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I need to come up with a way

I need to come up with a way to detect this incorrect value and set a proper saturation value. Doing what you suggested earlier, inspecting the histogram and discarding higher bins with no values in them, works for this RAW file. But it breaks where you have a dark exposure (lots of zeros in the histogram) and the camera reports the correct saturation level (see this RAW file as an example). Using the method you've described, the RAW comes out with extreme noise because it is erroneously being brightened (due to a very low saturation value). How would you recommend going about this?

Also, if you don't mind answering some of the questions I had in my last post I'd appreciate it. It seems like when it comes to RAW processing, only a handful of folks have a good idea of how it's done--folks like Dave Coffin, you, and Adobe. This knowledge is pretty valuable, and should easily accessible so that our collective knowledge can advance.