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Images look darker when imported to LR

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I have noticed that when I import raw files into Lightroom, the images change and look a bit more dark. I was a bit confused as I remember they were rightly exposed when I took them and they look fine on the raw preview from Sony.

I have read a bit know and understand this is caused probably by the Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO) in camera that adjusts the image to try and preserve highlights and so in low light.

My question is, if you recommend the use of the DRO or i should turn it off?

I also would like to ask if there is any quick way to change the settings in lightroom to match the raw files or if the only way is to edit the images normally?

I have a Sony A7iii

Thank you

Edited by Landmosphere

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It helps a lot if you set the camera profile in Lightroom to 'camera standard'. It's an emulation by Adobe of the in-camera jpeg-processor. Colors are still slightly different though from what the camera produces. Also, things like DRO are done during in-camera jpeg processing. It's a content-aware algorithm so difficult to get a standard lightroom preset for it, but raising the blacks and reducting the whites just a little bit in LR should get you comparable results.

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If you never shoot jpeg it doesn't really matter, save for the preview image on camera. The DRO jpeg does give you some impression of the post-processing headroom in blacks and whites though. The in-camera histogram shows the jpeg exposure distribution and not of the RAW file so it doesn't show all the highlight clipping headroom either. The histogram of a DRO-processed jpeg in that sense gives you more information about the RAW than with DRO off.

That said, there's no such thing as the 'look' of the RAW file, there's only a software-processed representation of the RAW data. Either by the camera or by some other RAW processor. I usually shoot raw+jpeg with DRO set to auto and use the SOOC jpeg as a reference/benchmark. Some things I may like about it which I'll try to reproduce in LR, some things I think I can do better than the camera did. After a while you'll get a feeling of which sliders to tweak to match the camera jpeg, and start working from there. But this is likely not the quick workflow you'd hoped for 😉

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