C'mon Fuji - Please Give Us A Proper R G B Histogram!

Started Feb 5, 2013 | Discussions
Trevor G
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C'mon Fuji - Please Give Us A Proper R G B Histogram!
Feb 5, 2013

I always recommend to use the histogram when shooting, because:

1) it lets us know beforehand how the exposure is likely to turn out;

2) it lets us know afterwards how well the exposure has turned out.

Well, it should but it doesn't, because it is only an L (luminance) histogram on all current Fuji cameras.

It lacks any information about the individual R G B channels. It is quite possible for any or all of these channels to clip (and thus distort the colour information) before the luminance channel shows clipping in the histogram.

A clipped R or G or B channel can turn a blue sky to cyan, or a red rose to pink or green grass to yellow and you generally won't know it till you look at the image later on a proper monitor. Sometimes you won't get the opportunity for a corrective shot.

Here are some examples of how the existing L histogram can fool us if we don't know what to look out for.

The luminance-only histogram on the right duplicates what we see in-camera - it looks under-exposed. However, the RGB+L histogram on the left shows us exactly what each channel is doing, and red is already ever-so-slighlty clipped.

For best noise and contrast/dynamic range we always expose as far to the right as possible, but without clipping.

The in-camera Luminance histogram on the right suggests that we are under-exposing. However, in PP but not while shooting we can see in the RGB + L histogram on the left that the red channel is already starting to clip - see the spiking just before the end.

Here is what happens if we increase exposure to make up for what appears to be under-exposure:

The in-camera shows what looks like a reasonably exposed image (see L histogram on right) but when we examine the JPEG we see that the red channel is well and truly clipped (steeple-like spike on RH end). This results in the yellow render on the clock tower just below the clock turning to cream (in colour).

If we adjust exposure to get a fully exposed image (according to the in-camera histogram) we will get over-exposure because the red channel clips and changes the colour tone of parts of the image.

Unfortunately my test subject does not evoke cries of horror at this stage because at this point the cream render does not look too out of place.

However, in many circumstances, especially with flowers or other landscape features or even a portrait with bright facial lighting, the effect can be quite noticeable because we know what the real colour should have been.

Do other cameras come with full RGB + L histograms? Yes, absolutely.

Have Fuji ever done it before? Yes, but not well. In the S5 Pro they provided full histograms, but you had to click 5 or 6 times to see them because they only showed 1 channel at a time.

The usual version is L only, followed by RGB or even RGB + L, and always beside a large thumbnail so you can see what it refers to.

Come on Fuji, you can do it!

Please?

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Trevor G
Silkypix tutorials at: http://photo.computerwyse.com

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LetsDoTheStapler
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Re: C'mon Fuji - Please Give Us A Proper R G B Histogram!
In reply to Trevor G, Feb 5, 2013

Perhaps the fuji engineers believe that the hardware can't support it?

Or their software team is too inexperienced to write better firmware.

in line with the guiding japanese principles of monozukuri they will release a new version which does.

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nixda
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Re: C'mon Fuji - Please Give Us A Proper R G B Histogram!
In reply to Trevor G, Feb 5, 2013

While at it, they should toss RAW histograms in as well. In order to really work out the best possible exposure, a JPEG version doesn't quite cut it, particularly when using one of the film simulations with boosted colors.

BTW, although you might have a clipped channel in your JPEG histogram doesn't mean the channel is truly clipped in the raw data. I have not yet mapped the dynamic range of the very basic JPEG setting (everything at -2) vs. the dynamic range of the raw data. That would be necessary to make the most out of the tools that we have right now.

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Charuteiro
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Re: C'mon Fuji - Please Give Us A Proper R G B Histogram!
In reply to Trevor G, Feb 5, 2013

So, if one had a RGB histogram on-camera, what would be recommended in this case, a change in EV and/or WB to pull back the red?

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Trevor G
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Re: C'mon Fuji - Please Give Us A Proper R G B Histogram!
In reply to LetsDoTheStapler, Feb 5, 2013

LetsDoTheStapler wrote:

Perhaps the fuji engineers believe that the hardware can't support it?

I reckon they don't think anyone wants it.

I'm surprised that I've never seen a specific thread about the issue - but I don't follow the forum continually or all that closely.

One thing is certain - the X-Series cannot be regarded as "professional"  or even serious photographic tools without a true RGB histogram feature available.

Or their software team is too inexperienced to write better firmware.

In looking at the new X20 especially, and the way they are promoting with vignettes of each development team assigned to specific, ground-breaking features, it is obvious that they have great technical ability and understanding of the issues  involved in the areas they regard as important.

They somehow don't think RGB histograms are important enough at this stage - let's give them a hurry-up!

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Trevor G
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Re: C'mon Fuji - Please Give Us A Proper R G B Histogram!
In reply to nixda, Feb 5, 2013

nixda wrote:

While at it, they should toss RAW histograms in as well. In order to really work out the best possible exposure, a JPEG version doesn't quite cut it, particularly when using one of the film simulations with boosted colors.

That would be great, and unique as well?  I don't think anyone does that yet.

However, since RAW will natively give maybe 1.0-1.3 EV of extra highlight headoom, if you at least can see the result from JPEG then you can expect that RAW will be clean.

BTW, although you might have a clipped channel in your JPEG histogram doesn't mean the channel is truly clipped in the raw data. I have not yet mapped the dynamic range of the very basic JPEG setting (everything at -2) vs. the dynamic range of the raw data. That would be necessary to make the most out of the tools that we have right now.

I believe that you will find an extra 1.0 to 1.3EV available via RAW, without using the EXR processing feature via DR200 and DR400.

With DR200 you can expect 1EV extra, and with DR400 you can expect 2EV extra highlight headroom.

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Trevor G
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Re: C'mon Fuji - Please Give Us A Proper R G B Histogram!
In reply to Charuteiro, Feb 5, 2013

Charuteiro wrote:

So, if one had a RGB histogram on-camera, what would be recommended in this case, a change in EV and/or WB to pull back the red?

You would never change WB to pull back the red, since that would affect the overall image colour tone.

Instead you simply pull back the exposure 0.3EV once you see the slight clipping in the red channel.

Or shoot RAW+ (like I always do) to make sure that small overloads in JPEG will still be clear in RAW. You should get around 1EV extra highlight headroom by shooting RAW, even at DR100.

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obv
obv
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Re: C'mon Fuji - Please Give Us A Proper R G B Histogram!
In reply to Trevor G, Feb 5, 2013

Or their software team is too inexperienced to write better firmware.

In looking at the new X20 especially, and the way they are promoting with vignettes of each development team assigned to specific, ground-breaking features, it is obvious that they have great technical ability and understanding of the issues involved in the areas they regard as important.

They somehow don't think RGB histograms are important enough at this stage - let's give them a hurry-up!

I don't know.  On the X100, there are 3 displays, each apparently with a different screen (or whatever is called the OVF overlay).  An RGB histogram requires a good resolution and decent colour quality to not look terrible, which possibly drives costs through the roof, times 3 when you have 3 displays to support.

I might be wrong, and there's obviously nothing wrong asking for it though

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Trevor G
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Re: C'mon Fuji - Please Give Us A Proper R G B Histogram!
In reply to obv, Feb 5, 2013

obv wrote:

Or their software team is too inexperienced to write better firmware.

In looking at the new X20 especially, and the way they are promoting with vignettes of each development team assigned to specific, ground-breaking features, it is obvious that they have great technical ability and understanding of the issues involved in the areas they regard as important.

They somehow don't think RGB histograms are important enough at this stage - let's give them a hurry-up!

I don't know.

That is possibly true.

On the X100, there are 3 displays, each apparently with a different screen (or whatever is called the OVF overlay).

Nothing really to do with the histogram feature.

An RGB histogram requires a good resolution and decent colour quality to not look terrible, which possibly drives costs through the roof, times 3 when you have 3 displays to support.

Are you sure you know what a histogram looks like in-camera, or how it is implemented?

Have you looked at the histogram in the X100?

A histogram has no colour depth to worry about - it is the simplest possible display!

Each channel is represented by a single, one colour (either on or off per pixel), 2 dimensional bar graph, if you like.  The slightly more complex overlaid histogram I showed from Silkypix in the images above is not the way camera makers include the feature, although they could easily do it like that.

Instead, using 3 or 4 separate bar graphs, one above the other, makes it much easier to see when one channel (or more) is clipping.

Here's what it looks like on the 2008 Panasonic G1. I've shown that to show how even much simpler and cheaper cameras supply a comprehensive, R G B L histogram without any problem:

The display part is quite easy - the work to get the information out to display is evidently not all that hard, either.

I might be wrong, and there's obviously nothing wrong asking for it though

You're right, there is nothing wrong with asking.

And I probably should be using Y instead of L to represent the luminance channel.

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Imagefoundry
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Re: C'mon Fuji - Please Give Us A Proper R G B Histogram!
In reply to Trevor G, Feb 5, 2013

on a flipside, a luminance histogram is readable at a glance, while you actually have to pay close attention to an RGB histogram to see what exactly is going on.

Not to be controversial but I feel I am rather content with a simple histogram, when adjusting exposure/composing a shot.

I would rather see a zebra pattern in clipped areas - with an on/off toggle mappable to F button.

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obv
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Re: C'mon Fuji - Please Give Us A Proper R G B Histogram!
In reply to Trevor G, Feb 5, 2013

Instead, using 3 or 4 separate bar graphs, one above the other, makes it much easier to see when one channel (or more) is clipping.

Here's what it looks like on the 2008 Panasonic G1. I've shown that to show how even much simpler and cheaper cameras supply a comprehensive, R G B L histogram without any problem:

The display part is quite easy - the work to get the information out to display is evidently not all that hard, either.

Right, so you want this feature when reviewing the images, it makes sense. I wouldn't want 4 histograms like this on the OVF/EVF/LCD when framing a shot because it hides a good third of the picture, at least with their current resolutions. It could work somehow with the info display mode on the LCD, though.

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Trevor G
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Re: C'mon Fuji - Please Give Us A Proper R G B Histogram!
In reply to Imagefoundry, Feb 5, 2013

Imagefoundry wrote:

on a flipside, a luminance histogram is readable at a glance, while you actually have to pay close attention to an RGB histogram to see what exactly is going on.

Maybe you haven't worked with good gear.

On Nikon, Pentax and Panasonic (and most others, I believe) your first choice is the Luminance-only histogram as you have now.  You then press (usually) the D button to show the next screen with all 4 showing, so it's not compulsory to have it too cluttered for you to handle.

I've always found it useful, but not for all the time.

Not to be controversial but I feel I am rather content with a simple histogram, when adjusting exposure/composing a shot.

And a properly implemented system gives you exactly that choice.

I would rather see a zebra pattern in clipped areas - with an on/off toggle mappable to F button.

That's (blinkies) usually implemented with the simple luminance histogram.

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Trevor G
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Re: C'mon Fuji - Please Give Us A Proper R G B Histogram!
In reply to obv, Feb 6, 2013

obv wrote:

Right, so you want this feature when reviewing the images, it makes sense.

Yes, please!

Even the Olympus XZ-1 P&S camera has one (or 4):

It can't be all that hard or expensive to incorporate.

It could work somehow with the info display mode on the LCD, though.

That is normal practise.  And in the EVF also, when reviewing.

No one does live RGB histograms that I know of.

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Trevor G
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Re: C'mon Fuji - Please Give Us A Proper R G B Histogram!
In reply to Trevor G, Feb 6, 2013

Here's a Pentax K5 histogram:

That looks better again.  Or here, with just the luminance channel showing:

And here is the Nikon D700 with both views shown side by side:

I prefer the Pentax implementation, but anything would be better than nothing...

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Imagefoundry
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Re: C'mon Fuji - Please Give Us A Proper R G B Histogram!
In reply to Trevor G, Feb 6, 2013

Trevor G wrote:

Imagefoundry wrote:

on a flipside, a luminance histogram is readable at a glance, while you actually have to pay close attention to an RGB histogram to see what exactly is going on.

Maybe you haven't worked with good gear.

On Nikon, Pentax and Panasonic (and most others, I believe) your first choice is the Luminance-only histogram as you have now. You then press (usually) the D button to show the next screen with all 4 showing, so it's not compulsory to have it too cluttered for you to handle.

I've always found it useful, but not for all the time.

in your original post you make it sound as if you would prefer a single histogram with all 3 channels overlaid, in shooting mode - hence my response. Having  4 separate histograms in playback mode would certainly be useful.

Not to be controversial but I feel I am rather content with a simple histogram, when adjusting exposure/composing a shot.

And a properly implemented system gives you exactly that choice.

I would rather see a zebra pattern in clipped areas - with an on/off toggle mappable to F button.

That's (blinkies) usually implemented with the simple luminance histogram.

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Trevor G
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Re: C'mon Fuji - Please Give Us A Proper R G B Histogram!
In reply to Imagefoundry, Feb 6, 2013

Imagefoundry wrote:

in your original post you make it sound as if you would prefer a single histogram with all 3 channels overlaid, in shooting mode - hence my response. Having 4 separate histograms in playback mode would certainly be useful.

Sorry - I gathered there might be some confusion so I decided to post some examples of in-camera histogram implementation.

The overlaid method is only suitable for PP work, not in-cam evaluation.  That's how RFC/Silkypix comes, so I used that to demonstrate the clipping points and not-so clipped L channel.

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mr moonlight
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Re: C'mon Fuji - Please Give Us A Proper R G B Histogram!
In reply to Trevor G, Feb 6, 2013

LetsDoTheStapler wrote:

Perhaps the fuji engineers believe that the hardware can't support it?

I reckon they don't think anyone wants it.

I'm surprised that I've never seen a specific thread about the issue - but I don't follow the forum continually or all that closely.

One thing is certain - the X-Series cannot be regarded as "professional"  or even serious photographic tools without a true RGB histogram feature available.

Or their software team is too inexperienced to write better firmware.

In looking at the new X20 especially, and the way they are promoting with vignettes of each development team assigned to specific, ground-breaking features, it is obvious that they have great technical ability and understanding of the issues  involved in the areas they regard as important.

They somehow don't think RGB histograms are important enough at this stage - let's give them a hurry-up!

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Trevor G
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I'm not against having an RGB Histogram, but I've never used one while shooting either. Saying that an RGB histogram is so essential that none of the x-series cameras can be considered a serious photographic tool without one is a bit harsh. Fuji probably just figured it wasn't a useful feature and rather than add the extra clutter, omitted it. So far this is the first I've heard anyone complain about it, but if enough people want it and it's not too difficult to implement, perhaps Fuji will add it.

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MuMinded
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Re: C'mon Fuji - Please Give Us A Proper R G B Histogram!
In reply to Trevor G, Feb 6, 2013

Trevor G wrote:

Here's a Pentax K5 histogram:

That looks better again. Or here, with just the luminance channel showing:

And here is the Nikon D700 with both views shown side by side:

I prefer the Pentax implementation, but anything would be better than nothing...

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Trevor G
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Dude, how many camera's do you have anyway?  

MuMinded

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Trevor G
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Re: C'mon Fuji - Please Give Us A Proper R G B Histogram!
In reply to mr moonlight, Feb 6, 2013

mr moonlight wrote:

Saying that an RGB histogram is so essential that none of the x-series cameras can be considered a serious photographic tool without one is a bit harsh.

I'm surprised that there hasn't been more noise about it.

I come from a Pentax and Panasonic µ4/3 background where DSLR and mirrorless cameras naturally had a full RGB histogram.  Once you know how useful it is you tend to use it as often as you change shooting position.  Well, I do.

Without it it means that you never know, until you download your images later, whether you have successful exposures or not.  It's so easy to clip one channel without it.

It's impossible, with a luminance-only histogram, to accurately check exposure in camera, unless you think you can rely on "blinkies".

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Trevor G
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Re: C'mon Fuji - Please Give Us A Proper R G B Histogram!
In reply to MuMinded, Feb 6, 2013

MuMinded wrote:

Dude, how many cameras do you have anyway?

Hey, I can take a screenshot as well as anybody!  Those histogram examples are all from DPR reviews.

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