Underexpose or Overexpose?


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Jan 20, 2009
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#1
Just thinking, is it better to overexpose a pic or underexpose it if you have only one chance to take it in manual mode? which of these can be better saved thru pp after the shot?
 

Sep 8, 2007
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#2
About 1 2/3 stop underexposed quite manageable. Overexposure is... death
 

zac08

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Feb 21, 2005
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#3
Better to have it underexposed than overexposed...
 

night86mare

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#5
underexposure results in severe noise when you recover details in the shadows.

overexposure results in posterisation when you try to recover details in the highlights.

the former is preferable. both are undesirable.
 

giantcanopy

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Feb 11, 2007
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#6
I assume you are referring to situations where you cannot have the "right" exposure such as very contrasty scenes and you want to save some highlights you should slightly underexpose.. You can retrieve some data from underexposed images (at the expense of noise). But if you overexpose and blow the highlights there is pretty nothing much to recover.

Shoot RAW and you might extract abit more information.

Ryan
 

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deklan

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Feb 28, 2007
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#7
like u said since u only have one shot, why not take it the way u want it to be.
but if ur speaking technically, with underexposure you can still brighten up ur image in processing, unlike overexposure where its blown already.
 

catchlights

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#10
can cheat using autobracket :bsmilie:
I don't understand, if TS knew shot at this setting is underexposed, and shot at that setting is overexposed, why do shoot shoot right on the dot in the first place?

Unless the original question is, "which is easier to salvage? Underexposed or overexposed?"

anyway, whatever way it is, exposure out by more the 2/3 stop is undesirable.
 

calebk

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Jul 25, 2006
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#11
Just thinking, is it better to overexpose a pic or underexpose it if you have only one chance to take it in manual mode? which of these can be better saved thru pp after the shot?
Why not nail the exposure?
 

luna_sea83

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Jul 17, 2005
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#12
Follow the theory of cooking steak, under still can be salvaged by outting it back on the pan again, Over means you get a burnt piece of meat :bsmilie:

So its better to nail it at once.
 

Dec 3, 2008
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#14
I don't understand, if TS knew shot at this setting is underexposed, and shot at that setting is overexposed, why do shoot shoot right on the dot in the first place?

Unless the original question is, "which is easier to salvage? Underexposed or overexposed?"

anyway, whatever way it is, exposure out by more the 2/3 stop is undesirable.
You are are right, I think TS's question IS 'which is easier to salvage'.

Sometimes we only have 1 chance of taking a photo (eg movements/expressions), the question is whether to take it slightly underexposed or slightly overexposed, so that we can salvage it later.

Of course if everyone can get it right on dot in the first place there is no further need for discussion. But sad to say there are newbies like me who can't really foresee how the exposures of photo will turn out (even the metering doesn't mean it always give the exposures you would have liked).
 

lkkang

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Jan 6, 2007
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#18
if you are shooting film, then it is better to over-expose by say 0.5 stop. It is easier to BURN later in the darkroom. Shooting under will cause the shot to be grainy.

If you are shooting digital , then it is safer to under-expose by say 0.5 stop, because once the sensor register a bright patch, then even by moving the slider to darker region during post processing, the patch will still be a blank patch.
 

catchlights

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#19
if you are shooting film, then it is better to over-expose by say 0.5 stop. It is easier to BURN later in the darkroom. Shooting under will cause the shot to be grainy.

If you are shooting digital , then it is safer to under-expose by say 0.5 stop, because once the sensor register a bright patch, then even by moving the slider to darker region during post processing, the patch will still be a blank patch.
for film, if it is negative, the exposure latitude is larger, most people will overexposed it (about one full stop) for more saturated color and better shadow details.

if it is slide aka transparency film latitude is narrower, it is better to underexpose 1/2 stop for more saturated color and retain highlight.

not possible to do burning or do dodging during printing UNLESS you print it yourself or send for traditional enlarger printing (if you still can find any).
 

Yoricko

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May 25, 2008
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#20
I read from somewhere, for film, its better to overexpose than underexpose because you will never get back your shadow details if you underexpose your negatives. (For B&W film)
 

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