What are EV and EV- and why should i use it in wildlife photography

No matter what your preferred Exposure Mode - Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Program or Manual your camera is programmed to render 18% Grey (or a variant thereof ) at EV (Exposure Value) 0.0.
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Think of different zones varying from pitch black on the one side to pure white on the other extreme with different degrees of grey in between. In practical terms this means that if you were to photograph a black page your camera will most likely render it 18% Grey and the same result will occur if you photographed a white page. It would be rendered 18% Grey. If you photograph a black page with a spot of white on it and the blacks are rendered grey the white will be overexposed.

The dilemma in photographing wildlife is that in many instances you will photograph scenes with dominant darker backgrounds with few highlights. If you were to leave your camera on EV 0.0 the Highlights will most certainly be overexposed. We therefore anticipate what the camera will do and deliberately underexpose the image to compensate for that.

That said it is fairly easy to recover detail in the darker areas that were lost during exposure but detail lost in the highlights during exposure are rarely effectively recovered.

Traditionally some photographers EV +’ed their images because certain sensors struggled with noise. Those arguments do not hold any merit. Most sensors of all brands now deal very well with noise and what is more there are a lot of noise reduction software available on the market but not ONE to bring back lost highlights. Add the further bonus that EV – allows for higher shutter speeds while protecting the highlights.


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