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LCD Vs Histogram — Who’s The Winner?

Every time I took a shot, I paused briefly to look at the rear LCD monitor of my DSLR before taking the next shot. Sometimes I deleted shots which seemed to be perfect. My wife got inquisitive and asked back.

I was actually looking at one of the technological marvels which have changed the way many photographers shoot. I was looking at the histogram to assess the exposure and the overall image. Why? I didn’t trust the LCD.

Why Not Trust The LCD

There are two main reasons I don’t trust my LCD (or any LCD monitor of any sort). First the image is almost invisible when you are in the sun. Second, you can’t see the finer details that have been captured or missed in the photograph unless you view it full-size on a computer. So I looked at the histogram to make a judgment.

So What Is A Histogram?

A histogram is a kind of graph (don’t get scared, it’s simple). It can tell you at a glance the characteristics of the image you have captured. Cameras nowadays come with separate histograms for each of the red, green and blue colors. But we’ll keep it simple and use the combined one for this post. Once you know how it works, it’s the same for all colors. A few points first which go with the diagram.

  1. Along the horizontal axis (x-axis) is the entire range of cameras exposure. The darkest on the extreme left to the brightest on the right edge. A camera can only capture this range of exposure from the darkest to the brightest. Anything beyond these edges is lost.
  2. The vertical axis (y-axis) is the amount of detail captured – none at the bottom and maximum at the top.

The Benefits Of Histograms

  1. At a glance you can see if any highlights and shadows have been missed in the image (cut off on the edges).
  2. It tells you the amount of shadows, highlights and mid-tones in the image right away.
  3. It’s faster and more accurate than trying to judge the image with the naked eye on the LCD.

The second part of this post is coming tomorrow and I’ll update this post with the link to it as it comes. Keep watching this space and do subscribe to keep updated with the latest.

Update: Continue reading Part 2 — How To Use The Histograms.

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