Better to overexpose or underexpose?

Is it better to overexpose or underexpose then adjust back in PS?


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unseen

Senior Member
Dec 14, 2004
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#1
Hmmm is it better to overexpose or underexpose your photos and then correct them in photoshop?

Pls vote..
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Then read this:
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/expose-right.shtml
idea revealed by the way, Thomas Knoll is the graphics guru who wrote and created Photoshop and is still creating Photoshop in adobe.
any comments?
 

Oct 16, 2003
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#2
It depends la. I'm in favour of exposing to the max (right of histogram) but mebbe 1/3EV lower so i don't blow any highlights.

Underexposing even further is pointless as it just decreases signal-to-noise ratio. =)
 

unseen

Senior Member
Dec 14, 2004
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#3
everyone I know says that nikon cameras intentionally under expose by a bit to retain detail, but... is there actual literature that says this? or proves this?

I've read a few literature by thomas knoll, and i can really tell that he knows more about digital imaging than i ever will. Thus he says overexpose better, casting doubt on this for me..

I really wanna clear up this doubt.
thanks
 

Venom81

Senior Member
Nov 16, 2004
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#4
Underexposed so that won't lose any details. A few CS guys told me that. ;)
 

Ashleyy

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Mar 25, 2003
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nowhere... juz a random stray.
#5
I believe some of the Nikon Manuals for digital did state that the pics will be slightly underexposed so as not to lose out details.. ;p

Underexposed or over-exposed.. there's no rite or wrong.. it's more of the end results u wish to achieve... the slightly underexpose is good for retaining details, esp when u wan to print them. But I had also done some slightly over-exposed to achieve some burn-out effects and to blend some stuff in the photo... :lovegrin:

Example of over-expose..

 

AReality

Senior Member
Jun 9, 2003
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#6
If i read correctly, what the article said is true.

Expose to the right(histogram) up to the point where highlights do not blow.

i.e.:
if you snap a white shirt, make sure the histogram don't/never touch the right.
if you snap a night landscape with many small street lights, you are of course, allowed to blow the lights.

In general, make sure the overblown area are not large enough to cause distractions.

My preference is to underexpose than to blow highlights. As noise in the dark areas are less of a distraction than an overblown area.
 

idor

Senior Member
Nov 11, 2004
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#7
Hmmm..... why no one seems to prefer to have the correct exposure? :think: :think: :think:
 

ortega

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Staff member
Nov 2, 2004
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#9
If i am not wrong, nikon cameras do not underexpose the image,
it shifts the mid range to the shadow area,
this is so that more highlight dtetail and shadow detail is captured,
the recording of light (digital) is different than that of film.

This suits me as I have a preference for a darker image.
so it depends on your own preference
 

fotoudavid

Senior Member
Mar 11, 2005
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#10
i prefer to under expose half stop.

but depends on the mood or images you want, over expose can be interesting, if you control well.
 

MCS

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May 19, 2004
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#11
It is the design intent of DSLRs to produce pictures that look to be underexposed. Canon has given a very detailed explanation of that in its EOS white paper. Most camera manufacturers are doing so and Nikon is no exception.
As most DSLR sensors are "color blind" (they can only see grey scale and not in color), it is important to load customised curve settings onto your DSLR to achieve better results.
Have a read of the Canon EOS whitepaper from the link below - there is a great deal of good information. Enjoy the learning process!
http://photoworkshop.com/canon/EOS_Digital.pdf
 

GitS

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Dec 18, 2002
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#13
MCS said:
It is the design intent of DSLRs to produce pictures that look to be underexposed. Canon has given a very detailed explanation of that in its EOS white paper. Most camera manufacturers are doing so and Nikon is no exception.
As most DSLR sensors are "color blind" (they can only see grey scale and not in color), it is important to load customised curve settings onto your DSLR to achieve better results.
Have a read of the Canon EOS whitepaper from the link below - there is a great deal of good information. Enjoy the learning process!
http://photoworkshop.com/canon/EOS_Digital.pdf
good link!
 

#14
If you ever need to make this kind of "mistake", or is unsure of exposure, the rule of thumb is :

1. If you shoot negatives, err on the overexposure side.
2. If you shoot slides/digital, err on the underexposed side.

Of coz having said that there's a limit to how much you can err on exposure before you get a useless image. For digital also, like many people said, expose as much towards the right side of the histogram as possible but don't let the highlights blow.
Regards
CK
 

Zerstorer

Senior Member
Jul 8, 2002
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#17
michhy said:
keep it in the middle of the histogram?
the photo below is shot on the "high" side of exposure
http://gallery.clubsnap.com/showphoto.php/photo/36897/cat/500/ppuser/24209
A histrogram is exactly what it is- a histrogram.

If you reflect back to maths, a histrogram is simply a graphical representation of the frequency distribution of values. In the case of digital photography, it just shows you the distribution of tonal/luminance values in an image.

Keeping it(the peak?) in the middle only ensures that your resultant image will end up with a majority of midtones.

It doesn't necessarily give you an exposure that is correct or what you desire.
 

michhy

New Member
Oct 21, 2005
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#18
Zerstorer said:
A histrogram is exactly what it is- a histrogram.

If you reflect back to maths, a histrogram is simply a graphical representation of the frequency distribution of values. In the case of digital photography, it just shows you the distribution of tonal/luminance values in an image.

Keeping it(the peak?) in the middle only ensures that your resultant image will end up with a majority of midtones.

It doesn't necessarily give you an exposure that is correct or what you desire.
You are absolutely right. Its just a histogram. So the real question is, how does it help to take better photos with it turned ON in the camera?:think:
 

Zerstorer

Senior Member
Jul 8, 2002
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#19
michhy said:
You are absolutely right. Its just a histogram. So the real question is, how does it help to take better photos with it turned ON in the camera?:think:
It tells you the tonal distribution of the image. If you know how to interpret and relate it according to the scene it can help you maximize the usable dynamic range of the camera. e.g checking the right side of the histrogram for highlights clipping.

However, its nothing really crucial, given sufficient familiarity with the camera, I can do the same or more just by looking at the LCD or the highlights function most of the time.

Histrograms are much more useful, only if they can be displayed in all three RGB color channels. Only a few DSLRs have that capability now.
 

jOhO

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Apr 20, 2003
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#20
histogram is useful, but couple it with ur LCD preview of the image and there u have it, a good benchmark for whether u've exposed correctly (or suited to your taste). of course, ur LCD better be accurate, and most LCDs are brighter than wat the same image would look on a properly caliberated monitor.

another point is you might not have the chance to "chimp" all the time, so with experience, you can argar argar wat's good in wat situation according to the lens/body/flash combo u are using.

after u've done all that, u can leave ur LCD and histogram permanently off. :) save battery!

i'm still at the stage where i have to leaev my LCD on.. :embrass:
 

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