ETTR - the "Experts" have spoken...

doady

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I always thought of "exposing to the right" as exposing as much as possible without clipping the highlights. In some cases, "exposure to the right" actually means negative exposure compensation. It just means paying careful attention to the right side of the histogram.
 

PakkyT

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I always thought of "exposing to the right" as exposing as much as possible without clipping the highlights.
Yes, in that when doing ETTR you want to be careful not to clip the highlights. Unless of course the clipped parts are not important to your photo then by all means clip to your heart's content if that is what it takes to bring up the details in the shadows of the part that are important. But the purpose of ETTR is not to prevent highlight clipping (as was asked earlier).


In some cases, "exposure to the right" actually means negative exposure compensation. It just means paying careful attention to the right side of the histogram.
Well no because in that case it just means you are over exposing and you need to fix it cause you are blowing out the highlights on your shot and certainly your camera's metering is should be telling you something is wrong. ETTR essentially assumes you start with a correct exposure with your settings, see empty space to the right of your histogram and then make a conscience decision to overexpose the image to capture more shadow detail knowing you will have to dial it back on the computer later. You could have taken the shot without the ETTR and your photo would still look fine, where as your example you have no choice to correct it because your shot will look terrible without fixing with no ability to fix in post.
 

wyk

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My E-M5 seems to ETTR in bright light without me asking it to, often blowing out the highlights. I now bracket every shot I take that isn't a long exposure. At 9fps, it's a no brainer. I have even made HDR's with my handheld brackets in LR because the IBIS is so good.
 

Richard_M

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One thing I notice with many of these discussions, there is little to no mention of the various metering modes. While the majority of my photography is macro, I will change the metering depending on the subject and lighting at the time. I do the same for birding.
 

pdk42

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ETTR is, for most cameras in most situations, a technique that will only improve IQ if you are shooting at base ISO. Here's an example from the Pen-F that I posted a little while back (in response to another of Siegfried's off-course posts on the subject) which demonstrates/proves the point beyond doubt :

https://www.mu-43.com/threads/what-...d-other-techniques.107096/page-6#post-1354503

Over-exposing at an increased ISO will deliver the same result as a normally-exposed shot at a lower ISO - for the simple reason that they will both be THE SAME EXPOSURE - i.e. shutter speed and aperture. No more needs to be said.
 
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pdk42

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  • 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:
Love it!!!
 
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I wrote a short article to summarize ETTR. The original article I did is a good backup for those that want more detail.

You will find the article here.

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

pdk42

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I wrote a short article to summarize ETTR. The original article I did is a good backup for those that want more detail.

You will find the article here.

View attachment 824453
Siegfried - why are you constantly pushing this point when it's clear that you're wrong!

That shot at far right - 1s at f7.1 ISO 1600 would give you exactly the same result if you exposed it for 1s f7.1 at ISO 650. At ISO 1600 you're pushing in-camera by +1.3 EV and pulling back in PS by -1.3EV. At ISO 650, it would not need any pushing. That's why ETTR DOESN'T WORK AT ANYTHING OTHER THAN BASE ISO - since you can always shoot the same real exposure at a lower ISO. This will continue until you get to base ISO when you can't go lower - and that's when ETTR does give some benefit.

Arrgghhh - how can we get you to see this! Go back and look at that example I gave with the Pen-F - seeing is believing!
 
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PakkyT

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I wrote a short article to summarize ETTR.
I don't understand why in all your examples you are always shooting at very high ISO levels like 3200 and 6400 when there is no need. I have no issue with your using a higher ISO if needed and adjusting your shutter and/or aperture to push your histogram to the right, if you do it to for the correct exposure, that's photography. The only thing your article correctly demonstrates is that more light from shutter and aperture gives more photons collected and a much better signal to noise ratio. What it incorrectly concludes is on the computer later if you then reduce the over-exposed high ISO shots you improve that SNR. It can't because the noise is baked into the data and the details are already lost. Your claim in the article of "Some like you to believe ETTR only works at base ISO. This is incorrect because more tonal data is recorded in the highlights, irrespective of the ISO setting." is wrong. The tonal data recorded is whatever it would be at base ISO but the histogram you see of the final image is that data now artificially amplified (stretched right & more bits interpolated) by ISO to make it appear there is more tonal data recorded on the right side.

For example, the photo at the top of this latest article you shot it at ISO 6400, f7.1 and 1/13 of a second on a tripod, correct? Why did you shoot at 6400? You could have easily shot the same thing at ISO 200 (base for the camera), f7.1 (to maintain the exact same depth of field), and adjusted the shutter speed to 1/2 a second; no problem for a tripod. Using that example, please demonstrate that your ISO 6400 "ETTR" technique gives better results than the ISO 200 settings exposed correctly. And if you wanted to apply real ETTR techniques then the ISO 200 settings are where you should be doing it, adjusting the shutter to say 1s to push to the right and then adjusting back on the computer. If you take your original setup of 6400, f7.1, and 1/13, if you want to see what the actual tonal data recorded is, simply spin your dial on your camera back to 200. THAT is the data, all squished on the left, you actually recorded. When you dial it back up to 6400 you didn't add any tonal data; no additional photons hit the sensor.
 
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pdk42

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I don't understand why in all your examples you are always shooting at very high ISO levels like 3200 and 6400 when there is no need. I have no issue with your using a higher ISO if needed and adjusting your shutter and/or aperture to push your histogram to the right, if you do it to for the correct exposure, that's photography. The only thing your article correctly demonstrates is that more light from shutter and aperture gives more photos collected and a much better signal to noise ratio. What it incorrectly concludes is on the computer later if you then reduce the over-exposed high ISO shots you improve that SNR. It can't because the noise is baked into the data and the details are already lost. Your claim in the article of "Some like you to believe ETTR only works at base ISO. This is incorrect because more tonal data is recorded in the highlights, irrespective of the ISO setting." is wrong. The tonal data recorded is whatever it would be at base ISO but the histogram you see of the final image is that data now artificially amplified (stretched right & more bits interpolated) to make it appear there is more tonal data recorded on the right side.

For example, the photo at the top of this latest article you shot it at ISO 6400, f7.1 and 1/13 of a second on a tripod, correct? Why did you shoot at 6400? You could have easily shot the same thing at ISO 200 (base for the camera), f7.1 (to maintain the exact same depth of field), and adjusted the shutter speed to 1/2 a second; no problem for a tripod. Using that example, please demonstrate that your ISO 6400 "ETTR" technique gives better results than the ISO 200 settings exposed correctly. And if you wanted to apply real ETTR techniques then the ISO 200 settings are where you should be doing it, adjusting the shutter to say 1s to push to the right and then adjusting back on the computer. If you take your original setup of 6400, f7.1, and 1/13, if you want to see what the actual tonal data recorded is, simply spin your dial on your camera back to 200. THAT is the data, all squished on the left, you actually recorded. When you dial it back up to 6400 you didn't add any tonal data; no additional photos hit the sensor.
I feel like pulling my hair out! He keeps pushing this false proposition.
 
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Interesting how some think the camera always stays on the base ISO. Breaking news - I often see higher ISO's on my camera... I added one more example to my ETTR summary article to help those interesting in this interesting practical solution...

"I had to explain this because some only look at the ISO settings I used in the article and not at the interesting concept discussed. Let's assume I did everything I talked about and I pressed the shutter button halfway to take an exposure reading. Checking the histogram I notice my Olympus took a conservative exposure reading, what will I do next?"

Visit my blog and see the rest and the update...
 
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wyk

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ETTR is, for most cameras in most situations, a technique that will only improve IQ if you are shooting at base ISO. Here's an example from the Pen-F that I posted a little while back (in response to another of Siegfried's off-course posts on the subject) which demonstrates/proves the point beyond doubt :

https://www.mu-43.com/threads/what-...d-other-techniques.107096/page-6#post-1354503

Over-exposing at an increased ISO will deliver the same result as a normally-exposed shot at a lower ISO - for the simple reason that they will both be THE SAME EXPOSURE - i.e. shutter speed and aperture. No more needs to be said.
In my E-M5 MK1, I usually shoot 1600-3200 at the highest depending on the situation. I bracket everything in .7ev steps. Depending on the lighting and the ISO, often the +.7EV has less noise when the highlights are brought down VS the standard exposure having shadows brought up regardless of ISO. But if there is a high contrast exposure done the +.7 and even +0 often will blow out the highlights since the particular m5 I have seems to want to err on the high side of exposure even when set to -0- in all menus(so much so I checked to make sure it wasnt hard set in menu 2 to over expose a 1/3). Something very noticable to me because I also shoot a Sony A7 which can underexpose as much as a full step. Since I am shooting in H drive mode, I can occasionally also combine them all in to an HDR as well. I shoot mainly landscape and street and use full weight metering most of the time.
 

PakkyT

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Interesting how some think the camera always stays on the base ISO.
Nice job taking a discussion about a very specific technique and discussing your specific method of applying it and poo poo'ing any disagreement with a purposely wrongly stated generalization that no one implied in this thread.
 

PakkyT

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I bracket everything in .7ev steps. Depending on the lighting and the ISO, often the +.7EV has less noise when the highlights are brought down VS the standard exposure having shadows brought up regardless of ISO
Sure when those compared images all shot at the same ISO. As has been explained to "Einstein", no one is disputing that if you add more light to the sensor through shutter or aperture you will get better SNR and better details in your image. The way you are shooting is how a lot of us will shoot simply to make sure we have some choices to work with when we get home. However he is talking specifically about using ETTR as the image quality tool which is a pain in the arse method of trying to get the absolute highest detail you can out of your camera and it used by someone who is setting up for that one perfect shot, typically a landscape, and has the time and the patience to really work the controls to optimize that shot. No bracketing, no underexposing or proper exposing, but one shot pushed to the right on purpose.

Your (not done for the ETTR technique specifically) example illustrates the fundamental flaw if you were using this specific tool on purpose at higher ISOs. Assuming your +0.7 EV photo was done with shutter and/or aperture and not ISO, if you are able to exposure 0.7EV higher why not simply shoot at that aperture and shutter at -0.7 ISO? As an example, you are at ISO 1600, f5.6, and 1/200s and when you bracket say your shutter changes ('cause you are in A mode). So your +0.7EV shot ends up 1600, f5.6, 1/125s. On the computer you find that if you roll back the exposure to 0.0 EV it looks great, so your image is effectively ISO 1000 with the same f5.6 1/125s settings, right? Works great for those of us who hedged their bets and bracketed and we ended up with a shot we like. However if you purposely set out to use the ETTR technique and went to all that trouble, my first question to you when you showed me the shot as proof of using the technique would be "Great, but why didn't you just shoot it at ISO 1000 to begin with? That probably would have resulted an even cleaner image." :doh:

TL ; DR - Basically if trying to use ETTR when you are able to bump up exposure through shutter and aperture, you will always get an even better image by also dropping the ISO to get back to 0EV and not having to do it after on the computer.
 
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Robert Watcher

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I have been a serious photographer for 40 years, and one using digital cameras since 2003. I had no idea what ETTR meant - just Googled it to find out. I thought it must be a metering mode like TTL. I have no idea how I have ever been able to take a decent picture without having this knowledge. :doh:
 
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