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Subject: Re: Exposure to the right and tone placement

Well, if you want a black cat to look black on a dark background and see any fur on the cat, you would indeed need to "over expose" to get any detail in the fur. Just because the cat is "black" doesn't mean that's what you want it to look like. Ever shot fur? I have. You have to pump a lot of light into fur in order to get detail whether you are shooting film or digital.

Look, you can TRY to dispute linear capture all you want and pretend it's just like film-but all that's gonna do is lead you down the path of always fighting the reality of the technology. Rag's lengthy theory not withstanding, digital sensors are photon counters. . .but unlike film, they respond in a linear nature. If you want that black cat to have any detail and you expose it based upon a zone 5 reading, you will have far fewer levels than if you upped the exposure. Heck, the same would be true for film. . .

As for tone curves, well, yes, you can use all manner of elaborate tone curves to absolutely control the tone rendering of a scene-that's what Camera Raw & Photoshop's tools are for-making the scene look the way you want it to. I actually use levels and curves far less than I use layers set to screen or multiply to adjust the tonailty of images. Far more precise in terms of locality and easier to see to adjust as well.

As for the histogram, if you are talking about the camera histogram, forget it. At least on Canons, they are based upon the luminosity of the sRGB camera conversion. The highlight warnings are a full stop too conservitive and if you only use that histogram, you almost always lean toward under exposure. Far more useful and accurate is Camera Raw's histogram that is based upon the color space you are converting to and can shot you clipping either in the histogram or using the video lut animation of clip points.


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