for most of my shots I am able to expose in the middle. The histogram looks good and nothing runs off of either end... but for many shots (10 percent ?) I could use more range. 2 stops more DR would change that percentage from 10 percent down to about 1 percent... so yes, you can count me as one of those people who would like more DR out of their camera.
The proper exposure is one where you don't clip anything that you want to retain and where you put enough light on to minimize noise as best as you can without clipping (or going quite so far as to make processing tricky and leaving too few highlight tones).
I would agree. But whether you increase exposure to minimize noise or decrease exposure to preserve more highlight detail, you are shifting tones away from where you want them to be in print. Hence the reference to middle gray.
Calling it like "people going around underexposing 3 stops" makes it sound like they are making mistaken exposures. You may not have meant to imply that, but many of those who post like that do, since they then say stuff, like learn how to set a proper exposure [insult insult].
I did not mean to imply that, but how else should I describe it? We are over and under exposing to achieve certain things.
And the thing is, If I had those two extra stops, I would still expect more in the next camera... It is natural to expect improvements, just as it is natural to expect technical/scientific people to evaluate performance and identify weaknesses and strengths.. but why attack the messenger? If it doesn't matter to you, then say "that's nice" and ignore the whole debate. If it does mater to you, then debate the facts, not the person.
Don, the problem seems to me to be that people give an opinion that is personal or state a spurious "fact", and then get defensive when that opinion is questioned, they take it personally so the cycle begins.
For instance, I agree with you, more will be very welcome and even when it gets here yet more will be expected, but I could take issue with your numbers, which might sound personal to some, I suspect very few people have "issues" anywhere near 10% of the time (and in a subtle way you set yourself up for what might appear to some a personal attack, initially you put a question mark next to the 10% but then dropped it), if they did then all the film shooters ever, and every digital camera up to now would be found wanting an unacceptable amount of the time, and in general, my experience is, that just isn't true. Of course there will be people who shoot a specific type of scene where those numbers might be accurate, and you could very well be one of them, but to suggest that camera DR capabilities fail 10% of the time is not true for me, or for many of the photographers I speak to regularly and for whom I print.
People are very quick to take rebuttals of their personal opinions personally, they are unwilling or emotionally unable to accept that the comment they made to invoke the rebuttal wasn't a soundly based fact they can back up with supporting independent evidence.
I take a lot of shots outside and end up with the problem of bright skies and dark trees... and bird shots where you can expose for the bird, you can expose for the sky, but not both. That said, although when you edit the pictures you can tell that you have run out of DR, almost all of the time (at least for me) it really doesn't make a noticeable difference in the final picture.
I am going to throw the following image out as an example.... In the original shot I ran out of DR to catch the highlights and the lowlights. Technically, I would have needed at least three stops on each end to capture the detail.... and in the end I ended up darkening the picture (artistic reasons to try and capture a mood) and had a picture with far less
DR than the camera could capture. Yes, I know that if I lifted the shadows 5 stops to get detail in the trees that there would be noise...... but I wanted them dark anyway..... I ended up DROPPING the shadows, so for the final product none of that mattered
Conclusion: Although more DR is a good thing, quite often our current cameras have more than enough, and often the benefits of more DR are not noticeable on the final product.
EDIT: I scrolled through a folder where I keep my "nicer" pictures with lightroom. I was surprised to find how many had the histogram all the way to both sides.. that's where I got my 10 percent number. BTW, I ran through my folder of pictures from work (mostly indoors with controlled lighting) and found very few where it was noticeable, yet with my personal pictures, particularly outdoors shots with skies and/or clouds, there was that 10 percent number....
These are just my observations, and I will be the first to say it is not scientific and "your mileage will vary".