How to Read Exposure on the X-cameras!!!

Started Sep 8, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Al Valentino
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How to Read Exposure on the X-cameras!!!
Sep 8, 2013

This is a followup to the thread I started yesterday where I was a bit confused about what why the histogram did not measure exposure when going all manual - setting A and S manually. It is not that bad once you understand how to read it properly - now I see the trick which was not fully obvious but turns out is not too bad (point #3 below addresses my original concern). It is vital to understand ALL the following points to understand what you are looking at so you can make adjustments as needed.

1A) Histogram: The live histogram is Luminosity Only, not RGB. It represents the image viewed in the EVF, not the final image and the EVF/LCD has a limited color space. What this means is that is easy to blow out a color channel and not notice it on the histogram - live histogram and resulting image histogram! For example, if you are taking a closeup of something red, like a rose, it is possible to blow out the red channel as it measures the brightness or luminosity. same with the Blue channel if you are shooting a composition which is mostly a blue sky. (Green should be less of a problem as it is often close to a Luminosity histogram anyway). Provia has the least contrast/widest DR while Velvia is the opposite. So if you plan to enhance color by shooting Velvia know that you may blow out a channel and not know it until it is too late. The result will be loss of detail and/or color shifts - which sometimes can be fixed if the file is RAW and it depends on the RAW converter. I found C1 7 better at this than adobe in extreme conditions.

1B) Histogram using DR modes: The histogram does not acknowledge DR modes at all. So if the right side of the histogram has a peak against the shoulder it is an indication that something is blown out so a higher than DR100 setting might be useful - or use exposure comp to pull back. So if DR is already set at DR200 or DR400, you will still see the same 'live' histogram with the shoulder but the histrogram of the resulting file may be perfectly fine. (I often use DR settings to Auto). So using either 1) higher DR setting will tame that shoulder or 2) lowering exposure (EC) will preserve highlights.

2) EC Meter on the left: This vertical scale shows the exposure compensation setting for Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Auto mode. (you probably knew this but see #3)

3) EC Meter in Manual Mode: When you are shooting all manual, i.e., setting your own Aperture and Shutter speed - as one might do when shooting a wide panorama where all shots need to have the same exposure (where I messed up and why I started the linked thread on top), then the EC meter measures exposure relative to 11% grey (or close to it). It does NOT show EC settings as in other modes and in all cases the histogram still measures the picture in the EVF. So when the vertical meter on the left reads -2, that means the scene is underexposed by 2 or more stops, and vice versa. By changing the aperture or shutter settings to bring that meter up to 0 or close to it, you are using a light meter which is based on your Photometry setting (Multi, Spot, Average). Also, remember that EC does not work in Manual mode.

Hope that helps and hope I was able to make this clear.

 Al Valentino's gear list:Al Valentino's gear list
Fujifilm X-E1 Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R Fujifilm XF 14mm F2.8 R Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS +8 more
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