Subject: Re: raw 3.1 professional custom profiles for highend digital cameras
Correct exposure is always desirable, but when you're at all concerned with shadow detail, underexposure is always a much greater sin than overexposure—that's inherent in linear capture. When one also takes into account Camera Raw's extended highlight recovery, depending on your camera you have a safety margin of somewhere between 1/4 stop and a stop. There's no safety margin at all on the shadow end, and relatively far fewer levels to play with, no matter what the bit depth.
It's always going to be safer to capture the shadows lighter than you want them in the print, and stretch that invisible highlight detail down into the midtones and shadows, than to underexpose and try to stretch the few levels of shadow data up the tone scale.
That doesn't mean I'm advocating overexposure. I'm advocating correct exposure, and the key component of correct exposure in digital is where you place the highlight. Most of this thread has been devoted to figuring out how to do that reliably.
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