Mmmm. Coffee (and Levels)

I just made a cup of coffee. I love coffee but I try not to have more than two cups of coffee per day even thought the current expert thinking is that coffee is actually really good for us.

My cup of coffee looked so damn good after I made it that I decided to take a picture of it and share it. Then I also thought that this would be a good time to demonstrate the importance of levelling—for those that might have forgotten.

Below are two pictures of my awesome cup of coffee. Actually both pictures are exactly the same picture but with the second picture I have set the histogram levels.

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The picture on the left is how it came out of the camera, except I have cropped it down to a size that suits posting here. And the camera it came out of was a Pentax K-7 with a Sigma 17-70 DC lens on it; so this is no ‘toy’ camera.

The picture on the right has had the histogram levels set, which is also sometimes referred to as setting the black and whites. Notice how the whites in the second picture seem more white, and the blacks seem more black. And because of this the picture actually seems to be crisper or more in focus—but the focus is exactly the same for both pictures as both pictures are actually the same picture.

At this stage no sharpening (unsharpening) has been applied. If that were done the finished picture would look even crisper. Seriously.

The focus point in this shot is in the centre of the froth. Notice how, with setting the histogram levels, even the froth colouring looks richer with the brown crema looking slightly more brown and the lighter coloured froth looking slightly lighter.

Because this picture was taken using the on-camera flash and is almost perfectly exposed it is actually a really bad example to use in showing the impact of setting the histogram levels—but even here you can see the difference it makes.