To ETTR or not to ETTR...?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
Tom Axford Veteran Member • Posts: 6,221
Re: example
2

jimkahnw wrote:

The example also demonstrates what a fool's errand we are all on. There's little difference between the 0EV and the +3EV, at least in the mid- and 3/4-tones. I know with a little more processing, there would be none. However, what about the highlights? That's the whole thing about ETTR; increase exposure without clipping--recover in post. In this example, what does the sky look like for the +3EV exposure? I would bet that the highlights are unrecoverable.

I still think ETTR is a misconception that leads to overexposure and clipped highlights. Our 4/3 sensors are fantastic at preserving highlights and shadows. We can get great images without fretting over the shadows to preserve highlight details. I'm continually amazed how much 3/4- and full-tone values can be lifted in an image exposed for the highlights.

I agree broadly with what you say and I often play safe rather than risk blowing out important highlights.

However, I do not see this as a negation of ETTR.  If I am not sure about the precise light levels, then it's best to leave a margin of error.  I am still trying to achieve ETTR, just playing very safe about doing so.

I see ETTR as more a principle - a recognition that:

1. If highlights are clipped, then they are lost forever.  So take great care not to do so.

2. The best image quality (lowest noise) is achieved by the maximum possible exposure.

ETTR simply amounts to trying to achieve both of these at once.

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