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Infobank

Digital image size and preview: Screen views and information

Single image view

The default display is the single image view. Here, a single image fills the whole screen. On its own, this single image view is not the most useful.

Light falling on the screen can alter the exposure and colours in the review image on the back of the camera, so if you are referring just to this view you should exercise caution when making judgements about the image you have just taken. Single image view is most useful for checking the overall composition of your image.

When used in combination with the magnification view, single image view allows you to check the sharpness of the image. By pressing the zoom button you can enlarge the image and scroll around the image to make sure that specific areas are in focus. This is particularly useful when you are shooting portraits as you can check that your subjects eyes are sharp.

Single image view with info

The data or image info screen gives the basic shooting data for the picture. On cameras from the EOS D30 to the EOS 400D, this view shows:

  • shutter speed
  • aperture
  • image number
  • file number

It can be very useful if you are shooting a series of images and want to alter the depth-of-field or shutter speed but cant remember what settings you used for the previous shot. On the EOS 1D series cameras, this is part of the single image view, displaying the shutter speed, aperture, file size and, for the Mark II and Mark III cameras, the card it is stored on.

Index view

By zooming out from the either of the two single image displays, you enter the index view. This displays a thumbnail view of multiple images, allowing you to navigate quickly to an image by pressing the arrow buttons or rotating the Quick Control dial.

On the EOS 1 series cameras, you can select either four images or nine images to be displayed on the screen. On the other cameras, you can only view nine images at a time.

On the EOS D30, D60, 10D, 20D, 20Da, 30D, 40D, 300D, 350D, 400D and 5D, there is a button marked JUMP. This allows you to move quickly through the index screen in batches of images. On the EOS 350D, 400D, 30D, 40D and 5D, you can jump by 10 or 100 images. On the earlier cameras, you can only jump by 10 images at a time.

Reviewing images shot in a vertical (portrait) format can be awkward if you have to keep turning the camera on its side in order to see the image clearly. To make reviewing vertical images easier, every EOS camera since the EOS D30 (with the exception of the EOS 1D and 1Ds), allows you to manually rotate your images so you don’t have to keep turning the camera around.

On more recent EOS cameras this function is automatic. Vertical images instantly rotate so they are the right way up on the LCD screen. Occasionally, however, you might not want the image to rotate – when a vertical shot is squeezed into the 3:2 ratio of the LCD screen it can be too small to see clearly. If you prefer not to have your vertical shots automatically rotated, you can switch off the function in the cameras menu settings.

The EOS 400D takes the rotation function one step further by providing three choices: No Auto-rotation; Auto-rotation on both the camera and the computer; and Auto-rotation on the computer only. For most photographers, Auto-rotation on both the camera and computer is the most useful setting. However, others find the Auto-rotation on the computer only setting preferable as this will leave any vertical images un-rotated on the back of the camera. Although this means turning the camera around to view them, the images are larger as they take up the whole LCD screen.

Histogram view

Once you know how to read a histogram correctly it will provide all the image exposure information at a glance.

A histogram is a graph that displays the frequency and distribution of tones in your image. The horizontal axis shows the tonal values while the vertical axis shows the frequency. The taller the peak, the more pixels there are of that particular tone.

On the EOS 1D Mark II N, 1Ds Mark II, EOS 1D Mark II, EOS 1D Mark III, EOS 1Ds Mark III, 5D, 30D, 40D and 400D, you can select to view either the luminance histogram, which displays the range of brightness levels, or the RGB channel histograms, which show the range of tones for each colour channel.

On the brightness histogram, the more tones displayed to the right hand side, the brighter the image. If all the tones are displayed to the left, you are either photographing a very low key subject or the image is underexposed.

With an RGB histogram, the more tones there are to the right hand side of the histogram, the denser and more saturated that colour will be. Conversely, if the tones are to the left of the RGB histogram the colours will become more muted. The brightness display is the most useful, unless you are shooting a very vibrant and colourful subject where you could easily overexpose one or more colour channels.

Setting brightness or RGB histogram displays


EOS-1D X and EOS 5D Mark III
  1. Press the Menu button
  2. Use the joystick, or Main Command Dial to select playback menu 3
  3. Use the rear Quick Control Dial to select the histogram option
  4. Use the rear Quick Control Dual to select either Brightness or RGB
  5. Press Set
EOS 1D Mark III, EOS 1Ds Mark III, EOS 40D, EOS 50D and EOS 5D Mark II
  1. Press the Menu button
  2. Use the joystick or main command dial to select the second blue playback menu
  3. Use the rear command dial to select the histogram option
  4. Press Set
  5. Use the rear command dial to select either Brightness or RGB
  6. Press Set
EOS 1D Mark II (N) and 1Ds Mark II
  1. Press and hold Menu button
  2. Rotate the Quick Control Dial to select the Playback tab
  3. Release the Menu Button
  4. Press and hold Select button
  5. Rotate the Quick Control Dial to select Histogram display
  6. Release the Select button
  7. Press and hold Select button
  8. Rotate the Quick Control Dial to select either RGB or Brightness
  9. Release the Select button to set.
EOS 5D and 30D
  1. Press Menu
  2. Use the Quick Control Dial to scroll to the histogram setting
  3. Press Set
  4. Use the Quick Control Dial to select either Brightness or RGB
  5. Press Set.
EOS 400D
  1. Press Menu
  2. Press JUMP until the Playback menu is selected
  3. Use the down arrow button to highlight the Histogram option
  4. Press Set
  5. Use the Up/Down arrows to select either RGB or Brightness
  6. Press Set.

Flashing highlights

When reviewing an image in the histogram view, you may notice some areas that are flashing. The flashing indicates whether there are any overexposed pixels, i.e. pixels which have received too much light. A quick glance at the histogram view to check for flashing highlights will tell you whether you need to adjust the exposure.