RAW histogram ?

Started Mar 18, 2018 | Questions
tokumeino Senior Member • Posts: 2,894
RAW histogram ?

As far as I know, and unless I'm mistaken, the live histogram in Fuji cameras is based on the JPEG parameters, so with curves applied.

When ETTR (base ISO) for instance, I'd prefer to get a histogram based on the actual RAW data (R&G&B, without any curve applied) whatever the JPEG style engaged.

What would you be your advice ?

I'm routinely using RAW highlight warnings when culling, but I would appreciate to get similar information during capture.

PS : I know that other manufacturers have JPEG histograms as well but given the Fuji approach (no PASM for instance), I think that if one brand were to provide live RAW histograms, it should be Fuji.

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grey pilgrim Contributing Member • Posts: 641
Re: RAW histogram ?

This has been an often requested feature in the industry for years.  As far as I know, there is no manufacturer who has implemented it.  Given that Fuji has lagged in even providing rgb histograms until recently, I’m not too hopeful that they will see it as a priority.

I’ve played with UniWB over the years as well as coming up with a neutral set of in camera jpeg settings to deal with this.  In the end, for my Fuji’s, I’ve just gone with the STD film style and gotten a feel for how it works with respect to misrepresenting the raw data and using it for ETTR.

I’m sure others will chime in as to their approaches...

Doug

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JNR
JNR Veteran Member • Posts: 3,855
Re: RAW histogram ?

tokumeino wrote:

As far as I know, and unless I'm mistaken, the live histogram in Fuji cameras is based on the JPEG parameters, so with curves applied.

When ETTR (base ISO) for instance, I'd prefer to get a histogram based on the actual RAW data (R&G&B, without any curve applied) whatever the JPEG style engaged.

What would you be your advice ?

I'm routinely using RAW highlight warnings when culling, but I would appreciate to get similar information during capture.

PS : I know that other manufacturers have JPEG histograms as well but given the Fuji approach (no PASM for instance), I think that if one brand were to provide live RAW histograms, it should be Fuji.

The best you can do is apply one of the more muted film sims and adjust the rather limited highlight and shadow controls toward higher dynamic range (lower contrast). Essentially mimicking Raw parameters.

It isn't practical to exhibit an actual Raw histogram as the processing and battery drain involved are significantly greater than using JPEG.

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OP tokumeino Senior Member • Posts: 2,894
Re: RAW histogram ?

grey pilgrim wrote:

This has been an often requested feature in the industry for years. As far as I know, there is no manufacturer who has implemented it. Given that Fuji has lagged in even providing rgb histograms until recently, I’m not too hopeful that they will see it as a priority.

As a Fuji newb, I didn't know they were late for RGB histograms. I'm suprised because the image I have from Fuji is that od a brand trying to come back to the basics and providing the user full control of the capture process, by isolating basic parameters (unlike PASM). I find in line with the idea of having a helpfull histogram.

I’ve played with UniWB over the years as well as coming up with a neutral set of in camera jpeg settings to deal with this. In the end, for my Fuji’s, I’ve just gone with the STD film style and gotten a feel for how it works with respect to misrepresenting the raw data and using it for ETTR.

Thanks. I didn't know about this UniWB thing. Could you please share the neutral settings you used before, if you remember ? If you now use STD, do you apply some kind of HDR or such, so as to have a right histogram part which is OK with ETTR ?

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OP tokumeino Senior Member • Posts: 2,894
Re: RAW histogram ?

JNR wrote:

[...]

The best you can do is apply one of the more muted film sims and adjust the rather limited highlight and shadow controls toward higher dynamic range (lower contrast). Essentially mimicking Raw parameters.

I'll try that but I'm afraid that the image then looks terrible in the EVF or on the screen

It isn't practical to exhibit an actual Raw histogram as the processing and battery drain involved are significantly greater than using JPEG.

I trust you on that point, even if the reason is not obvious to me : a RAW histogram is the easiest thing to compute since it doesn't even need demoisacing : counting R, V and B photosites is enough. When demoisacing, each photosite is read anyway, and adding a counting operation doesn't seem to me (as a computer scientist) a very difficult task, especially compared to NR for instance.

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Bob Tullis
Bob Tullis Forum Pro • Posts: 38,249
Re: RAW histogram ?

tokumeino wrote:

JNR wrote:

[...]

The best you can do is apply one of the more muted film sims and adjust the rather limited highlight and shadow controls toward higher dynamic range (lower contrast). Essentially mimicking Raw parameters.

I'll try that but I'm afraid that the image then looks terrible in the EVF or on the screen

If you're shooting for RAW, that's not uncommon at all.   If you're shooting for JPGs, you shoot for the visual, but with RAW you're shooting to collect the best data that can be had from the composition (intending to bring it to a visual acceptance in post).

For base ISO RAW, I choose a  low contrast picture style and DR100 w/o any Tonal adjustments.    The relationship of the JPG readings as it relates to RAW is something one gets to interpret as they get to know the camera.    If that's not sufficient then there's the UniWB technique.

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Brian Kimball
Brian Kimball Regular Member • Posts: 342
Re: RAW histogram ?
2

tokumeino wrote:

As far as I know, and unless I'm mistaken, the live histogram in Fuji cameras is based on the JPEG parameters, so with curves applied.

It's even more nuanced than that: the live histogram is a histogram of whatever image is displayed on the EVF at that moment.

So if "preview pic effect" is turned on (as it is by default), your live histogram will approximate the JPG histogram, as you wrote above.

However if "preview pic effect" is off, your live histogram will not match your recorded JPG's histogram.

Also, if "preview exp/wb in manual" is turned off and you are shooting in manual, your live histogram has no connection with your exposure or JPG settings at all, and is completely useless.

When ETTR (base ISO) for instance, I'd prefer to get a histogram based on the actual RAW data (R&G&B, without any curve applied) whatever the JPEG style engaged.

What would you be your advice ?

Turn off the live histogram entirely. Use your favorite film sim with your favorite highlight/shadow/color settings to get a pleasing image in your EVF. Then turn on the live blown highlight blinkies.

Take a lot of shots in a variety of lighting conditions, always at base ISO, starting with an exposure just before the blown highlight blinkies show up, and then keep shooting the same scene, increasing by 1/3 EC (exposure compensation) until you are confident you overexposed your raw file.

Then go home and use FastRawViewer on your computer to get a sense of which exposure compensation resulted in the best ETTR exposure without blowing out important highlights (beware: specular reflections are not important highlights. Let them blow out).

For my EVF/JPG preview settings I can get about +1.3 to +1.6 EC above the point when I first start to get blinkies.

One you determine your personal ETTR EC based on your favorite EVF/JPG settings, then you can bracket your shots using just that EC. Pick the 2 shot bracket setting, so it only takes 1 shot at your current exposure and 1 shot at +1.3 (or +1.6, or whatever you figure out with FastRawViewer).

I'm routinely using RAW highlight warnings when culling, but I would appreciate to get similar information during capture.

I hope you're culling using FastRawViwer. Histograms showing in ACR, Lightroom, or any other raw processor are not RAW histograms. They also have a curve and highlight recovery applied to them.

grey pilgrim Contributing Member • Posts: 641
Re: RAW histogram ?

tokumeino wrote:

grey pilgrim wrote:

This has been an often requested feature in the industry for years. As far as I know, there is no manufacturer who has implemented it. Given that Fuji has lagged in even providing rgb histograms until recently, I’m not too hopeful that they will see it as a priority.

As a Fuji newb, I didn't know they were late for RGB histograms. I'm suprised because the image I have from Fuji is that od a brand trying to come back to the basics and providing the user full control of the capture process, by isolating basic parameters (unlike PASM). I find in line with the idea of having a helpfull histogram.

The April firmware update for the x-t20 should have it. The x-t2 has it, I’m not sure about the x-e3, and I assume the x-h1 has it.

I’ve played with UniWB over the years as well as coming up with a neutral set of in camera jpeg settings to deal with this. In the end, for my Fuji’s, I’ve just gone with the STD film style and gotten a feel for how it works with respect to misrepresenting the raw data and using it for ETTR.

Thanks. I didn't know about this UniWB thing. Could you please share the neutral settings you used before, if you remember ? If you now use STD, do you apply some kind of HDR or such, so as to have a right histogram part which is OK with ETTR ?

I haven’t used UniWB on my Fuji’s, so I don’t have settings for them.  I did use it for m43 when I was using that system.  There are some good sites out there explaining how to use it.  Much more than I can type here

Doug

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Greg7579
Greg7579 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,270
Re: RAW histogram ?

Search this forum. Wish I could link you to a thread I wrote a year or two ago that talks about settings for RAW shooters on the XT-2, and thus the XH-1.  Here is a note I made to myself two years ago after reading Rico's great Pro Tips book for Fuji.  Unfortunately for RAW shooters, the Histogram displays the data for the embedded JPEG, so any settings that apply to JPEG effect it.

Since our exposure relies on the live view and the live histogram, it’s useful to find camera settings that force the live histogram and live view to display as much dynamic range as possible. After all, we are shooting RAW and aren’t really interested in the JPEGs from the camera, so we want the live view and live histogram to closely represent the data that will be recorded in the RAW files. This goal can be achieved by choosing JPEG parameters in the IMAGE QUALITY SETTING menu that display as much dynamic range as possible:

Set FILM SIMULATION to PRO NEG. STD. This setting results in JPEGs with less contrast than the other film simulation modes.

Set HIGHLIGHT TONE to −2. This setting reduces the highlight contrast of the JPEG—in the live view and in the live histogram.

Set SHADOW TONE to −2. This setting reduces the shadow contrast of the JPEG in both the live view and the live histogram. The above JPEG settings give you a live view and live histogram with maximum dynamic range.

JPEGs that are generated with these settings may look flat, but we don’t care because we don’t want to keep them anyway. We are only interested in the RAW file, which isn’t affected by JPEG settings at all. However, the live view and live histogram are fully affected by these settings, and a flat image live view with a correspondingly flat image live histogram is exactly what we want in order to better fine-tune our exposure to preserve highlights.

Thank You Rico.  I have been doing this for two years and it helps with compensating while looking at the histogram in RAW shooting.

Greg Johnson, San Antonio, Texas
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Elyharbour
Elyharbour Senior Member • Posts: 2,703
Re: RAW histogram ?

Can there even be such a thing as a RAW histogram without de-mosaicing and creating an output? Does any camera offer this? How is it done?

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Greg7579
Greg7579 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,270
Re: RAW histogram ?

Elyharbour wrote:

Can there even be such a thing as a RAW histogram without de-mosaicing and creating an output? Does any camera offer this? How is it done?

Exactly.  That's the problem.  There has to be an output and that output is JPEG.  Therefore you set the camera like Rico says to get the output close to what the RAW file really is or would be in order to compensate off of a Histo that is closer to what it would be with a RAW.  However you say it.... I have been doing it for over 2 years and it works.  But the in-camera JPEGs look flat and dull. I just want a good histo to look at while shooting and I don't want it fooled by a bunch of settings that don't apply to the RAW file.

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OP tokumeino Senior Member • Posts: 2,894
Re: RAW histogram ?
1

bfkimball wrote:

tokumeino wrote:

As far as I know, and unless I'm mistaken, the live histogram in Fuji cameras is based on the JPEG parameters, so with curves applied.

It's even more nuanced than that: the live histogram is a histogram of whatever image is displayed on the EVF at that moment.

So if "preview pic effect" is turned on (as it is by default), your live histogram will approximate the JPG histogram, as you wrote above.

However if "preview pic effect" is off, your live histogram will not match your recorded JPG's histogram.

Also, if "preview exp/wb in manual" is turned off and you are shooting in manual, your live histogram has no connection with your exposure or JPG settings at all, and is completely useless.

When ETTR (base ISO) for instance, I'd prefer to get a histogram based on the actual RAW data (R&G&B, without any curve applied) whatever the JPEG style engaged.

What would you be your advice ?

Turn off the live histogram entirely. Use your favorite film sim with your favorite highlight/shadow/color settings to get a pleasing image in your EVF. Then turn on the live blown highlight blinkies.

Take a lot of shots in a variety of lighting conditions, always at base ISO, starting with an exposure just before the blown highlight blinkies show up, and then keep shooting the same scene, increasing by 1/3 EC (exposure compensation) until you are confident you overexposed your raw file.

Then go home and use FastRawViewer on your computer to get a sense of which exposure compensation resulted in the best ETTR exposure without blowing out important highlights (beware: specular reflections are not important highlights. Let them blow out).

For my EVF/JPG preview settings I can get about +1.3 to +1.6 EC above the point when I first start to get blinkies.

One you determine your personal ETTR EC based on your favorite EVF/JPG settings, then you can bracket your shots using just that EC. Pick the 2 shot bracket setting, so it only takes 1 shot at your current exposure and 1 shot at +1.3 (or +1.6, or whatever you figure out with FastRawViewer).

I'm routinely using RAW highlight warnings when culling, but I would appreciate to get similar information during capture.

I hope you're culling using FastRawViwer. Histograms showing in ACR, Lightroom, or any other raw processor are not RAW histograms. They also have a curve and highlight recovery applied to them.

Of course I've been a FastRawViewer user ! What else ?  But I now - despite owning licences for LR6, COP11 and DXO-PL, each time full featured with add-ons - I now switched to Darktable (just because I find it much better, whatever the price) and to Linux subsequently (RAW image processing was the only thing that retained me to Windows). And it appears that Darktable displays RAW highlight warnings, so I'm fine with it.

I'll try your method but I'd prefer an image-per-image based method to keep my images just at the limit and maximize DR.

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OP tokumeino Senior Member • Posts: 2,894
Yes a RAW histogram makes sense
4

Elyharbour wrote:

Can there even be such a thing as a RAW histogram without de-mosaicing and creating an output? Does any camera offer this? How is it done?

Just count red photosites and sort them by value. Do the same for the green ones and the blue ones. Normalize in case the total number for each color is not the same (like with X-trans). The complexity of the process is linear in terms of the sensor MP. Very quick when compared to NR or other processes like chroma aberration reduction.

It is actually used by many programs for culling (in Windows, like FRV for instance). Most RAW converters perform many processes before demoistacing. In Darktable for instance, let me enumerate some of them : white balance, chroma aberrations removal, removal of hot pixels, raw noise reduction. And you may chose to get exposure warnings based on RAW values of photosites, in addition or in replacement for values after demoistacing. There are even "dumb" passthrough demoistacing algorithms which don't reconstruct colors but rather only put photosites side by side, their values beeing shown as grayscale values. It is mostly useful for monochrome sensors like Leica's but it is funny to use with Bayer and X-trans sensors : you can "see" the patterns

If one wants to learn about RAW files and see the photosites, I would recommend to try RAWDigger (same developpers as FastRawViewer and the widely used LibRAW).

EDIT : illustrations

I took this image from the DPR X-T20 samples because it is colourful.

Demoisaicing only (no curve, no NR, no sharpening, nothing but Markestejin 3 pass demoisaicing)

Photosites are not combined : each pixel here is a greyscale value of the value of a single photosite. Zoom 200% to "see" the photosites.

Capture of a darktable windows, when pasthrough demoistacing is enabled.

The last picture shows an area with a red brick on the top-left and a green brick at the bottom. You see the values of the photosites.

While demoisaicing, you anyway need to look at each photosite. All you need to do to build a raw histogram is to sort them by value, the same way you would sort RGB values from a JPEG : there are no more pixels than photosites so it shouldn't be that difficult. really.

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OP tokumeino Senior Member • Posts: 2,894
Re: RAW histogram ?

Greg7579 wrote:

Elyharbour wrote:

Can there even be such a thing as a RAW histogram without de-mosaicing and creating an output? Does any camera offer this? How is it done?

Exactly. That's the problem. There has to be an output and that output is JPEG. Therefore you set the camera like Rico says to get the output close to what the RAW file really is or would be in order to compensate off of a Histo that is closer to what it would be with a RAW. However you say it.... I have been doing it for over 2 years and it works. But the in-camera JPEGs look flat and dull. I just want a good histo to look at while shooting and I don't want it fooled by a bunch of settings that don't apply to the RAW file.

That's exactly the point. I want to see vibrant colors (for composing concerns) but I would like to see at the same time if pixels are actually overexposed. And really no : you don't demosaicing to count photosite values of each color.

The point is that a RAW histogram is about photosites, not pixels. If you want to count burned pixels, then of course you need demoistacing first. But if you want to count burned photosites, you don't. And avoiding photosites burning is the most important because color reconstruction will often induce disgracefull color casts.

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OP tokumeino Senior Member • Posts: 2,894
Re: RAW histogram ?

Greg7579 wrote:

Search this forum. Wish I could link you to a thread I wrote a year or two ago that talks about settings for RAW shooters on the XT-2, and thus the XH-1. Here is a note I made to myself two years ago after reading Rico's great Pro Tips book for Fuji. Unfortunately for RAW shooters, the Histogram displays the data for the embedded JPEG, so any settings that apply to JPEG effect it.

Since our exposure relies on the live view and the live histogram, it’s useful to find camera settings that force the live histogram and live view to display as much dynamic range as possible. After all, we are shooting RAW and aren’t really interested in the JPEGs from the camera, so we want the live view and live histogram to closely represent the data that will be recorded in the RAW files. This goal can be achieved by choosing JPEG parameters in the IMAGE QUALITY SETTING menu that display as much dynamic range as possible:

Set FILM SIMULATION to PRO NEG. STD. This setting results in JPEGs with less contrast than the other film simulation modes.

Set HIGHLIGHT TONE to −2. This setting reduces the highlight contrast of the JPEG—in the live view and in the live histogram.

Set SHADOW TONE to −2. This setting reduces the shadow contrast of the JPEG in both the live view and the live histogram. The above JPEG settings give you a live view and live histogram with maximum dynamic range.

JPEGs that are generated with these settings may look flat, but we don’t care because we don’t want to keep them anyway. We are only interested in the RAW file, which isn’t affected by JPEG settings at all. However, the live view and live histogram are fully affected by these settings, and a flat image live view with a correspondingly flat image live histogram is exactly what we want in order to better fine-tune our exposure to preserve highlights.

Thank You Rico. I have been doing this for two years and it helps with compensating while looking at the histogram in RAW shooting.

Greg Johnson, San Antonio, Texas
https://www.flickr.com/photos/139148982@N02/albums

OK then. Before Fuji offers RAW histogram, I'll do that way when DR is critical and I need to fine tune exposure.

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OP tokumeino Senior Member • Posts: 2,894
Re: RAW histogram ?

Thanks for the input. I fully understand RAW vs JPEG. Just I would have likes the best of both world : live JPG preview and a RAW histogram to quickly check "actual" exposure. If it is not possible, I'll do as you and Greg state, and I'll also digg that UniWB thing, which I was not aware before posting here. Thanks, I'll sleep a bit less stupid tonight 

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webfrasse Veteran Member • Posts: 3,931
Re: RAW histogram ?

Greg7579 wrote:

Elyharbour wrote:

Can there even be such a thing as a RAW histogram without de-mosaicing and creating an output? Does any camera offer this? How is it done?

Exactly. That's the problem. There has to be an output and that output is JPEG. Therefore you set the camera like Rico says to get the output close to what the RAW file really is or would be in order to compensate off of a Histo that is closer to what it would be with a RAW. However you say it.... I have been doing it for over 2 years and it works. But the in-camera JPEGs look flat and dull. I just want a good histo to look at while shooting and I don't want it fooled by a bunch of settings that don't apply to the RAW file.

Yeah, not sure how that would work since RAW isn't an image format. It's just a RAW data dump from the sensor. You can't view it without processing it into an image format such as jpeg.

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Truman Prevatt
Truman Prevatt Forum Pro • Posts: 10,137
Re: RAW histogram ?

Elyharbour wrote:

Can there even be such a thing as a RAW histogram without de-mosaicing and creating an output? Does any camera offer this? How is it done?

The only camera I know that produces a raw histogram is the Leica monochrome cameras. You could in theory produce an luminance  histogram off the raw. But a linear histogram would not tell you any more than the current histogram.

I have a pretty good idea with the Pro2 without using the histograms since what I get through the OVF is the real scene.  With the EVF you are not getting what the real world look like.  I'm getting Fuji's opinion of what it looks like through the film simulation and settings.

Greg has come up with as reasonable an approach as I have heard of - and it seems to work pretty well.

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Truman Prevatt
Truman Prevatt Forum Pro • Posts: 10,137
Re: RAW histogram ?

Greg7579 wrote:

Elyharbour wrote:

Can there even be such a thing as a RAW histogram without de-mosaicing and creating an output? Does any camera offer this? How is it done?

Exactly. That's the problem. There has to be an output and that output is JPEG. Therefore you set the camera like Rico says to get the output close to what the RAW file really is or would be in order to compensate off of a Histo that is closer to what it would be with a RAW. However you say it.... I have been doing it for over 2 years and it works. But the in-camera JPEGs look flat and dull. I just want a good histo to look at while shooting and I don't want it fooled by a bunch of settings that don't apply to the RAW file.

Greg,

The H1 has a setting for "Natural Liveview" That is without any of the JPEG settings applied. My question is if you turn this on is that what goes into the calculation of the histogram?  At least with it you would get a view of what is on the sensor prior to the application of curves. If that carried through to the histograms it would be nice.

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OP tokumeino Senior Member • Posts: 2,894
No need to display anything to build a histogram
1

webfrasse wrote:

Yeah, not sure how that would work since RAW isn't an image format. It's just a RAW data dump from the sensor. You can't view it without processing it into an image format such as jpeg.

RAW files store luminance values (on either, 12 or 14 bits depending on the camera), photosite per photosite. 5/9 of the photosites are behind a green filter, 2/9 behind a blue filter and 2/9 behind a red filter. You don't need to display anything to check how many red photosites have a low value, and how many have a high value. Same for green and red. It's even much easier than demoisaicing, which - for each pixel - needs to analyse the value of many surrounding photosites to interpolate a RGB colour.

So as to build a RAW histogram, you need to read each photosite value only once.

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