LCD screen visibility problem in underexposed shots

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James Bligh Senior Member • Posts: 2,382
LCD screen visibility problem in underexposed shots

How do you cope with LCD screen visibility problem in underexposed shots?

I regularly underexpose shots say 2 or 3 EV in aperture priority AE mode to prevent highlight clipping. The problem is whenever I do that LCD screen becomes dark, nothing is visible in the screen and I think if I had an OVF in my camera. This is not a sentimental I miss OVF propaganda; this is a practical issue I encounter every day.

Well I welcome an EVF proponent defends his case. Just don't say this is not an issue.

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D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 29,932
Re: LCD screen visibility problem in underexposed shots

I have a Sigma fp camera which has no EVF, only the LCD. Attaching the loupe that Sigma offer gives a superb bright viewfinder. This loupe has a good optical eyepiece with dioptre adjustment, and works for spectacle wearers. It makes the camera much bigger but it's worth it.

Of course that one fits only that particular camera. I hear that the Hoodman loupes are also good, and they fit a variety of cameras. But I have no personal experience with a Hoodman.

There are also bargain-price loupes on the market with plastic single-element lenses which are complete rubbish.

Don Cox

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Tom Axford Veteran Member • Posts: 8,541
Re: LCD screen visibility problem in underexposed shots
1

James Bligh wrote:

How do you cope with LCD screen visibility problem in underexposed shots?

I regularly underexpose shots say 2 or 3 EV in aperture priority AE mode to prevent highlight clipping. The problem is whenever I do that LCD screen becomes dark, nothing is visible in the screen and I think if I had an OVF in my camera. This is not a sentimental I miss OVF propaganda; this is a practical issue I encounter every day.

Well I welcome an EVF proponent defends his case. Just don't say this is not an issue.

My Olympus cameras have a menu setting called "Live View Boost" that produces a standard brightness of the live view image and ignores the Exposure Compensation that you set. I use this all the time as it avoids the problem that you talk about.

Klaus dk
Klaus dk Veteran Member • Posts: 8,115
Re: LCD screen visibility problem in underexposed shots
5

Have you tried turning exposure simulation off? I have to do it all the time in the studio when I use strobes.

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Rambow Senior Member • Posts: 1,740
Re: LCD screen visibility problem in underexposed shots

The screen on a digital camera is there to help you frame and expose, it does not represent reality or the quality of the final image. You have to know what you are doing, and of course do a lot of educated guess work.

The screen is a reference, same as the battery meter. The guy taking the shot is responsible for taking the shot and charging the battery, whether the camera has a battery indicator or not.

For a while I used a camera with no backlight, meaning the screen was almost useless. It had a tiny OVF, that was good. It was frustrating to change settings, but I still took nice pictures with it. Not an issue.

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Tuloom
Tuloom Veteran Member • Posts: 4,141
Re: LCD screen visibility problem in underexposed shots

What camera?

alcelc
alcelc Forum Pro • Posts: 16,231
Re: LCD screen visibility problem in underexposed shots

A 15 years evf shooter, have experiences on various generations of evf, types of evf and various generation of Live View from the primitive version in its earliest day to more perfect version of today.

I am also a 100% viewfinder shooter. The Live View image in evf and LCD is basically the same (evf has higher resolution) for the brand I am using.

I never have your problem and of course while using exposure extensively (nearly every shot), I might do +ev more (the brand I am using trends on highlight protection so even the highlight alert covered area means -1/3~2/3ev from ETTR) than -ev, I have a nice and clear view on the Live View image in evf on majority of situation.

Surely if there is really highlight overblown (don't forget live view is based on jpg) due to too much exposure or completely black section due to insufficient exposure, live view image will of course no longer able to display detail of those area, naturally we see nothing there. If shooting RAW, due to its higher headroom, it might still have detail. How much can be recovered/pushed will need our understanding on our particular model.

The followings are few snapshots on the LCD of my came4ra under 0~-5ev EC FYI:

EC=0ev, please concentrate on the detail of the grass as pointed by the RED arrow. Please note this is a wall paper of my monitor which was taken at ETTR itself. The poor highlight detail was due to the IQ of my phone used to take these snapshots.

EC=-1ev

EC=-2ev

EC=-3ev, could still be able to identify the detail of the grass to some degree

EC=-4ev, the Live View of my model can no longer update the lighting condition changed, so Preview was used. The shadow detail could still be seen there.

EC=-5ev, too dark, fine detail of the grass basically is hard to see.

BTW, not sure how your model will behave, the brand I use will stop to update the lighting condition of the Live View image > +/-3ev. I need to use another feature to check the lighting condition that beyond the Live View's range.

If I have your problem, I might look for other model to see how it will work. Bear in mind, not every Live View will be the same.

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Albert
** Please forgive my typo error.
** Please feel free to download the original image I posted here and edit it as you like **

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alcelc
alcelc Forum Pro • Posts: 16,231
Re: LCD screen visibility problem in underexposed shots

Rambow wrote:

The screen on a digital camera is there to help you frame and expose, it does not represent reality or the quality of the final image.

It was happened to my earliest digital cameras: mostly they were superzoom bridge cameras, to certain degree also was the 1st ever made mirrorless ILC, the Panasonic G1. I had to guess, or in another word to interpret, what the Live View image I saw vs the image to be captured.

Over the years newer models improved on their Live View image and since 5/6 years ago the Live View of my MILCs are basically very close to what the image to be captured. FYI I don't need my output = reality. I need my output just what I want it to be.

Therefore I can rely on the Live View image in evf/LCD to set my exposure to very precise level. Of course I could do the same back to the more primitive versions of Live View, just need harder works only.

IMHO Live View is far beyond framing and focusing, but to set the exposure, to know the WB, the saturation condition, the DoF and with the help of other real time tools like histogram, also the contrast...

You have to know what you are doing, and of course do a lot of educated guess work.

The latest Live View of my gear can be used more on out of the box basis.

The screen is a reference, same as the battery meter. The guy taking the shot is responsible for taking the shot and charging the battery, whether the camera has a battery indicator or not.

If so, you might wish to experience some later model to experience a better Live View shooting experience.

BTE, please understand that not Live View of every brand, every model will be the same. And over the years, Live View has improved a lot on both of the software side to the hardware.

For a while I used a camera with no backlight, meaning the screen was almost useless. It had a tiny OVF, that was good. It was frustrating to change settings, but I still took nice pictures with it. Not an issue.

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Albert
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OP James Bligh Senior Member • Posts: 2,382
Re: LCD screen visibility problem in underexposed shots

Tuloom wrote:

What camera?

Ricoh GR2. I don’t have the issue that I mentioned with my Nikon DSLRs in which I use OVF but it is not always convenient to carry one because of the mass or bulk.

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Al D Contributing Member • Posts: 704
Re: LCD screen visibility problem in underexposed shots

James Bligh wrote:

Tuloom wrote:

What camera?

Ricoh GR2. I don’t have the issue that I mentioned with my Nikon DSLRs in which I use OVF but it is not always convenient to carry one because of the mass or bulk.

So, correct me if I'm wrong, your Ricoh doesn't have a viewfinder, only the LCD screen?

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OP James Bligh Senior Member • Posts: 2,382
Re: LCD screen visibility problem in underexposed shots

Al D wrote:

James Bligh wrote:

Tuloom wrote:

What camera?

Ricoh GR2. I don’t have the issue that I mentioned with my Nikon DSLRs in which I use OVF but it is not always convenient to carry one because of the mass or bulk.

So, correct me if I'm wrong, your Ricoh doesn't have a viewfinder, only the LCD screen?

Yes, you are right. Ricoh GR2 does not have a built-in viewfinder (an external optical viewfinder can be attached to hot shoe but it's a dummy viewfinder, it does not have any mechanical or electronic connection to the body) it only has an LCD screen.

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Autonerd Senior Member • Posts: 2,524
Re: LCD screen visibility problem in underexposed shots

James Bligh wrote:

The problem is whenever I do that LCD screen becomes dark, nothing is visible in the screen and I think if I had an OVF in my camera. This is not a sentimental I miss OVF propaganda; this is a practical issue I encounter every day.

I had a similar situation not too long ago -- shooting very long nighttime exposures with my A6000. Lighting must have been in the EV2 to EV-2 range. (The spec sheet says the camera can only meter down to EV0 and that seems to jibe with my experiences.)

Anyway -- the EVF. So I just took the shot, then reviewed the JPG in the EVF to see what I got. I never did get a photo I was happy with, probably because I was unwilling to compromise on smaller aperture (the Sony's max times shutter speed is 30 sec).

In retrospect, I should have hand-metered the scene and used bulb mode. Probably would have required a remote shutter release, which I do not own.

But I digress. Short answer: Take the shot then see what you got, and adjust your exposure accordingly. And maybe bring along a hand-held meter.

Aaron

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