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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎04-17-2018

Simple Exposure Question

Ive scoured the web for an answer too this question, not having any luck. I have an EOS 1200D (Rebel T5).

 

when using an incident light meter, and even with a gray card, in indoor situations and some others i am finding the histogram does not reach 255 (Rightmost side of histogram), sometimes it even ends a full stop or two before 255... I am a little confused, because based on incident readings and gray card readings, the exposure is correct... Even though the histogram does not touch the right end, are my exposures still correct? When importing to lightroom while preserving the picture style (usually camera standard) I still find the histogram does not hit the rightmost side, and end up needing to increase the exposure by a full stop and stretch the whites out to make the photo look well exposed... 

 

Any ideas? I can consistently reproduce this issue. And yes, sometimes the material im photographing does not contain pure white, but underexposure is indicated by not hitting 255 (or within 1/2 stop near it) on histogram, correct?

 

This issue is causing me to have to do heavy post processing to make the photos acceptable, adding significant noise in the photo. 

Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,861
Registered: ‎12-02-2012

Re: Simple Exposure Question

Not all pictures have that much dynamic range. More often than not the histogram won’t stretch all the way between black and white. In processing in Lightroom you can choose to manually increase whites until the brightest white areas are as bright as they can be, without going over and blowing out highlights. Same thing with stretching the blacks left until they almost touch zero.
Scott

Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎04-17-2018

Re: Simple Exposure Question

ScottyP
This I understand. The biggest example of this occurance was earlier this morning, shot a photo of a persons face (posing) under diffused sunlight indoors. I used evaluation metering since the light was mostly uniform, and set focus for the eyes. The result was a histogram with data only stretching out too the middle of the histogram. I found, after using the levels adjustment brush, that the face that was centered and metered for, fell in the left side of the histogram, and the parts of the image that were lighter were expressed as middle gray. Too me, this is underexposure.. I was under the impression that most skin tones are above or near middle gray, given this assumption, I am lead to believe it is underexposed, could my meter be at fault? I will need to take some test photos and post them in comparison with meter readings/ histograms to further explain my concern. I find even with large dynamic range scenes like outdoor landscapes, the Canon meter frequently leaves this gap in the histogram. The only method i have found that yeilds a fair histogram is by exposing to the right, where in post the image is displayed rather faithfully. I am coming from the days of film, and have been trying to apply the zone system to the histogram. It is hard to do this, when the meter seems to underexpose. Apologies if i sound like a complete noob, and/or ignorant.
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,466
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: Simple Exposure Question

Try the same shot with evaluative exposure and spot exposure on the face.

 

 

Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,861
Registered: ‎12-02-2012

Re: Simple Exposure Question

I do ETTR about half the time. I also tend to use a narrower metering setting than Evaluative when shooting people if they are coming out underexposed.
Scott

Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎04-17-2018

Re: Simple Exposure Question

Okay. I have done a bit of testing, and I'm finding while using a gray card or matrix, or spot metering using zone system, there is usually a full stop left unused in the right side of histogram still. I understand not all photos have that kind of dynamic range, but my photos are mostly landscapes without sun, or side lit from sun, all i am asking now, is if leaving this gap is considered underexposure. If I bring up the whites, where the sky meets the land the sky will be white, which it never was. Same with increasing exposure by a stop. Might I add my Canon T5 is a refurbished unit
Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,040
Registered: ‎06-25-2014

Re: Simple Exposure Question


@germanduderwrote:
Okay. I have done a bit of testing, and I'm finding while using a gray card or matrix, or spot metering using zone system, there is usually a full stop left unused in the right side of histogram still. I understand not all photos have that kind of dynamic range, but my photos are mostly landscapes without sun, or side lit from sun, all i am asking now, is if leaving this gap is considered underexposure. If I bring up the whites, where the sky meets the land the sky will be white, which it never was. Same with increasing exposure by a stop. Might I add my Canon T5 is a refurbished unit

A camera sees things differently from the human eye. And ultimately what matters is what the human eye thinks it sees. I believe you're making a mistake by letting the histogram overrule your eyes. If a picture doesn't look right, the histogram may help you diagnose the cause. But if a picture looks right, trying to rectify its histogram at the expense of the picture's visual effect is the tail wagging the dog.

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
Reputable Contributor
Posts: 758
Registered: ‎11-14-2012

Re: Simple Exposure Question

ETTR in raw when the dynamic range of the camera is bigger than the dynamic range of the motive. This will bring the shadows out of the noise. Reduce the entire exposure in post.

If the dynamic range of the motive is bigger than the dynamic range of the camera, then you have to sacrifice the shadows or the highlights, or both. Or use a speedlite, HDR etc...
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎04-17-2018

Re: Simple Exposure Question

Thanks Robert. I see your point, i do print a lot of my work on a PRO 100, and i am more worried that my prints will not show adequate brightness with this gap in the histogram. You are right, even though there is this gap, the picture does look right with it. I guess i just have it stuck in my head that if the histogram is not fully used(populated with data from 0-255), than neither is the dynamic range of my camera, which seems wrong when im shooting scenes with a large dynamic range. It also seems the canon picture styles tend too boost the exposure a little bit in comparison with the adobe RAW conversion using their profile. 

 

If only canon would implement a RAW histogram, and spot metering in my poor old T5 Smiley Sad

VIP
Posts: 11,491
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Simple Exposure Question

A histogram is a graphical representation of the pixels exposed in your image.  The left side of the graph represents the blacks or shadows. The right side represents the highlights or bright areas. The middle section is mid-tones.  That is your 18% grey. How high the graph reads is the number of pixels in that particular tone.  

Gaps on either end indicate you are missing information.  This means your exposure can be shifted without losing detail.   It does not indicate an under or over exposure per say.  If you shoot Raw you will have greater leeway to make adjustments in post.  It is still a good idea to get it pretty close from the get go. 

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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