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Exposure (Histogram)

Discuss and share your wildlife photography, filming and equipment
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Tony T
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Re: 2x Converter or Telephoto Lens

Unread post by Tony T » Tue Dec 29, 2009 1:19 pm

I am weary of overexposing (but then I own an inexpensive lens -Canon 55-250). I set Exposure Comp. 1 to 2 notches darker in sunlight.
I find that in most compositions there is always a bit that is very light and if you overexpose you run the risk of getting blown highlights on that spot. It may be an important area like an eagles beek, like has happened to me. As far as I know blown highlights are irretrievable.
I'm going to upgrade my lens in the new year and I've set my mind on a Prime 400 for wildlife and birds in flight. I feel it gives you more quality than a zoom which will allow 1 or 2 notches of cropping in post processing, if required.
KTP- 23/4/15 to 26/4/15 - Mata Mata
27/4/14 to 30/4/15 - Nossob
1/5/15 to 4/5/15 - Gharagab

Birthdays are good for you - the more you have, the longer you live!

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Re: Big Mistake

Unread post by madach » Wed Mar 03, 2010 5:00 pm

Switchback wrote:ISO 200, AV Mode, Apperture wide open, EV -0.3, IQ on RAW Format and WB on Auto

If you're shooting RAW then the WB setting is not important.

You mention -0.3EV as a default setting. Why is this, does you camera overexpose in AV mode? In digital photography it is recommendable to, as long as you don't blow the highlights, over expose rather then underexpose. A digital SLR has a dynamic range of around 5 stops. When working in RAW mode most cameras record a 12 bit image. A 12 bit image can record 4,096 (2^12) tonal values. One would assume that the recording of tonal values would be evenly distributed between the 5 available stops. If this was the case then each stops range would be able to record 820 (4096 / 5) of tonal values. Unfortunately this is not the case. The recording of tonal values is not evenly distributed among the stops. Most of the tonal values are recorded in the first (and thus brightest) stop. This stop can record 2048 and thus half of the available tonal values. The reason for this behaviour is caused by the design of the CCD and CMOS sensors. These sensors are linear devices and as each stop records half of the light of the previous one it follows that about half the tonal values will be recorded in the first stop.

1st stop 2048 levels available (Brightest tones)
2nd stop 1024 levels available (Bright Tones)
3rd stop 512 levels available (Mid-Tones)
4th stop 256 levels available (Dark Tones)
5th stop 128 levels available (Darkest Tones)

If you look at this table then you'll realise that if you don't use the 1st stop that you'll lose the recording capability for half of the tonal range. This means that by underexposing by 0.3EV you effectively lose tonal values in your image.

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Re: Big Mistake

Unread post by Switchback » Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:51 pm


There is a few reasons I under expose by 1/3, I have been tutored by a few top wildlife photographers and I follow most of their expert advice and experience from the field. No, my camera definitely do not over expose in AV mode, but I basically force it not to over expose. Actually, in digital photography, you can save darker bits, but overblown bits is forever lost, so it is actually better in Digital Photography to under expose just a tad. On face value, if I compare two images of mine, one shot 1/3 under exposed and another on 0 Exposure Value, you have to really bring in a gigantic big magnifying glass to see a tonal difference. Also, with 1/3 under exposed, my shutter speed is just a tad faster as well which is great for wildlife photography.

I've put in Auto WB as I actually do not shoot in Auto WB when I do Wedding Photography. While you're correct that when shooting in RAW it doesn't make a big difference, it's just that I've got a special technique I use when shooting portraits etc. When photographing weddings, I put my WB on 5000K. I then take a shot of my White Balance card which has got different shades or "warmths" of white on it. Every time the light or scene changes, I take a shot of the card again. In post processing, I then have an absolute and constant WB value for every scene and it creates a marvelous perfect constant colour balance throughout the album.
KNP: 14 June: Skukuza Camping
15 -21 June: Letaba Camping

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Re: Big Mistake

Unread post by madach » Wed Mar 03, 2010 9:22 pm


Your WB workflow makes a lot of sense, it definitely speeds up the workflow of post-processing.On the exposure I don't agree with you. It is my experience over the last couple of years that underexposing in digital photography is worse than overexposing. With overexposing I don't mean overexposing by such an amount blowing the highlights because then the shot is ruined but overexposing so that the colour histogram is evenly distributed (the 'expose to the right' method). In my experience under exposing in digital photography introduces noise while overexposing and correcting the overexposure in post-processing provides better images.

I suppose everybody has their own way they set up their shots and as long as you're comfortable with that method and the results that you're getting are good then there is no bad method.


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Re: Big Mistake

Unread post by UKbadger » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:13 pm

It’s the old “be prepared thing” again, there is no completely standard setting for Bush Shooting on the move as the situation changes constantly.

My trick for this is to constantly be playing the “what if game”.

What if –

- a Lep stepped out into that gap, would the bright rocks blow out

– an eagle flew over head, would it be just a black n white –

- a H Badger appeared in the shade of those trees

- is the light so lacking in bright highlights that I can overexpose for max detail?!!

If in doubt, take a shot, look at the histogram and be confident!

At first it is very tiring, but it becomes almost automatic after a while. The settings on my cam are constantly changing with the light, the terrain and what is most likely to happen.

It’s like seeing around you, “through” your cam, even when it’s not up to your eye.

Hmmm, :hmz: the “most likely to happen” bit never seems to for me, but often something similar but SURPRISING dose!


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