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Author Topic: My way of proper exposure  (Read 1288 times)
wmchauncey
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« on: July 14, 2013, 02:44:40 PM »
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Alright, I'm 70y/o and only been shooting for about 7-8yrs, but had a lot of trouble understanding the exposure over/under compensation thingy back then.
Trials and tribulations led me to fagetaboutit and just shoot manual mode.

I use the LCD screen, with an exposed histogram, in Live View to adjust ETTR exposure now...it's a simple matter of choosing two of the three
(SS, ISO, f/stop) settings and using the third one to nudge that histogram to just shy of the right side. 
A caveat is that you must first neutralize all in camera picture style settings as they will influence the jpeg histogram showing on that LCD screen.

In the scenario that a background will be blown to properly expose that black cat, I take a properly exposed "virgin image" of the background, then insert the properly exposed cat from another image.

Would appreciate comments...maybe there is an easier way to meet my goals of never messing up exposure.
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OldRoy
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« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2013, 02:50:12 PM »
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It might help if you let us know what camera you're using. Try shooting RAW instead of jpeg (or raw plus jpeg) and post process the files in one of the raw developers like Lightroom. This gives a great deal of flexibility in adjusting exposure, noise level, white balance, sharpening etc. And of course you only need to process the shots that you feel worthwhile.
Roy
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wmchauncey
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« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2013, 03:16:10 PM »
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I use a Canon 1Ds Mk3 and do shoot in RAW imported into LR...I found early on that those picture style settings influenced the histogram
 shown on the LCD screen and did not agree with the histogram showing in LR, ergo, I neutralized those picture style settings.
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A man's worth should be judged, not when he basks in the sun, but how he faces the storm.

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« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2013, 04:35:53 PM »
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This is pretty much the approach I've used all along with electronic cameras. Well, since ACR came on the scene anyway. Find the in-camera settings that best approximate the histograms of my RAW processor (at flat defaults), go with those settings and don't worry about what the JPEG versions (saved along with the RAWs) otherwise look like.

If I know via experience that I can "overexpose" at base ISO with a given camera and then bring the highlights back in post, I do so by an amount I've determined to be safe.

-Dave-
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2013, 05:26:32 PM »
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As time goes on, you'll get a 'feel' for what the necessary ETTR exposure should be and won't have to rely on the LCD (unless you want to).  You're right that the chosen Picture Style will influence what you see on the LCD and you've taken the right steps in trying to get the LCD as close to the RAW histogram as you can.  I'd suggest that you might want to do a little more in terms of fine-tuning the look of the image on the LCD via a custom Picture Style to come even closer to what you see in LR, but it seems like you're well on the way.
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2013, 06:18:26 PM »
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...maybe there is an easier way to meet my goals of never messing up exposure.
Exposure is important but by no means the only issue in photography.

Depending on one's subject matter either depth of field (mediated by aperture and focus distance) or freezing (or even blurring) the action (mediated by shutter speed) are crucial considerations.
So while all the factors that you have mentioned certainly affect final exposure it is not a matter of indifference as to which are altered for final exposure.

When I am shooting landscapes from a tripod I work out what aperture I want first (generally an aperture that encompasses the scene as far as depth fo field is concerned), then set my ISO to 100. Shutter speed is anything that just prevent the highlights from blowing.
The order of events here is not random because I am doing everything I can do maximize image quality for the circumstance.

When I am shooting wildlife and birds with supertelephoto lenses then shutter speed is the absolute priority.
Usually a shutter speed at least twice the reciprocal of the focal length is required for sharp images (image stabilization notwithstanding).
In this case the aperture will most likely be wide open and the ISO pumped up to whatever level is required to get a good exposure.

Shooting handheld is different again and it can become increasingly difficult to marry all the elements together that are required for a high quality image especially in lower light situations.

So, exposure, per se, while an important element of image quality, needs to be achieved in concert with the lowest possible ISO (to minimize noise) and a shutter speed fast enough to prevent camera blur. Note that the end-point that I am seeking is good image quality not just an exposure end-point

Maybe you are completely astride all these issues, in which case I apologise for boring you silly, but perhaps something I have written is useful to you.

Tony Jay
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BarbaraArmstrong
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« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2013, 06:23:14 PM »
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I think wmchauncy has it figured out quite well.  I myself tend to set two of the parameters, ISO and aperture (using aperture priority), and let the camera choose shutter speed.  I note whether I like that shutter speed, and if I don't, I adjust the chosen aperture to give me the shutter speed suitable for the prevailing conditions (moving subject, maybe).  I check the histogram, and set a plus or minus exposure compensation if I don't like where the histogram sits.  But this has made me wonder, --how does the camera handle an exposure compensation?  I'm realizing that after years of shooting, and enjoying understanding what is happening "under the hood," I don't know the answer to this.  Is it changing one of the three parameters (ISO, shutter speed, aperture)?  Or is it adjusting the way the signal is sent electronically from the sensor to the memory card?  I imagine it is the latter. Hoping for a reply.  --Barbara
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2013, 06:52:40 PM »
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I think wmchauncy has it figured out quite well.  I myself tend to set two of the parameters, ISO and aperture (using aperture priority), and let the camera choose shutter speed.  I note whether I like that shutter speed, and if I don't, I adjust the chosen aperture to give me the shutter speed suitable for the prevailing conditions (moving subject, maybe).  I check the histogram, and set a plus or minus exposure compensation if I don't like where the histogram sits.  But this has made me wonder, --how does the camera handle an exposure compensation?  I'm realizing that after years of shooting, and enjoying understanding what is happening "under the hood," I don't know the answer to this.  Is it changing one of the three parameters (ISO, shutter speed, aperture)?  Or is it adjusting the way the signal is sent electronically from the sensor to the memory card?  I imagine it is the latter. Hoping for a reply.  --Barbara

Barbara exposure compensation only works in Aperture or Shutter priority modes.
If one is in Aperture priority (your favourite mode) then adjusting exposure compensation will alter shutter speed.
The opposite occurs in Shutter priority mode - adjusting exposure compensation changes aperture.
ISO is not automatically adjusted here.
There is certainly no fudging of the signal from the sensor.

Tony Jay
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BarbaraArmstrong
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« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2013, 01:31:54 PM »
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Tony, thanks for the help! --Barbara
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Telecaster
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« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2013, 01:58:04 PM »
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With many cameras you can set aperture and shutter manually and let the camera choose ISO. Exposure compensation then, if properly implemented, adjusts the ISO.

-Dave-
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wmchauncey
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« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2013, 02:11:52 PM »
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I am aware that is possible on some newer bodies but, how well does it truly function...will it give you true ETTR results in RAW images?     Undecided
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A man's worth should be judged, not when he basks in the sun, but how he faces the storm.

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Tony Jay
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« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2013, 03:22:48 PM »
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ETTR currently is truly a function individual judgement and the sensor characteristics of one's camera.
Manual modes and any other mode that allows exposure compensation will give one the necessary control.

So far all attempts to cajole camera manufacturers into giving us a true RAW histogram to make more informed decisions about exposure have been met with complete indifference.

We do still live in hope that eventually the RAW histogram will be implemented as an option.

So there is no such thing as true ETTR only ETTR to various degrees of precision.

Tony Jay
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Telecaster
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« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2013, 04:30:15 PM »
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I am aware that is possible on some newer bodies but, how well does it truly function...will it give you true ETTR results in RAW images?     Undecided

If you're referring to auto ISO...no, in most cases you won't get proper ETTR since with higher ISOs you're gaining up the image in some way prior to or after (or both) analog-to-digital conversion. Gained-up images have been underexposed relative to the sensor + color filter matrix's intrinsic sensitivity (which may or may not correspond to the lowest ISO setting you can select).

-Dave-
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OldRoy
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« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2013, 05:04:14 PM »
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I use a Canon 1Ds Mk3 and do shoot in RAW imported into LR...I found early on that those picture style settings influenced the histogram
 shown on the LCD screen and did not agree with the histogram showing in LR, ergo, I neutralized those picture style settings.
I should have read your post more attentively; in fact I should have read it. Apologies if I responded as if you hadn't thought about this more!
Roy
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Rob C
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« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2013, 05:31:44 PM »
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Obviously, the answer is to go Nikon.

I trust the Matrix exposure system absolutely, to the extent that I seldom even think of the rear screen beyond the odd check to show me the rest of the machine is still working.

Finally, avoid shooting those black cats. Even with film they were specially kept in unlit cellers to test and drive photographers out of their minds. Black cats figure best in country and western music. Let them be.

This is the best advice you'll receive today. Give up searching further afield right now.

;-)

Rob C
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