EM1.2 histogram

KBeezie

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Not to sidetrack the discussion, but I've been following along with this as I too have found the histogram kinda useless.

I'm wondering what the advantage of the histogram is over the highlights/shadows live readout? I find the later the single best feature of mirrorless cameras and way more useful than the histogram. Why not juat use that instead and forget the strange histogram?
Well the histogram can be useful depending on how you're shooting especially if you're shooting in raw if you want to see where most of your color/light data leans, the highlight/shadow warning just tells you where you're clipping but it doesn't necessarily show you where the bulk of the image leans (and you usually shouldn't try to judge it visually on the little screen).

Question is, is the live highlight/shadow readout based on the actual image captured, or is it showing you the clipping based on the same Live-View boost display like the histogram does? Since if it's the latter, then you might be cutting your latitude more narrow than you need to based on the LCD output and not the range your camera is actually capable of.
 

Cederic

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I'm wondering what the advantage of the histogram is over the highlights/shadows live readout?
When shooting difficult lighting you may accept clipping but want to assure the rest of the image is using the full range of the sensor. The histogram can help tremendously with that.
 

Giiba

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Interesting, I'll have to do some experimenting when my camera is back from servicing.

I've always found the live blinkies provide a great exposure, but I also use an ETTR method in muted picture mode al la the thorough write up on doing this with OMD cameras.
 

Klorenzo

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Klorenzo, yes, the aperture was flashing. That's certainly one way to understand that elements of the image will be poorly exposed but does not compensate for a working histogram.
When thing start to blink the histogram and the EVF are no longer reliable (and are simply no longer updated). It's the way it works. If you want to get back a reliable histogram you need to stay closer to the camera base metering.

So it is related to metering because to solve this problem you need to tell the camera that you want, for example, a darker metering. So you do spot metering on a white element, use AEL, and the problem is solved. Now the camera does not think to be -3EV off its base metering and it keeps updating the histogram and EVF as expected and nothing blinks. You'll get a dark images in the EVF, the histogram all squashed to the left and you can use exp comp for fine tuning reflected in the histogram/EVF.
 

wjiang

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Not to sidetrack the discussion, but I've been following along with this as I too have found the histogram kinda useless.

I'm wondering what the advantage of the histogram is over the highlights/shadows live readout? I find the later the single best feature of mirrorless cameras and way more useful than the histogram. Why not juat use that instead and forget the strange histogram?
I find the flashing incredibly distracting for moving subjects so I stopped using it... often over/under exposure is unavoidable and doesn't actually matter (e.g., super bright outside background when indoors).
 

wjiang

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As a post script to this discussion, I've noticed what does appear to be something of a metering/histogram/LiveView anomaly in the E-M1.2.

With the camera in aperture priority mode and the histogram display turned on, the brightness of the live view and the shape of the histogram will change whenever the AF is activated (e.g. the shutter button is half pressed). The behaviour is more noticable with C-AF, because the AF is, by definition, active for as long as you keep the button half-pressed. The jump in levels depends on the content of the scene and the brightness of the subject beneath the exposure target. I've found the most obvious effects are seen when aiming at a small, relatively light-coloured object against a predominantly dark background. While the AF is inactive, the rightmost end of the histogram might be at, say, 80%, but when the shutter button is half-pressed, it may jump up to as much as 100%, sometimes with a tall red bar indicating that it's heavily clipped. At the same time, the highlights in the live view will be blown out.

Fortunately, this behaviour is not reflected by the actual exposed image, which instead reflects the brightness and histogram values displayed before the AF is activated, as it should. It's almost as if Live View Boost is being turned on while AF is active, despite it being disabled in the menu settings. It's curious: neither the original E-M1 nor the E-M5.2 exhibit this behaviour, so it's either a bug, a new "feature" or perhaps even an inherent drawback of the new focusing system. It doesn't affect the final image, but it's nonetheless disconcerting and a little distracting. I've emailed Olympus Japan to see what they have to say about it.
Is this simply a result of the fact that lenses are typically forced wide open during focusing to give the AF system as much light to work with as possible? This momentary shift would probably be too short for the histogram to deal with.
 

Giiba

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I find the flashing incredibly distracting for moving subjects so I stopped using it... often over/under exposure is unavoidable and doesn't actually matter (e.g., super bright outside background when indoors).
Do they flash on other cameras? On my e-m1 it just displays orange or blue, no flashing. But yes often unnecessary.
 

Klorenzo

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Is this simply a result of the fact that lenses are typically forced wide open during focusing to give the AF system as much light to work with as possible? This momentary shift would probably be too short for the histogram to deal with.
I always assumed the lens is always kept wide open except for the DoF preview mode.
 

alex g

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Is this simply a result of the fact that lenses are typically forced wide open during focusing to give the AF system as much light to work with as possible? This momentary shift would probably be too short for the histogram to deal with.
I was wondering about that possiblity myself. However, there's no sound of the aperture blades adjusting when you half-press the shutter button, yet the brightness of the live view and the shape of the histogram still change, which makes me think it must be something else. The effect is certainly more noticable in low light conditions though.

The other thing is that I can't reproduce the same behaviour in either the E-M1.1 or the E-M5.II, so it seems to be a relatively new thing. I wonder if the Pen-F does it?
 

Clint

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If Live View boost is turn on, no exposure information on the EVF or on the LCD is going to be totally reflective of the outcome.

If the shutter speed or aperture is blinking with Live View on or off – the camera is telling you the exposure is beyond its capabilities to capture and the histogram or view will not be reflective of the image capture.

The camera is just making a quick update when locking focus and exposure and I think we see that actually happening now (the flashing) that the LCD and EVF refresh rate is so much quicker than on the E-M1. My guess anyway.
 

alex g

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If Live View boost is turn on, no exposure information on the EVF or on the LCD is going to be totally reflective of the outcome.

If the shutter speed or aperture is blinking with Live View on or off – the camera is telling you the exposure is beyond its capabilities to capture and the histogram or view will not be reflective of the image capture.
Agreed — I think the above has already been established.
The camera is just making a quick update when locking focus and exposure and I think we see that actually happening now (the flashing) that the LCD and EVF refresh rate is so much quicker than on the E-M1. My guess anyway.
Hrm... not so sure about that, although you may be right. What makes me question that theory is that in C-AF, these "incorrect" live view brightness and histogram values prevail for as long as you have the shutter button half-pressed — it isn't just a momentary thing. And as previously mentioned, the older OMD bodies don't exhibit this behaviour. It's just a little disconcerting to see the histogram apparently indicating badly clipped highlights while you're tracking a subject with the C-AF active. Just to confirm, this behaviour is present even with Live View Boost turned off. It is also not affected by EVF adjustment settings — i.e. it doesn't appear to be the action of the EVF auto-brightness algorithm.

Maybe I just have a broken copy! Would be good to hear if anyone else is seeing this behaviour.
 

Giiba

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Hi, how does one enable this, and can it be toggled on and off with a button?
Thanks
"4d (iv) SCREEN INFORMATION SETTINGS: Accessing various screen display choices.

When you use the INFO button on the camera to scroll through the Review image or the Live View image there are a series of overlaid screens with different information that can appear. Most of these overlays are useful but you may want to disable or remove them from the sequence if you find them annoying. This menu setting allows you to do just that. You can choose the screens to be seen in Review mode (choice of 5) or Live View mode (choice of 4).

On the LV screen (normal viewing screen when taking images you can have any or all of the following: Histogram, Highlight & Shadow (Blinkies), Image Only, Level Gauge."

From: biofos.com; How to setup, configure and customise your OM-D E-M1.

You want to enable the Highlight & Shadow for at least one setup, then when looking at the Live View you cycle through them with the info button.
 

barry13

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"4d (iv) SCREEN INFORMATION SETTINGS: Accessing various screen display choices.

When you use the INFO button on the camera to scroll through the Review image or the Live View image there are a series of overlaid screens with different information that can appear. Most of these overlays are useful but you may want to disable or remove them from the sequence if you find them annoying. This menu setting allows you to do just that. You can choose the screens to be seen in Review mode (choice of 5) or Live View mode (choice of 4).

On the LV screen (normal viewing screen when taking images you can have any or all of the following: Histogram, Highlight & Shadow (Blinkies), Image Only, Level Gauge."

From: biofos.com; How to setup, configure and customise your OM-D E-M1.

You want to enable the Highlight & Shadow for at least one setup, then when looking at the Live View you cycle through them with the info button.
If this is the LV-Info setting, my notes show that I already have it set to ALL... I'll double-check...
Thanks!
 

barry13

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"4d (iv) SCREEN INFORMATION SETTINGS: Accessing various screen display choices.

When you use the INFO button on the camera to scroll through the Review image or the Live View image there are a series of overlaid screens with different information that can appear. Most of these overlays are useful but you may want to disable or remove them from the sequence if you find them annoying. This menu setting allows you to do just that. You can choose the screens to be seen in Review mode (choice of 5) or Live View mode (choice of 4).

On the LV screen (normal viewing screen when taking images you can have any or all of the following: Histogram, Highlight & Shadow (Blinkies), Image Only, Level Gauge."

From: biofos.com; How to setup, configure and customise your OM-D E-M1.

You want to enable the Highlight & Shadow for at least one setup, then when looking at the Live View you cycle through them with the info button.
OK, I was missing that you have to go into the Custom1 or Custom2 (which are CheckBoxes!) to change this.

I wish there were a way to toggle blinkies with a button, but at least I can have blinkies in one view, and histogram in the other, cycling with the Info button.

Thanks
 

timbo6

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Not to sidetrack the discussion, but I've been following along with this as I too have found the histogram kinda useless.

I'm wondering what the advantage of the histogram is over the highlights/shadows live readout? I find the later the single best feature of mirrorless cameras and way more useful than the histogram. Why not juat use that instead and forget the strange histogram?
when shooting raw the luminous histogram is one of yor most important tools. the lula website explains this in very good detail.

basically your sensor is a linear device. When lots of light hits a sensor it records it as a highlight, when less light hits it records it as a shadow. If too little light hits a sensor there is a risk that the light information will get mixed with electronic circuitry, creating noise. A good way to deal with this is to give the dark scenes more exposure.

The trick with the histogram is to set your exposure so thst the right hand tail is as close to the edge as you deem acceptable. You can choose to clip your highlights or be safe and leave a gap. With low iso there will be less noise in the shadows, but at high iso there will be a lot more.

note: your out of camera jpegs might not look very good but yor raw files will be optimised.
 

Clint

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Hrm... not so sure about that, although you may be right. What makes me question that theory is that in C-AF, these "incorrect" live view brightness and histogram values prevail for as long as you have the shutter button half-pressed — it isn't just a momentary thing. And as previously mentioned, the older OMD bodies don't exhibit this behaviour. It's just a little disconcerting to see the histogram apparently indicating badly clipped highlights while you're tracking a subject with the C-AF active. Just to confirm, this behaviour is present even with Live View Boost turned off. It is also not affected by EVF adjustment settings — i.e. it doesn't appear to be the action of the EVF auto-brightness algorithm.

Maybe I just have a broken copy! Would be good to hear if anyone else is seeing this behaviour.
When using C-AF, how do you have your camera set up to lock exposure?

Until exposure is locked - the histogram, binkies, flashing shutter speed or aperture should continue to measure the changing scene and update the EVF or monitor accordingly.
 

Klorenzo

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The trick with the histogram is to set your exposure so thst the right hand tail is as close to the edge as you deem acceptable. You can choose to clip your highlights or be safe and leave a gap. With low iso there will be less noise in the shadows, but at high iso there will be a lot more.
ETTR makes sense at base ISO only, you gain nothing if you push the histogram to the right by rising the ISO. So it's not so common to find a situation when you can do it as you typically need to increase the exposure time. And at base ISO the advantage is small unless you have important shadows to recover. And no moving subjects. In practice it works fine mostly for landscapes.

Also be extremely careful doing this when you have strong colored lights: you may blow one single channel without any blinkies on the screen or problems in the big luminance histogram. The small single-channel histograms will show the problem (but are too small to be really useful).

@Giiba To answer your original question, I find no advantage in using the histogram over the blinkies+EVF. Considering there is no disadvantage in overexposing a little the shot (even with Auto-ISO) I think the blinkies are good enough for complex light situations, especially if you are in a hurry (with the big exceptions said above about clippings and colored lights and this include sunsets).
To properly use the histogram you have to evaluate the scene with your eyes and say: ok, for this scene I expect an histogram with this shape. And doing this correctly is complex. In a dark scene the histogram will be, and should be, squashed to the left anyway. I do not think our eyes are much better at evaluating a scene rather then the EVF in complex or strange light situations.

The EVF fooled me recently with an extremely dark scene (ISO 3200, f/1.4, 1/80s) where it displayed a bright image while the pictures where completely black (with Live boost off). I had to go to 1/15s to get the shots. I think chimping is the only thing that works in these situations.
 

Gregory

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On the E-M1 there's a setting in the Fears menu, menu D, called "Live View Boost". Make sure it's set to "Off". You probably have it set to "On". The Histogram is taken from the JPEG data displayed on the screen and in the EVF and if Live View Boost is set to On, then the screen/EVF do not reflect changes you make to exposure and since the display doesn't change, the data the histogram uses doesn't change and if the data the histogram uses doesn't change, then the histogram doesn't change.

Turning Live View Boost off means that the image displayed on the screen and in the viewfinder will look washed out if you are overexposing and overly dark if you are underexposing. Turning Live View Boost on means the image displayed always looks correctly exposed so it's easy to see what you're shooting but adjusting exposure compensation has no effect at all on the way the image is displayed.
In the first line is a reference to a menu I've not heard about previously. It is the "Fears menu". The critics of the Olympus menu system may have more of a point than I'd previously realized!
 

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