What is the best exposure for your Olympus? (ETTR and other techniques)

peterwgallagher

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I assessed the maximum EV range of my OMD EM-1 Mk2 using RawDigger (https://www.fastrawviewer.com/blog/how-to-use-the-full-dynamic-range-of-your-camera).

Accordingly, I set the EV of my raws to +1.7 for the spot reading (using the AFL/AEL button) of the brightest highlights in which I wish to retain some detail e.g. clouds. The actual mid-grey reading of my camera is typically 2EV below sensor saturation point. So setting brightest highlights to mid-grey+1.7 EV almost always ensures that the highlights are set at/near the top of the sensor range. There may be some highlights that are blown-out but that's not usually a problem if they're specular. lf they occupy a significant area of the image I might set the exposure to those highlights even when I don't really need/want details in them. My Oly (like most digital SLRs) has a much deeper range of darks than highlights and I can almost always recover sufficient detail in under-exposed darks in post to make a good picture.

I recommend this procedure. I rarely need to inspect the blinkies because I find I can be pretty confident that this shot-discipline will work in 85-90% of cases. When I need to shoot in the gloom and ISO is a problem (I don't mind even OLY ISO6400) I sometimes expose for medium grey at +1.7EV and take the hit on any highlights that are in-shot.

P
 
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I assessed the maximum EV range of my OMD EM-1 Mk2 using RawDigger (https://www.fastrawviewer.com/blog/how-to-use-the-full-dynamic-range-of-your-camera).

Accordingly, I set the EV of my raws to +1.7 for the spot reading (using the AFL/AEL button) of the brightest highlights in which I wish to retain some detail e.g. clouds. The actual mid-grey reading of my camera is typically 2EV below sensor saturation point. So setting brightest highlights to mid-grey+1.7 EV almost always ensures that the highlights are set at/near the top of the sensor range. There may be some highlights that are blown-out but that's not usually a problem if they're specular. lf they occupy a significant area of the image I might set the exposure to those highlights even when I don't really need/want details in them. My Oly (like most digital SLRs) has a much deeper range of darks than highlights and I can almost always recover sufficient detail in under-exposed darks in post to make a good picture.

I recommend this procedure. I rarely need to inspect the blinkies because I find I can be pretty confident that this shot-discipline will work in 85-90% of cases. When I need to shoot in the gloom and ISO is a problem (I don't mind even OLY ISO6400) I sometimes expose for medium grey at +1.7EV and take the hit on any highlights that are in-shot.

P
That's interesting - I also think the Olympus generally under expose a little and benefit from pushing the histogram to the right... +1.7EV is high, I would have thought a safe push would be +0.5 to 0.75EV. Do you use the exp shift function?

See this interesting piece on ETTR - he basically says there are more image data in the highs as long as you do not over expose and the same as you said...recover the low. He warns about blowing highlights which makes sense to me....

Applying the same shift the exposure right principle at higher ISO's works, that's why ISO6400 is now less of a problem. The only thing one should take care of is the DR is a little lower at ISO6400 and more care should be taken not to blow the highlights. (shift the histogram left if needed)

Also interesting to see you use a spot reading - personally I like center weighted. Don't you find the measure area is too small?
 

PakkyT

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All I want to know is how far can I push the Em5iii jpeg highlights (histogram) without blowing the raw headroom out of the photo? The shadows can fall wherever they do.
Keep in mind that the vast majority of this thread and discussion is assuming you are shooting in raw format so you can push the exposure in the camera then dial it back on the computer using the entire 12-bits or 14-bits per channel of information. If you are shooting JPEG on your camera, then you are only working with 8-bits per channel and your ability to push & pull the files in post becomes much more limited. Since you mentioned "push the Em5iii jpeg highlights" thought I would mention it if you shoot JPG.
 
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Keep in mind that the vast majority of this thread and discussion is assuming you are shooting in raw format so you can push the exposure in the camera then dial it back on the computer using the entire 12-bits or 14-bits per channel of information. If you are shooting JPEG on your camera, then you are only working with 8-bits per channel and your ability to push & pull the files in post becomes much more limited. Since you mentioned "push the Em5iii jpeg highlights" thought I would mention it if you shoot JPG.
Yes, but whatever you're doing, the histogram you have on your camera is representing JPEG levels, not RAW.
So it's quite difficult to see when you are really exposing to the right, without bracketting.

I think the mention to "Em5iii jpeg highlights (histogram)" is linked to that.
 

Mack

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I assessed the maximum EV range of my OMD EM-1 Mk2 using RawDigger (https://www.fastrawviewer.com/blog/how-to-use-the-full-dynamic-range-of-your-camera).

Accordingly, I set the EV of my raws to +1.7 for the spot reading (using the AFL/AEL button) of the brightest highlights in which I wish to retain some detail e.g. clouds. The actual mid-grey reading of my camera is typically 2EV below sensor saturation point. So setting brightest highlights to mid-grey+1.7 EV almost always ensures that the highlights are set at/near the top of the sensor range. There may be some highlights that are blown-out but that's not usually a problem if they're specular. lf they occupy a significant area of the image I might set the exposure to those highlights even when I don't really need/want details in them. My Oly (like most digital SLRs) has a much deeper range of darks than highlights and I can almost always recover sufficient detail in under-exposed darks in post to make a good picture.

I recommend this procedure. I rarely need to inspect the blinkies because I find I can be pretty confident that this shot-discipline will work in 85-90% of cases. When I need to shoot in the gloom and ISO is a problem (I don't mind even OLY ISO6400) I sometimes expose for medium grey at +1.7EV and take the hit on any highlights that are in-shot.

P
Interesting.

You are basically doing the same thing I am, but I find I can set a +2.7 EV reading in spot mode off a large white Styrofoam ball. The nice thing about the Styrofoam ball is it has specular highlights that show up easily as red blinkies in the Olympus. I also set the highlight blinkies at about 247 in the menu and it allows me to fine tune the ETTR a bit by doing so as to when they appear. That pretty much maximizes the ETTR in both RawDigger and FastRawViewer for my E-M1 MKII. Someone refereed to the method as HA-ETTR (i.e. Highlight Alert - ETTR).

Might be time to retire the 18% gray card from the film era and begin using some sort of white card with specular highlights for digital and ETTR.
 
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Mack

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Interesting, especially on the white balance parts & info on red blue & green channel clipping.
That's why it would be better if coded by the manufactuers which would really know their sensors.

That's a mystery to me that in 2020 no manufactuer has experienced this...
I wouldn't be surprised if some of the newer cellphones are using a lot more AI within them than what we are using with our non-AI cameras. Someone at Google, during the last Pixel cellphone introduction, moved the software ahead of the camera in importance in making the final shot.
 
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Yes, but whatever you're doing, the histogram you have on your camera is representing JPEG levels, not RAW.
So it's quite difficult to see when you are really exposing to the right, without bracketting.

I think the mention to "Em5iii jpeg highlights (histogram)" is linked to that.
So what do you suggest? Olympus histogram is useless so lets all sit down and cry or do you propose some kind of work around or solution?

I suggested a proposal to you yesterday....did you thought about that or will we get the same line "Olympus histogram measure jpeg and I do not like that" for next 10 years?

There are nothing more pleasant than working with people looking for solutions..... It's demanding to work with those who complain about everything in life.....

:cool:
 
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So what do you suggest? Olympus histogram is useless so lets all sit down and cry or do you propose some kind of work around or solution?
Where did I say anyone should cry about this?
I just said that it's easier said that done, and that it would be much more efficient in built-in measurement mode in camera.
My only way to achieve something near ETTR, for now, is bracketing. And I keep the most exposed image with no clipping, with my RAW software. Of course, I don't do this much.

I suggested a proposal to you yesterday....did you thought about that or will we get the same line "Olympus histogram measure jpeg and I do not like that" for next 10 years?
If the camera makers don't come with something new, then the comments will stay the same, yes.

And sorry but I didn't find anything in your link answering the questions raised here. It just assumes the histogram is correct - and we all know it isn't.
Read this and use you camera histogram
 
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Where did I say anyone should cry about this?
I just said that it's easier said that done, and that it would be much more efficient in built-in measurement mode in camera.
My only way to achieve something near ETTR, for now, is bracketing. And I keep the most exposed image with no clipping, with my RAW software. Of course, I don't do this much.


If the camera makers don't come with something new, then the comments will stay the same, yes.

And sorry but I didn't find anything in your link answering the questions raised here. It just assumes the histogram is correct - and we all know it isn't.
Here is a suggestion:-
  1. "Calibrate" the histogram in your camera...how to?
  2. You could make A4 paper with one half white and the other black
  3. Use a series of bracket exposures and take pictures of the A4
- Take those images, check them in Workspace and compare with the camera/workspace histograms
- This should help you to build a very reasonable understanding of what your camera histogram represents and any offset you need to take into account when using the camera histogram

- Next you can check the over/under exposure screen warnings and do the same test/calibration calculating an offset....

This should give you a very accurate feel for your camera histogram and screen warning functions....

Personally I did not had to go to this extreme because I learned not to complain but trust and use my camera feedback....

You will be surprised to learn just how helpful Olympus exposure functions are.....

Best :)
 
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Great link, thank you Mack. In fact his first post on the subject was very basic and he called it "Expose Right" you will find it here. Interesting to see the DR of the cameras in that article (6 stops)

The graph below also shows why there are more "good" data on the right in the histogram. One of the reason are, the good signal is smaller. So when you move your histogram to the right you also record more good data. Those people who really understand and explain ETTR warn that one should not over expose, which is interesting for me personally. I always had a personal theory, its OK to loose some parts of the highlights to white, especially if not important....

This graph was done for the Nikon 610 at base ISO100, the only difference when increasing the ISO, is the workable DR will be less..... So instead of having 16 stops at ISO100 one could only have 12 stops at ISO3200. The rest will stay exactly the same at higher ISO's, the high (good) signal to noise ratio in the highlights will still be true.....


Good-SignalV1.jpg
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I am a little frustrated must say..... trying to be of value and present something really exciting, instead we see many distractions:-

- No you CANNOT use ETTR at high ISO arguing irrelevant "wells" theories
- The Olympus histogram is of absolutely no value and you should not rely on it....
- No the Olympus over/under exposure screen warning is also useless and we should not even think of trying it....
- Why do we need to discuss ETTR.....we did it 5 yrs back
- Olympus owners cannot read graphs....really...?
- What is new.....?
- What is this, this is way to complicated.....
- Weird example trying to proof one should not use ETTR at high ISO values (keep those MFT cams at ISO200)
- Shutter shock - Olympus cameras seem to be really unique with this problem - lets talk all about shutter shock....
- And finally we had guys really interested and positively taking part in the discussion

This is such an interesting and exciting subject and can help so many M43 photographers get real improvements. Instead of helping we saw too many distractions. I sometimes battle to understand why there are not more enthusiasm amongst MFT photographers to help others and have more satisfied old and new Olympus owners.....no no no lets distract them and list whatever negative we can get our hands on...

But do not forget....the Olympus histogram is crap....don't talk solutions...NO :)
 
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Cederic

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Am I just weird for just exposure bracketing when I think there's a risk of losing detail? Means I can skip all the thought and just twizzle the exposure compensation button, hit the shutter release, sorted.

I have time in post to work out the best shot, can't be doing with the nonsense in the field.
 

PakkyT

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I am a little frustrated must say..... trying to be of value and present something really exciting, instead we see many distractions:-
Ya so are we. Problem is you tried to present something here that has issues where many of us thought you wanted feedback and tried to give it. But so far any feedback has been met with resistance, name calling, feigned confusion at counter points, etc. It would seem you thought this article was going to win you nothing but "Wow, great job" type posts and when it didn't you immediately went on the defensive. You have called people who have responded trolls, complainers, and indirectly as being stupid. We can not help you if you are unwilling to take constructive criticism and now many don't want to help you since you basically acted like a spoiled child to those that have tried.
 
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Am I just weird for just exposure bracketing when I think there's a risk of losing detail? Means I can skip all the thought and just twizzle the exposure compensation button, hit the shutter release, sorted.

I have time in post to work out the best shot, can't be doing with the nonsense in the field.
No you not. For many years I did not bother myself. Having been out on photo walks in the past two months I have been trying different options. I think there are two conditions. The first is easy going photowalks, on these I do not change anything. The next is a city scape, landscape or street photography - an image I really want and spend a little more time preparing. For these images I will work my settings a little more.....

Then all low light images, like city at night, blue hour, in a building - I will test and dial in an exp shift or bracket like you suggest.... Its with these one see the best improvements, mainly because one at higher ISO's

I enjoy doing HDR's when home, so the bracketed shots are great to have.
 

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