The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 is a very versatile and capable compact camera. Like many advanced compact models nowadays, it includes some built-in capability for shooting High Dynamic Range (HDR) images that are processed in the camera itself. In the past, the photographer would have to shoot several images with different exposure settings, possibly using exposure bracketing, and then combine those images using software such as Photoshop or more HDR-specific software such as PhotoAcute or Photomatix.
At the bottom of this post I am including a gallery with several images of the same scene to show how the LX7 can handle situations with a wide dynamic range from light to dark areas. First, I took a shot using Program mode with no special settings, to illustrate the wide variation between the relative darkness inside the house and the brightness of the outdoor part of the scene. Then I included the HDR images. The three in-camera HDR shots were taken with the Intelligent Auto Plus mode, using the iHDR setting; the HDR setting of Scene mode; and the High Dynamic setting of Creative Control mode.
Then, for comparison, I combined several bracketed exposures using Photomatix Pro software to create a composite HDR image. Check out the results in the gallery below. In my opinion, the camera did best with the High Dynamic setting. The HDR setting of Scene mode did fairly well, and the Superior Intelligent Auto mode produced the weakest results. As you might expect, the composite image done with special software was the most successful in terms of presenting the dark and bright images with “normal”-seeming exposure levels.
Program Mode with No Special Settings
I’m going to post some sample photos that demonstrate the wide variety of settings that the Nikon Coolpix P520 has available for taking black-and-white images. Here is a basic description of the options. First, you can use the more advanced shooting modes (Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual), and set the Picture Control option on the Shooting menu to Monochrome. Once you have done that, you can use the menu to make further adjustments to contrast and sharpness. Beyond that, you can adjust the Filter Effects option, which simulates the use of a yellow, orange, red, or green filter in front of the lens. Finally, you can use the Toning option on the menu, and turn on either sepia or cyanotype (blue) coloring in various degrees of intensity.
Next, there are two other shooting modes that include monochrome settings. You can use the SCENE position on the mode dial and select the Black and White Copy scene type. If you opt for the EFFECTS position on the mode dial, there are three options: You can use the High Contrast Monochrome setting, the High ISO Monochrome setting, or the Selective Color setting. With the Selective Color setting, you choose a color from a scale on the camera’s display, such as red, yellow, blue, etc. The camera then will convert the image to black and white, but leaving objects of the selected color still showing the color.
With that introduction, the gallery below contains sample photos I took today to illustrate the different effects of the various monochrome settings.
Program Mode - To Show Colors of Objects
As of today, Photographer’s Guide to the Nikon Coolpix P520 is available for purchase through this site in a downloadable PDF version for $9.95. This new book follows up on earlier White Knight Press guides to the Coolpix P500 and P510. This guide is longer than the previous ones, at 402 pages, and contains more illustrations — more than 300 full-color images. including screen shots as well as many images taken by the P520 itself, demonstrating the results that can be achieved with its various shooting modes and features. For further information, please see the main information page for the book at this site. Other versions of the book in paperback and for Kindle and iPad will be released within the next few weeks.