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Old Aug 6, 2006, 9:39 AM   #1
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Is it better to take over or under exposure if it is intended to edit the exposure late?Does same principle applies to digi and normal film?
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Old Aug 6, 2006, 6:45 PM   #2
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I believe slight overexposure is generally better. but the key there is slight. If you blow highlights they can't be recovered. But there are several articles out on the web that advise that 'exposing to the right' is the better alternative. i'm sure someone here has a link to one of the articles. Maybe on luminous landscape?
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Old Aug 6, 2006, 8:39 PM   #3
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I lean the other way on this one.For me, slight underexposure is better for the same reason JohnG mentions...blown-out highlights (overexposed areas) can rarely be recovered (as they were never really there in the first place)but underexposed areas can be boosted in the software. Not gospel; just my experience.

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Old Aug 6, 2006, 9:58 PM   #4
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Of course being spot on is better to utilize the full tonal range of the exposure, but if I had to chose I'd underexpose, you can usually salvage shadow detail especially in raw format, but overexposed highlight are gone forever.If yourcamera allows it and the subject matter is appropriate, like landscapes, I'd bracket toget theexact exposure.

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Old Aug 6, 2006, 11:10 PM   #5
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There's really no single proper answer. If you are shooting a scene with very limited dynamic range, the histogram will be concentrated in the center. In that case, it's better to overexpose to move the histogram just below the right border, then draw the values down in pp. But if you're shooting a wide dynamic range scene and both sides fall off the borders of the histogram, it's better to underexpose sufficiently to bring the highlights back within the right border. But then again. . .it really depends on what part of the photograph is most important to you. If the highlights aren't nearly as important to you as points in the shadows, then I'd be sure to have sufficient exposure to give the shadows proper detail, no matter what happened to the highlights.
The reason that shooting to the right is preferred is because of the distribution of light values throughout the measuring range; as one person put it, "Call the darkest portions Zone 1 and the lightest Zone 6. Zone 6 has two times the light of Zone 5, and captures (or quantifies) 2048 levels of light. Zone 5 has 1024 levels, Zone 4 - 512, Zone 3 - 256, Zone 2 - 128, and Zone 1 - 64. Thus you have many more light levels to work with in the higher zones, and you can achieve smoother gradations of color and contrast as you remap these levels during image editing."

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Old Aug 6, 2006, 11:14 PM   #6
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My intention is to nail the exposure....if I don't have the control over the situation I would like, I shoot it in RAW & underexpose slightly (for the reasons mentioned above).
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Old Aug 7, 2006, 11:23 AM   #7
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I used to buy into the logic of underexposing a little (like 1/3 stop), until I read somewhere (and from experience) that my D50 does that already. This is where that "expose to the right" comes in. I guess a lot of DSLRs already exposes to save camera shadow details. So camera results may vary.

Also from what I've read, at least for Nikon DSLRs, more pixels are used close to the "bright side" of the histogram (ie. the distribution is NOT linear), I think it's something like 2/3 of all pixels are used on the bright 1/3 area. So exposing to the right makes sense, at least for Nikon DSLRs, as you use more of the pixels.

I know this is a very loose decription, I don't remember the exact wording. I think it was done to capture more of the highlights. Maybe a more technical person can give the exact details.

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