Help me with the Histogram

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by stsinner, Nov 25, 2008.

  1. stsinner

    stsinner TPF Noob!

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    I see it, and it's very pretty, but what does it mean?
     
  2. Di&Z

    Di&Z TPF Noob!

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    :D lol...good question...I'm waiting for the answer too.
     
  3. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  4. KhronoS

    KhronoS TPF Noob!

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  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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  6. rmh159

    rmh159 TPF Noob!

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    I'm at work and in the US it's the day before a holiday... so that means about 5% of the employees are actually HERE today and maybe 1% of that group is actually doing anything productive. So... I'll type a quick response and attempt to summarize what's likely included in the links.

    The histogram is just a graph of where the light is in the tone range. The far right side represents white, the far left side represents black and everything between is a shade of gray.

    There's really no "correct" histogram... so you shouldn't think it shows a bad / good image (though Big Mike's one link tells you that the image should be slightly shifted to the right but I'll let you read that yourself). What you DO want to watch for though is if data falls off of the graph. It'll look like a spike on either side. What that's telling you is that there is light outside of that range that the camera isn't able to capture. Your image will have a blown out highlight or shadow because of this.

    So ... I have a Nikon D50 and have it setup to show the histogram after each shot. I just glance at it and make sure it's not falling off either side and then I go on my merry way. If it's falling off either side I adjust the exposure compensation or throw into Manual to center the data.

    Hope that helps.
     
  7. yogibear

    yogibear TPF Noob!

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  8. stsinner

    stsinner TPF Noob!

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    All helpful information. Thanks. And rmh159, it's so true what you say about the day before a holiday being worthless at any job... Everybody is already on vacation in their head!
     
  9. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Be aware, that there is more to the histogram than the combined RGB channel. I don't think it shows this on the D50, but on newer Nikons (dunno about Canons), you are able to get the histogram for individual channels as well, because while the luminosity histogram (the standard white histogram) will show a "proper" exposure, individual histogram channels can be off the chain.
     
  10. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    One thing that I have found in using a histogram is that you still need to understand tonal range and be able to judge that range. That is something, at least for me, that comes with experience. Once you develop the ability to judge the tonal range you are looking at, then the histogram can be an very good guide for exposure.
     
  11. Jklersy

    Jklersy TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for that cambridge in colour link, it was very helpful to me.
     
  12. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The left is dark the right side is light areas... The taller a "mountain" the more data is in the same lightness/darkness..
     

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