Photography, Words

Careful Importing Video from Sony Cameras

I made one of the big mistakes of photography last night. I formatted my SD card before checking that everything had been imported correctly. I’m still not 100% sure how this happened but none of the videos I recorded were imported.

Most of the time I don’t bother formatting the card immediately because there’s plenty of space on it, and I might just want a second backup before the files are copied to external storage but this time I did. I’m still kicking myself for doing that.

My Sony A7 III (unhelpfully) gives the name “Untitled” to the SD card and if Lightroom doesn’t detect the card I’ll click on the device name at the top of the import menu but this morning I noticed that DCIM and PRIVATE were expanded. Had I clicked on DCIM previously when importing? I don’t think so but it’s looking likely.

When the Sony A7III records video it’s to the PRIVATE/M4ROOT directory.

When I noticed my error I tried to restore the files using Recuva but it was no use. It didn’t find the videos. It’s an awful sinking feeling when you realise something like this has happened. 🙁

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Photography, Words

The Limits of Lightroom’s Smart Previews

I just stretched the limits of Lightroom’s Smart Previews this morning.

After editing the following image I decided to see what it looked like as a smart preview. I pushed the image quite a bit, exposing the colour in the sky as the sun set behind me in Lanzarote a few days ago.

Lightroom - original image

The original image is dull and lacks contrast but with a little work I was able to expose the lovely shades of magenta and orange present. Here’s what it looked like when Lightroom was editing a DNG file:

Lightroom - dng

But when I removed the file and Lightroom had to use the smart preview this is what that lovely colour gradient looked like:

Lightroom - smart preview

There’s visible compression artefacts visible that aren’t in the original and it looks more pronounced in Lightroom. I didn’t push the image too much, but these sort of artefacts can be seen in Jpeg images of smooth colour gradients like a blue sky has. They’re really visible if you push the contrast at all, or modify the colours in the gradient like I did with this image.

Smart previews create images that are 2500px wide or tall which is a good compromise between full size RAW and not being able to edit the image at all, but on a high resolution screen like a Macbook Retina screen you won’t be able to zoom much.

I will continue to use smart previews. My 1TB+ photo archive can be crunched down to less than 200GB which is within the reach of a laptop, and still leave free space. Once I plug my external drive back in and fire up Lightroom I can then export the images and be sure that the final image is what I want.

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