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11-04-2023, 02:51 PM   #1
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Highlight alert vs histogram

As a beginner, I am still struggling to set the correct exposure parameters on my K-70 camera. I'm using highlight alert in live view to identify the parts of the image that will be overexposed, then I'm using exposure compensation until the blinking red areas are almost gone. At the same time, I check the histogram to see the effects of the compensation. While doing this I noticed that when the blinking red areas are gone, the histogram is way to the left and pictures are often underexposed.
My first question is which one of them would be the best to guide me. I'm looking at this more like some sort of hand holding until I get more experience.
Second question is about a thin vertical red line at the right side of the histogram that is displayed in some cases when the histogram barely touches the margin of its window. Is the camera trying to warn me of something or is it something wrong with the display ?

11-04-2023, 03:20 PM   #2
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Best you post a couple of images which demonstrate the issue.

QuoteOriginally posted by nilie Quote
Second question is about a thin vertical red line at the right side of the histogram that is displayed in some cases when the histogram barely touches the margin of its window. Is the camera trying to warn me of something or is it something wrong with the display ?
That indicates that you have blown the highlights. In very high contrast scenes that is something which is difficult to avoid. Again post an example and you will get better guidance.
11-04-2023, 03:36 PM   #3
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The choice of Custom Image can affect the degree of "blown highlights", that is to say the default "Bright" can cause more problems than "Natural".
I've taken to using Natural, then giving things a bit of a "lift" as necessary, rather than risking losing detail in the first place.
Many users report under-exposing by a small amount and using "post" to drag the detail out of the shadows later.
Not sure I've seen the "thin vertical red line" ... a snap taken with a second camera/'phone to show the problem might help.
As pschlute recommends, a picture (or two) can be worth a thousand words
11-04-2023, 04:28 PM   #4
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In some pictures with high contrast between dark areaís and bright areaís you might be forced to choose what part is most important and accept some blown highlights or some compressed, less detailed darker parts... the red highlight is a warning, the histogram helps you to judge the situation overall dark to bright.
Example photographing people against a bright sky. Maybe the people are more important and you could accept less detail , blown highlights in the sky ... pushing the histogram too far to the left might give less details and contrast in the people while having more details in the sky. Not always what you want...
But If the sky would be a sunset maybe the gradations in the sky are more important and the land or people as a darker shadow are acceptable, shifting to the left and loose some shadow detail info.....
Sometimes the contrast is just to high for the camera and you are forced to make choices between the darker and highlights zones....
But in a normal scene you want the histogram to extend widest from left to right, giving best details overall.
But if the camera canít cover the full range from bright to dark, you need to choose where the important part of picture sits and accept the histogram to have left or right overflow....

It can also be seen as an info to reframe your scene or move to another location, or to use technique like HDR to increase dynamic range.
In general keeping the histogram in the middle and avoiding blown highlights is indeed best, but sometimes the scene forces you to make choices and accept less ideal exposure. Note that it is in general easier to recover some details in the darker area by tweaking the histogram in postprocessing, hence the extra info on blown highlights, but it remains a judgement...

The red line on the left is an overflow indication: you loose info, details in the dark parts ( turning all pitch black iso gradations of dark colors), so it is similar but opposite of blown highlights ....(blown, compressed darks tints), so maybe the scene had more contrast than camera could handle...

11-04-2023, 05:41 PM   #5
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Are you shooting RAW or just jpeg?
The advice above from kypfer to switch settings to natural is correct if you want the histogram & highlight alert to be a bit more accurate. Unfortunately on the K-70 I donít think you can adjust the highlight warning. Just because the histogram & highlight alert is warning you of clipping highlights doesnít mean you actually are if you are shooting RAW.
11-09-2023, 08:56 PM - 1 Like   #6
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In my case the red line seems to be related to some blown highlights. As suggested by pschlute, I've posted here photos of the live view screen before taking the picture and the display monitor showing the histogram after taking the picture.

Thank you very much for your help.
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11-15-2023, 10:26 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by nilie Quote
As a beginner, I am still struggling to set the correct exposure parameters on my K-70 camera. I'm using highlight alert in live view to identify the parts of the image that will be overexposed, then I'm using exposure compensation until the blinking red areas are almost gone. At the same time, I check the histogram to see the effects of the compensation. While doing this I noticed that when the blinking red areas are gone, the histogram is way to the left and pictures are often underexposed.
My first question is which one of them would be the best to guide me. I'm looking at this more like some sort of hand holding until I get more experience.
Second question is about a thin vertical red line at the right side of the histogram that is displayed in some cases when the histogram barely touches the margin of its window. Is the camera trying to warn me of something or is it something wrong with the display ?
I have two K-70s. I've tried all sorts of things over the years, but now, in settings, I have the highlight, shadow and noise reduction all set to Auto. I do a lot of real estate shoots using bracketing at various EV settings obviously depending on lighting conditions, and have never had a problem with highlights, shadows or noise that couldn't be handled in PP.

12-04-2023, 02:52 PM   #8
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I like using highlight alert (blinkies) because it actually tells you what is blown out which can either be a big deal or can simply be a small bright spot you can either clone out or crop out or ignore.
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