To ETTR or not to ETTR...?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
FingerPainter Senior Member • Posts: 7,788
Re: ETTR is an esthetic decision

TomFid wrote:

I'm learning too. See for example knickerhawks refinement of my comments just above.

I also just reminded myself of a limitation I don't often think about. When you ETTR, you have to adjust the exposure, i.e. the amount of light hitting the sensor. Just cranking up the ISO doesn't accomplish anything, though it does move the histogram to the right.

Here's how that happened. I went outside to shoot an example - the mountains across the valley in evening light, much brighter than the surrounding area. I squeezed off a couple shots, first at the metered exposure, then +1EV and +1.7 (which is what it took to pin the histogram to the right). What I didn't notice is that I was in A mode, and the light was pretty low, so the first shot (0EV) was 1/20th, f7.1 at ISO 200 (gotta love IBIS). The last shot (+1.7) was also 1/20th, f7.1, but ISO 640. So, there was zero benefit - both shots received identical light; they just look different because one cranked up the gain. If you adjust the levels in LR to look the same, they're hard to tell apart.

Yeah, you didn't really expose more to the right.

But you were more right when you said "they're hard to tell apart" than when you said "they're hard to tell apart", because if your camera does indeed use gain to implement an ISO increase, there probably was a small increase in SNR from the increased gain.

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