My CS5 Defaults to +50 Brightness and +25 Contrast. I understand that Camera Raw (version 18.104.22.168) is reading and automatically setting the brightness and contrast on my Canon 5D Mark II Raw files but I am wondering if increaseing the brightness and on the camera while exposing the image or changing the presets (contast and Brightness) on the camera is better than having CS5 Camera raw do it. It seems to me that increasing the brightness and contrast in CS5 Camera Raw is degrading the image by artificially speading out the histogram. I am using Photoshop CS5 Extended, Camera Raw (version 22.214.171.124) and Canon 5D Mark II on a Mac platform. Can anyone clear this up for me and is there a way for me to calibrate my 5D Mark II so it will not need to be artificially ramped up by camera raw?
Those Brightness and Contrast defaults are normal, and are not derived in any way from the camera settings. Even though they're not "center scale" they're expected, and are not "degrading" or "ramping up" your images in any way. In fact, you may find it advantageous to set your default Exposure Compensation somewhat negative and actually increase your Brightness control, as this can ease the transition into overexposure somewhat.
Keep in mind you cannot expect Camera Raw conversions to exactly match the color of your in-camera JPEGs or DPP conversions.