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Camera Histogram Bug with ARW Raw Files on Sony A7S II and A7R II

Get Sony mirrorless digital camera at B&H Photo.

The Sony mirrorless cameras have a DRO/Auto HDR setting. This setting applies to JPEG (and presumably video). It does not apply to raw-format ARW.

BUG: when shooting raw ARW format, and the DRO/Auto HDR setting enabled, the histogram shown for the raw image incorporates the DRO/Auto HDR effect. Yet the raw file is not affected by the setting, so the histogram is highly misleading.

1. Under high dymamic range conditions, shoot one image with DRO/Auto HDR enabled and one image with it off.
2. On the camera, view the histogram for each: wildly different histograms.
3. Open the two images with ACR; observe that there is no difference.

SOLUTION: for raw, the histogram should not be affected by the DRO/Auto HDR setting.

Note that the histogram is affected by many things including white balance and various JPEG settings (yuck)*—but the DRO settings can cause dramatic changes to the histogram and is thus “out of bounds” as far as I am concerned. The behavior should be defeated.

* When are camera vendors going to get a clue that we need a true raw histogram for raw, not a lame gamut-clipped mess based on JPEG settings which do not apply? See also Recommended Camera Settings for Camera Histogram.

Lundy Canyon Lower Beaver Pond
f9 @ 1/640 sec, ISO 100; 2015-11-03 14:24:10
Sony A7s II + Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon

[low-res image for bot]
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