Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Histograms Part 6

Now that you are all experts on how to use histograms to evaluate exposure, here are instructions on how to access them on a Nikon D40 (I would guess that the D40x, D60, D3000 and maybe the D5000 are probably about the same.)

After you do this one time, the camera will remember your choices making it a lot easier every other time, so don't get overwhelmed. 
  1. Start with a picture displayed on the LCD and press "ok" in the center of the thumb pad. 
  2. Toggle down to "filter effects" and press "ok" again.
  3. Toggle to "color balance" and press ok
Now you are looking at the three histograms you need to evaluate your exposure. They are being displayed as part of a gimmick-tool used to change the color balance in your picture - which you don't want to use - so be careful that you don't make any changes to the color balance by accidentally moving things around. (If you make a mistake, just press the play button to cancel as it indicates.)

After you've done this once, you won't have to do any toggling on the menus because the camera will remember your previous choices. So all you have to do is press "ok" three times in a row and you're there.

If you have another Nikon camera, there is an easier way (typically) to access the histograms. When you are looking at a picture on your LCD, just press the directional thumb pad on whatever axis you don't use to switch to a different picture. In other words, if you navigate through your images using left and right, you will use up and down to scroll through a few information pages associated with the currently displayed picture. And if you navigate using up and down, you will use left and right to see the information. Just go through those information pages until you see the three colored graphs.

If you have another brand of camera, I'm sorry to say I can't tell you how to access the histograms. But most cameras have them in there somewhere, so dust of your manual to find out how to get to them. 

Using histograms to evaluate exposure is a lot more useful on your camera when you can make an adjustment and take another shot than it would be later on your computer.