Uneven Tones

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Caliber26, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. Caliber26, Jan 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014

    Caliber26 macrumors 68000


    Sep 25, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    I have noticed recently that almost all of my images (particularly those that have a sky in them) have a darker tone in the top and center of the image. This is happening regardless of whether I'm shooting during the day or night. Is this possibly due to a dirty sensor or lens? Or something that I'm doing wrong?

    Here are two examples of what I'm referring to. Both were taken in very different lighting conditions and but it's clear the same thing is happening in both images. I appreciate any help I can get. Thanks!

    EDIT: no lens filters were used in either instance

    Attached Files:

  2. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    Are these raw exports SOOC?

    Have you tried any lens correction in your image editor?

    Is it apparent on every photo or only on some?
  3. swordio777 macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2013
    Scotland, UK
    Acearchie made some good suggestions above. Some other considerations could be:

    1) Are these files jpegs or raws? If they’re jpegs, are they straight out of camera or have you retouched them? If they're raws, did you convert them using lightroom? I find lightroom often struggles to create natural looking skies, oversaturating the blues.

    2) Were both photos taken using the same lens? Do you get the same problem when using other lenses?

    3) Has the camera always done this, or did it only start doing it recently? If it only started recently, did you change something about the way you shoot / your workflow around the same time you started to notice it?

    4) Do you only notice the problem on skies, or can you visibly see the affected area if you take a photograph of a flat, evenly lit surface like a white wall?

    Based on the shape of the affected area, I don’t think this will be anything like a dirty sensor – it’s too large & uniform.

    To try & troubleshoot your problem, turn off any effects you might have applied in your camera (such as "vivid" colour mode, increased contrast settings, etc) – just leave it on the flattest / "standard" setting. Then try taking a few shots of blue skies using RAW+JPEG, and compare both images as they appear straight out of camera with no edits. Do both the raw & the jpeg suffer from this? Also try the same experiment with as many other lenses as you can. Do all the lenses suffer from it equally?

    Hope that helps.
  4. Bending Pixels macrumors 65816

    Jul 22, 2010
    You're gonna need to provide more information - what camera, lens and shooting info (aperture/shutter speed/ISO).

    My first guess is that this is a characteristic of the lens (the second photo looks like a wide angle), but knowing the specifics will help.
  5. Alexander.Of.Oz macrumors 68030


    Oct 29, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    You say there are no filters used, does that include leaving a UV or Clear Glass filter to protect the front end of these lenses? Just checking, as lots of folks don't consider them filters.

    I am also wondering if they are single exposures? It could be a result of HDR assembly, even at neutral settings.

    Your Exif dat is stripped to only display the program used, so it's hard to tell anything from that information.
  6. themumu macrumors 6502a


    Feb 13, 2011
    I would expect a certain tonal difference between the colour of the sky close to the horizon and further away overhead, simply due to the effects of atmospheric refraction. Your examples are bit exaggerated compared to what I frequently see, which I suspect is because of the lens you are using, looks like a fairly wide one, which may make the effect more pronounced. One thing to check is as mentioned, do you see the same issue with other solid objects (like plain walls) and when shooting landscapes on overcast days?

    If you do not see this problem with other types of background, it's likely not a defect, but just physics of the atmosphere at work :).

    PS. How is this for a very obvious example of this effect?


    The fact that the sun is right behind the top of the building makes the tones even more odd. Your eyes have a very complex mechanism for dealing with this kind of range of light, which makes a scene look more balanced when viewed normally, but the cameras are not as advanced. I would expect this to be most pronounced when the sky is clearest, both in daytime and at night.
  7. Alexander.Of.Oz macrumors 68030


    Oct 29, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    Have to 100% agree with themumu on this. I went and looked through my archives and it's common in my ultra-wide and wide-angled lens captures with clear skies and differs dependent on the Suns location in the frame.
  8. The Bad Guy macrumors 65816

    The Bad Guy

    Oct 2, 2007
    I don't see an issue here...looks normal enough.

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