Noise and ETTR

Started 6 months ago | Questions thread
cmpatti
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Re: Noise and ETTR
In reply to Anders W, 6 months ago

Here's an opinion from another real professional that disagrees with you.

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2011/10/expose-to-the-right-is-a-bunch-of-bull.html

When I evaluate people's claims, I try to do it, as far as possible, based on how they can back it up rather on who they are. Ctein makes three elementary mistakes here.

First, he argues that the ETTR criterion is generally difficult to apply. How difficult it is depends on what tools you have available. With the "live-view blinkies" (highlight/shadow warnings) available on the particular camera we are talking about in this thread (and other Oly MFT bodies), it's usually very easy to get it right.

Second, to illustrate his claim that ETTR is a bad criterion, he uses a sample image that is exposed beyond the right rather than some distance away from the right (as he argues is the right choice).

Third, what he illustrates is that shadow pushing can be useful (who has claimed that it isn't) rather than that ETTR is a poor criterion.

In short, all this article demonstrates is that Ctein doesn't know how to ETTR correctly, and therefore finds it dangerous. It's not the first time I see him show that he doesn't know what he is talking about.

Based on my prints and output, ETTR is simply way overrated.

Well, in fairness to Ctein, who was writing in 2011, his point--particularly clear if you read his response to comments--was that as a recommended standard practice ETTR was a bad idea because (1) most people wouldn't be able to do it correctly and would end up blowing highlights, and (2) blown highlights are a bigger, less remediable problem than shadow noise. He states, for example:

No one, including me, ever said the THEORY of ETTR was wrong. The practice, with current equipment, is what fails (see comment above to Pieter et.al.). A useful rule of thumb is about practice, not theory.

He specifically allowed for the possibility that improvements in equipment might change that situation:

Well, no, the in-camera and in-computer tools for avoiding blown highlights actually are inadequate to the problem. Currently. Quite possibly, even probably, in another eight years my advice will be as bad as ETTR (which dates from 2003) is now. But right now, highlight problems are hard to avoid if you follow ETTR.

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