Subject: Re: Exposure to the right and tone placement
"From your previous tests, you can use that reading to place the black of the cat where ever you want. However, you can't be sure where the highlights will fall."
Which is exactly why it is more useful to expose for the highlights. If there are no highlights near clip, you can increase the exposure to get a better tone rendering of your black cat. Should you expose to place the black cat at near a textural highlight? I doubt it, but rendering it lighter on the raw capture would reduce the noise and produce a better signal to noise ratio, assuming the cat doesn't claw you.
"The exposure adjustment in ACR has its limits as shown by Rags' experiments but perhaps these can be overcome with the brightness control."
None of the controls in Camera Raw are designed to be used alone-they all integrate together and must be used together. Alter the exposure setting and you completely change the mid-tone control point of brightness and contrast. Get exposure, shadows, brightness and contrast set optimally you can then further tweak the overall tone rendering with curves. And with a very high degree of precision particularly in the highlights. If one _DOESN'T_ use any of Camera Raw's controls together with the other controls you are loosing considerable functionality and giving up a lot of potential control over the tone rendering, which would be a shame really.
"But does anyone deny that proper exposure is advisable?"
The big question, and one that is currently very difficult to predict with digital capture and today's meters is what exactly is the "proper exposure"? The nature of linear sensors has altered that definition. The zone system was based upon a different technology and has only limited usefulness with digital. The controls available for raw processing-particularly in Camera Raw further alter the traditional approach to film based exposure and processing. It's basically a whole new ball game.
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Exposure to the right and tone placement =>
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