Some time a go i got canon dslr and i have noticed that when i take pictures in which there are highlights and shadows mixed the shadows are very dark. I was wondering if it was canon thing or dslr thing(that is do say some oddity of dslrs). I have whole bunch of compact cameras and shadows always look normal in them.
Hmmm… I can not really say whether this is a Canon or DSLR thing in general, simply because I only worked with DSLRs by Canon so far. I personally haven’t noticed that the shadows of any of the Canon DSLRs I worked with (550D, 7D, 700D, 5DMkI) were particularly dark though.
The thing us: The human eyes do have a much wider dynamic range than any camera, so we do indeed see more than a camera. We do see detail in very bright parts and detail in very dark parts. Seemingly even at the same time. Very often this is the case because our eyes do adapt all of the time without us even noticing.
Most cameras, when using any kind of automatic mode (full auto, aperture priority, time priority, program automatic, or any kind of scenic mode…), try to expose for the highlights. Or at least give the highlight rendering a bit more weight. Simply because blown out highlights are lost, and there is almost always a way to get at least a bit of information out of crushed blacks. So they will expose your photo in a way that the highlights do not blow out (too much) and therefore the shadows will be darker. Why do your compact cameras give you brighter shadows? I can only presume here: Compact cameras are made for “final pictures” without much fussing around. Which is a cool thing of course. So there is a lot of processing going on inside the camera to mimic what we saw. There are picture enhancing algorithms working in the background etc. So what they do is to process your photo without giving you much influence. They just do what they are programmed for. And they are programmed for “final pictures”. They will pull up the darker parts to make you see detail there as well. Depending on which DSLR you have, which kind of settings you have made, which kind of shooting modes you have, whether you shoot RAW or JPEG, this is also possible with a DSLR. My EOS 700D (the Rebel T5i) for example has a lot of specialized modes, even a built-in HDR mode which also makes the shadows brighter.
What you could try is to lower the contrast settings for the picture style you use. That will definitely make the shadows brighter and the highlights a bit darker and so even out the photo. And you can play around with the metering modes, the exposure compensation, and if you have a curves setting in your camera, you can pull up the shadows there. But the most you will get by shooting RAW and then do the processing yourself. The results will definitely be better of what any kind of camera internal processing does. And if you found YOUR way of processing, make a preset and apply that already on import. And then just tweak your shots a bit.
Did that answer your question? Someone else wanna chime in here?
Edit: Please also check the comments. Good stuff in there