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Author Topic: Is ETTR still worth it?  (Read 5380 times)

bjanes

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Re: Is ETTR still worth it?
« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2018, 02:08:46 PM »

IMHO ETTR has some negative side effects; it changes the overall contrast of the image ( different contrast slope)
I get the better contrast envelope in my images by not to exposing as ETTR but just normal.

The raw file is linear and the different contrast slope to which you refer is imposed by the tone curve of the raw converter and not by the position in the raw file of the ETTR higlights. In Adobe converters it is true that the calibration Versions 3 and 4 do remap the highlights, it is possible to obtain a roughly linear tone curve by using Version 2 (PV 2010) and setting the sliders to neutral and the tone curve to linear. Capture One does offer a linear tone curve and its use in preserving the highlights is discussed here.

Personally, I find the current Version 4 to be fine with reasonably ETTR images, but if you want a linear file there are means to obtain it and do your own tone mapping.

It's normal that if you expose to the right more of the image data is parked in the brighter zones of the histogram - that's the whole point, and it is expected that in post capture processing you will redistribute it, making contrast correct. But by doing this you have more data to redistribute, hence less risk of undesirable discontinuities.

While is true that a linear file contains more levels in the highlights, the real reason to use ETTR is to obtain a better signal to noise ratio as explained here. While Michael deserves credit fof introducing many of us to the concept of ETTR, his original rationale concerning the number of levels was incorrect. Raw data are never posterized and it would require herculean editing to introduce banding.

When shooting in dim light using higher ISOs, moving the histogram to the right by increasing ISO while leaving exposure the same (same aperture and shutter speed) serves mainly to reduce highlight headroom as Emil explains in the above link and the signal to noise ratio is not improved (assuming a reasonable ISO-less sensor). In this case using the histogram to represent exposure is misleading, and some prefer to use proper exposure rather than ETTR. Even with earlier Canon sensors, raising the ISO beyond 1600 has little effect on SNR.

Bill
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Jeremy Roussak

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Re: Is ETTR still worth it?
« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2018, 05:13:10 PM »

As the old adage goes - "The proof is in the pudding".

No, it doesn't; there is no such adage, since the sentence has no meaning (unless you're hiding a test print inside a spotted dick, of course).

"The proof of the pudding is in the eating."

Jeremy
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luxborealis

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Re: Is ETTR still worth it?
« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2018, 06:06:40 PM »

Of course ETTR is still relevant. You may not use it as frequently because  sensors are so much better, but that doesn’t mean it becomes irrelevant. I still use it regularly whether I’m shooting with my D800E, my Sony RX-10iii or my iPhone.

Bottom line: Pay attention to your histogram no matter what you’re shooting, unless you enjoy working with blown out highlights.
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kirkt

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Re: Is ETTR still worth it?
« Reply #23 on: May 20, 2018, 11:51:29 PM »

Some rather strange comments above...

ETTR is NOT about overexposing a raw file.

If one is shooting JPEG's no one in their right mind would expose those images in the same way as shooting raw, ETTR style, so...complete straw-man argument.

If one is shooting JPEG and raw together then the above point applies, one cannot employ ETTR.

You seem fixated on shooting JPEG - ETTR is never an option for you...

I’ve been shooting raw for close to 15 years. With ETTR, we are purposely overexposing relative to the meter, not the raw histogram. If we had raw histograms on our cameras, ETTR would not be necessary, simply because you would have a true display of the raw data on your camera. Magic Lantern for some Canon cameras has this and you simply expose for the raw histogram. Using a tool like Raw Digger you can develop a relation between your meter and the raw data and infer the raw histogram’s highlight end from metering scenes and studying the raw data.

I am not fixated on shooting JPEG, but it is clear that if one can expose for both, I.e., because sensors are getting better, then that is optimal in terms of having an immediately useable image (the JPEG) and the high-quality raw data to use for further processing. I believe that the OPs point was exactly this- increased sensor quality may mean less of a need to ETTR.  Clearly cameras are not there yet but way better than even a couple of camera generations ago.

Kirk

« Last Edit: May 21, 2018, 12:05:20 AM by kirkt »
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Mosccol

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Re: Is ETTR still worth it?
« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2018, 07:30:48 AM »

I love this forum! - Some topics are like touch paper  ;)

Thank you everybody for the extremely useful contributions. My biggest take home is the realisation that it's the quantity of light hitting the sensor that counts, not the exposure (helped by ISO).

Talking about contrast curve, what would be a way to 'restore' a 'correct' contrast in LR using the current process (as suggested by Pieter Kers)?
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Is ETTR still worth it?
« Reply #25 on: May 21, 2018, 08:17:47 AM »


Talking about contrast curve, what would be a way to 'restore' a 'correct' contrast in LR using the current process (as suggested by Pieter Kers)?

Typically we aren't "restoring" "correct" contrast in a raw file because there is no restoration and there is no standard for what is correct in much of the photography we do. We are using the software to create a usable visual appearance of the photo when we open it in Lr and we are editing tone and colour to taste when we start using the tools. What's correct is how we want our photos to look.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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BJL

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Re: Is ETTR still worth it?
« Reply #26 on: May 21, 2018, 09:16:31 AM »

My biggest take home is the realisation that it's the quantity of light hitting the sensor that counts, not the exposure (helped by ISO).
That is the idea I asked about when I started yet another thread about ETTR that you might want to browse:
http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=123749.0

Talking about contrast curve, what would be a way to 'restore' a 'correct' contrast in LR using the current process (as suggested by Pieter Kers)?
To clarify your question: are you looking for a way to first lower the levels from the "maximally exposed" ETTR file to get a correct mid-tone placement and then apply to that the default tone curve that you would have got if you had exposed for that mid-tone placement in the first place?
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Garnick

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Re: Is ETTR still worth it?
« Reply #27 on: May 21, 2018, 09:37:21 AM »

No, it doesn't; there is no such adage, since the sentence has no meaning (unless you're hiding a test print inside a spotted dick, of course).

"The proof of the pudding is in the eating."

Jeremy

Hi Jeremy,

I beg to differ.  When I first read your reply to my usage of this phrase I decided not to take this any further, since it has no relevance to this thread.  However --- I have decided to take you on this morning, since I have heard both versions of the aforementioned phrase, but mostly the version I used to fit the situation.  Language is a fluid and ever evolving part of any society, and certainly not written in stone, as can be demonstrated in many ways and by many cultures.  I used this version of the idiom (the proof is in the pudding) for two reasons.  First, it's the one I am most familiar with.  Secondly, it fit perfectly with the thought I was trying to convey. 

If you have a minute to spare, perhaps you would like to Google(verb) the phrase I used.  If so, you will find at least a full page committed to both versions of the phrase and the etymology of the one I used simply to fit my own personal needs.  Here's one of the sites you might find interesting, or not - https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=the%20proof%20is%20in%20the%20pudding.

Also a snippet from another site - "The idiom is usually stated the proof is in the pudding and means that the end result is the mark of the success or failure of one’s efforts or planning. The phrase may also be used in the past and future tenses: the proof will be/was in the pudding".

Well Jeremy, it's the Victoria Day holiday weekend here in Canada, and I had nothing more pressing to do at this somewhat early time, so I hope this explanation will suffice.  Just a small break from the initial thread, and no more to be said about I'm sure.

Have a great day,

Gary       
« Last Edit: May 21, 2018, 09:44:54 AM by Garnick »
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digitaldog

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Re: Is ETTR still worth it?
« Reply #28 on: May 21, 2018, 09:45:54 AM »

My biggest take home is the realisation that it's the quantity of light hitting the sensor that counts, not the exposure (helped by ISO).
The light hitting the sensor is the exposure; not ISO.
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Andrew Rodney
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digitaldog

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Re: Is ETTR still worth it?
« Reply #29 on: May 21, 2018, 09:50:25 AM »

With ETTR, we are purposely overexposing relative to the meter, not the raw histogram
We are not over exposing. We are ignoring the wrong meter reading for JPEG which isn't raw, nor correctly exposed like raw, hence, we ignore the Histogram because it isn't at all necessary to properly expose. OR we expose to the right of that incorrect Histogram because we can't expose without that lie told to us first, then compensate. But it's never over exposing!

What we need ideally is a raw Histogram or we just learn, like film, to expose without a Histogram, one that is true or one that is a lie.
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Andrew Rodney
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Is ETTR still worth it?
« Reply #30 on: May 21, 2018, 09:57:09 AM »

We are not over exposing. We are ignoring the wrong meter reading for JPEG which isn't raw, nor correctly exposed like raw, hence, we ignore the Histogram because it isn't at all necessary to properly expose. OR we expose to the right of that incorrect Histogram because we can't expose without that lie told to us first, then compensate. But it's never over exposing!

What we need ideally is a raw Histogram or we just learn, like film, to expose without a Histogram, one that is true or one that is a lie.

Taken in context, the term "over-exposing" kirkt used here (my interpretation) may have meant "too bright an exposure relative to the tonality I want to end-up with for the photo", not over-exposure in the technical sense of clipping information.

Also, the alternatives you propose here may be a shade more dire than necessary. We can do tests to determine approximately the extent to which our histograms misrepresent the bright end of the scale and compensate accordingly in how we expose the capture. Admittedly a bit rough, but I think useful nonetheless.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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digitaldog

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Re: Is ETTR still worth it?
« Reply #31 on: May 21, 2018, 09:59:57 AM »

Taken in context, the term "over-exposing" kirkt used here (my interpretation) may have meant "too bright an exposure relative to the tonality I want to end-up with for the photo", not over-exposure in the technical sense of clipping information.
Clipping is clipping (maybe over exposure, maybe not). Exposure is exposure and may subject some pixels to clipping, maybe not. Too bright is a subjective evaluation of rendered pixels. Over exposure of raw data isn't and we need tools to see such clipping not available on most of our camera systems to test exposure of that raw data.
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Andrew Rodney
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Is ETTR still worth it?
« Reply #32 on: May 21, 2018, 10:05:03 AM »

Sure, but all I'm suggesting is a workaround until we have such tools.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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digitaldog

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Re: Is ETTR still worth it?
« Reply #33 on: May 21, 2018, 10:07:04 AM »

Sure, but all I'm suggesting is a workaround until we have such tools.
We (I) don't need such tools; I exposed all kinds of film decades before histograms appeared on cameras. Also, such tools exist. So it's all a bit moot. Exposure (ideal exposure for the media you capture) is photography 101. It's not rocket science.  ;D
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Andrew Rodney
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Garnick

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Re: Is ETTR still worth it?
« Reply #34 on: May 21, 2018, 11:18:43 AM »

When I was still shooting 4x5 B&W I always carried two exposure meters, a LunaSix 3 and a "vintage" Pentax Spot Meter.  I very seldom used the LunaSix.  I determined which part of the scene was most important and what exposure it required to maintain the detail necessary for what I wanted to see in the final print.  I then metered the opposite end of the scene and tried to determine the necessary development necessary to hold the highlights as well.  Again the "expose for the shadows and develop for the highlights" scenario, now referred to digitally as HDR.  And of course I am referring to a "properly" used HDR procedure, not the "over the top" versions I see online, my opinion only.  Personally, I do not yet use the HDR approach as such, since the "Optimal Digital Exposure" seems to produce what I need when the situation is such that it can be put into use.  But of course similar restrictions apply to HDR exposures to some extent.  The possibility of "overexposing" was not part of my vocabulary then, except for perhaps an occasional mistake on my part.  The final product was a combination of exposure and development, which together produced a negative that could, with some degree of manipulation, produce the print I had envisioned when the shutter was fired.  Did it always work to my expectations?.  No, it did not, which meant a higher degree of manipulation during the printing cycle than I would prefer.  However, it did usually produce a negative that contained enough information to provide a good print in the final outcome.  I learned a lot from Ansel's writings, which are still relevant in the digital darkroom/Lightroom.  It is after all the foundation of photography, and Ansel found a way to expand on that and make it more technical and indeed, controllable.  I agree with the premise that there is no such thing as a "correct" exposure.  It all depends on the vision of the photographer and the ability to get enough light hitting the sensor to capture the full range of detail.  The rest is as it always has been, processing.

Gary             
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Is ETTR still worth it?
« Reply #35 on: May 21, 2018, 11:22:29 AM »

We (I) don't need such tools; I exposed all kinds of film decades before histograms appeared on cameras. Also, such tools exist. So it's all a bit moot. Exposure (ideal exposure for the media you capture) is photography 101. It's not rocket science.  ;D

If that's the case why are you supporting Guillermo's petition? Now I don't understand where you're coming from. I exposed film successfully since the early 1950s Andrew and have been doing so successfully with DSLRs since 2004, so I could also argue I don't need any new tools, but I think we agree the idea of a raw histogram is a good one. But given that we don't have one, I was simply suggesting there are ways of compensating for that deficiency that can still include making use of the JPEG-based histogram. I don't see what should be so remarkable about that notion.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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digitaldog

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Re: Is ETTR still worth it?
« Reply #36 on: May 21, 2018, 11:37:31 AM »

There is zero reason not to provide a raw Histogram! A JPEG based Histogram alone? No!
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Andrew Rodney
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Is ETTR still worth it?
« Reply #37 on: May 21, 2018, 11:51:55 AM »

Alright, claro - raw histograms are preferred. That being the case I'd like to see the discussion move forward about why the camera manufacturers have not been providing raw histograms on their LCDs at the very least for the more professional models.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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kirkt

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Re: Is ETTR still worth it?
« Reply #38 on: May 21, 2018, 11:59:57 AM »

We are not over exposing. We are ignoring the wrong meter reading for JPEG which isn't raw, nor correctly exposed like raw, hence, we ignore the Histogram because it isn't at all necessary to properly expose. OR we expose to the right of that incorrect Histogram because we can't expose without that lie told to us first, then compensate. But it's never over exposing!

What we need ideally is a raw Histogram or we just learn, like film, to expose without a Histogram, one that is true or one that is a lie.

I know precisely how much raw headroom I have for my camera when I meter the reference in the scene, and I can compensate for the meter to get the desired, non-clipped but ETTRed raw exposure - 100 percent of the time the compensation involves adding light compared to the metered reading.  That is what I mean by overexposing - "over" meaning positive exposure compensation or adding light.  Not clipping a JPEG or a raw file, adding exposure compared to the meter.  You don't ignore the meter, you simply accept that it is lying and use your experience and understanding of your camera's raw capability to convert its lie into a useful reading.

The camera histogram is practically irrelevant for raw files, unless pains are taken to manipulate it with crafty camera settings like UniWB, etc..

If you ignore the meter reading, how do you set your exposure?

kirk
« Last Edit: May 21, 2018, 12:04:01 PM by kirkt »
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Mosccol

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Re: Is ETTR still worth it?
« Reply #39 on: May 21, 2018, 12:23:39 PM »

Ah well us mere mortals will to keep ETTR just below the clipping of those imperfect jpeg screens!  :o 8)

Interestingly I have tended to go +⅓ for all my quick shots as suggested above with some success... It's just the skies where I have to be more careful.
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