same. This is expected behavior and nothing to worry about. Enjoy!

 

Local Settings.jpg

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 05, 2021 Sep 05, 2021

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That's brilliant so helpful. Too be honest this is one of my wife's photos anbd she was confused by the behaviour and I was  interested ot understand what was going on. I'd not realsied she had an adjustment brush added. I think I understand what is going on so I can explain to her.  She is using Topaz for her final editing steps so normally you would expect any adjustments to be done in raw so it shouldn't be an issue.

 

Really appreicate the time you have put into this

 

Thanks

Mike

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 05, 2021 Sep 05, 2021

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Glad to help. As I explain at the article link, "Lightroom Process Version 3, 4, and 5 Basic panel Tone controls are image adaptive and adjusting them in a random order is an exercise in frustration." If your wife was trying to establish the white clipping level the Whites control should be used for this purpose. With the rabbits files a Whites setting of 30 is the clipping threshold for both the NEF and TIFF files using the ALT key. Much more info and tips in the article based on my experience using Lightroom since version 1.0 (Jan 2007).

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 05, 2021 Sep 05, 2021

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Nothing in that DNG is over exposed. Any clipping shown is the result of your rendering settings.

Here is the DNG in RawDigger:

Exposure.jpg

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management" (pluralsight.com)

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 01, 2021 Sep 01, 2021

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 01, 2021 Sep 01, 2021

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The TIFF is rendered in what color space? 

It isn't the same as the raw, that's for sure. That and the Tone Response isn't the same. 

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management" (pluralsight.com)

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 03, 2021 Sep 03, 2021

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This is likely caused by an interaction with the raw rendering profile and where in the rendering chain the profile (and any tone curves and lookup tables in the profile) are applied vs the exposure compensation. The exposure compensation is done very early in the rendering chain, so I wouldn't be surpried if the profile and its built-in curves and lookup table are applied after the exposure compensation. In fact I know this is true as you can often see subtle tone shifts especially when using camera matching profiles when you use the exposure compensation. There is a trick to make these profiles 'untwisted' so they don't do this anymore: https://sites.google.com/site/chromasoft/dcpTool . You used camera standard here so that would be consistent as the camera matching profiles are known to not be hue invariate. When you apply exposure compensation to a tiff, nothing like that happens. The source color space of the tiff is completely irrelevant. Camera raw/Lightroom simply converts the image to its internal linear prophoto and applies the exposure compensation and other slider settings. 

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