Noise and ETTR

Started Feb 6, 2014 | Questions thread
Anders W Forum Pro • Posts: 21,466
Re: Noise and ETTR

smithling wrote:

Anders W wrote:

smithling wrote:

Anders W wrote:

smithling wrote:

Don't bother with ETTR unless you have an extremely tricky scene to contend with.

Other people have provided you good responses about what ETTR is, and what the benefits are. But ETTR was established when the dynamic range of digital camera sensors were terrible. It's still a valid technique, but today, the noise amount between pushing shadows in post, and ETTR and then pulling them down, is negligible. The sensors today are really good. Professionals don't bother, and most photographers (artists) I know don't bother either because the difference is simply not noticeable in prints.

IMHO, in general, it is a waste of time. Try it out, and then ask yourself honestly if the trouble is worth the time and mental effort.

Once you have figured out how to do it, it doesn't take any extra time or mental effort at all. And I would think there are many experienced and technically skilled photographers here

Where? At the forums? No problem. There's a vast, vast photographic world outside of this forum.

No doubt. So what?

You stated that you and others here in this forum disagree. So what? Outside of the realm of forums there are photographers who get by handsomely without ETTR.

I don't doubt that there are photographers who get by "handsomely" without ETTR. The point is that they would get along even better with ETTR.

that would disagree with your assessment (as I certainly do) of whether it is worth learning how to do it.

Never did I say that it was a waste of time to learn ETTR. Please note that I said, "try it out." Sorry for the miscommunication.

What I meant by learning is learning it sufficiently well that it doesn't take any extra time to do it.

How long does it take to learn it sufficiently well that it doesn't take any extra time?

With an Oly body, it should take very little time to learn to do it for ordinary scenarios.

What does the ETTR workflow look like when one becomes adept at using it sufficiently well?

Assuming we know that the light level is sufficiently high to get the shot as we want it at base ISO, just set the f-stop you deem preferable and adjust the shutter speed until the live-view blinkies just appear on the brightest highlights you care to preserve.

If base ISO turns out to be insufficient to reach that point given the light level, f-stop requirements and shutter-speed requirements, instead increase the ISO until the live view blinkies just appear.

On the E-M5 it makes sense to increase the ISO only up to 3200 at most. Beyond that point, it doesn't make sense to do it any more since the ISOs beyond 3200 are digitally scaled and thus not associated with any reduction in read noise.

Sensors have become better than they were, yes, but if you learn how to use them right, the results will be better still. Why wouldn't you want to take advantage of that fact?

With respect Anders, "use them right" and "better results" are merely subjective.

No they are not. The SNR will be measurably better if you ETTR than if you don't in the scenario you describe in the post to which I replied.

Measurably better? Maybe. Noticeably better? Sometimes. It depends on the scenario. Do you have an example where the image was noticeable improved by ETTR? The other images you provided somewhere else in this thread are HDR.

Sure. Here is one which would have been noticeably worse in either the highlights or the shadows if I hadn't ETTRed.

Before PP

After PP

Here's an opinion from another real professional that disagrees with you.

When I evaluate people's claims, I try to do it, as far as possible, based on how they can back it up rather on who they are. Ctein makes three elementary mistakes here.

First, he argues that the ETTR criterion is generally difficult to apply. How difficult it is depends on what tools you have available. With the "live-view blinkies" (highlight/shadow warnings) available on the particular camera we are talking about in this thread (and other Oly MFT bodies), it's usually very easy to get it right.

Second, to illustrate his claim that ETTR is a bad criterion, he uses a sample image that is exposed beyond the right rather than some distance away from the right (as he argues is the right choice).

Third, what he illustrates is that shadow pushing can be useful (who has claimed that it isn't) rather than that ETTR is a poor criterion.

In short, all this article demonstrates is that Ctein doesn't know how to ETTR correctly, and therefore finds it dangerous. It's not the first time I see him show that he doesn't know what he is talking about.

Agreed on all points. A bad counter-opinion to reference.

OK. Good that you too think it's bad.

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