histogram - expose to the right

Discussion in 'Fuji X-Mount Cameras' started by kevwilfoto, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. kevwilfoto

    kevwilfoto FujiXspot Regular

    61
    Feb 10, 2013
    Frederick, CO
    I was just familiarizing myself with manual mode on my X-E1, trying to learn how to get the best exposure I can. I noticed that the LCD brightness doesn't change with exposure (not a big deal), and the histogram also doesn't change (a BIG deal). I can be effectively -2 EV, change shutter speed so that I'm +2 EV, and the histogram will not change.

    I'm a bit worried about this camera now. Do I really have to chimp the histogram after the fact? Are my expectations out of whack? Could I have my camera settings messed up?
     
  2. kevwilfoto

    kevwilfoto FujiXspot Regular

    61
    Feb 10, 2013
    Frederick, CO
    I was using an adapted lens before, so I tried a native lens. There was no difference when in manual mode. In an automated mode the exposure compensation dial does affect the display brightness and the histogram.
     
  3. ean10775

    ean10775 FujiXspot Top Veteran

    885
    Feb 13, 2013
    Cleveland, OH
    Eric
    What you're seeing is the correct behaviour for the camera and one of the things I'm not crazy about with the Fuji cameras. If you want a rough estimate of exposure using the EVF or histogram your best best is to shoot in one of the automated modes as you discovered. In fully manual mode all you can rely on is the meter and your experience. I found the meter to be pretty good though.
     
  4. kevwilfoto

    kevwilfoto FujiXspot Regular

    61
    Feb 10, 2013
    Frederick, CO
    Thanks. Very disappointing, though. The meter only relates to 18% grey, and doesn't actually help with Expose To The Right much at all, especially in scenes with lots of dynamic range.

    I'll experiment with DR settings before I give up on Fuji, because I know the DR settings help protect highlights, but I'm really getting tired of disappointments with Fuji gear.
     
  5. flysurfer

    flysurfer X-Pert

    Feb 1, 2013
    Nuremberg
    Rico Pfirstinger
    The X100S provides an accurate exposure preview in M mode once you half-press the shutter button. Hopefully, this improvement will make it into the next major firmware release for X-E1/X-Pro1. It's still far from perfect, but it's a real practical improvement.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Livnius

    Livnius FujiXspot Regular

    26
    Feb 5, 2013
    Great news. With the half press preview, does this then show on the histogram as well ?
     
  7. Markdphotoguy

    Markdphotoguy FujiXspot Rookie

    22
    Mar 31, 2013
    Ottawa Canada
    Mark Dalpe
    The best way with any camera to take full advantage of ETTR is to calibrate your exposure meter to the RAW data. I calibrate the in camera meter as well as my external spot meter for all my cameras.
    I'll get to the how in a moment but the why deserves an explanation.
    By calibrating the RAW data against your exposure meter (in camera or external) you can guarantee that the brightest highlight that you wish to retain data in will have no clipping. All in camera Histograms display the jpeg data (0-255) with a WB applied which multiplies the red and blue chanel data to balance against the green (remember there are always more green phtosites than red or blue except foveon and monochrome sensors) which has the effect of throwing off the histogram. So even if you follow the histogram and expose to the right you are not getting the most ideal data capture for RAW (which is devoid of WB data except a value assigned by the camera in exif). For the best RAW capture requires something other than a histogram.
    This is why it's best to calibrate your RAW data against the light meter. Let's say you are taking a landscape with your camera and it's critical to increase your exposure as much as possible to ensure good dark tone detail but you do not want to loose the cloud detail. Following the histogram and exposing to the right you will save the highlights but you could be missing lots of dark tone detail. If you knew exactly how much over exposure you can give to a spot metered highlight value and retain detail there you can at the same time maximize the dark tone data. So in this scenario you could use the spot meter in your camera or better yet external handheld spot meter to read your brightest tone that you need to have detail in and from that reading increase the exposure by the amount you determined (by calibration) that your RAW highlight data will be preserved. This is in practice quicker than watching and adjusting against a histogram (as long as the lighting isn't too variable otherwise it takes the same time) and ultimately yields better data.
    The easiest way to calibrate your RAW data is with the free software called RAWDIGGER. You'll also find step by step instructions on how to do the calibration on the site.
    I used to try and use the in camera histogram (reviewing) on my Nikon bodies and found the jpeg data wasn't accurate enough to the RAW data. Then I explored UNIWB which worked beautifully it required shooting a WB target (in the same lighting as your subject) to get the best color results in the end since the image is in essence free of WB adjustment in order to get a more accurate histogram (still off jpeg data) that will approximate RAW data better. I found UNIWB effective but cumbersome.
    Since I began calibrating RAW data to exposure meter my data captures have been perfectly controlled. I've calibrated the meters of D3S, D800, X100, X-Pro 1, RX100 and I saw an improvement in quality of RAW data (in dark tones) by doing this with every camera.
    Just don't take my word for it visit the sites and read up and try it for yourself. If you care about the best RAW capture you owe it to yourself.
    **life would be better if camera makers would get out of the film mindset and create exposure modes that best capture RAW data. Imagine an ETTR exposure mode where the photog in the menu specifies an amount of allowable highlight clipping (0.5-99% etc) and the camera automatically increases exposure above metered value to the specified clipping amount. Simple effective. They could even go a step further and tag in exif the amount over baseline exposure and RAW converters could automatically normalize exposure on import. See this article.
    Cheers
    -Mark
     
  8. ean10775

    ean10775 FujiXspot Top Veteran

    885
    Feb 13, 2013
    Cleveland, OH
    Eric
    No, because the histogram disappears with the half press preview. :(
     
  9. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. FujiXspot Veteran

    409
    Jan 31, 2013
    Albuquerque, NM
    MarkPhotoGuy: I notice that all the versions of RawDigger are Beta. Have you had any problems with them? I just downloaded the software and it certainly sounds like it could be helpful. Thanks/
     
  10. CaptZoom

    CaptZoom FujiXspot Regular

    166
    Mar 22, 2013
    Many thanks.
     
  11. Markdphotoguy

    Markdphotoguy FujiXspot Rookie

    22
    Mar 31, 2013
    Ottawa Canada
    Mark Dalpe
    They've been in beta since I first came across them. Works fine but they are constantly updating (hint: like their FB page to get notified) for new cameras or adding features.mi suspect that at some point they'll either put up for sale to one of the big names like adobe as a plug in or go "prime time" with a version that must be purchased.
    I love the software as it lets you see your unprocessed RAW data as shot to RGB rendered. And take measurements of the recorded levels of detail. It's also useful to figure out unity gain where increasing ISO higher yields very little gain (pun intended) compared to under exposing and adjusting after. Very useful for astrophotography.
     
  12. lrusr

    lrusr FujiXspot Rookie

    21
    Apr 4, 2013
    Northern California
    Jerry Lovejoy
    ... So, is there or is there not live histogram
    available in the A/S/Auto modes on the XE-1?
    Inquiring minds need to know!
    Thanks!
     
  13. flysurfer

    flysurfer X-Pert

    Feb 1, 2013
    Nuremberg
    Rico Pfirstinger
    Live Histogram is available in all modes, but it's not useful in M mode.

    Btw, you can combine the DR expansion function with an "expose on the shadows" ETTR approach for subjects that are mainly in the shadow. If you want nice looking JPEGs of such a scene, it makes sense to expose on the shadows (aka the main subject). Here's an example at DR100% with a manual exposure correction of +1.67 EV:

    9531450092_3234892163_c.

    So this is great, the main subjects (horse, riders) are perfectly exposed, but the sky is totally wiped-out.
    Here's the same shot in DR400%:

    9531454432_3b9383bfa0_c.

    The shot looks exactly the same in the shadow and midtone areas, plus there's now an actual sky with clouds and color. Yay!

    So one strategy for "lazy" JPEG shooters who want to play it safe is to set the camera to DR400% (and at least (Auto-)ISO 800) all the time and expose on the shadows. If the shot turns out too bright when reviewing it at home, you can always pull it back down in the internal RAW converter. If the highlights look too flat or dull, you can also use the internal converter to redevelop it with DR200 or DR100.

    The catch? Overall IQ will slightly suffer, mostly only noticeable at pixel level (100% view). Also keep in mind that the live histogram is always based on a DR100 view, to the right end of the histogram turns useless once you set DR200 or DR400. However, the left end remains accurate, so you can still use it to expose on the shadows, which makes perfect sense if your main subject is the darker part of a high-contrast scene.

    Obviously, this technique mostly applies to users who want to use JPEGs from the camera. RAW-only shooters can stick to DR100% any employ a modern ETTR approach (which will often lead to less than perfect SOOC JPEGs).
     
  14. ean10775

    ean10775 FujiXspot Top Veteran

    885
    Feb 13, 2013
    Cleveland, OH
    Eric
    As I shoot my X100S almost exclusively in M mode, I've always found this disappointing. What is the limitation that is the reason for this and is it something that could be remedied in firmware?
     
  15. flysurfer

    flysurfer X-Pert

    Feb 1, 2013
    Nuremberg
    Rico Pfirstinger
    Obviously, this is a feature in order to offer workable image brightness in the EVF or LCD when operating in manual mode. This is essential for long-exposure night or studio flash photography, otherwise the display would often be all black and nobody could frame a shot. As you know, it's not uncommon to set the camera to (for example) f/11 and 1/1000s for high-speed flash photography in order to cancel out any ambient light. A WYSIWYG manual mode would simply display a black image with such settings, rendering M mode unusable.

    However, it would be nice to have the option to configure manual mode to either perform a WYSIWYG display or to work like it is working now. The problem with WYSIWYG is, of course, that it only works accurately within a 2 stop margin of the actual exposure. Beyond these limits and in low light, live view isn't accurate in any mode (PASM). This is also why the exposure compensation dial only works within a ±2 EV envelope. Future cameras that may offer a ± 3EV envelope will also need new live view firmware and possibly better amplification hardware in order to accurately display an image (and live histogram) that has been manually shifted ± 3 EV.

    Since the live histogram is simply showing a histogram of the current live view display, an accurate live view is essential for an accurate live histogram.

    Btw, X100S and X-M1 are offering M mode (and also PAS modes) WYSIWYG when you half-press the shutter. Of course, there's no more histogram in this mode, as the camera is stopping down to working aperture, but the live view image is quite accurate, making it easy to spot any over- or underexposure, especially since it operates way beyond the ±2 EV envelope.
     
  16. rpavich

    rpavich FujiXspot Rookie

    17
    Jul 10, 2013
    My solution for exposure on any camera if I have issues is not to rely on the histo. I shoot on of three ways:

    1.) Hand held meter, camera on M.

    2.) Shoot my palm to get a meter reading and M from there.

    3.) Just shoot in A and let the camera decide what the exposure should be and only override if it's way off.

    I also usually shoot in raw but not always.

    PS: I'm on firmware 3.01 and I have a live histo.