Why Exposing to the Right (ETTR) is BAD!

Started Mar 30, 2013 | Discussions thread
schmegg Veteran Member • Posts: 5,768
Re: Why Exposing to the Right (ETTR) is BAD!

Barrie Davis wrote:

mike703 wrote:

apaflo wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

What puzzles me (actually, I am completely mystified) is why people seem incapable of associating exposing to the right with the consequent loss of film speed  (using an effectively lower ISO). I have had long ping-pong type exchanges in these forums with posters who just could NOT accept that THAT was what was happened. Quoting the actual shutter speeds and apertures USED at them just didn't help, because they didn't associate THOSE with any particular ISOs, either, it seems.

Why is that, do you think?

Because what you just said doesn't make any sense at all???

Sure it does; it's completely clear.  If you have a scene which averages mid-grey and has a histogram in the middle of the range when correctly exposed, and then you ETTR, you are using a longer exposure to get more light hitting the sensor (as much as you can without clipping highlights) and reduce noise.  Which has exactly the same effect as reducing the ISO.

Quite so.

Sure. That's not exactly what Baz said though.

Or maybe it is - but he's too keen to fob me off and say I have no idea rather than try to explain himself better.

In another discussion of this type recently about high-ISO shooting (link below), we were discussing pix taken at ISO6400 in which I had ETTR'd to help keep noise down as far as possible.  It was pointed out that it would actually be better to use a lower ISO (say, 800) but underexpose by three stops - effectively, exposing to the left - and then lifting exposure in PP.  This would give the same overall result in terms of IQ and noise - but would prevent highlight clipping.  It's exactly the converse of ETTR.

And, as I've said, that depends a lot on what camera you use. You would definitely not be better off doing that with a Canon camera, for instance.

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