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Tips & Tricks

Getting the Most out of Data Collected by Your Sensor & What To Do With It

By Justin Heyes on June 11th 2018

When someone mentions the Title Collector what usually comes to mind? For me, is the character played by Benicio del Toro in some of the latest Marvel movies. To some, it is those who collect trinkets like bottle caps or vinyl POP figurines, but Blake Rudis of f64 Academy considers himself as a photographer and a collector of data. His focus of data here, is focused on the image sensor in modern cameras.

Of little fault of their own, most camera owners don’t really know just how critical a sensor is to modern photography. It’s much more than just something that gathers light and develops a picture. The sensor in a camera is truly the brain and heart of the whole unit, and calculations done by the sensor drive the rest of the feature-set, control the speed of operation, and therefore even the hardware design to some degree.

[REWIND: Learn Color Theory & Application The Pixar Way | For Free]

Familiarity with the gear you use can be crucial. Some cameras, like the Nikon D850, will retain highlight information and others will retain shadow information better. Knowing the strengths of a camera can help you decide which to get, and also how to best use it for best results, and one of the things that separate professionals from the rest is knowing the limitations of their gear and exploiting the strengths instead of using upgrades as a crutch.

The amount of data captured and retained by our cameras are tremendous. For example, the uncompressed 14-bit RAW files from the Sony A7 III stores 16,384 tonal values for each color per pixel, allowing for an impressive amount of information to work with in post-production. That’s a figure that’s kind of hard to wrap your head around.

When you push these values in Lightroom or Capture One you can run into a series of trade-offs and sacrifices depending on the exposure values. Rudis demonstrates a few of the trade-offs he faces when post-processing landscape images in his latest video.

This is the kind of video that will give you a new appreciation for the hardware you use, and the software. That said, we’re certainly more along the lines of emotion in our work than strictly being a ‘data collector’.

About

Justin Heyes wants to live in a world where we have near misses and absolute hits; great love and small disasters. Starting his career as a gaffer, he has done work for QVC and The Rachel Ray Show, but quickly fell in love with photography. When he’s not building arcade machines, you can find him at local flea markets or attending car shows.

Explore his photographic endeavors here.

Website: Justin Heyes
Instagram: @jheyesphoto

Q&A Discussions

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  1. adam sanford

    Heads up:  “the who unit” probably warrants a correction.

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