View Full Version : Overexpose or underexpose? This is the question.

04-17-2007, 02:38 AM
My camera has tendency to overexpose photos. To avoid blown highlights, I often have to compensate exposition in minus and have underexposed photos.
Looks like in digital photography it is better to underexpose than to overexpose. Reverse way than in traditional (film) photography. Is it general rule in digital photography?

04-17-2007, 02:51 AM
The general rule is to properly expose. :)

04-17-2007, 04:08 AM
Good answer! :)
But often I have to make quick snap shots and have no time to bother with exposure compensation and so on. Or in difficult lightning, I can't see precisely what happens on LCD (no viewfinder). In such cases, should I leave margin to expose more or expose less?
I usually can recover dark photos by software (of course increasing noise). Can blown highlights be recovered in any way?

04-17-2007, 04:36 AM
Highlights that are absolutely blown can't be recovered, but if they're just a shade over AND you shoot RAW, they can be brought back quite well and easily.

Not sure if your F10 can do RAW though.

D Thompson
04-17-2007, 09:00 AM
Like Don said, if the highlights are completely blown there is no bringing them back. If you severely underexpose then you'll bring the noise in recovering. I shoot RAW only and I normally try to expose to the right without blowing the highlights. I've found I get better results that way than if I underexpose a stop or 2 and try to recover.

Just my .02.

04-18-2007, 09:59 PM
If your camera has a spot meter, meter off the brightest highlight. Then determine the tone you want to assign to it and dial in appropriate positive or negative ec. I say negative ec because there is no reason a highlight has to be rendered as a highlight - it is a subective creative decision at the end of the day.


Honest Gaza
04-18-2007, 11:21 PM
Assuming that I will not be editing afterwards, and I'm unsure of how the final results will be, I'd rather it be towards "underexpose".

When overexposed the photos are too washed out.
When underexposed it can often make a scene more dramatic.

04-19-2007, 04:36 AM
If you are really unsure and have a quick second for set up, you could bracket and then choose the best one.

04-29-2007, 02:33 AM
Add another vote for underexposure. :D

D Thompson
04-29-2007, 07:09 AM
Here is a article that is well worth the read, especially for those that vote underexpose.


But, as always - to each his own :D .