ETTR - the "Experts" have spoken...

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In the past, two or three weeks several YouTube channels decided to talk about ETTR. It is interesting to see such an increased ETTR awareness over such a short period, to the trained eye, this might look like the start of a marketing campaign. Could we expect a new technology, product launch, or new camera with unique ISO functions?

What I really like to talk about is the incomplete information provided when presenters claim ETTR is of NO value and do not even consider ETTR...

Earlier this year I did a huge effort to research ETTR, study the subject, and write a detailed article about ETTR. I did a lot of work to present it in a non-theoretical way and to keep the subject as basic as possible. Point is for those interested "ALL" the information and references you need to understand the origins, application, and benefits of ETTR is available in my article...

I prepared a short summary article to help those interested...

IN CONTRAST...

In two or three lines in a forum post or with a 10 minutes YouTube video, "experts" like you to trust them and discard, any positive info on ETTR? You read headers like "debunked", "misinformation", "fake news" and more. What is interesting, none of these "expert" statements provide any supportive literature, papers, or references.

WHAT IS THE CORRECT ANSWER?

I think it's incorrect for me to reply with another, believe me, I am the expert forum statement. I will prepare a short and simplified article to practically show those interested in improving image quality and lowering noise, how to apply ETTR...

In respect, I will not list those Olympus YouTubers who recently released ETTR videos, here on the forum...


BELOW IS AN EXAMPLE ON WHAT I AM WORKING ON

Here is a basic example - I took the EP3 because it benefits most from using clever exposure techniques. Why do I say clever and not ETTR? Because ETTR principles learn us more about the digital sensor, ISO, and exposure... The A7 III results are interesting...

The noise reduction settings on these images were the same - these are the jpegs out the camera - I did not edit the raws...

Image No 1 (left) was normally exposed. Image 2 and 3 is the same image - No 2 is overexposed and with No 3 I reduced the brightness in PS...

EP3-Example.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
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RS86

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I watched this video from Robin Wong yesterday. I would be interested to hear where he is wrong if he is.

He says ETTR won't reduce noise at all in low-light situations when you up the ISO number. He says getting the exposure right is the most important thing for quality. And that in landscape photography with low ISO ETTR works.

Personally in low-light I will use Manual Mode with Auto-ISO and Exposure Compensation. What I'm wondering shouldn't I try to ETTR in this situation?

 
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I watched this video from Robin Wong yesterday. I would be interested to hear where he is wrong if he is.

He says ETTR won't reduce noise at all in low-light situations when you up the ISO number. He says getting the exposure right is the most important thing for quality.
I'm not going there, but completely agree with Robin about getting the exposure right.
 

wimg

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In the past, two or three weeks several YouTube channels decided to talk about ETTR. It is interesting to see such an increased ETTR awareness over a short period, to the trained eye, this might look like the start of a marketing campaign. Could we expect a new technology, product launch, or new camera with unique ISO functions?
Not necessarily. I find that these days someone posts a blog or youtube video on a specific subject, and witin a week or even days a zillion others follow suit. IMO often a matter of exposure-type behaviour (I wanted to say click-bait, but that is maybe a little too impolite in these cases).
What I really like to talk about is the incomplete information provided when presenters claim ETTR is of NO value and do not even consider ETTR...

Earlier this year I did a huge effort to research ETTR, study the subject, and write a detailed article about ETTR. I did a lot of work to present it in a non-theoretical way and to keep the subject as basic as possible. Point is for those interested "ALL" the information and references you need to understand the origins, application, and benefits of ETTR is available in my article...

IN CONTRAST...

In two or three lines in a forum post or with a 10 minutes YouTube video, "experts" like you to trust them and discard, any positive info on ETTR? You read headers like "debunked", "misinformation", "fake news" and more. What is interesting, none of these "expert" statements provide any supportive literature, papers, or references.

WHAT IS THE CORRECT ANSWER?

I think it's incorrect for me to reply with another, believe me, I am the expert forum statement. I will prepare a short and simplified article to practically show those interested in improving image quality and lowering noise, how to apply ETTR...

In respect, I will not list those Olympus YouTubers who recently released ETTR videos, here on the forum...
I am impressed with the deep-dive you did into the subject, for which my thanks.

I haven't read all of it into detail yet, or seen any of the linked videos yet, but I would like to disagree with one specific statement you make:
We should never think of the digital sensor like we did of the old SLR film roles. The digital sensor is an electronic device and not a chemical device. At all times, it requires a careful selection of 3 important variables (ISO, Shutter Speed & Aperture) to perform at its best.

There was never a difference in that regard with film or analog. The main differences are that it was more difficult to control all parameters yourself unless you had your own darkroom and did development and printing (and/or scanning) yourself, and the fact that with film you need to do ETTL vs ETTR on digital.
With digital your darkroom essentially is your computer with the software you use, and the printer or monitor you use in conjunction with those, which essentially makes the process more accessible. With film, the chemical device, it is the exposure, the wet development and printing, which is and was less accessible.
I have adopted my own version of the Zone System many years ago, both for B&W and colour, to get the most out of my negatives, and I do the same for digital, except that I keep overexposure (ETTR) in check, vs underexposure (ETTL) with film. With digital we have a wider DR than we ever had with film, which is an advantage in that it provides more leeway in processing.

From a practical PoV, this works very well for me, BTW.

It is great to see it all underpinned, however :).

Kind regards, Wim
 
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wimg

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I watched this video from Robin Wong yesterday. I would be interested to hear where he is wrong if he is.

He says ETTR won't reduce noise at all in low-light situations when you up the ISO number. He says getting the exposure right is the most important thing for quality. And that in landscape photography with low ISO ETTR works.

Personally in low-light I will use Manual Mode with Auto-ISO and Exposure Compensation. What I'm wondering shouldn't I try to ETTR in this situation?

Bolding by me. :)

Yes, that is the secret. And getting the exposure right for digital does mean ETTR, but first and foremost making sure the important zones in your image are properly exposed within that, to get the most out of in the final image.

Kind regards, Wim
 

exakta

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I wouldn't say that "increased awareness" of ETTR is anything new. I first starting reading (lots!!!) about ETTR on web forums six years ago when I was trying to deal with blown highlight issues. So now it's moved into the exploding "expert" videosphere.

As far as "debunked", "misinformation", "fake news", etc. that's just YouTube clickbait. Noone is going to show any serious technical information because viewers will just click to the next video. Instead, they just show some results of ETTR coupled with PP opening the shadows.

Technical information is tough to plow through for many. I remember reading an article by Bob Schwalzberg (sic) in Popular Photography magazine over fifty years ago where he spent about six pages explaining why the lack of a pressure plate in 126 cartridges for Instamatic cameras made it impossible to get sharp photos with lens openings faster than f2.8 (Kodak was selling a 50/1.9 lens for their Instamatic Reflex SLR at the time). It was a great article and explained how circles of confusion and enlargement ratios impact not only DOF but also the sharpness at the exact focus point. I never saw PP run such an in depth tech article again, ever.
 
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Michael Reichmann came up with ETTR about 10 years ago, when sensors were not so great, raw files were fragile, and post processing software was far less capable than today. It made more sense then. Now most raw files are pretty robust, and modern sensors have much better ISO invariance, greater DR, and magnitudes less noise. It was a good idea for its time, but technology has moved forward.

However one thing that hasn't changed is that digital photography is like shooting analog slide film, blow out the highlights and you're done. The only thing I really concern myself with in the moment is protecting important highlight areas in the image. Shadows I can always bring up later, but only so far and you have to learn how far by doing it and seeing for yourself. And there are many ways to do this, some better than others. It mostly depends on how well you know your post processing tools and how much you understand about what tones you can and want to lift.

There is no magic exposure concept for every situation and every camera. You have to learn how far you can push your particular camera and how it works at low and high iso's. In low light and high iso's you have much less latitude for bringing up shadows, and the higher you go the less you have, so make sure your mid-tones and shadows are where you want them, damn the highlights. But at lower iso's, 200-800, you should be in good shape to dig out the detail without too much of a hit on IQ.

The right exposure is totally dependent on the situation at hand. ETTR may work a percentage of the time, and the percentage will vary depending on your subject matter. ETTR is a good technique, but like most techniques it is not applicable to situation.
 

PakkyT

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What I really like to talk about is the incomplete information provided when presenters claim ETTR is of NO value and do not even consider ETTR...
I think you are mistaken with a lot of these videos and posts, like you were mistaken with Robin Wong's. These people are usually not saying ETTR is of no value, what they are saying is people are applying it wrong if you are trying to apply it when not on the lowest base ISO of your camera. Once you raise the ISO it is no longer ETTR (where you later bring the exposure back down in post) but simply increasing the exposure to get the photo brighter without the benefit of collecting any additional light on your sensor.


Personally in low-light I will use Manual Mode with Auto-ISO and Exposure Compensation. What I'm wondering shouldn't I try to ETTR in this situation?
ETTR is only effective when using the camera's base ISO. ETTR is getting more light on your sensor by lengthening the shutter and/or opening the aperture so that you slightly overexpose to maximize the light captured but without blowing out highlights then in post processing reduce that exposure to bring back the details in those highlights. But once you come off the base ISO now you are simply amplifying the sensor data (including the noise and not changing the amount of light captured. So for example, 1s, f2.8, ISO 400 captures the same amount of light as 1s, f2.8, ISO 200, all you did in the first set was add more amplification and noise to the image data, you didn't actually capture any additional data. If you want to ETTR the 1s, f2.8, ISO 200 example, then the way to do this is going to 2s or using a lens that will allow going to f2. In both those cases you get the same one-stop additional exposure but now that one stop is in actual light gathered on the sensor rather than digitally multiplying the data after the sensor in ISO.

Keep in mind that Auto-ISO means the camera may choose an ISO above the base ISO, so not useful for true ETTR. And Exposure Compensation is a generic term that means bumping some setting to increase or decrease the exposure. Depending on which mode you are using and also if you are already at a limit of your shutter or aperture, the "compensation" could be any of shutter, aperture, or ISO. If you want to do true ETTR, then you need to control the compensation so that it isn't boosting the ISO.


Yes, that is the secret. And getting the exposure right for digital does mean ETTR,
If you stay at the base ISO. And of course the other factor is ETTR requires ever photo you shoot that way to be post processed to bring the exposure back down. Some people may not realize that when learning about ETTR and think, oh, I will push the exposure and my shots will look better. Right out of the camera they will actually look worse, so the technique does require post work and photographers need to understand that especially if they shoot JPG and normally don't do much post on their shots to begin with.
 
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RichDesmond

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I watched this video from Robin Wong yesterday. I would be interested to hear where he is wrong if he is.

He says ETTR won't reduce noise at all in low-light situations when you up the ISO number. He says getting the exposure right is the most important thing for quality. And that in landscape photography with low ISO ETTR works...

I'm not going there, but completely agree with Robin about getting the exposure right.
Yep. The bottom line is really very simple. Get as much light as you can onto the sensor without blowing the highlights. In other words, proper exposure. True in 1860, true today. :)
 

RS86

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I think you are mistaken with a lot of these videos and posts, like you were mistaken with Robin Wong's. These people are usually not saying ETTR is of no value, what they are saying is people are applying it wrong once if you are trying to apply it when not on the lowest base ISO of your camera. Once you raise the ISO it is no longer ETTR (where you later bring the exposure back down in post) but simply increasing the exposure to get the photo brighter without the benefit of collecting any additional light on your sensor.




ETTR is only effective when using the camera's base ISO. ETTR is getting more light on your sensor by lengthening the shutter and/or opening the aperture so that you slightly overexpose to maximize the light captured but without blowing out highlights then in post processing reduce that exposure to bring back the details in those highlights. But once you come off the base ISO now you are simply amplifying the sensor data (including the noise and not changing the amount of light captured. So for example, 1s, f2.8, ISO 400 captures the same amount of light as 1s, f2.8, ISO 200, all you did in the first set was add more amplification and noise to the image data, you didn't actually capture any additional data. If you want to ETTR the 1s, f2.8, ISO 200 example, then the way to do this is going to 2s or using a lens that will allow going to f2. In both those cases you get the same one-stop additional exposure but now that one stop is in actual light gathered on the sensor rather than digitally multiplying the data after the sensor in ISO.

Keep in mind that Auto-ISO means the camera may choose an ISO above the base ISO, so not useful for true ETTR. And Exposure Compensation is a generic term that means bumping some setting to increase or decrease the exposure. Depending on which mode you are using and also if you are already at a limit of your shutter or aperture, the "compensation" could be any of shutter, aperture, or ISO. If you want to do true ETTR, then you need to control the compensation so that it isn't boosting the ISO.




If you stay at the base ISO. And of course the other factor is ETTR requires ever photo you shoot that way to be post processed to bring the exposure back down. Some people may not realize that when learning about ETTR and think, oh, I will push the exposure and my shots will look better. Right out of the camera they will actually look worse, so the technique does require post work and photographers need to understand that especially if they shoot JPG and normally don't do much post on their shots to begin with.
Thanks for explanation. What am I missing though when people wanted cameras to have Manual Mode with Auto-ISO (which E-M10 II has) and in addition for Exposure Compensation to work with it (PEN-F & GX9 has this).

Is it just to get the exposure right so not to blow the highlights? What should that be called if not ETTR? Exposing To The Optimum?
 

The Grumpy Snapper

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I should have trademarked "experts" when I started using it in blog posts extracting the urine out of photo forum "experts" years ago.

Now photo forum "experts" are using it.
 

PakkyT

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Is it just to get the exposure right so not to blow the highlights? What should that be called if not ETTR? Exposing To The Optimum?
The concept of ETTR is to push the histogram to the right using light (shutter and aperture) in order to collect as much photon data as possible especially on the dark side. As you move left to right in the histogram, you collect more bits per level of brightness (a dark point on your histogram may be measured with only say 16 bits while a bright point may be measured by 2048 bits). So if most of your image is showing up mostly in the left side of the histogram, the right side represents many bits of data that are unused. By pushing the image right with shutter/aperture, you gather much more photons of your scene but most importantly you gather much more data about your shadow areas. One benefit of this is your dark areas are now recording a lot more bits of data (more photons) which means your signal to noise ratio will be higher. As you know if you take a photo and then on the computer try to increase the exposure/brightness the dark areas of the photo start to show their noise because as you amplify the signal you also amplify the noise. The more signal you have rather than noise the more you can push up the shadows to see the signal without the noise overpowering it. On the right side you also want to be careful about not clipping your highlights. Once you hit a value of 255 (pure white) you no longer have details there, just white, so you want only your brightest spot in the scene on the right and everything dimmer below it.

So with ETTR the idea is to spread your sensors dynamic range (DR) across the entire 255 brightness level available to you to maximize the getting as much of your 12-bit sensor (or whatever your camera uses) recording data with all those 4096 bits. What happens though is many of our display devices will not show the full range well enough to distinguish between pixels at say 240 and 252, so they all just look white and look blown out, but our histogram tells us otherwise, the data is still there. So we push to the right, maximize the data captured, and even though the image looks weirdly over-exposed (blacks look more grey and a lot more too bright areas) we record the image. On the computer we now have our shadows showing maximum data, they may look a little too bright, but we can now adjust the brightness down to where the shadows look normal but without the noise from bringing shadows up instead. And all the blown out looking bright areas will show their details again because we were careful to push the exposure up but NOT to clip the right side in the histogram, so those details reappear. If our camera has a 12 EV DR then we want to try and use all of it.

All the above is in theory when using the lowest base ISO of your camera which is where we get the best signal to noise ratio. Once you move the ISO up, then what you are doing is simply amplifying the signal AFTER the sensor and this includes the noise. So if you double the ISO to double to exposure you also double the noise (double may not be mathematically accurate but you get the idea; the noise is increased proportionally with the signal with ISO boosts). However in the sensor the amount of noise generated is proportional to the square root of the number of photos received. So in a bright scene if you receive 10,000 protons, the signal to noise ration is Sqr(10,000) to 1 (100:1). In dim light if you only receive 100 protons then your signal to noise is only 10:1, so your dim photos are much noisier. If you boost ISO then you boost that noise along with the signal and you get no SNR advantages, just a brighter scene.

As an example, if you start with ISO 400, 1sec, f4 then you think “ETTR” and try pushing it to the right by settings, for example, your aperture to f2.8, you do gain a stop of light gathering. So that is a good thing. However there is also one stop of exposure from the ISO 400 setting. So one stop gained by aperture (one stop of actual light collection) and one stop of ISO amplification (one stop of noise multiplication) and since ETTR is all about maximizing the signal to noise this isn’t really ETTR. Instead you would have done better to gain BOTH stops in pure lights starting with ISO 200, aperture goes to f2.8 and shutter goes from 1s to 2s. Now you have your same two stops increase but no increase to your noise levels and better SNR.

Where the confusion comes in is people will say, well I can’t (or won’t due to artistic choices) get the scene any brighter with shutter or aperture so I have to use ISO. That is fine and what you should do. You increase the ISO to get your exposure correct, but now you are just adjusting for proper exposure. There is nothing to be gained by pushing it to “ETTR” since you will only be reducing your SNR ratio (you are turning up the noise generation but not the photon collection) and in post processing when you reduce the exposure back to the proper levels, you are still stuck with that same SNR (it is “baked” into the data now). It doesn’t go back down in post.

So TL: DR summary: ETTR has advantages when you can adjust it with shutter or aperture. Once you have made a decision to fix your aperture and shutter (for whatever reason) even though they could go wider or faster, then you have also made the decision that you are not going to do ETTR and will be adjusting ISO for proper exposure. The disadvantage of ETTR, when you can use it, is you have to rework the photo afterward; straight out of the camera JPGs will look overexposed.
 
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RS86

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The concept of ETTR is to push the histogram to the right using light (shutter and aperture) in order to collect as much photon data as possible especially on the dark side. As you move left to right in the histogram, you collect more bits per level of brightness (a dark point on your histogram may be measured with only say 16 bits while a bright point may be measured by 2048 bits). So if most of your image is showing up mostly in the left side of the histogram, the right side represents many bits of data that are unused. By pushing the image right with shutter/aperture, you gather much more photons of your scene but most importantly you gather much more data about your shadow areas. One benefit of this is your dark areas are now recording a lot more bits of data (more photons) which means your signal to noise ratio will be higher. As you know if you take a photo and then on the computer try to increase the exposure/brightness the dark areas of the photo start to show their noise because as you amplify the signal you also amplify the noise. The more signal you have rather than noise the more you can push up the shadows to see the signal without the noise overpowering it. On the right side you also want to be careful about not clipping your highlights. Once you hit a value of 255 (pure white) you no longer have details there, just white, so you want only your brightest spot in the scene on the right and everything dimmer below it.

So with ETTR the idea is to spread your sensors dynamic range (DR) across the entire 255 brightness level available to you to maximize the getting as much of your 12-bit sensor (or whatever your camera uses) recording data with all those 4096 bits. What happens though is many of our display devices will not show the full range well enough to distinguish between pixels at say 240 and 252, so they all just look white and look blown out, but our histogram tells us otherwise, the data is still there. So we push to the right, maximize the data captured, and even though the image looks weirdly over-exposed (blacks look more grey and a lot more too bright areas) we record the image. On the computer we now have our shadows showing maximum data, they may look a little too bright, but we can now adjust the brightness down to where the shadows look normal but without the noise from bringing shadows up instead. And all the blown out looking bright areas will show their details again because we were careful to push the exposure up but NOT to clip the right side in the histogram, so those details reappear. If our camera has a 12 EV DR then we want to try and use all of it.

All the above is in theory when using the lowest base ISO of your camera which is where we get the best signal to noise ratio. Once you move the ISO up, then what you are doing is simply amplifying the signal AFTER the sensor and this includes the noise. So if you double the ISO to double to exposure you also double the noise (double may not be mathematically accurate but you get the idea; the noise is increased proportionally with the signal with ISO boosts). However in the sensor the amount of noise generated is proportional to the square root of the number of photos received. So in a bright scene if you receive 10,000 protons, the signal to noise ration is Sqr(10,000) to 1 (100:1). In dim light if you only receive 100 protons then your signal to noise is only 10:1, so your dim photos are much noisier. If you boost ISO then you boost that noise along with the signal and you get no SNR advantages, just a brighter scene.

As an example, if you start with ISO 400, 1sec, f4 then you think “ETTR” and try pushing it to the right by settings, for example, your aperture to f2.8, you do gain a stop of light gathering. So that is a good thing. However there is also one stop of exposure from the ISO 400 setting. So one stop gained by aperture (one stop of actual light collection) and one stop of ISO amplification (one stop of noise multiplication) and since ETTR is all about maximizing the signal to noise this isn’t really ETTR. Instead you would have done better to gain BOTH stops in pure lights starting with ISO 200, aperture goes to f2.8 and shutter goes from 1s to 2s. Now you have your same two stops increase but no increase to your noise levels and better SNR.

Where the confusion comes in is people will say, well I can’t (or won’t due to artistic choices) get the scene any brighter with shutter or aperture so I have to use ISO. That is fine and what you should do. You increase the ISO to get your exposure correct, but now you are just adjusting for proper exposure. There is nothing to be gained by pushing it to “ETTR” since you will only be reducing your SNR ratio (you are turning up the noise generation but not the photon collection) and in post processing when you reduce the exposure back to the proper levels, you are still stuck with that same SNR (it is “baked” into the data now). It doesn’t go back down in post.

So TL:DR summary: ETTR has advantages when you can adjust it with shutter or aperture. Once you have made a decision to fix your aperture and shutter (for whatever reason) even though they could go wider or faster, then you have also made the decision that you are not going to do ETTR and will be adjusting ISO for proper exposure. The disadvantage of ETTR, when you can use it, is you have to rework the photo afterward; straight out of the camera JPGs will look overexposed.
Yeah. A lot of text, but I'm not sure if you answered my questions?
 

Hendrik

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Michael Reichmann came up with ETTR about 10 years ago, when sensors were not so great, raw files were fragile, and post processing software was far less capable than today. It made more sense then. Now most raw files are pretty robust, and modern sensors have much better ISO invariance, greater DR, and magnitudes less noise. It was a good idea for its time, but technology has moved forward.

However one thing that hasn't changed is that digital photography is like shooting analog slide film, blow out the highlights and you're done. The only thing I really concern myself with in the moment is protecting important highlight areas in the image. Shadows I can always bring up later, but only so far and you have to learn how far by doing it and seeing for yourself. And there are many ways to do this, some better than others. It mostly depends on how well you know your post processing tools and how much you understand about what tones you can and want to lift.

There is no magic exposure concept for every situation and every camera. You have to learn how far you can push your particular camera and how it works at low and high iso's. In low light and high iso's you have much less latitude for bringing up shadows, and the higher you go the less you have, so make sure your mid-tones and shadows are where you want them, damn the highlights. But at lower iso's, 200-800, you should be in good shape to dig out the detail without too much of a hit on IQ.

The right exposure is totally dependent on the situation at hand. ETTR may work a percentage of the time, and the percentage will vary depending on your subject matter. ETTR is a good technique, but like most techniques it is not applicable to situation.
For everybody's info, Michael Reichmann's initial article on Luminous Landscape about ETTR is dated July 31, 2003. The concept has been with us for a while. Sensors are better now but I find there's often still a lot to be gained by moving the histogram to the right in a controlled, thoughtful manner.
 

PakkyT

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Yeah. A lot of text, but I'm not sure if you answered my questions?
Is it just to get the exposure right so not to blow the highlights?
No.

What should that be called if not ETTR? Exposing To The Optimum?
  • If you are applying it correctly at the base ISO and plan on lowering the exposure in post, then you can call it ETTR.
  • If you are shooting above the base ISO of your camera and are adjusting the ISO to get to the final exposure you want, you can call it exposing to the (your) optimum.
  • If you are shooting above the base ISO of your camera and are overexposing to the right to bring it down later in post, you can call it fooling yourself. :wink:
 

RS86

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No.


  • If you are applying it correctly at the base ISO and plan on lowering the exposure in post, then you can call it ETTR.
  • If you are shooting above the base ISO of your camera and are adjusting the ISO to get to the final exposure you want, you can call it exposing to the (your) optimum.
  • If you are shooting above the base ISO of your camera and are overexposing to the right to bring it down later in post, you can call it fooling yourself. :wink:
Well put together. What I meant about the Manual + Auto-ISO vs Manual + Auto-ISO + Exposure Compensation, people wanting that possibility, is was that to get the exposure right and not to blow the highlights? And nothing to do with ETTR + "less noise with high ISO" (=false). This is how I understand it currently. What are the benefits of having that Exposure Compensation there?
 

PakkyT

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Well put together. What I meant about the Manual + Auto-ISO vs Manual + Auto-ISO + Exposure Compensation, people wanting that possibility, is was that to get the exposure right and not to blow the highlights? And nothing to do with ETTR + "less noise with high ISO" (=false). This is how I understand it currently. What are the benefits of having that Exposure Compensation there?
Yes so all those things are to help get the "correct" (as determined by the camera, not you) exposure by the camera being able to adjust the ISO up or down when your manual settings result in an exposure the camera measures as too dim or too bright.

I don't use Auto-ISO in manual mode so not familiar with how the Exp Compensation works in that mode, but I assume it simply allows you to override the camera's selected ISO. Basically in this case "Exp Comp" just becomes an ISO button or knob.

In general you use exposure compensation because the camera always wants to exposure for the "18% grey card" point which is the middle of your histogram, but sometimes you need to override that either to correct problems or for artistic purposes. In the first case, problems, classic examples are that the "grey card" exposure will dim snow scenes so the snow looks grey or brightens dark subjects so your black cat also looks grey. So you use exp comp to force higher exposure on the snow to get the white back or lower exposure on the cat to get the black back. In the second case, artistic, you may simple prefer to have the scene shot a little differently for example if at night you are trying to capture festive lights so the lights stand out and everything else appears a bit darker than the "grey card" exposure would have giving you. Or maybe you are shooting a daylight rain scene but want to make it look later in the day or more stormy than it really was so you exposure it down a bit. Stuff like that.

So to answer your question, if you are in manual mode + Auto-ISO, the advantage is for some of the reasons outlined above, you can overrule the camera and force the ISO to go higher or lower to get a different exposure than the camera picks. You can't try a different aperture or shutter setting because the Auto-ISO would then adjust ISO again to maintain its exposure. Which kind of begs the question, why use Auto-ISO then? Seems to be better to be in full manual, pick an ISO and as you are shooting if you need to darken or lighten the exposure you now have 3 ways to do it instead of just one 1. I can think of maybe one or two reasons to use Auto-ISO in manual mode but these generally would be unique cases.

None of that has anything to do with ETTR.
 

wimg

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Thanks for explanation. What am I missing though when people wanted cameras to have Manual Mode with Auto-ISO (which E-M10 II has) and in addition for Exposure Compensation to work with it (PEN-F & GX9 has this).

Is it just to get the exposure right so not to blow the highlights? What should that be called if not ETTR? Exposing To The Optimum?
Bolding is mine.

I like that, because that is what it is really about, just like we did with analog and the Zone System :).

Kind regards, Wim
 

wimg

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No.


  • If you are applying it correctly at the base ISO and plan on lowering the exposure in post, then you can call it ETTR.
  • If you are shooting above the base ISO of your camera and are adjusting the ISO to get to the final exposure you want, you can call it exposing to the (your) optimum.
  • If you are shooting above the base ISO of your camera and are overexposing to the right to bring it down later in post, you can call it fooling yourself. :wink:
Very true, but in my view of the world ETTR is just one of the options for ETTO. It is just a subset.

Also, all very nice to have a DR of 12, but that is generally useless unless you compress it again to 7-8 stops for all but the latest HDR monitors, and 6 stops for print. The idea really is to adjust the tonal scale of an image, as is the case with the Zone System, so you can display it on the viewing medium, print or monitor, in the way you saw it or visualized it. ETTO is the way to do that, of which ETTR is a subset, and then adjust according to the medium.

Kind regards, Wim
 

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