OK, I know the real answer is to get the exposure right, but what if you have a situation with a large variation in light, where there is no correct exposure to get everything in the scene?
Last night I was shooting a concert, the camera's meter predictably can not handle the lighting, and makes a complete screw up of the situation, the situation being a the artist floodlit with a dark background. The typical camera response here is to over expose the artist to try and bring out the background. In this particular instance exposure compensation of around 1-2 stops under worked quite well.
This got me thinking though, when I let the camera do the work I ended up with a white artist with no detail, mainly clipped out to white, no recoverable detail, even in RAW, by correctly exposing the foreground, the background became very dark, however I was surprised how much detail was recoverable still from the background.
Is it better then in difficult lighting to err with caution and under expose, correct later and avoid over exposure at all costs? It seem to me that you will have better luck fixing an under exposed image with a digital than an overexposed one.