Why no spot meter? at DVinfo.net

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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.


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Old June 7th, 2006, 03:48 AM   #1
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Why no spot meter?

I don't think I'm expecting anyone to actually answer that but was just thinking about it this morning. My Sony HC20E (I think that's what it is!) consumer handycam, aswell as being fully auto, has a spot meter mode where you touch the LCD screen at an area you want exposing properly and it works a treat. Also, every decent SLR still camera I've used has a spot meter - and it's pretty much an essential.

But the Z1 has no such facility (unless I've missed something) - instead you have to learn the black art of zebra patterns where one man's 'just over' is another man's 'OMG you've blown it!".

Just a thought!

Ian
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Old June 7th, 2006, 09:35 PM   #2
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sometimes having something that is semi-automatic can be bad, as more often than not, you can make it fully manual.

The Z1 is a professional camera, and that means you expect 100% control and limited automation.

Also consider the horrendous battery life if to operate a touch screen, and a hardware designed to do that.

Spot meters are not essential, and I personally belive they should stay on SLR digi cams because video is a different medium. We offer lots of pictures... lol

As someone who has never replaced my SLR Film camera (and never will) I think the spot meter is more of a gimick and will never replace accurate preparation and manual control.

If you REALLY want a spot meter, then the Z1 isnt for you. There is a manual iris, and it also comes in auto. And Zebra isnt a black art, its a guide to make your work accurate. You dopnt expect a camera like this to run and gun, thats why consumer cameras were invented. And honestly, I see it as a lazy man's tool. One of the reasons why I still have my trusty SLR Film camera.
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Old June 8th, 2006, 01:05 AM   #3
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Agreed Leo - but let me add that the almost equivalent of the spot meter function is the zoom lens itself - use it to select the region you want to expose...

Robin
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Old June 8th, 2006, 08:33 AM   #4
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Well I think it's time to learn the "black art of zebra patterns" :-) Really, just do a little trial and error test shooting and you will catch on quickly (also do a search for "zebra" here at DVinfo).

Leo: I agree pretty much with your sentiments, but you're way off base about the touch screen and battery life. The PDX-10 has touch screen with the feature Ian wants (so did the TRV-950 and HC-1000 I think). The battery life on those cameras is fine - one of the QM91's would run the camera as long as an NPF-970 runs the Z1, and it's a smaller lighter battery as well. Since the HVR-A1 seems to draw on the heritage of the PDX-10, it may also have a similar function (don't know, cause I've never used one).

Having said all this though, I never really used that function on my PDX-10 since I like to work in full manual mode. The PDX-10 also had a spot focus function on the touch screen where it would pull focus to whatever you touched. Clever feature, but it was pretty slow to respond and really more trouble than it was worth for my style of shooting.

The zebra patterns really are a very useful tool and they won't mislead you once you understand what to expect.
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Old June 8th, 2006, 11:01 AM   #5
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I totally agree Boyd, its just that I feel as an event videographer, every bit of battery is precicous.... (I even turn off the display settings ont he LCD when filming, or do it all viewfinder, and just take the pain in my sore arms.)

I know its not much, but I don't like the endorsement of touch screens in the world of cameras that are 3 grand up... I will end up cursing the screen if I run out of battery at the most inopportune time. If i lost battery 1 minute before something excelent, I will curse the touch screen.... just my personal irk... But yea, I know its not much drain, I guess I have OCD lol :P
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Old September 20th, 2006, 08:11 PM   #6
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>Spot meters are not essential, and I personally belive they should stay on >SLR digi cams because video is a different medium.

I don't understand the medium difference argument.

The spot meter is useful for DSLRs simpy because they don't have an equivalent to zebra stripes. When a realtime histogram or even a "2D exposure" view (kinda of a static zebra stripe) appears on a DSLR, the spot meter function will hardly be used.
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Old September 20th, 2006, 10:08 PM   #7
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One of the cool new features on the HVR-V1 is a realtime histogram that can be displayed on the screen. :-)
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Old September 20th, 2006, 10:12 PM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
One of the cool new features on the HVR-V1 is a realtime histogram that can be displayed on the screen. :-)
A realtime histogram that can be displayed with a 70 or 100 IRE zebra, AND peaking enabled....
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Old September 21st, 2006, 05:12 AM   #9
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Zoom in, do the exposure. Works like a charm. Why would anyone need spot metering
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Old September 21st, 2006, 05:31 AM   #10
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Even with histograms and all that spot meters are still needed for some photo professionals...I use spot meter probably 99% of the time...maybe 100% for some assignments...

It is a useful feature in still camera shooting....but with video it would be harder to implement. The beauty in still cam shooting is you can quickly get the part of the scene you want in frame (or with Canon 1 series cameras you can set to spot meter on one of the focus grid points...very useful), meter for that spot, use the AE lock on your camera (a button you hold down while you go to press the shutter), and take the picture and move on.

In film how are you going to hold exposure? That'd be another button to fiddle with or something else to hold and lock...and with the amount of time most people have with films they have time to correctly set the exposure...even on run and gun shooting people are forgiving of exposure because there's movement and more time for the viewer to adjust and make things out....whereas with a still frame it's very important to present things the way you want to with the one frame you have to tell the story...

Paul
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Old September 21st, 2006, 06:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikko Lopponen
Zoom in, do the exposure. Works like a charm. Why would anyone need spot metering
Just bear in mind the aperture ramping that you get with this camera. A correctly exposed face on the long end, could be over exposed on the wide end of the zoom.
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