How To Interpret Camera's RGB Histogram?

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David1961
David1961 Regular Member • Posts: 268
How To Interpret Camera's RGB Histogram?

My camera's built in histogram has 2 modes -

1. Brightness (as it is called in the histogram menu)

2. RGB - where it displays the histogram for each of the individual RGB channels.

I routinely use the histogram in brightness mode as part of my review and ETTR objective after taking a photo.

I understand the basic concepts of how histograms work and the concepts of clipping in the highlights and shadows.

Occasionally I also look at the in camera RGB histogram, but just out of curiosity because I am unsure as to how to interpret the individual channel histograms.

My queries are basically -

1. Do the individual RGB histograms tell me anything about potential white balance or colour cast issues? If yes what can I do, in camera, to help rectify any issues?

2. Sometimes I notice one of the channels will have data in the histogram ranging from 0 - 255, another channel will have data to about 80% of the right edge while the 3rd channel will have data to about 70% of the right edge. Does this indicate any issues with WB, colour cast or anything else? If yes what can I do, in camera, to help rectify any issues?

3.  In post processing I often have a look at the individual RGB histograms using a Levels Adjustment Layer in Photoshop Elements and see the situation I describe in point 2.  If I am not 100% happy with the WB adjustment I made earlier in ACR, I usually slide the white point slider of each RGB histogram to the start of the data from the right side edge.  More often than not this helps fine tune the image colours to what I saw when I took the photo.  But I am not sure if this adjustment for each channel is technically valid or whether I am just lucky that on some occasions it helps improve the image colours.

4.  Is there anything else I need to be aware of when interpreting the in camera RGB histograms?

Many thanks for any help

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