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Old 10-27-2014, 02:56 PM   #28
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 2,003

I use the histogram all the the field and in processing. As Jim noted, you can't always tell if the exposure is right by using the LCD monitor, but the histogram will definitely help you achieve the most ideal settings for a shot.

In processing, the histogram will also help you adjust to ensure that you don't have too much pure black or pure white. People may look at a photo and say: "This is or that is blown out", but the histogram will tell you for sure. You can also see what is truly recoverable in raw and what is a lost cause.

Although the bell-curve image in Jim's post is the theoretical picture of the "ideal histogram", reality is that the only ideal is the ideal for each unique image. How the histogram will look depends upon the type of elements in the scene, how they are arranged/composed, and the lighting on each. Looking at the camera's histogram for a scene you intend to shoot, and taking some test shots, will help you zero in on the "ideal" for that particular scene. In my mind, this is what separates digital photography from film photography: Instant results and a good, technical means to judge the most appropriate exposure. That means is the histogram.

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Link to my Flickr Albums. Lots of Steam Railroad stuff there from all over the US.
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