Noise reduction? Dynamic range optimization? Vibration compensation? Etc...?
Which of these have you found to be indespensible boons to your craft and which need to be turned off as part of your new camera process each and every time? Some are great ideas that maybe you prefer achieve in PP.
Unrelated, the movie "What Lies Beneath" (starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer) was written by Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson in the Avengers and other Marvel movies) and set in Vermont.
Mr. Gregg had to commute between that movie and his other movie filming at the same time "State and Main" coincidentally also set in Vermont (though mostly shot in MA).
"State and Main" was directed by David Mamet who attended Goddard College in Vermont with William H. Macy who also stars in "State and Main" (both men live part of the year in Vermont with their wives. William H. Macy's wife Felicity HUffman also attended school in Vermont). Alec Baldwin also stars in "State and Main" and starred in "Beetlejuice", shot in East Cornith, Vermont.
Just a little "Six Degrees of Vermont" to pass the time as we go through stick season.
I shoot only raw images in camera. The ONLY thing I let the camera do its its noise reduction reduction thing for long exposures (it takes another exposure that is all black and then merges them). Otherwise no in-camera adjustments to the image. When my images are uploaded from the camera are pretty blah looking until they get into ACR.
I don't see how vibration reduction would effect image quality. Obviously, it can influence technique. For example, it won't "freeze" a moving object - but thats not the technology, its misunderstanding or misapplication.
Post processing is an exercise in balancing. Any time you have noise reduction, you are essentially "blurring" something. OTOH, when you sharpen, you are exacerbating artifacts and noisy areas in the photo.
Jeff Schewe just published a new book called "The Digital Negative" which is a great book on post processing
If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .
I don't use the additional noise reduction capability of my camera. I takes too long, in camera, to process. What's more, Photoshop's Camera Raw does a very good job of noise reduction. I also have Nik's Define which is also a very good noise reducer.
I was thinking just on-board settings. It seems with each generation, manufacturers tout something as being their innovation that will make each of us a mini-Ansel. My experience is that, not only are these features oversold, some are (while good for the person who wants to take snapshots but look cool doing it) detrimental to good photography.
Sony puts VC onboard but, like all of you, I generally shoot from a tripod so I turn that off. I have been told, but have no way to verify, that it can be detrimental when used and not needed. That is the kind of "should I or shouldn't I" that I was talking about.
Other things like DRO, I am completely unsure on. Is it providing me with a mini-HDR (but in RAW) or is it pushing the darks and the whites into a consistent (and blah) gray?
I also have my noise reduction turned off. Also being a user of Define, I feel I am covered. Unfortunately, I am not getting to take nearly enough photos into the post-sunset or pre-sunrise spectrum to be terribly concerned.
Does Mr. Schewe's book focus on certain software or just general concepts? If specific, can you tell me which ones?
I completely agree. VC on higher end lenses seems like having "smile mode" on a $7000 body but that is just my opinion.
Sony puts VC in camera but then lens makers price non-VC Sony lenses the same as Canon and Nikon lenses with VC so I have an extra bone to pick with the concept. I get to pay for Sony's VC and then get to subsidized everyone else's in their lenses. Then again, if I am going to sweat money, I picked the wrong hobby...
Otherwise all of my settings are "off" or neutral. My 70-200 f2.8 has VR (Nikon's "vibration reduction). It is turned off 95% of the time because as Al does, I mostly shoot from a tripod. The "hype" says the VR is worth TWO stops, which, if true, is significant. These days the newest "pro" offerings from Nikon all have it, and I see it as an advantage for those rare instances when I handhold shots. I think the mistake many people make is thinking that it is somehow going to make you a better photographer. It is a tool, to be used for the right circumstances and with knowledge of what it does for you -- and maybe more importantly, what it does NOT do.
When these VR type lenses first came out, the instructions said not to use the function when tripod-mounted. Makes sense. What is happening is kind of like those really expensive gyros you used to be able to rent to shoot from moving vehicles like small planes and helos. It is anticipating your body movements and internally shifting the components. That is movement (ironically, the very thing we are protecting against -- camera motion). Some of the newer lenses from Nikon say they have tripod detection. I think its just a good habit to turn it off until you need it for something.
I seriously doubt that your in-camera DRO is working with raw. I think what it does is creates jpg versions and blends them. In my view that is like trying to make an HDR with an Atari computer and Photoshop elements, when you have HDR programs and LR or PS available. I would't even fool around with unless it was my only option. There is SOooooooooooo much more latitute in a program like HDRSoft's Photomatix.
If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .