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My Pentax K-50 has features called "highlight correction" and "shadow correction". The manual makes the following claims about these features (on page 150):

Expands the dynamic range and enables a wider range of tones expression by the CMOS sensor and reduces the occurrence of overexposed and underexposed areas.

My question is whether (as the manual seems to imply) this is a feature of the sensor that increases the dynamic range in the raw file, or whether (as I would otherwise expect) it's just some image processing that's applied when shooting in jpeg.

If it does have an effect when shooting in raw, I'd really like to understand what it's doing and whether there are any disadvantages to using it.

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According to this forum: http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/151-pentax-k-30-k-50/265011-highlight-shadow-correction-usage.html

In RAW, with Highlight correction on, the camera under-exposes by 1 stop and flags it as a setting in the file, for the software to then interpret.

Shadow correction supposedly has no affect on RAW.

  • Thanks, that thread is a useful resource. But from reading it I get the sense that there are a lot of hypotheses and conjectures about what the feature is doing, but no real information. Some people say it's underexposing by one stop and compensating in software, but others say it's doing something more than that. So maybe no-one other than Pentax knows the answer. – Nathaniel Nov 10 '16 at 3:16
  • Yes, thats the impression I got too, seems they dont want to give a proper answer at all... – Digital Lightcraft Nov 10 '16 at 9:19
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Shadow correction simply applies image processing to lighten up shadow areas in an image. So, it has no effect on a RAW file.

Highlight correction enables one extra stop of dynamic-range, by exposing for one full-stop higher ISO with the clipping point unchanged. This is why when enabled, you lose the lowest ISO. When shooting RAW though, it really does not do much other than revealing what happens since you get images that appear one stop under-exposed which gives you more room to preserve highlights.

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