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Metering issue

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by WestOkid, Apr 30, 2014.

  1. WestOkid

    WestOkid TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 25, 2014
    New Jersey, USA
    Gary
    On average, the metering on my NEX 5T seems to underexpose by a full stop when I use multi. When I use center weighted, it's about a .3 stop. It can be worse at times. Sometimes I can adjust in Lightroom, but the pictures always have more noise than they should. I believe this has always been a problem, but my lack of experience lead me to accept the phenomena. I actually recall Wood or Ad pointing out that my picture had more noise than it should at a particular ISO. I couldn't comment because, I never understood the relationship between noise and proper in-camera exposure. I just figured, I needed to get better at post processing. Now that I know it's not about post, I adjust my shots with exposure compensation as necessary with reasonable results.
    I researched this issue and found a number of people/reviewers complaining about various e-mounts from early NEX to A7s. My questions are:

    Does anyone here have this problem?

    Am I dealing with it properly by using exposure comp or should I be doing something else?

    Is this something that would be covered as a defect under warranty?
     
  2. tommyrot

    tommyrot TalkEmount Rookie

    23
    Feb 4, 2014
    Chicago
    I have the same problem a lot with my NEX-5T. Sometimes I have to raise the exposure more than a stop in Lightroom. I switch to +0.3 or +0.7 exposure comp on the camera when I notice the problem happening. I have used all of the metering modes at one time or another but I haven't correlated the problem with what metering modes I've used.

    My A6000 is better on average at getting the exposure right.

    (I have discovered that using spot metering on a black cat results in the picture being way-overexposed, which makes sense.)
     
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  3. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Default behaviour by the software engineers to avoid blowing highlights. Once a highlight is blown there is no recovery. An underexposure can be recovered more easily. Sony seems to be more agressive with it and I guess it comes down to the software engineers figuring that a little noise is a fair trade off for no amorphous white blobs in the pics. ;)
     
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  4. WestOkid

    WestOkid TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 25, 2014
    New Jersey, USA
    Gary
    So are you guys saying there is nothing wrong with the Camera?
     
  5. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Think about how a camera meters a scene. In spot mode it limits the metering to a discrete part of the center of the screen. This is useful when you have a very light subject against a very dark background (or vice versa) for keeping the subject properly exposed.

    In center-weighted average (CWA) it meters most of the frame, but gives greater weight to the center portion, which is good for mostly evenly lit scenes without very bright or very dark portions. Most people center the subject in the frame because they don't hang out on internet photo forums and they don't know any better, so CWA is the default setting for most cameras. It works for most people most of the time.

    In multi it averages the light across the entire frame, with no particular portion having a preference. This mode tends to "even things out" across the frame. No particularly bright or dark spots overly contribute to the exposure setting, thus resulting (usually) in a darker frame overall than spot or CWA modes do.

    I believe that most modern cameras tend to protect the highlights to varying degrees and thus require different levels of compensation to get closer to the "expose to the right (ETTR)" philosophy of proper exposure. My Pentax *istD lived on +.3 exposure compensation until I figured out that for most of what I shoot it really didn't matter, especially since I shoot RAW almost exclusively and trying to equate a live histogram based on a jpeg to a RAW file is a pretty futile exercise compared to "shoot, chimp & adjust" like I do. Please note that this incredibly high-brow method of exposure control doesn't work for everyone, nor for every situation. ;)

    If you're still reading, the short answer is- there's probably nothing wrong with your camera. YMMV of course, but if you decide to send the camera in for repair I suspect the verdict will be "within specifications".
     
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  6. tommyrot

    tommyrot TalkEmount Rookie

    23
    Feb 4, 2014
    Chicago
    Thanks, that all makes sense.

    I use spot metering when photographing cats, but that can mean big parts of photos end up over or underexposed. I got into the habit of checking photo histograms often (especially if I've moved to a different room) and adjusting the exposure compensation to let me ETTR. I'll put up with a small amount of blown highlights as long as it's not on a cat.

    After thinking about this, I have a few questions:

    1: Does spot metering work like focus lock, (where the camera locks the focus when you press the shutter half way, allowing you to recompose the shot without the focus changing), or will the metering change as you recompose the shot? I've been assuming the former.

    2: Am I giving myself extra work (by having to adjust exposure compensation often) when I'm using spot metering?
     
  7. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Tommyrot-

    1) as I understand it (and in my experience) as long as you do not release the half press of the shutter both focus and exposure are locked until you complete the shutter stroke or release the half press. You can prove this to yourself by putting the camera in A mode, pointing at a dark part of the room, half press the shutter and then point the camera at a window. You will notice that the shutter speed doesn't change.

    2) extra work? Maybe so, maybe no. Depends on whether you shoot RAW and process your shots yourself or if you shoot jpgs and use them straight out of the camera. If you are happy with the results you are getting a little extra effort is worth it, no? :)
     
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  8. tommyrot

    tommyrot TalkEmount Rookie

    23
    Feb 4, 2014
    Chicago
    I shoot RAW--I'm amazed at how many pictures I've saved by using it.

    I do some PP to emphasize the cats, as they're for a cat shelter trying to find new homes for them.
     
  9. José De Bardi

    José De Bardi Assistant in Virtue

    Aug 31, 2013
    Dorset, UK
    José
    I use AEL a fair bit to get the exposure right in tricky backlit/subject lit conditions. I set it to toggle mode so I can get it right and shoot a few shots rather than having to hold it down. I prefer this over the half shutter hold, recompose method (especially as this is tied to focus as well and you may want to focus not on your metering spot).


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  10. christian

    christian TalkEmount Veteran

    447
    Apr 12, 2014
    Boston MA
    This is absolutly right! I wouldn't say that this is a problem. This is sort of a "security" so that you don't over-expose your pictures, otherwise you loose too much information within the picture.
    This is exactly one of the questions I asked to the professionnal photographer I took tuitions with last week. He told me exactly the same as what Bimjo wrote and added that it's the same with his Nikon D7000 and kind of the same with the D700! So don't worry about that. I'd say that it's normal.
    As for myself, I usually use the spot metering mode to have the exposure I want and then reframe eventually before shooting. Otherwise I use the central metering mode, depends on the situation and light conditions.
    I configured the AEL function in the extrem lower button of my NEX-5T so that it only locks the exposure and then I can reframe with new focus and do several shots, because when you press the shutter halfway it'll also lock the focus. Which can be good, only depends on what you want and need.
    I'm almost always in aperture priority and if I have all the time I want and the tripod I use manual mode to have the exact exposition I want.

    When I use the central metering mode, I also generally compensate the exposition by 1 stop or so.
    And to end up my post, I like to use "creative mode" to have more vibrante colors. I use the "vivid" one almost always. And then if I want other picture effects, the post-process can do it.
     
  11. WestOkid

    WestOkid TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 25, 2014
    New Jersey, USA
    Gary
    Ok. I guess it's normal. Thanks for all the responses. I worked around it the same way many of you do. I just wasn't sure if I was simply masking a problem with the camera.

    Sent from my XT1053 using Tapatalk