Why Exposing to the Right (ETTR) is BAD!

Started Mar 30, 2013 | Discussions thread
Doug J Veteran Member • Posts: 9,620
Re: (ETTR) is BAD! But saying so is going to get you a lot of flack

Sovern wrote:

apaflo wrote:

Sovern wrote:

Doug J wrote:

Sovern wrote:

I agree, I gave ETTR a try but honestly beginners are better off nailing the exposure in their camer as much as possible and learning how the histogram should look in camera for a specific scene vs worrying about keeping everything on the right.

This also keeps you safer from over exposing your photos which is the main thing that I mention that is a con from ETTR (You're more prone to losing your highlights).

Very true, but ETTR should not result in overexposure, I see this as the basic issue you raise. Some scenes will have a DR that exceeds the camera's DR abilities, but then this is a decision by the photog on what to expose for, and this is outside of the ETTR discussion.

Without any special effort at all ETTR is easily done within 1/2 an fstop, and more likely at less that 1/3 of an fstop.  With a little effort the 1/3 fstop is virtually guaranteed.

With some significant effort it can be within 1/10th of an fstop.

The only other way to achieve that kind of accuracy is bracketing every shot.

1/3rd of a stop is cutting it close though don't you agree? Especially at an important event like a wedding if you're shooting important photos and constantly on the go, right?

No, 1/3 stop is minimal and well within acceptable exposure range limits IMO. This level of difference is easy to adjust for on the fly or in post, has nothing to do with ETTR.

What if you enter a room that is slightly brighter and don't compensate enough for that exposure and end up blowing the highlights on an otherwise beautiful candid?

Adjusted with either manual exposure compensation, or automatically via the exposure settings in the camera, most likely the latter for a wandering photog. This is the same if one is doing ETTR or not.

Shooting not using ETTR you would have obtained the shot without blowing focus.

Exposure and focus are independent of each other. Set automatic exposure (and metering) appropriately in this example, work on the compensation and AF just works. It's really nothing more than how exposure is set up from the onset.

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The photographer makes the gear, not the other way around.

Stated another way, the photog makes the shot, and I agree. ETTR is one of our tools.

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