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Ajay - thanks for posting those DNG files. I've downloaded them and below are my interpretations.
Andrew - great set. In the words of a friend of Chinese heritage, the skin tones in some of these make the subjects look somewhat 'pumpkin.' Perhaps some selective desaturation?
Joe - looks very nice!
Here's what I've done with Ajay's photos. Nothing fancy and nothing too crazy either. I really was mostly interested in getting my hands on a few files to push excessively, like was done with the preproduction DNGs.
The first image above was a real torture test. Ajay pushed his example three stops. I went all out in LR4.3 (therefore no M240 profile) with five stops and it turned out better than I thought. Here's the original:
Here's a 100% crop:
The first thing I noticed was that the shadow areas had a pretty strong green cast, so I added some magenta via the shadow tint slider under Camera Calibration. At least with LR4.3, each point of additional tint seemed to make a huge adjustment that I wasn't expecting.
As Joe pointed out, when the M files are pushed excessively, you'll see some crosshatch banding and plenty of hot pixels, as can be seen somewhat in the crop above. For this one, I set luminance NR at 50 and chroma NR also at 50, but as you can see, there is still some chroma blotchiness that actually never went away even at 100. The luminance setting was to taste for this file. I could have pushed it even more, though at the cost of some finer details.
Here's a detail of the flower bouquet in the window:
I don't think that's 100%, but it's near there. Looks OK to me.
Here's a 100% crop of a shadow area pushed three stops in LR:
Looks pretty reasonable to me, and this is with zero luminance NR and with the default LR sharpening setting of 25. What I noticed playing with Ajay's DNGs, as well as a few new ones posted in LUF, was that it doesn't really take as much as I was expecting to really open up shadow areas of M files. As you can see above, three stops is really excessive. My guess is 1-2 stops is probably more the norm, and at least with ISO 200 files, it shouldn't be a problem. The question of course is what happens with higher ISO files, say around 800, if pushed 1-2 stops? Perhaps that will still be within reason since it stays at or under an ISO 3200 equivalent.
The five stop push above is essentially the equivalent to ISO 6400. Since we know M files at that ISO are looking to be quite delicate, but ISO 3200 is not bad, then it would seem +4 push from base ISO is probably doable and usable.
If someone would care to shoot & share some ISO 800-3200 ISO DNG files, it would be greatly appreciated!