Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
Regarding the separation: My impression is that flare works very much like pre-flashing, the greatest effect is on the lowest values. The more you pre-flash the flatter the toe gets. Less pre-flash/flare exposure as a result of less total exposure means a steeper toe.

As to source, uhhh.
Agree with the first part, but reducing the exposure doesn't change the amount of flare, or the shape of the curve. It just moves the entire exposure range further down the same curve so all other things being equal, underexposing is actually worse than doing nothing. It leads to more compression, particularly in the shadows.