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Old May 20th, 2010, 09:19 AM   #1
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Question about using Manual Exposure

I'm hoping to get some advice on how to make the quickest jump from Auto Exposure to Manual. On my Canan XH-A1 I can be in Auto Exposure and hit the Exposure Lock button and it freezes the exposure settings and I'm in manual. That allows for a very fast move from auto to manual and I find it really useful.

On the NX5U, I can't figure out how to do the same thing...other than to switch to manual and then hit the auto button individually for iris, shutter and maybe gain. That takes time and is a bit awkward.

Am I overlooking a way to do that more quickly?
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Old May 20th, 2010, 07:25 PM   #2
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On the Sony if any of the controls are in auto then the camera is in control using the ones that are fixed as fixed. So if you move to manual, hit all the buttons to set gain, shutter speed, white balance and iris into manual you are in full manual control. Hitting the iris, shutter speed or gain button into auto will put the camera back into auto mode using just that control to get the correct exposure. If you want shutter speed to be fixed at 60 and gain fixed at 0 then pressing the iris button will put the camera into auto or manual iris each time you press the control. There is no control that puts them all back into auto or manual in one press other than the main slider control . You would then have to go through the whole sequence again to set them to manual as you want. If you are happy with gain and shutter speed fixed in manual then just using the iris button will achieve most of what you want. If the occasion arises where more gain is needed then you could use the gain switch and smooth gain in the menu to smoothly change and then carry on as before using the iris button with the new gain setting. IF you want to control the depth of field then set iris to manual value you want and let the gain be in auto ( set the limit in the menu).
It is easier to start in full manual on the Sony rather than auto.
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Old May 20th, 2010, 08:13 PM   #3
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Thanks for that thorough answer Ron. It looks like the Canon has a bit of an advantage in this case, but you're right....as long as you still want gain at 0 and shutter at 60 (or any other fixed speed), you can get a quick change with just the iris button.

I've seen you talk about the smooth gain before. Does that mean a slow even transition to the new gain setting as opposed to an abrupt change?
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Old May 20th, 2010, 09:23 PM   #4
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Yes, smooth gain switch is just that a smooth transition to the new setting. The speed can be set in the menu from fast, medium or slow as well as off which would be an abrupt change to the new value. Most of my shoots are in the theatre so I often have to switch gain to stay in good iris range for depth of field and this smooth feature is great. I have it set at slow and can change iris as the gain changes to the new value.

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Old May 20th, 2010, 10:18 PM   #5
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Interesting timing on the smooth gain issue Ron....I'm shooting my first dance recital Sunday. I've shot other stage performances but none that have the rapid and drastic lighting changes that are in this show. It has me a bit nervous. I feel like I'm going to be constantly trying to catch up to the changes. I know I will be changing gain sometimes so I'll set the smooth gain on. Do you try to stay around f3.5 or above?
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Old May 21st, 2010, 05:54 AM   #6
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Yes I try and keep above f3.4 to stop the lens ramping when zooming in close. Most of the time I am closer to f5.6 if the gain isn't too high as this gives good depth of field on stage. You might want to set the AE response to middle or slow so that if you do go to auto exposure the fast light changes will not keep changing the exposure and spoiling the lighting effects. The default is fast response.

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Old May 21st, 2010, 08:33 AM   #7
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So you usually shoot the theater in auto exposure? Do you use an AE shift with that?

I shot their rehearsal last week and experimented with manual and auto with AE Shift and when I came home and watched it, I had pretty much decided to go full manual. Overall, it seemed to get better results. I was relying heavily on zebras, set at 70.

What gets especially difficult is when there is low subdued lighting....like maybe a blue light on a solo dancer and no spotlight. I feel like I need to keep the shot darker, because that's the mood. Auto would try to bring that up too much.

Comments Ron?
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Old May 21st, 2010, 10:45 AM   #8
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No I shoot full manual all the time. Its just the small fixed cameras that are on AE shift the NX5U or in the past my FX1 are full manual.

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Old May 21st, 2010, 11:05 AM   #9
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So you leave a 2nd or 3rd cam on auto with an AE shift? I assume that's because they are unattended?

I was thinking of doing exactly the same thing, but decided to bring a 2nd shooter to ride the iris on the static wide cam (also an NX5U).
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Old May 21st, 2010, 11:37 AM   #10
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For some of the shows I run the NX5U, I have a friend with an EX3 and then leave the SR11 and XR500 on AE shift and both unattended. I do a quick check when the show starts to confirm spot focus and then leave them. One of the cameras always has a good well exposed shot !!!! By myself I leave the SR11 and XR500 on auto AE shift at -3 or -4 depending on the lighting ( high contrast -4, more even lighting -3) The XR500 automatic exposure is better than the NX5U because it seems to have dynamic range expansion that manages the dark and light areas really well. A very impressive little camera. One reason I got the NX5U was the SR11 and XR500 were making the FX1 look like the cheap consumer camera!!!

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