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Sometimes, Grossly Misleading Errors in Sony RGB Histogram

It is about time cameras included a true raw histogram instead of half-assed JPEG-oriented histograms. And eliminate the the JPEG crapware when shooting raw too.

I feel infuriated at the ineptitude of Sony engineers, who for raw files shooters present a histogram as blown-out, when there can be as much as a 2.5 stop underexposure, as per the RawDigger analysis below.

This design ineptitude cheats me of a means to determine optimal exposure, and therefore, an optimal image. Sony claims 15-bit dynamic range in the A7R IV, but (WTF?) fails to design in the essential tools to get anywhere close to that claim.

By comparison, it has been a joy to shoot the Nikon D850 monochrome, because I am nailing the exposure to within 1/3 stop virtually every time. Yet that is not praise for Nikon because it is a special case for monochrome—an unmodified color Nikon D850 misleads also. Virtually every camera vendor is incompetent when it comes to presenting actual exposure for raw files, instead delivering a baked-cake-for-JPEG histogram, which is usually pretty close, but sometimes way off.

As if everyone buys a $3500 camera to shoot JPEG with gross underexposure. Well, maybe I’m the fool, and that’s the market reality—dilettantes unwilling or unable to improve their competence mean that Sony need not bother. Such shitty camera design is surely one incentive to say “f' it”, and just go with an iPhone.

Grossly misleading Sony histogram

While shooting this scene, when I added just 1/3 stop more exposure, the A7R IV went nuts with blinkies, claiming I was blowing-out the exposure, when I could have added. 2.5 stops more as per RawDigger, below. In other words I could have shot just 2 frames with more exposure than the 9 frames I shot for frame averaging. All due to moronic camera design.

I don’t yet know how to work around such a grossly misleading histogram. Moreoever, the image is 100% in gamut in Adobe RGB, and I had long ago configured the A7R IV for the Adobe RGB color space. I will have to look into whether a Picture Profile can mitigate this severe anti-functional behavior, but trying it, the camera malfunctions so I am not hopeful.

Below, I wished to maintain full color detail in the sunset, and so I adjusted exposure until the camera histogram showed (falsely) that there were no blown-out details in the red channel. By all objective measures, this is an optimal ETTR exposure. But it’s not, as per RawDigger, below.

Histogram on Sony A7R IV showing erroneous maxed-out histogram

Below, the exposure reality is far different; RawDigger shows 2.5 stops underexposure. That is, maximum ETTR exposure should approach value 16000 for 14-bit files, as this one is.

Histogram on Sony A7R IV showing erroneous maxed-out histogram

RawDigger info shows 0% over exposure, and 80% underexposure. All due to the grossly misleading Sony histogram.

The scene for the above histograms

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