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Sony NEX-EA50 (all variants)
Including NEX-EA50UH / EA50EH / EA50H / EA50UK / EA50EK / EA50K


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Old January 8th, 2013, 06:05 AM   #1
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Sony nex-ea50 functionality

In general I think the camera has great manual controll but there is one function so far I have issues with, I have mentioned this in another thread but it was off topic and chances are the question will be "lost" inbetween all other on topic comments so therefore a new thread.

It does regard the ISO (or gain) settings and how to change them, in teh past on my xh-a1 I used the gain switch a lot but it only had 3 settings, 0, 3 and 6db, 6db was as high as I would go on the canon so it was easy selecting the appropriate gain setting as those 3 where the only I needed.

Only for those who have worked with a dslr know that eventhough the principle is the same, there are many more usable iso settings, with my 550d I therefore always set the f-stop, depending on what dof I want and then I set the ISO to get the exposure I need and it can happen that I need to change my f-stop a bit to fine tune the exposure.

With the dslr that is a matter of pressing a button and then use a scroll wheel to scroll through the different iso values.

Only with the ea50 it seems you can only assign the ISO values to the switch, I have not find a way to quickly change them to anything other then those 3 preset values and if I need to do that I have to go into the menu and assign a different ISO value to one of the 3 switches outside the camera, not a practical way of working at all and actually the only thing about the camera I really dislike.

Maybe I"m overlooking a solution but if anyone knows a faster way to change these settings I would be very gratefull.

One more thing that would be really great to have but what doesn't seem to work on this camera either is the way iris and gain are simultanuously used when manually adjusting exposure, on the sony fx1000 if you would manually adjust exposure with the iris ring the f-stops would change untill it's wide open and then the gain would gradually continue to add, something similar what the ea50 is doing right now in automode. Only with the ea50 when the iris opens up if you turn the iris wheel and once full open that's it, the iso or gain does not change and is fixed based on the gain switch outside the camera with the values you pre-assigned, so that brings us back to the problem I described above.

If the camera can do adjust iris and gain values automatically and simultaniously surely it must be possible having this in maual mode as well with a firmware update, hopefully Sony reads this forum as well. :)
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Old January 8th, 2013, 08:35 AM   #2
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Re: Sony nex-ea50 functionality

Hey Noa

So a little clarity here..lets say you are in manual and switch the iris to manual..lets say F4.0..assuming you have allocated gain1 to 0db, gain 2 to 15db and gain 3 to 27db, Are you saying, that in manual and trying to expose a scene correctly at F4.0, the camera can ONLY apply exactly 15db if you select gain 2 ?? OR does it apply enough gain between 0db (gain 1 value) and 15db (gain 2 value) to expose the shot correctly....Surely it will apply the correct amount of gain, even in manual iris to expose the image as correct?? ...The scene at F4 might only need 3db gain and by switching the gain 2 switch and applying 15db your image is blown out. It must apply gain automatically, surely?? Try assigning gain 1 to 0db and gain 2 to 27db and then see after setting the iris, what gain is actually applied.

I'll look at my cam too but the manual says nothing about adding gain in manual but the specs indicate 1db steps.

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Old January 8th, 2013, 08:56 AM   #3
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Re: Sony nex-ea50 functionality

Hmmm, sounds to me like any other professional type lens setup if the iris is being controlled by the operator and not the camera then when resetting gain the iris will stay where it is set at. So if you have the iris in manual control and have the gain at 0 then switch to 15 gain the iris isn't going to change and the image is blasted. One thing I saw in the manual is the fact that there is a "pinky" button by the zoom rocker to control the iris, auto to manual, like any other pro type lens I've used. Your pinky becomes your best friend.
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Old January 8th, 2013, 09:19 AM   #4
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Re: Sony nex-ea50 functionality

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Are you saying, that in manual and trying to expose a scene correctly at F4.0, the camera can ONLY apply exactly 15db if you select gain 2 ??
Yes, gain values are fixed to what you have assigned to the switch, I think this is standard behaviour of a professional camera, my xh-a1 does and years ago I have worked with a sony dsr250 and that one applied the same principle.
The fact that the sony fx1000 and my sony cx730 do adjust iris first and when that's open adjust gain when you turn the iris wheel is actually more a consumerfunction.

But since a large sensor camera has much more usuable gain to work with it's important you can quickly access and change those values if you want to change the epxosure and that seems not possible.
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Old January 8th, 2013, 09:25 AM   #5
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Re: Sony nex-ea50 functionality

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Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
Hmmm, sounds to me like any other professional type lens setup if the iris is being controlled by the operator and not the camera then when resetting gain the iris will stay where it is set at.
Yes it is, but like I said the large sensor gives much more iso values to choose from (I think about 12 ISO steps between 100 and 3200 iso) that are perfectly usable and that can be done but takes too much time as you need to assign it to the gain switch, with my dslr that's fast accessible and easy to change.
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Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
One thing I saw in the manual is the fact that there is a "pinky" button by the zoom rocker to control the iris, auto to manual, like any other pro type lens I've used. Your pinky becomes your best friend.
Yes, but that is when you are in manual mode and want the camera to take over and I don't want the camera to take over most of the time but want to have controll over the exposure myself, letting the camera take over can cause issues if it drives the iso through the roof to compensate resulting in a very noisy image (unless you limit the max gain, but even that I want to controll myself in run and gun)
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Old January 8th, 2013, 10:29 AM   #6
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Re: Sony nex-ea50 functionality

yeah but if you use the pinky to get the iris then it's an easy adjustment one way or another. This to me has always been really helpful when going from one extreme to another lighting wise.
So you're saying you can set 3 ISO rating into user buttons? If so what ISO ratings are you pre-setting?
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Old January 8th, 2013, 10:38 AM   #7
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Re: Sony nex-ea50 functionality

Currently I have it set to 200, 1600 and 2500 and that for the only reason I needed 1600 and 2500 when I was shooting at that dark Casino of which I posted a video and 200 iso I needed for the outdoor shots. If you have the time to change the values it's only timeconsuming but in run and gun it can be frustrating.
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Old January 8th, 2013, 01:26 PM   #8
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Re: Sony nex-ea50 functionality

OK that sounds reasonable. Let me ask, I assume you need to go into the menu to adjust the ISO values right? So about how long does that take? 2 or 3 minutes? 10 minutes? 30 seconds? I'm just trying to get a sense of what it might take if needed. Thanks
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Old January 8th, 2013, 02:08 PM   #9
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Re: Sony nex-ea50 functionality

I"d say 30 seconds to re-assign the iso,'s and then you still need to check if you choose the right ones, that doesn't sound much but I can tell that with my dslr I change the iso's quite a lot during a shoot but then have instant feedback on exposure if I change it so it's easy to pick out the right one.
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Old January 9th, 2013, 06:36 AM   #10
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Re: Sony nex-ea50 functionality

I've also thought about this and that it would be a good thing to be able to quickly fine-tune the Gain value when in manual.
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Old January 9th, 2013, 08:38 AM   #11
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Re: Sony nex-ea50 functionality

Reading the manual I think the other thing that is different to my NX5U is the gain switch settings do not have a smooth gain switch option so switching while shooting will be noticeable. This is vital for me as I switch gain a lot during a performance. I think that was one of the menu difference between the AX2000 and the NX5U too. On my NX5U I set the gain switches for the event but have the auto gain limit set at 12db so that if things get really dark I can switch gain to auto with a push of the gain switch and let the camera take over with the limit at 12db. I do this in conjunction with two of the buttons set to spotlight and AE shift ( set at -2) so that when I switch to auto gain mode these buttons come into effect. In full manual they have no effect. Pushing the gain switch and iris switch with shutter speed in manual set effectively puts the camera in auto mode but with fixed shutter speed. Push the iris again and iris is back in manual at that set point with gain still in auto governed by the spotlight and AE shift until things get bright again and I go back to manual gain. Interestingly the CX700 in auto set to -.5EV AE shift always outperforms the NX5U when this happens !!!!

On the Sony pro cameras you are only in full manual if all of shutter, gain and iris are in manual otherwise the camera will control the exposure using the parameter still left in auto. So for instance you can set shutter speed, set iris, and let the camera control gain modified by how you use AE shift for instance.

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Old January 9th, 2013, 12:07 PM   #12
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Re: Sony nex-ea50 functionality

OK guys it is here. The camera arrived at dusk last night so I have not pushed the record button yet. I have only spent a couple of hours trying to familiarize myself with it. As I go along to learn this thing over the next week or so I will add to this thread because Noa called it functionality (unless someone wants me to put my opinions elsewhere?

First, the background qualifiers, because on forums we all know people’s opinions can be bias due to brand loyalty and the such. I am not a Sony camcorder guy. I abandoned their consumer line of cameras over ten years ago due to broken cameras and bad customer service and repair issues. I bought a Canon XL1 the first week they were released and stayed with the XL series all the way until now. I am a “fan” of Canon products but will not be biased (I’ll try). Canon obviously abandoned this form factor and is pursuing their dominance in the DSL world. DSLRs are not my taste for professional video. With that said I have many years of experience working with Sony’s broadcast line of video products. They are all very high quality products and well supported. They have to be, the professional world revolves around them. Cameras and other video gear are tools of my trade and I see them as such. Yes, it is “cool” to have a new camera but I am about to go beat on it and see what it will do well and not so well. Do not expect me to be PC or worry about upsetting someone; don’t forget I just spent four grand too :)

First impressions:

The camera is heavier than I thought it would be, in a good way. Yes, front heavy but feels pretty solid and not too heavy.
Even though I am not familiar with Sony camcorders the left side of it still had a little familiarity because it somewhat resembles Sony shoulder mount cameras. I liked that. So far I find this thing to be a wild mix of professional features with the consumer part of pro-sumer rearing its head sometimes. For example, no BNC connections, just RCA outputs. Those are scary to me.

The obvious weakness of this camera is the kit lens (I know, I have not hit record yet, keep that in mind) but I am so wordy if I try to post all this later I will never get it done and I am trying to finally be informative. Here is what I know already.

The power zoom is not only slow and noisy as mentioned before, it is ridiculous. The zoom is so slow I kept going back to the menu to see if something was wrong. Why could it be this slow? If you manually zoom the lens it is stiff and feels like plastic on plastic. I think it is underpowered.
Zoom noise, again, louder than I expected even though I was warned. This is what I think is going on. The camera body is made from what seems to be a durable plastic. It is also a very hard polymer. It is so hard it is transmitting noise. If you put your ear against the left rear of the body where it says NEXCAM you can hear the servo noise all the way back there. This hard plastic is going to transmit everything. I have no idea why anyone would use the built in mic but if you do be prepared for handling noise, wedding rings, servo, etc.

Auto focus: This is the most bizarre thing I have ever seen in AF. I will tell you later if I love it or hate it. It appears to be very, very slow but this is what it seems to do. Every time it needs to focus it is like someone is pulling a perfect rack focus. It is slow but it gets there, it does not search, it locks on. More later after I use it.

Time for me to shut up and go shoot something. Thank you to the other contributors on the EA50. I am having fun with this.
Steve

Noa, I will see if I can figure out an efficient way to deal with gain. Manual should mean manual, but I think I understood your reference about adjustability..
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Old January 9th, 2013, 04:00 PM   #13
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Re: Sony nex-ea50 functionality

Peaking works with my Samyang prime lenzes zo that a good thing, but the 4 or 8x mangnification makes focussing real easy.

Steve; about the powerzoom, just the fact that there is autofocus and a servozoom on a lens for a large sensor camera at that price is allready very unique. Currently there doesn't exsist any other lens at this prize that can do the same, so eventhough not perfect it is usable and the zoom and autofcous are just a bonus.

Quote:
Noa, I will see if I can figure out an efficient way to deal with gain
If you could convince Sony to release firmware to add this feature that would be great :) I"m sure it's easy to add, it's basically the same as changing the shutter, that's also a matter of pressing a button and turn the wheel to scroll through different values. Maybe we should all ask Sony.
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Old January 9th, 2013, 05:43 PM   #14
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Re: Sony nex-ea50 functionality

Hi Steven

I think you have focus shift turned on!! Check the menu..focus shift actually does a auto rack focus for you at a predetermined time (set by you too)

Chris
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Old January 10th, 2013, 10:03 AM   #15
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Re: Sony nex-ea50 functionality

Hey Guys,

I got a chance to take my dog on a very short hike with the camera yesterday. I only got to burn about ten minutes of footage. It is not loaded in the edit suite yet.

Chris,
AF - What I was seeing was not focus transition, it is how the camera acts in my normal household light. It performed much better in daylight. All AF needs light, this slow lens needs a lot of it. After I look at what I shot on the hike I will comment more, I think it did fine but I don't want to speak prematurely.

Since I am still commenting on first impressions please let me know if I am wrong on something.

Big heads up for left handers: There is barely enough room for you to shoot with your left eye if you have the camera against you face. Here is the BIG problem. The headphone jack is right there where your right eye will be. The plug from my cans was almost poking me in the eye! This could be a deal killer for some of you lefties. I am worried about having this distraction and possible eye poker there all of the time. Who would have thought about that in advance? An engineer should have but I was worried about eye cup placement until yesterday when I plugged in the cans and went OMG. The form factor that I was after is not comfortable for me to shoot with.

Steve

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