In new advertisements for cameras, the latest and greatest from Nikon and Canon, a lot reference to the high dynamic range of the camera and how great it is because of this. I'm not saying that a high dynamic range is a bad thing, in fact it is amazing the new capability that new cameras have, however I am suggesting that reducing the dynamic range can give an entirely different feel to an image, usually for the better.
For many years I have wondered how the simple compact cameras of my friends could produce a very meaningful and interesting image whereas images from my expensive high-end SLR looked dull. The difference was the dynamic range. In the cheaper cameras, the dynamic range is low, resulting in dark shadows and blown out highlights.The more expensive cameras use larger...
Well you are not really reducing DR by adding a slight "S" shape to the tone curve, you are compressing the highlight and shadows. If you reduced DR most likely you would clip the extremes which is hardly ever a good thing. To do this kind of treatment successfully it's best to be shooting in RAW as jpg has already added it's adjustments. Adding a slight "S" to the tone curve by adjusting the toe and shoulder often improves the look of an image. If you look at the curves of film they have always had this shape.
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