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Sony NEX-EA50 (all variants)
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Old July 7th, 2014, 06:55 AM   #1
Inner Circle
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: UK/Yorkshire
Posts: 2,053
Zebras at 100+

The last few weddings have been extremely sunny affairs and so I've been really relying on my zebras which I set to 100% to avoid clipping completely, but my footage is slightly under exposed (easily fixed) so the sensor must have more latitude than the zebras suggest - I'm going to try a few tests using 100+ does anyone use this setting on a regular basis? The manual makes no mention of it apart from the fact that it exists!

Peter Rush is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 7th, 2014, 08:18 AM   #2
Inner Circle
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 7,623
Re: Zebras at 100+

Hi Pete

Mine are at 90 on both cameras and no exposure issues at all. However when shooting I do still get zebras on the screen on really bright areas like a bit of sky at the top of the frame will have zebras indicating that the sky will be a bit blown out. As long as my main subjects are zebra free I know that the exposure will be good. If I corrected exposure so I had no zebras at 90% then I would be drastically under exposed I think and even at 100% a scene with a huge contrast will still have some over bright bits and by exposing for no zebras at 100% unless you are in a perfectly lit studio will always be under exposed. Surely exposing for no zebras at more than 100% will make the under exposure even worse???

90% and simply ignore the overly bright areas works for me. Now, why not try some basic shots around the garden BUT switch to auto exposure, check the zebras and then go manual and keep the exposure close to that would work better. Zebras work on the whole image as the camera sees it so bright sky areas will have zebras as the auto function takes an average of the whole image.

The other thing you might want to play with is setting the zebras to 65 or 70% and then expose faces only so they have no zebras ... the zebras will be all over the screen at 65% but if skin tones are correct, despite what the zebras say, the rest of the image will come out pretty well.

The think the exact skintone setting is 64% for perfect exposure but I might be wrong.

Update : The official IRE for Caucasian faces is between 50 and 80 depending on complexion.

Chris Harding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 9th, 2014, 09:35 AM   #3
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 1,482
Re: Zebras at 100+


100+ Zebra setting is a mystery not even Google can figure out! I love Zebras as a tool. I have used them forever. When I saw the 100+ setting I was intrigued. I have asked for a definitive concrete answer in three places on this board and I have searched the web several times. I have also searched the Sony sites. I have not found anything that defines the 100+ setting.

This is what It must be, but only my "opinion".

First, always remember Zebras are close but not perfect. They tell you where your IRE is, they are not telling you that spot is clipped. I think they added 100+ because at 100 you could theoretically still be looking at properly exposed pure white and not quite be clipped. Pure white is 100%. If you set 100+ and see stripes you are absolutely clipped. That is what I think they are for but I wish I could find something from Sony or a reputable source and I can't.

Chris, If you are shooting a bride outside on a clear bright day in a white dress while set at 90% and you see stripes on the edge of the sky as you mentioned, please look again. I think you will see some on the dress too. Unless the sun is just out of frame? A white dress on a sunny day is not only white it is very reflective. If your exposure setting is allowing the sky to stripe there has to be some on the dress highlights?

Steven Digges
Still learning twenty years later.
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Old July 9th, 2014, 07:32 PM   #4
Inner Circle
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 7,623
Re: Zebras at 100+

Hey Steve

The sky was just a simple example ..yep at 90 a white dress and often a white shirt will show zebras ..I use them a guide only but I still think that Pete is going from bad to worse ...trying to expose for no zebras at 100 will most definitely under-expose the shot so my thoughts are if you set zebras to 105% and then expose to get rid of all the zebras you will under- expose even more.

I use zebras to tell me what's bright and what's not! I'm not overly concerned if the sky has zebras but if I see zebras over the people's faces then we have an issue!!

I also use zebras at night!! I usually lock the cams at 21db gain at receptions and then IF I need to use an on camera light I only use it as fill. I look at the bride's white dress, turn on the light and go up on the dimmer until I see zebras on the dress , then back off just a tad and that light level seems to be perfect!!

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