Histogram ?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Sirene, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. Sirene

    Sirene TPF Noob!

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    How often do you guys use the histogram to evaluate your exposure ? Do you bracke often ?

    Do pros usually use this tool ?
    Do you find other tools more helpful ?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I use it at every chance I get to evaluate, but if something is moving I check my camera meter through the viewfinder (often shooting on aperture priority mode anyway) and shoot. Once the action is stopped its safe to see if it worked ;)

    Not often no, but then I tend to do more wildlife work and less portrate or landscape such work - so I am not really in the best areas for bracketing. Its certainly another good tool and if you have the memory card space its a good move to make. Back in the film only days many people would use this to help ensure a good exposure

    Who cares if they do or don't - some are still using film - does not mean the rest of us have to. If you understand it and find that it helps then use it.
    Though I suspect more pros do use this tool

    Camera meter is the first and most important tool you have - get that aspect right and then the histograme is a backup - since the histogram can only help you after a shot is taken. Before its all down to the meter. Note that the in camera meter does get tricked at times and exosure incorrectly for what you want (for example it will do a long exposure for the moon when the moon is infact a very bright subject and best down with a faster exposure). It takes time to get used to the meter and understand when the light might trick it - then its time to use exposure compensation to counter that aspect.

    more info: http://www.ronbigelow.com/articles/histograms-1/histograms-1.htm
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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  4. Sirene

    Sirene TPF Noob!

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    Great informations guys, thanks a lot ;)
     
  5. dcclark

    dcclark TPF Noob!

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    Many cameras have a built-in histogram, which is an excellent tool. In unusual or uncertain lighting situations, I frequently use the histogram on my D40 to double-check, and adjust my exposure if I need to. It's highly useful to learn how to read a histogram in-camera, but as mentioned above -- who cares what anyone else does? It's a tool, and as with all tools, you should (1) know how to use it, and (2) know when not to use it as well.
     
  6. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The histogram is absolute god in bright sunlight when you can barely see you LCD screen as it is, let alone evaluate your exposure from it.
     
  7. Tiberius47

    Tiberius47 TPF Noob!

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    You should never evaluate the exposure on your pics on anything but a histogram until you process them. Never use the LCD screen on the back of your camera. The only exposure information that can tell you is if you have any blown highlights (blinkies), and the histogram will tell you that as well.
     
  8. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Also, not all histrograms are equal. The histograms that we mostly look at are just the luminance histograms. There are the equally important RGB histograms that not all cameras display. On my D700, I will see a good luminance histgram but when I check the RGB histograms I wil *often* find blown out reds or blues. In this case, that luminance histogram is telling me all is ok and in fact, I am blowing out tons of info from my shot and NOT gaining (indeed hurting), any advantage by exposing to the right.

    I wonder how many people realize this?
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I totally forgot about that on account of permanently disabling the luminance histogram in my camera settings :D

    Jerry is absolutely right. No histogram is worth anything unless it shows separate RGB patterns. The same goes for Tiberius47's comments. Not sure how or if other cameras allow the functionality too but many Nikons allow you to view not only complete clipping blinkies in the preview, but also blink clipped red green and blue channels.

    That said individual channel clipping is less of an issue thanks to modern highlight recovery. Oh and well assuming you're shooting RAW.
     
  10. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Never. I don't preview anything until it's on the computer.
    I don't think I've ever had a shot where I said "If only I saw the historgam - I could have saved this".

    Yes, but I don't use AEB - I just do it manually. Sometimes I only want additional exposures on one side of the "good" exposure.
     
  11. CraniumDesigns

    CraniumDesigns TPF Noob!

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    i started using the histogram recently in my landscape and waterfall shots and it really helped. if i find highlights are blown, i stop down the light by a 1/3 each time until nothing is blown out. i always go for the brightest shot i can, without blowing any areas out. you want your histogram as far to the right as possible, without exceeding the edges.
     
  12. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Another post about something that is probably stating the obvious, but in a scene with a higher dynamic range than our camera can handle (lets say, a picture of a really pretty young lady leaning under a well shaded tree well hidden from the rays of a very bright day), you can do what you want with exposure settings, but you basically have 3 choices:

    - compromise on the settings so that you have lightly blown out highlights in the back and lightly underexposed subject.

    - Underexposed subject, properly exposed background

    - properly exposed subject and terribly blown-out background

    Now in this case, you want the 3rd option, but this is not always the case and each scene has to be read and understood and adjusted for.
     

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