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Thread: Exposing for Sony A7R? Same as all digital cameras?

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    Exposing for Sony A7R? Same as all digital cameras?

    Hi,

    Just posted this on Fred Miranda and received a very mixed bag of responses, so I thought i would post it here and see what the general consensus is.. This forum seems to be the place for Sony related discussion, so maybe will be able to reach a more definite approach here..

    My original post and responses are here..

    Exposing with the Sony A7R? Is it different to a Canon or other models? - FM Forums


    I am fairly new to digital and have a Sony A7R with a variety of manual focus lenses..

    I know the Sony A7R sensors are renowned for their amazing shadow recovery and I have been able to seriously "under expose" the image to protect the highlights in an image and then bring back detail in the shadows in RAW software..

    Am just wondering if this basic technique applies to all digital cameras or is it something specific to Sony Sensors?

    Is a general rule in digital to underexpose, so as to protect the highlights? Does this same general principle apply to Canon sensors for example?

    I read these two articles recently..

    Expose Right

    Optimizing Exposure

    and they basically contradict everything I thought was the case with digital exposure..

    I always lumped digital exposure in roughly the same category as transparency film.. ie it was better to underexpose slightly and then with negative film was better to overexpose slightly as it was harder to blow out the highlights..


    So am curious to know how people approach this?

    Thanks so much in advance!

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    Re: Exposing for Sony A7R? Same as all digital cameras?

    You'll probably get both answers here and a lot has to deal with preference. I prefer to expose slightly to the left personally and I usually do on all my cameras. Some are big proponents of ETTR. Neither is "wrong" and I guess much of it depends on the scene.

    It's easier to recover some shadow detail than highlights in my experience so I always choose to protect the highlights as much as possible when they really matter to a scene.
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    Re: Exposing for Sony A7R? Same as all digital cameras?

    Digital sensors are not the same. With current most Sony sensors, I expose contrasty scenes to the left to protect the highlights. Most viewers are drawn towards the highlights in the photo, so I find those more important to protect.

    With the old Fuji Super CCD sensors, I mostly exposed to the right, since highlights that seemed totally blown could mostly be recovered with those cameras.

    With the 36MP sensor of the D810, which is closely related to the one in the A7r, my experience so far is that exposing in the middle actually gives the best results, but I've had the camera for less than a week, so I'm not an authority on that sensor. It does seem to behave differently (better) from other sensors I've used though, but then there are also differences between Sony and Nikon firm/software.

    So the conclusion must be: No, digital cameras are not the same, and getting to know the one you use well is very important for the technical quality of your images.

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    Re: Exposing for Sony A7R? Same as all digital cameras?

    The basic difference between Canon and Sony sensors seems indeed to be that Canon sensors benefit from exposing to the right. In my experience Sony sensors don't. Similarly for the M9 sensor.
    With best regards, K-H.

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    Re: Exposing for Sony A7R? Same as all digital cameras?

    I don't think about it too much and tend to expose in the middle. I find the cameras meter very well overall, but in extreme contrast situations, I will dial in a little negative compensation to be sure I don't get highlight clipping. There is a decent amount of recovery, but dont like to take chances if I only have the opportunity to get one frame. I'd rather have 2/3 stop more noise in the shadows than clipped highlights...
    Last edited by turtle; 10th December 2014 at 03:11.

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    Re: Exposing for Sony A7R? Same as all digital cameras?

    I do the same for all cameras:
    My rule is: I try to expose in a way that I do NOT have to increase or decrease exposure in post processing - as long as I dont blow highlights
    Now if I would blow highlights I reduce exposure to not blow highlights and bring up midtones and shaddows in raw conversion (except the blown areas are not important/very small or contrast is just too too high)
    For most cameras I own this often leads to -0,3 or -0,7 in daylight, and mostly 0 compensation in dull light or artificial light
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    Re: Exposing for Sony A7R? Same as all digital cameras?

    Quote Originally Posted by k-hawinkler View Post
    The basic difference between Canon and Sony sensors seems indeed to be that Canon sensors benefit from exposing to the right. In my experience Sony sensors don't. Similarly for the M9 sensor.
    This. Canon has so much less room to push shadows that ETTR makes sense with it.

    Sony RAW compression algoritm also works so that a Sony RAW also has more gaps in data highlights area; so if one exposes aggressive to right and pulls the gaps remain.

    diglloyd: Sony 11+7 Bit File Format: Gapping

    Whether or not this can be seen in actual photos is debatable, but I sure would not put those gaps into data if it can be avoided. I have this buddy who says he can get better sky colors in the sky by ETTL + push wuith Sony than with center or right exposing. So no ETTR with Sony for me.
    Last edited by tn1krr; 10th December 2014 at 05:41.

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    Re: Exposing for Sony A7R? Same as all digital cameras?

    Quote Originally Posted by tn1krr View Post
    This. Canon has so much less room to push shadows that ETTR makes sense with it.

    Sony RAW compression algoritm as works so that a Sony RAW also has more gaps in data highlights area; so if one exposes aggressive to right and pulls the gaps remain.

    diglloyd: Sony 11+7 Bit File Format: Gapping

    Whether or not this can be seen in actual photos is debatable, but I sure would not put those gaps into data if it can be avoided. I have this buddy who says he can get better sky colors in the sky by ETTL + push wuith Sony than with center or right exposing. So no ETTR with Sony for me.
    Exactly! I agree.
    With best regards, K-H.

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    Re: Exposing for Sony A7R? Same as all digital cameras?

    Nice one! Good to hear

    Think I will stick to the expose to the left approach..

    Thanks everyone for the responses, much appreciated!

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    Re: Exposing for Sony A7R? Same as all digital cameras?

    'Canon has so much less room to push shadows that ETTR makes sense with it.'

    Going on some test results presented at FM Canon - where they had a 100 page thread on Sony a7 cameras - was pretty convincing that ETTR not only made sense, but looked close to mandatory for Canon FF cameras, they have to pick the least of two evils. I could not use such a camera for my work, I simply and actually need broad DR and fine shadows.

    After using five Sonys I usually trust the meter, rarely get more than 2/3 - 1 stop in EC for difficult comps, and avoid heavy pixel pushing. It's how Sony set things up and it works. Why mess with success, like an 18 year old lowering his car so it hits the ground on bumps and bounces him off into the bush in a fast corner?

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