Monday, December 23, 2013


Sony Open 2014  tent, Kazuo Hirai Sony CEO,  A7r + 35mm f2.8 ZA FE , f4, 1/160, iso50


This is my TIP of the DAY  Have been posting on a Sony ALPHA - TALK  Group created on Facebook.  
It "is" open to everyone ,  Just "JOIN"  by entering your FB name to the box with " + ADD people to Group ".

The A7r and RX1/r has a GREAT metal  Exposure Compensation (EC) Dial/wheel that is in a "easy to use" position, close to your thumb.  

LOVE the "Metal Click" adjustment feel.  
So, what I try to do is make  this EC wheel be my SINGLE Exposure adjustment control during any "Ambient/Natural" light shoot. 

Here is how I do it:

Always have  ZERBA "ON" at  100+.     
I shoot RAW but you could use DRO if you are a JPG shooter
* Always shoot in Multi Metering mode.
Exp. Comp. Set = Ambient ONLY 
*** Remember you are Exposure Compensating by looking at the Exposure of your Subject  LIVE. 

After using Multi Metering mode  ALL THE TIME , you will be able to almost predict what it will do. And how to Compensate for it.   Also in this mode the changes are less dramatic when you move the camera a little.
Remember: we are SEEING any changes  LIVE  in the EVF/LCD.  
The other Metering modes are basically obsolete. 

The GOAL is to SET/Control or semi-set (limit)  two(2) of the three exposure elements. Aperture , Shutter , and ISO.
THEN, let the third  element  FLOAT  with a  Single Control  of the Exposure Compensation Dial/wheel. 
What I call "Exposure Compensation Dial Priority"
So, you end up controlling the Exposure with the use of ONE(1) wheel the EC wheel, and Live Viewing the Result in the EVF/LCD.
The Right Exposure is the one that "Looks" right to you, and your vision of the image.

The ZEBRA is the single BEST new feature Sony has included into the NEW A7r and A7 !

It lets you see what is overexposed in Live View (like what Video guys has had for years). Histograms are useless. 
What you want to know is "WHERE" and HOW Much of your image is Overexposed.  
The "Where" is the most important.  
ZEBRA in Live View does that at 100+.  and does not get totally in the way on a bright day. 
Overexposed "right on your subject" is far more important VS something white far in the background, or a point of light.   
I LOVE using ZEBRA  for RAW  ETTR, with a Lightroom Highlights Pull Back on import. Basically using the DR of the SONY Sensor, to push more of the image information to the Right of the Histogram. (that's another blog)

The basic idea here is you want the very capable modern Computer "IN YOUR A7r / A7 Camera"  to help you calculate exposure. 

Note: I should mention that in my set up , I change the "Control Wheel" = Not SET  
This way I do not accidentally bump the wheel and change my settings OFF of  Auto ISO or any fixed ISO  number I have set

Because I use Auto ISO so much ... I put ISO on the Fn button Menu  ...  
* If I was the type to change ISO a lot I would put it on the "Down Button" (of the Wheel).

1)  In Aperture Priority: 
it's the most natural way to shoot during the Day.  When I want to control the DOF via Aperture control.

* Run with Auto ISO (maximum ISO set at iso6400 or whatever you feel comfortable with). * SET your Aperture.  
* THEN,  the ONLY  adjustment you have to do all day is the Exposure Compensation Dial/Wheel. And because you can see all the Changes in Live View thru the EVF or LCD, Exposure is  EASY and intuitive.

note: what I DO NOT  like about Sony's  Auto ISO is it does not let you SET the Minimum Shutter Speed for more control.  AND/or do the Nikon thing of  using the Reciprocal of the Lens Focal length.  with say three(3) steps of adjustments (plus or minus) from a  ZERO (0) starting point.  Nikon shooters know :)   ... The idea I like is showing this as a Multiple , say 1x (of the Focal length reciprocal) ... 1x  .. 1.3x ... 1.5x ... 2x  .. 3x .    with the A7r you will be surprised how many times you might have needed 2x of the FL.

What happens sometimes is without a MINIMUM SHUTTER SETTING , the  Shutter speed might drop lower than your handhold ability or subject movement.    

This is why  this set up is great during bright Day Sun.You just need to watch if you go over 1/8000 or your max shutter speed. Which can happen wide open with fast lens.

2)  Manual mode:
This is my second favorite way to run what I call "Exposure Compensation Dial "Priority"
Don't get me wrong. SONY with this A7r and A7  with it's Tri-Nav  system of wheels ... Front wheel Aperture , Back wheel Shutter, back Dial (around the OK button) controls the ISO  ... is very easy and fast , just on default.

BUT, I want to control the exposure by using "just" one  Exposure Compensation Wheel/Dial.  :)

On this set up what I want to SET is a FIXED Aperture and Shutter that I know before hand "works" , and control the ISO via the EC wheel.  
Advantage here is IF you are in changing light,  once you fix your exposure on a subject via the EC wheel ... when the light on it changes slightly your ISO floats/Adjusts with it.

You then get to Focus on capturing the Moment (not on proper exposure) 

* SET the Aperture
* SET the Shutter* Run with Auto ISO (maximum ISO set at iso6400)
* THEN,  the ONLY  adjustment you have to do all night is the Exposure Compensation Dial/Wheel. 
And because you can see all the Changes in Live View thru the EVF or LCD, Exposure is  EASY and intuitive.
What you are doing with "Exposure Compensation" Wheel/Dial is adjusting the ISO.

3)  Shutter Priority:
I use this the least.When I want to control Shutter and ISO
So the Floating variable is Aperture
* SET Shutter

* THEN,  the ONLY  adjustment you have to do all Day is the Exposure Compensation Dial/Wheel. 
And because you can see all the Changes in Live View thru the EVF or LCD, Exposure is  EASY and intuitive.
What you are doing with "Exposure Compensation" Wheel/Dial is adjusting the Aperture.

LINK to "Exposure Triangle"  :


TIP 89-109

TIP 88   A7r & A7 Back Button Auto Focus + ZOOM IN on any LENS

TIP 71-87

TIP 50-70

TIP 32-49

TIP 31   Exposure Compansation Dial "PRIORITY"

TIP 20-30

TIP 1-19

Hope this helps,

Ross Hamamura
The Tourist of Light
SONY ALPHA Camera Ambassador.
In addition ‪#‎SuperUserbySony‬
(and have been given SONY products for accepting this additional role)
Please follow me on Instagram:  @RDHphoto
Facebook Sony ALPHA - TALK  Group:
SONY Community ID:  Hawaii-Geek


Love Photography said...

Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
thank you :)

Anonymous said...

Great blog !! But Zebra a new feature???? I had ir on my DSC-R1 and loved it. Then never again in my A300, A55 and A77... now waiting to get the A7 and use it again !!!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry if my question is silly. Do you mean that we can use zebra on a7r to compensate exposure of the multi metering mode and that it could be a way to reduce highlights in raw file?



Anonymous said...

Just got an A7s and love your tips!
However, one thing doesn't make sense at all.

If you are using Zebra to indicate which areas are going to over expose, surely you are stepping down the ISO via the exposure control to avoid this.

This will result in an image that needs the shadows pushed, not an image that needs the highlights pulled, surely.

To get an image that is exposed to the right, you can risk blowing highlights.
If you were to do this, you wouldn't even use Zebras, because you want to overexpose things.

Please clarify...

Ross Hamamura said...

Michel, sorry for the late reply .. I just noticed all the comments that I need to ok for it to post , and that I needed to reply to. (as you can see I am not a good blogger lol)

I mainly shoot RAW ... so, what I am doing to ETTR (push my exposure in RAW to the Right - that is another blog) ... what I want to do is SEE "what" is blown via the Zebras.
Normally I will overexpose at least 1/3 of a Stop on my RAW shot ... then in Lightroom on import (automatically) pull back on the Highlights -30. ... The DR on the a7r is GREAT at that.

* What the Zebra is doing is "just" letting me see WHERE the blow out happen ... normally I DO NOT like blowouts on SKIN. or my target Face.

Hope this helps,

Ross Hamamura said...

July 23, 2014 question on Zebra, Matrix Metering , ETTR and RAW.

MOST of your questions might have been answered in my post I just did.

When I am ETTR , yes I might blow some highlights ... BUT, with ZEBRA I know "WHERE" they are. That is more important. The Where vs IF. :)

I ETTR a RAW ... pull back in Lightroom the Highlights ... bump up the shadows if needed.
AND, if I do this consistanly , the same why ... those settings can be on my Lightroom Default settings ON IMPORT, by ISO, by Camera.

Just as an fyi, on RAW ... because I ETTR , where is almost always "something" that is blown.
BUT, and this is the important part. It will NOT be in any Target FACE. :)

Hope this helps,