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Archive 2015 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern
  
 
MJKoski
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p.6 #1 · p.6 #1 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


It makes a difference with compressed RAW. There are gaps in highlights and pulling those back may cause unwanted banding in tonal transitions.


Oct 09, 2016 at 10:47 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.6 #2 · p.6 #2 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


joakim wrote:
This question doesn't make any sense to me, maybe I am missing something.

If you shot a scene with a 1s "normal" exposure and then the same scene properly adjusted for ETTR at 2s, how could the 1s exposure in any way be better than the 2s exposure? In what sense could shadow recovery be worse if you have doubled the amount of light, you have more data to work with and you have to do less recovery?


The goal of this ETTR technique is to preserve all highlight data while capturing as much shadow detail as possible.
Using the zebra technique, the first exposure will have all highlight data needed and as long as it's not too underexposed, it's all we need.
However, if the first capture (exposed to the highlights using the zebra technique) is underexposed by more than a stop, bracketing is the solution as described on the first post.



Oct 09, 2016 at 03:47 PM
joakim
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p.6 #3 · p.6 #3 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


Fred Miranda wrote:
The goal of this ETTR technique is to preserve all highlight data while capturing as much shadow detail as possible.
Using the zebra technique, the first exposure will have all highlight data needed and as long as it's not too underexposed, it's all we need.
However, if the first capture (exposed to the highlights using the zebra technique) is underexposed by more than a stop, bracketing is the solution as described on the first post.


I'm with you on that and I think I wasn't weary clear in my example. I meant a scene where there was no problem with dynamic range but enough headroom to increase the camera suggested exposure with one stop without burning any highlights. Compared to doing shadow recovery in post that must always be the better option?



Oct 09, 2016 at 05:08 PM
joakim
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p.6 #4 · p.6 #4 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


MJKoski wrote:
It makes a difference with compressed RAW. There are gaps in highlights and pulling those back may cause unwanted banding in tonal transitions.


Ok, I read the post to quickly and was thinking about ETTR in general even though the A7RII was mentioned.



Oct 09, 2016 at 05:09 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.6 #5 · p.6 #5 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


joakim wrote:
I'm with you on that and I think I wasn't weary clear in my example. I meant a scene where there was no problem with dynamic range but enough headroom to increase the camera suggested exposure with one stop without burning any highlights. Compared to doing shadow recovery in post that must always be the better option?


Yes, the ETTR Zebra technique makes a difference even for scenes where dynamic range does not exceed the sensor's capacity. You will still get much cleaner shadows after post-processing. For very high contrast scenes (example: sun in the frame), ETTR Zebra will give us an underexposed image, so using the bracketing technique is always needed for optimal shadow detail.
I find myself usually overexposing my images 1 or 2 stops (As long as ETTR Zebra technique allows me) and getting very clean shadows without any loss of highlight detail.



Oct 09, 2016 at 05:46 PM
DavidBM
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p.6 #6 · p.6 #6 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


True in theory, I've often wondered if true in practice. Do you have any examples to hand of compressed vs uncompressed files if the same scene with pulled back shadows? Yep

MJKoski wrote:
It makes a difference with compressed RAW. There are gaps in highlights and pulling those back may cause unwanted banding in tonal transitions.




Oct 09, 2016 at 11:35 PM
MJKoski
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p.6 #7 · p.6 #7 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


I do have one test with A7r1 (very crude outcome) but it did not have uncompressed option. I have posted it two times earlier.

1) Initial situation after LR import:
http://mjkoski.1g.fi/kuvat/Miscellaneous/trash/_DSC0108.jpg/_full.jpg

2) Maximum pullback for highlights:
http://mjkoski.1g.fi/kuvat/Miscellaneous/trash/_DSC0108-2.jpg/_full.jpg

According to RawDigger there is no overexposure:
http://mjkoski.1g.fi/kuvat/Miscellaneous/trash/RD_analysis1.png/_full.jpg

I never ended up in this situation with R2 and uncompressed RAW.



Oct 10, 2016 at 11:14 AM
Matt Grum
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p.6 #8 · p.6 #8 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


MJKoski wrote:
I never ended up in this situation with R2 and uncompressed RAW.


Where is the issue exactly? I'm on a mobile and can't see anything wrong with it...



Oct 10, 2016 at 05:09 PM
MJKoski
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p.6 #9 · p.6 #9 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


White highlights on predawn sky which was red like the reflection below horizon. I should have been able to pull soft reds out of the highlights but there is nothing there. Just an crude bands of washed out tones. According to RawDigger nothing was clipped.


Oct 10, 2016 at 05:23 PM
 

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Fred Miranda
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p.6 #10 · p.6 #10 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


joakim wrote:
I'm with you on that and I think I wasn't weary clear in my example. I meant a scene where there was no problem with dynamic range but enough headroom to increase the camera suggested exposure with one stop without burning any highlights. Compared to doing shadow recovery in post that must always be the better option?


Increasing exposure will always give you better shadows. That's the whole point of ETTR.



Nov 23, 2016 at 02:03 AM
retrofocus
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p.6 #11 · p.6 #11 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


retrofocus wrote:
Have to test this with my A7R, I suspect it works there, too. So far I decided to turn the whole zebra thing off after I experimented with it for a while. I found the blinking highlights too distracting especially for landscape photography where the sky is always brighter than the foreground. Also, I find the percentage number very confusing since I expected to see more zebra lines at higher percentage which is not the case how it works (instead it is more a sensitivity number for highlights).


I again tested the ETTR method recently with my A7R - it works as shown, but I decided that I rather do this manually with the exposure wheel than using the zebra pattern function. I still don't like the blinking distractive pattern which the zebra provides. With digital I simply tend more to underexpose to avoid clipping highlights (opposite to film where you need to expose for the shadows and overexpose between 1/2 to 1 stop or more). This rule of thumb works pretty well.



Nov 23, 2016 at 12:09 PM
sebbe
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p.6 #12 · p.6 #12 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


retrofocus wrote:
I again tested the ETTR method recently with my A7R - it works as shown, but I decided that I rather do this manually with the exposure wheel than using the zebra pattern function. I still don't like the blinking distractive pattern which the zebra provides. With digital I simply tend more to underexpose to avoid clipping highlights (opposite to film where you need to expose for the shadows and overexpose between 1/2 to 1 stop or more). This rule of thumb works pretty well.


My general workflow:

Into the light (and the light is an important part: -1EV with +-2EV bracket (or even 5 shots when I'm lazy)
Normal Situation: +0.3EV to +1EV
Low DR Situation: +1EV up to +1.7EV

If I'm very lazy, I'll shoot just with +0EV
If I plan my shot of the year, I use the described ETTR method and add a bracket afterwards.



Nov 23, 2016 at 02:19 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.6 #13 · p.6 #13 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


sebbe wrote:
My general workflow:

Into the light (and the light is an important part: -1EV with +-2EV bracket (or even 5 shots when I'm lazy)
Normal Situation: +0.3EV to +1EV
Low DR Situation: +1EV up to +1.7EV

If I'm very lazy, I'll shoot just with +0EV
If I plan my shot of the year, I use the described ETTR method and add a bracket afterwards.


Very nice workflow Seb! In optimal low contrast light, I find myself having the dial at +1.3EV most of the time.



Nov 26, 2016 at 04:14 PM
wallpapervikin
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p.6 #14 · p.6 #14 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern



Thanks for the information on this technique, seems to be great...

In real world usage, is it only really for the most high contrast scenes, like sunrise/sunsets that often also require the use of a tripod?

When I have tried it handheld, at base 100 iso around dusk time, I generally find that opening up two stops often leads to an overall much brighter image overall and will require a shutter speed that is borderline too slow for handholding?

Is that right or am I missing something here?



May 28, 2017 at 02:27 AM
andersd
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p.6 #15 · p.6 #15 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


Apologies for bringing up an old thread, but I did some testing over the weekend and would like to share the results.

I followed methodology outlined in the video tutorials on digital camera exposure by Greg Benz in order to find out how much highlight information is preserved in the RAW compared to in-camera clipping warnings, which for my tests were based on the Zebra 100+ exposure warnings described for ETTR in this thread:



I had the camera on a sturdy tripod when capturing the images, with a Canon FD 2.8/200mm at f5.6. I framed for a blue part of the sky and took all exposures within a couple of minutes. The idea is that any shifts in color in the brightest parts of the image will indicate that one of the channels–in this case the blue channel–has been clipped beyond recovery. The images were reviewed in Capture One Pro 10, with the Base Curve set to "Linear Response". This camera profile documents the image information available without requiring highlight recovery. For the first set of images (leftmost column) I exposed the image to the brightest setting before encountering the Zebra 100+ warning. I then continued to increase the exposure 1/3 EV for every consecutive shot. In post the exposure was normalized to reveal color shifts due to clipping of the blue channel.

For these tests I was particularly interested in seeing if different camera settings (silent shutter, compressed/uncompressed raw, base vs. elevated ISO) would influence how much highlight information was preserved beyond the "Zebra 100+" exposure warning.

To my surprise I found significant color shifts happening when increasing the exposure beyond 2/3 (0.67) EV relative to the Zebra 100+ clipping warning. The ISO 640 images seemed to have 1/3 EV more headroom in the highlights. The dropdown from 14 to 12-bit image data associated with the Silent Shutter had little deterioration at ISO 100, but significant negative effect at ISO 640. Using the uncompressed RAW option gave at ISO 100 approximately 1/3 EV more highlight headroom, and had negligible effect at ISO 640.

I'm very interested in hearing your thoughts on this test, and would on the base of these results warn against overexposing the highlights by more than 2/3 (0.67) EV relative to the Zebra 100+ clipping indicator.

EDIT: fixed Youtube links







Aug 30, 2017 at 11:28 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.6 #16 · p.6 #16 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


andersd wrote:
Apologies for bringing up an old thread, but I did some testing over the weekend and would like to share the results.

I followed methodology outlined in the video tutorials on digital camera exposure by Greg Benz in order to find out how much highlight information is preserved in the RAW compared to in-camera clipping warnings, which for my tests were based on the Zebra 100+ exposure warnings described for ETTR in this thread:

I had the camera on a sturdy tripod when capturing the images, with a Canon FD 2.8/200mm at f5.6. I framed for a blue part of the sky
...Show more

Thanks for posting your findings!
After a couple years using the zebra technique posted here for landscapes, I am certain it's able to retain all highlight data when normalized in post. I've tested side-by-side images exposed for the highlights against the same scene using the zebra technique and after recovering the highlights for the latter, there is absolutely no visible difference. Perhaps there will be a slight color shift but the highlight data is all there. The benefit of much cleaner shadows is very noticeable.



Sep 17, 2017 at 04:57 PM
andersd
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p.6 #17 · p.6 #17 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


Fred Miranda wrote:
Thanks for posting your findings!
After a couple years using the zebra technique posted here for landscapes, I am certain it's able to retain all highlight data when normalized in post. I've tested side-by-side images exposed for the highlights against the same scene using the zebra technique and after recovering the highlights for the latter, there is absolutely no visible difference. Perhaps there will be a slight color shift but the highlight data is all there. The benefit of much cleaner shadows is very noticeable.


Thanks for chiming in Fred! Could it be the case that the Zebra 100+ warning is based on luminosity (mean R, G and B value) rather than any individual color channel being clipped?

With that being said, I do agree that an increase in exposure and associated benefits to shadow detail in many cases will be preferable to (slight) highlight clipping of one of the color channels in the highlights.



Sep 18, 2017 at 12:28 AM
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