This is an old thread by now, but I wanted to highlight this. A lot of people seem to not realize this.
Many cameras these days ‘sneakily behind your back’ underexpose a bit, and write a bit of metadata. Programs such as Lightroom or the manufacturers own RAW-processor can read this and know they need to boost it a bit. In doing this, they capture extra information in the highlights because the shot is technically underexposed… and the sensor is clean enough that shadows can be easily boosted.
Fujis do this - from what I read on DPReview - if one of the DR modes is engaged.
Another example is one of the Fuji GFX cameras where above a certain ISO setting, the camera just doesn’t apply any extra gain at all. Iso 3200, 6400, 128000… they are technically the same shot, nothing changes in the sensor settings. Just a bit of metadata is written to the file ‘this should be made … stops brighter’.
It can do wonders if you look at ‘wow, how much highlight information is captured even at ISO 128000!’. It can be a PITA if you think at ISO 3200 ‘ow wow, I can boost the shadows by +4 EV and everything is still clean!’ and then at ISO 128000 you notice that it can only be boosted by two stops… (because the camera ‘sneakily’ underexposed by -2 EV).
It just shows to either 1) ‘know your gear’ or 2) don’t worry about these things at all.
The OP for example noticed ‘oh the default is dark, what is going on’. I would be more inclined to think like ‘Hey, I need to boost it a lot. Oh, it still looks good… ’.
I’ve said this before here and there, but I never understood why people want to start in a RAW editor with the exact same image the camera displayed on a screen when the picture was taken. I basically only use it for checking focus.
And if I read posts about people expecting the RAW file to look just like the in-camera JPEG, I still think those people don’t really understand what a camera RAW file actually is.