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


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Old April 23rd, 2013, 02:09 PM   #1
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EXPOSURE, Your Tips.

Exposure…The number one most important, basic function of all image making (and focus). Bad exposure, bad image. I don’t think there is a thread dedicated to how everyone determines exposure with the EA50. And there is more than one way to do it. So let’s hear it from you guys. Zebra preferences, histogram, LCD monitor, external devises like wave form monitors. Do you calibrate monitors with bars? Do you purposely lean one way or the other and count on post adjustments? For me, I hate that, see my signature, but that is me. We have a multitude of tools to achieve it, most with options of their own, and none of them are PERFECT. Scene assessment with an experienced human eye is at the top of my list. If you don’t know what will cause the electronic tools to fail you will fail. It can get complicated, many “exposure adjustments” also cause another change in the image so knowing which one to use for your desired result is as important as the adjustment. I have been dealing with exposure since 1985 and I am still far from knowing it all. It is one of my favorite subjects due to its importance and nuances.

My Techniques:

1. My eyes. This goes all the way back to my old days of still photography, poor meters, and transparency film I shot for a living. You only had a half stop of latitude or you threw it away. Understanding 18% grey meant everything. Much of that experience still applies today because I can asses a scene and recognize the pitfalls that will still mess up today's electronics. Even though metering tools have improved, they are still based on an “average scene”.

2. Then it is Zebra Stripes. I am old school on those too. For an average scene I sometimes run them at 80%. If I can get Zebras on just highlight portions of an average subjects face at 80% or 90% I have a good exposure. Lately I have also been using them at 100% to check for blowouts and I like it. That also means there is less distracting stripes.

3. Next is the Histogram. It is a general guide to me because lots of black or white in your scene weights it heavily. I don’t trust the little histogram on the EA50 LCD enough to really dial things in but I use it a lot.

4. Monitors. I prefer to “know” the monitor myself. The variance is huge from one to the next. I always check them with BARS. I may not go through the entire calibration process every time but at the least I check the blacks and white.

5. Waveform monitors and vectorscopes. I love them. There is nothing like white balancing to a tiny little dot on a vectorscope. A waveform monitor blows away a histogram every time. I am a big fan of Adobe On Location. I used it before Adobe bought it. It is now almost defunct. I miss firewire! I still use On Location sometimes but I have to take the composite video output, on the EA50 and put it through a small Canopuse hardware analog/digital codec for the firewire hook up to my laptop. That defeats a scientific reading of your true signal. It can still be used as another guide and gives you a field monitor.
So what does everyone else do? Some of you guys are wedding specialists. You deal with extreme whites and blacks in the same scene all the time. In bright sunlight mixed with shade that is as tough as it gets. What do you do?

Steve
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Old April 23rd, 2013, 02:17 PM   #2
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Re: EXPOSURE, Your Tips.

Perfection is in the eye of the beholder. That said our eyes are by far the least reliable way to judge exposure in my opinion.

I use exposure cards (18% and 90%) with waveform monitor or spot metering whenever possible. When not possible I use WFM alone. When that is not available I use false color features on monitors.

I use zebras for danger limits (5% below the knee setting). No zebras on faces.
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Old April 23rd, 2013, 10:19 PM   #3
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Re: EXPOSURE, Your Tips.

Hey Chris,

I checked out your web site. I remember seeing that Doritos commercial when it aired. Good stuff....

Steve
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Old April 24th, 2013, 06:47 AM   #4
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Re: EXPOSURE, Your Tips.

That was a fun shoot. :)
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Old April 30th, 2013, 09:01 AM   #5
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Re: EXPOSURE, Your Tips.

Hi,

at the moment I control the exposure with my eyes and/or the histogram concerning overall exposure.
I use a very flat and desaturated profile and the 100% zebras to control the highlights. I absolutely dislike burned out highlights.

In post I usually raise overall brightness, bring down/up the blacks (depends a lot on the motive) to 0% IRE and push the highlights down to 100% as my profile uses super white. After that I add some saturation back to normal (whatever you think that is).

In very low light, I try to use the PP3, which has a very good overall brightness and desaturate a little in post.

Sometimes I also add some overall sharpness, if I have a more technical subject.

That's it.

I must say, the EA50 gives me all the possibilities I need. Okay, with the sensor of the FS100 and NDs it would have been perfect.... Ah, forgot the 10 bit 4:2:2 codec with 50MBit! ;)
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