To ETTR or not to ETTR...?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
TomFid Veteran Member • Posts: 3,115
Re: Have I got it right?

timo wrote:

This thread seems to have got super-complicated. Have I misunderstood ETTR?

My understanding is that the further up the histogram you go (i.e. to the brighter end), the more useful data the file can contain, and that includes finer distinctions of tonal values. So for the purposes of taking the photo, you push the exposure up as far as you can SHORT OF blowing the highlights to the point where they are unrecoverable. The image will look overexposed at that point.

Then in post-processing, you bring the 'exposure', or 'brightness', or whatever you want to call it, back down to whatever reflects you visual intentions. That way you will get more subtle, more accurate, shadow tones. And better S/N ratio, provided you haven't had to adjust the ISO upwards, which would have defeated the purpose.

If, using the camera's metering system and with your EV dial set to 0, your shot is already just about triggering blinkies, you are already 'exposing to the right', and you don't have to adjust anything. ETTR is most relevant in situations where there are no important extreme highlights, and you have a lot of shadow detail that you want to maintain.

What have I missed?

Nothing, really, though to clarify:

- Blinkies and the histogram are typically conservative.

- The file per se is not the limit; it's all about how many photons you're capturing - the more the merrier (until you clip).

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