Olympus and Lightroom sampler #1 simple recovery

I am going to do a series of Lightroom samplers. Things I am doing for myself as I do them. Each will show either the capabilities of the M43 sensor and/or the power of the programme.

Here is an example of the powerful recovery tools available in Lightroom, from the perspective of Olympus files.

The original image on the left was badly captured. I had left the Aperture priority setting to a wide aperture while capturing details in the dark of the alley, with the result of blowing out the sky badly in the next composition. OMD (Sony) sensors are renown for their ability to recover highlights (one of the reasons I switched from Canon), but full -100 recovery made little difference. I find the highlight recovery tool to be fairly weak in Lightroom, so I have started to look for other ways. 

The second image has had it's overall exposure reduced to -1, and -100 highlight recovery, then the shadow recovery tool is pushed back up to +60.

The shadow recovery tool is much stronger especially if used to get back deliberately reduced exposure, but with a trade off of revealing noise in the shadows if the image is naturally under exposed in that area. Some mild luminance noise reduction is added. I have found the shadow noise from the Olympus sensors to be fine black dots with little loss of detail, pretty much how I like my film grain to look. When working on some Canon crop frame files recently, I was abruptly reminded of the ugliness of digital "colour blotch" noise associated with most sensors.

A tight crop showing the shadows from the second image. 

A tight crop showing the shadows from the second image. 

As you can see, the grain at ISO 200, heavily recovered from reduced exposure, even in a natural shadow area is none the worse for ware.

The final image has had a little brush work in the wall and a global reduction in the black slider to add contrast. Contrast, sharpening and clarity are all about +10-15, bringing out the brilliance of the lit wall section and making the pattern in the shadow area more defined.