To ETTR or not to ETTR...?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
TomFid Veteran Member • Posts: 3,115
Re: ETTR is an esthetic decision

knickerhawk wrote:

TomFid wrote:

Jeepit wrote:

FingerPainter wrote:

Jeepit wrote:

N disrespect intended...but I'm still a bit befuddled on how, when ( I understand thew 'why') to implement ETTR.

When doing so will reduce noisiness without causing other unwanted effects

makes sense thank you...'causing unwanted effects?'

I think this depends a lot on your shooting style. If you're shooting jpeg for nice results SOOC, forget about it. You might investigate the HDR features instead.

If you're shooting raw and postprocessing, then you can consider the following:

Is the subject contrasty, with deep shadows you care about?

Not just deep shadows. In fact, I'm more frequently worried about lighter "shadows" and tones approaching middle gray where the effects of noise are often accentuated by adjustments and otherwise more clearly visible.

- If no, ETTR probably isn't worth bothering with.

More frequently than you might think, it can be quite useful and visibly beneficial to ETTR shots. For instance, consider this example where just a little more than a 1 stop difference in lighter shadow tones is visible.

- If yes, try to get the histogram as far to the right as possible, or try to bring up the exposure as much as possible without triggering blinkies.

Actually, you can usually go beyond triggering blinkies (as you explain below). I recommend utilizing an exposure bracketing strategy based on where the visually important blinkies start to show up.

Either way, there's generally still a fair amount of highlight headroom in the raw file, because the histogram is based on the jpeg rendering. Still, pay attention to whether there are specular highlights you need to worry about.

Usually, you don't worry about specular highlights. It's the other highlights that you need to consider.

There's really no substitute for simply doing some testing on your own.


Realistically, I don't worry about this nearly as much as I used to. When I encounter a contrasty scene, and care enough to bother, and nothing is moving, I just bracket and merge to HDR in lightroom later.

All excellent points!

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