Exposure = brightness, or not?

Started 7 months ago | Polls thread
OP nixda Veteran Member • Posts: 5,515
Re: Exposure = brightness, or not?

rlmack wrote:

nixda wrote:

There has never been an exposure triangle. It's "Photographic Triangle". And it is meant to calculate exposure parameters (aperture and exposure time) for a given desired target image brightness when taking into account a certain amount of scaling (ISO). Somewhere, somehow, somebody mixed up the terms and started using 'exposure triangle', which uinfortunately stuck. People then started to assume that the three parameters in the triangle combine to give 'exposure' (because the triangle was termed an exposure triangle), rather than combine to give image brightness. That is the cause of all that confusion. By analogy, if the original term had been retained, people would assume that the three parameters combine to give a photograph, which would be so much better. We would have had decades free from all that confusion that surrounds the term 'exposure'.

Besides, with modern cameras, there are now at least four parameters to adjust image brightness: scene luminance, aperture, exposure time, amount of analog amplification, and amount of digital scaling (aka 'digital amplification'). Particularly with Fuji cameras, we use this Photographic Quadrangle all the time.

To say that there has never been an exposure triangle is to ignore the last few decades of photography instruction and discourse.

There has never been an exposure triangle in the sense that the original term that was coined is "photographic triangle". Both describe the same concept, and I don't dispute that. And I realize that most here speak of the "exposure triangle", but what is often misunderstood is that that triangle doesn't represent exposure, it is a tool for determining exposure. If the term exposure triangle hadn't been adopted so widely, I am certain, we would have much less of that confusion.

I will accept that you are correct in everything you've stated, since I don't want to spend the timing looking it up for verification. But being correct, so what? Clinging to technically correct, but obsolete, terminology and explanation doesn't benefit anyone other than those with an extreme interest in the esoteric.

There is nothing obsolete in the explanations whatsoever. We are still talking about the three parameters that make up the triangle, and we're still talking about the same concepts behind them, regardless of what the triangle is called.

The "exposure triangle" of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO is understood even by beginners, and is perfectly adequate as a descriptive aid to allow people to not only take properly exposed images, but to learn how to make changes to settings on their cameras without requiring much expertise on their part.

Perfectly, and I never disputed that.

Why needlessly complicate matters with a Photographic Quadrangle? It may be used all the time in the sense that that's how things work on a technical level, but my guess is most photographers have never heard of it. You're the only person on the internet I've seen mention it.

It's a word play on the "triangle" meant to indicate that ISO can be split up in its two main components when it comes to mapping signal to output sRGB values. Those two components (analog amplification and digital scaling) are under control of the photographer.

It's certainly not part of the conscious thought process used for making an image for the vast majority of photographers.

It should be, because it's a direct reflection of how digital cameras work. It plays a role in aspects such as tone curves, clipping, SNR, and iso-invariance, aspects that everyone who moved beyond being a beginner has heard of, if not consciously played around with. Anybody who uses the DR functionalities expands on the triangle; anyone who processes raw data expands on the triangle, and anybody who makes tonal adjustments to JPEG files expands on the triangle.

What works and is easily understood is infinitely more valuable to the average person than tortured technical precision.

Clearly, I am not speaking to the vast majority of photographers here. DPR forum members don't represent the vast majority of photographers. We have an interest in photography that typically goes beyond the beginner stage. While a pragmatic approach can certainly get one quite far, it is my conviction that understanding the details of how one's tools work increases the chances to get better output.

Besides, the tortured technical precisionseems to be just fine with the majority of respondents to the poll. It's the minority that is trying to give me a hard time 

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