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Archive 2015 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern
  
 
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern
For those looking for an easy way to expose to the right (ETTR) and improve S/N ratio and with that, cleaner shadows, I have found a very easy way using your A7RII zebra function. It probably works similarly with the A7R and other models but the settings presented here are for the A7RII only.

In the past I have used the "blinkies" in playback mode or live histogram to determine when highlights get clipped but with zebras it's way easier to preview and get more consistent results.
By trial and error I have determined the amount of highlight latitude between the RAW and JPEG (Which zebras are probably based on), and can calculate a safe exposure setting based on zebras to get the most S/N ratio without sacrificing any highlight detail.

Camera settings:
  1. Set Zebra to "100+" to display any overexposure. (similar to highlight "blinkies" alert)
  2. Set Metering Mode to: Multi.
  3. Shoot in RAW mode.
  4. ISO 100 or higher
  5. Creative Style set to standard with default settings
How to ETTR?

Expose until you get no Zebra strip pattern on the highlights areas. Then add "2EV" to get your ETTR exposure. That's it!!!
+2.3EV is the max but I found that +2EV is safe preserving 100% of highlights.

Yes, an additional 2EV (after no zebra stripes) is a safe setting and you have successfully exposure your image to the right. (ETTR)

When bringing your RAW image to LR or CaptureOne, reduce the exposure back to normal and/or recover the highlights.

PS: Sometimes, to get no zebra pattern in the highlights areas you may need to actually underexpose your shot. That is perfectly normal as with ETTR we are exposing to the right of the histogram as much as the scene allows.

___________

How about bracketing when the scene exceeds the camera DR?

I would recommend bracketing mode: (-2, 0, +2) for most scenes. You can shoot at continuous bracketing and silent shutter as the drop in resolution precision won't matter as we are increasing DR and S/N ratio in a very big way.


Expose until you get no Zebra strip pattern on the highlights areas.
Change the exposure by Adding +4EV to the scene.

The camera will reduce 2EV for the first bracket exposure ("-2" setting) which is actually our ETTR setting.

So, the camera bracketing script will run the following settings automatically:
  1. -2 (no zebra + 2EV) ** That is our ETTR setting which saves all highlight data
  2. 0 (no zebra + 4EV) That is our initial exposure with no zebra + 4EV as described above.
  3. +2 (no zebra + 6EV) Extra 2EV for the deepest shadows.

Tip: When shooting in manual mode, set your camera Exposure Step to "0.5EV" instead of "0.3EV". It's just easier to turn 2 vs 3 notches to the left on the shutter speed dial for every full EV.
For example, if you need to add +4EV, you would need to turn 8 notches to the left on the shutter speed dial. (instead of 12)

In aperture mode, you can either use the top dial or the exposure compensation slider (Add EV compensation to the functions button)

I hope many of you find this helpful. Here is an example showing this technique:
All the best,
Fred




  ILCE-7RM2    FE 55mm F1.8 ZA lens    55mm    f/11.0    1s    100 ISO    0.0 EV  




Aug 25, 2015 at 12:45 AM
macwest
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


Very Cool. Thanks .Mac


Aug 25, 2015 at 12:54 AM
hiepphotog
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


Fred, thank you for sharing. Is this with multi-mode metering? I'm looking for a way to do ETTR on my A7s as well (and the HDR bracket deal). This is useful.


Aug 25, 2015 at 01:04 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


hiepphotog wrote:
Fred, thank you for sharing. Is this with multi-mode metering? I'm looking for a way to do ETTR on my A7s as well (and the HDR bracket deal). This is useful.


I only tested in multi mode. I added to the description.




Aug 25, 2015 at 01:06 AM
LightShow
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


When you add the 2EV, what does the Histogram show? How accurate is it for ETTR?
I haven't tested to find the limits, I just know that how mine is set up I haven't clipped yet, confirmation from someone that has probed the limit would be useful.



Aug 25, 2015 at 01:13 AM
dandrewk
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


Fred, many thanks for this.

I started a thread in DPR asking the same question you answered. No clear responses, and the thread is approaching 130 responses, the vast majority being the type of responses we've come to expect from DPR.



Aug 25, 2015 at 01:50 AM
nntnam
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


Nice technique! Thanks for sharing, Fred!

I wonder if +2EV is also safe for other cameras? Have you tried this with canon cameras?

Thanks .



Aug 25, 2015 at 02:07 AM
atwl77
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


I've always thought that the zebras on my A7r was overly conservative, even at the 100+ setting... now I know, it's overly conservative by 2EV.

One question though, why does the metering mode need to be evaluative? Shouldn't zebras work the same regardless of metering mode? Or is there some special sauce in evaluative metering that makes it more conservative (or less) with the zebras?



Aug 25, 2015 at 02:26 AM
Chuck Coyne
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


Fred thanks this is a clever use of the Zebras for ETTR shooting.


Aug 25, 2015 at 02:30 AM
GMPhotography
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


Interesting Fred. I never use Zebras myself just because I am bothered by the flashing but very interesting workaround. I always have the histo on.


Aug 25, 2015 at 03:31 AM
 

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MedicineMan404
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


Assist the newbie to ETTR please.
Is this done in Aperture priority?
When you say to add +2EV this means to dial up the exposure comp dial to 2, correct?
Because no EV dial operation when in Manual mode.
If I'm on the right track the how do you add +4EV when the dial on my A7Rii stops at +3 ??
Thanks for any clues.



Aug 25, 2015 at 05:55 AM
johntruong
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


Fred -

I have been ETTR on all my Canon and Nikon cameras since that excellent article from LL, but I always thought that Sony's lossy compression scheme negated the advantages of ETTR since most of the compression is near the right of the histogram?

Am I wrong on this?

Anyway, thanks for the info




Aug 25, 2015 at 06:12 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


MedicineMan404 wrote:
Assist the newbie to ETTR please.
Is this done in Aperture priority?
When you say to add +2EV this means to dial up the exposure comp dial to 2, correct?
Because no EV dial operation when in Manual mode.
If I'm on the right track the how do you add +4EV when the dial on my A7Rii stops at +3 ??
Thanks for any clues.


I usually shoot in manual mode and the way I adjust EV is by changing the shutter speed dial. So, when you make the exposure time 2 stops longer, you are basically adding +2EV to the final exposure. The same way goes for +4EV when you are bracketing which I suggest using manual mode.
When shooting in aperture priority, you can either add +2EV using the top dial or by using the camera "Exposure Comp." setting (Camera icon, page 4), which let's you choose from -5 to +5.



Aug 25, 2015 at 06:43 AM
MedicineMan404
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


^Thank you very much.


Aug 25, 2015 at 08:09 AM
shirozina
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


Try using the portrait picture style with contrast at -3 and DRO at +5. This gives the flattest image which is closest to the RAW DR. At 50 ISO the RAW image will clip at the same time as 100+ zebras but you have about 1stop of headroom if you pull the exposure or apply highlight recovery in your RAW developer. I set bracketing to .5ev so I get zero, +.5 and +1 stop exposures. Also be aware that the zebras don't clip on the first colour channel to reach it's limit so with strong colour casts you can be overexposing the image with no zebras showing. I'll have to check but I think the Zebras only show if the green channel is clipping.


Aug 25, 2015 at 08:27 AM
Viramati
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


Thanks Fred. I too had tried this method after seeing it mentioned elsewhere and I agree that it works


Aug 25, 2015 at 09:17 AM
rji2goleez
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


Thanks Fred. I can't wait to try this out! Zebras can also be assigned to a custom function button. I set it to C4 for now.


Aug 25, 2015 at 11:36 AM
steve g
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


Thanks so much for that work Fred

But I too want to clarify the benefits of ETTR on Sony cameras. Stuff discussed on Dyxum a couple of years ago did suggest that the output of the sony sensor might night benefit from ettr??

Maybe things ( or thoughts ) have changed?



Aug 25, 2015 at 02:07 PM
Stoffer
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


Very cool, Fred. This is one of the benefits of an EVF, so we might as well take advantage of it.

Is your a7rII treating you well so far?



Aug 25, 2015 at 02:19 PM
AGeoJO
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Easy ETTR technique using the Zebra pattern


I would also think that ETTR benefits more Canon sensors rather than Sony Exmor sensors. In my experience, Canon sensors tend to be less prone to highlight clipping than Sony sensors do. In other words, Canon sensors can handle highlights better than Sonys do. So, ETTR helps Canon sensors to get cleaner shadows with less highlight clipping. Using Sony, my bracketing scheme tends to favor under exposure more or ETTL rather than the other way around. Oh, well.


Aug 25, 2015 at 02:21 PM
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