Exposure control in a raw developer: misnomer?

Started Jan 30, 2013 | Discussions thread
sherwoodpete Veteran Member • Posts: 7,766
Re: Film terminology perhaps?

quadrox wrote:

dosdan wrote:

As I understand it, the "Exposure Triangle" is composed of Scene Luminance, Shutter Speed, Aperture (or should that be "F-number"?). These 3 alone determine the number of photons captured by the sensor.

ISO Sensitivity plays a role in the rendered brightness of the outputted image. (As well as helping to mitigate the contribution to the total read noise of the ADC noise floor in most cameras.)

So, I take the phrase "exposing a shot" to refer to the capturing process, not the rendering process. With in-camera JPEG, these two processes are combined. When shooting raw, the development process is separated and postponed.

But most raw development programs have an "Exposure" adjustment control. But isn't this adjusting the brightness of the rendered output? If so, it has nothing to do with exposure and is a misnomer.

So what should this control be labelled? "Rendered Brightness"?

What about a suitable term for the combined capturing & rendering process, that doesn't confuse it with exposing?


When shooting film, you would typically get a negative image on the roll of film itself. To develop the negative into a proper (positive) image, you must project the negative onto the film again. Of course, during this process you have the possibility to adjust exposure again by adjusting the length of the exposure of the negative onto the positive medium. This way the positive could be developed darker or brighter than the original negative was recorded.

Calling this adjustment exposure seems quite correct to me, and by extension calling the digital equivalent in RAW processing exposure seems fair as well.

Disclaimer: I know only the basics of shooting and developing film and know not if the above is actually correct, but it seems to me that it should be.

Although what you say makes sense, that's possibly more like adjusting the brightness. It doesn't give the same results as altering the processing of the film itself.


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