I'm wondering whether someone can shed some light on a few things. Background: When using adobe camera raw, it has been my understanding that the default settings are intended to give your image a little pop, straight out of the box. By proceeding with the +50% brightness, +25% contrast, and a slight s-curve (etc, etc) I thought that this would not be giving you an accurate (for lack of a better word) representation of your scene and you would be deviating from your metered exposure. *** I created a flat preset in ACR, I zeroed most of the sliders in the basic tab, and selected the linear setting on the curve adjustments and I've been using this flat preset to pre-process (for example) my source images prior to merging to HDRI. So this flat preset is for times when I wanted to minimize any Canon/Adobe 'look' from my images. *** I've recently adopted the Zone system for metering my scenes, and the in camera side of things has been working ok. Today I decided to analyse my photos. This included shooting an 18% grey card (more or less) with no exposure compensation. Problem: First step I took in camera raw was to use my flat preset, thinking that this would yield the most neutral of images for me to analysis. In Photoshop I took a colour sample of my grey card but the value was only about 38% (about 96,96,96 RGB), rather than the expected 50% (128,128,128). This seemed odd so I tried with the default ACR settings with yielded a value close to 50% (128,128,128). This is how it's meant to work as far as I'm aware. Does anyone know what is going on?