"Expose to the right"... is this current, or faulty advice from the past?

Started May 27, 2014 | Discussions thread
Duke Miller Senior Member • Posts: 1,386
Re: "Expose to the right"... is this current, or faulty advice from the past?

GBJ wrote:

Ok, I was wondering if the experienced and technical photographers of this forum would be able to shed some light on this "saying".

I don't know what to make of this statement...is this a commonly excepted truism, but only of the past? With today's sensors, does the "expose to the right" advice still stand true?

In some regards, when I had the D800 camera, I started thinking that each camera had it's own beneficial exposure technique...I mean, on some cameras it might be best to overexpose slightly, and other cameras better to underexpose.

Isn't exposing to the right, which means to have a photo that looks overexposed on the camera's LCD preview, not a good technique for the D800 camera, or the D600 camera? I was thinking in a high key, high dynamic range photo it would be better to preserve the highlights even if it left massive portions of the photo quite underexposed.

I realize the D800 is remarkable in lifting the shadows in post production, and I think, not as good at pulling back the highlights of overexposure.

So, in an article I read recently, in a magazine, it explained that the reason for exposing to the right(the histogram sitting predominantly on the right, brighter side) is that sensors contain more tonal information on the right bright side, than they do when you underexpose to the dark left side. Therefore a photographer would have more access to colors and tones by exposing to the right. But, is this still a valid argument?

I am stating this argument knowing that the editing will be done using Raw files.

I was wondering if a few people had some technical explanation for how the sensor works?

I'm a little confused because I could have sworn that the guy who wrote the CS6, a Professional Image Editor's Guide, said that the way a sensor works, is that the RAW photo is actually very underexposed, compared to the way the identical JPG version looks. Because of this, I believe that this was the reason he said it was far easier to pull back the highlight, right side, portion of the image rather than the dark side of the image. I may have this all mixed up. This seems backwards to me.

Anyways, I'm really hoping that those people who have a really good guess, do notlet their urge get the best of them. It would be nice to not get any misinformed replies, which just ends up confusing everybody...LOL

I'm hoping this discussion will be lead by very knowledgeable and technical photographers. I have always been so completely amazed by the helpful and willing people of this forum.

Anyways, thanks in advance.

Got this tip from Jim Zuckerman at a seminar and it never fails. Set your exposure compensation to -2/3EV. Regardless your mode--P, AP, or SP--you a) won't blow any highlights and b) can concentrate on your real mission. Works every time.

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