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Subject: Re: Exposure to the right and tone placement



-->Nonetheless, the point of my post discussing digital counting statistics (and on which you made no comment) was that doubling of exposure decreases noise by only a factor of 1.4, whereas blowing the highlights can cause a loss of thousands of highlight tones (if your camera does not have lossy compression).

6 weeks off does wonders for clearing the mind. You've got it exactly backwards.

Blowing the highlights doesn't cause a loss of tones. It simply renders everything above the clipping point as white. The camera devotes the full range of tones it can capture to everything darker than the blown highlights. If it's a 12-bit camera, it'll use 1 bit to describe white (the blown highlights), and the remaining 4095 bits to describe everything in the scene darker than that.

If you UNDEREXPOSE by 1 stop, the camera will only capture 2048 bits, because there's nothing in the scene that will deliver enough photons to record a higher value.

If the scene fits within the camera's dynamic range, you want to place the specular highlight at level 4096. If the scene is overrange, something has to give. You can decide to expose for the highlights, or for the shadows, but either way, the key decision is what, in the scene, you decide to place at level 4096.

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