Why Exposing to the Right (ETTR) is BAD!

Started Mar 30, 2013 | Discussions thread
Guidenet Forum Pro • Posts: 15,748
Why? There's no point.

tko wrote:

You haven't said why it is bad. You haven't explained what would replace it.

It seems to what you are saying is that since cameras are better, we can afford to be more sloppy.

drh681 wrote:

As you have found.

ETTR was a good Idea back in the early days of digital imaging.

I was there. It was a fair solution.

But that was then, this is now.

And imaging sensors and the accompanying Processing Engines are many, many times better. There has also been an equal improvement in noise reduction capability in our editing programs.

All that adds up to ETTR being a technique that has outlived its practical life.

Nobody seems to say whether it is good or bad and I think that is important. It's simply a technique not a religion. In the early days of digital we had a real problem with noise and dynamic range. Much of that problem has been solved at the hardware and software level. If we choose we can ease down on the many techniques we developed as work-arounds in those days. It doesn't mean we're getting sloppy. That's a negative term you're using to avoid what he said. It's not appropriate either.

Moreover, I'm not siding with either as I chose other ways to overcome the noise and dynamic range barriers in the past. I learned various blending, tone mapping and compression techniques I prefer to this day. Nobody is right or wrong here. With today's better cameras and software, I don't need to do as many of these techniques I've learned in order to gain the dynamic range I wanted. Today, I can use those techniques more as an option and for a certain look I may desire.

The same is true of ETTR techniques. The need is not as strong as it was in the past. Some have chosen not to use it much or to use it less. That doesn't mean they're sloppy. It just means they've decided to expend their energies in some other way.

Does that mean there's no reason to use ETTR anymore or HDR techniques? No, of course not. It means we have more tools in our toolkits. It means we aren't forced to use these as often as we did. It means that in many images, we don't need to eke out anymore dynamic range. We have plenty. It means many of us can concentrate on other aspects of exposure and image development.

This petty bickering between two or more ways to handle DR and noise is a bit ridiculous and also both sides pretty much agree the OP and his blog were wrong. So, let's not get into name calling and using phrases like "we can afford to be more sloppy." There's no reason to insult our fellow photographers, especially on personal opinions and techniques that are not fact.

Take care.

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