To ETTR or not to ETTR...?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
knickerhawk Veteran Member • Posts: 6,238
Re: All depends on your expected output

Jeepit wrote:

Pixnat2 wrote:

Jeepit wrote:

Pixnat2 wrote:

You shoot landscapes in difficult light and are adept of squeezing out all the DR and shadow details you can in post processing?

You can't stand a bit of noise in your shadows?

In those cases, mastering ETTR could be helpful.

But for casual shooting, I wouldn't worry about it. Our modern cameras have excellent metering system and enough DR to cope with nearly all situations.

That said, it's a nice technique to learn and use in some cases.

Thanks for your post. What would those cases be?

You're welcome.

Lanscapes with high contrast (deep shadows and strong highlights) is probably the main case where ETTR can be useful.

In this scenario, camera tend to protect highlight for the JPEG, thus it underespose a bit. This will introduce noise in the shadows which will be visible when you try to recover your RAW files. In a landscape picture, you would lose fine details in the shadows and get a mushy result.

ETTR will burn your JPEG, but less noise will be present in the shadows. If correctly done, you could recover your highlights, and you'll get a landscape with clean shadows and fine details.

Peronally, that's the only case where I use ETTR.

Landscapes was one of the main questions I had regarding ETTR.

Yes, landscape is generally the best use case for ETTR.

What about street shooting in b/w, where there are shadows?


Use cases involving fast moving subjects are tricky because metering on your critical highlights (or otherwise monitoring highlight blinkies and the histogram) is hard to control in a timely way. Plus, action shots are more often shutterspeed constrained and perhaps also aperture constrained, which limits your flexibility for pushing up exposure.

With respect to B/W, there are additional pluses and minuses. On the plus side, you're less worried about adverse color issues from blowing one or even two of the channels. In general B/W street shooters aren't so concerned about blown highlights either (as long as it's not affecting the subjects' faces). Plus, the improved tonality resulting from ETTR done right can be very important in some B/W work. However, lots of street shooters like the gritty/grainy look that's reminiscent of fast film. For them, ETTR might be counterproductive, especially when considering the noted exposure limitations.

But all pictures with high contrast, where you need a wide Dynamic Range, would benefits form ETTR.

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