Why Exposing to the Right (ETTR) is BAD!

Started Mar 30, 2013 | Discussions thread
jande9 Senior Member • Posts: 1,159
Re: Why Exposing to the Right (ETTR) is BAD!

If you are shooting jpegs you should definitely not use ETTR and just go with the camera settings.

However, if you are shooting RAW, ETTR utilizes the maximum capability of the sensor by not wasting any of it's dynamic range.  That way you will get the best final print that the camera is capable of making, with no blown highlights.

You argue that if you use ETTR you cannot show the client the shot right off the camera back because it will not be exposed right for jpegs.  That may be important to you but for many people capturing a digital negative that will give you the best final print is more important.

ETTR may not always be the way you want to go, for instance if preserving shadow detail is more important than preserving highlights.

You mention that ETTR generally causes overexposure.  I have found that many times it actually leads to dropping the exposure from the camera settings.

Using ETTR is a bit like using the Zone system in exposing film.  There you exposed for the shadows and developed for the highlights (sort of).  In digital you expose for the highlights to maximize the sensor's data capture and then use that data to create your print.

There is an interesting post on exposure here.

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