The MOST basic thing - getting Exposure right (I'm failing)

Welcome to the New Sony Alpha Shooters Community
Our community was only launched in August 2020 but is already thriving thanks to many amazing and helpful members. We'd love to welcome you on board too!
Join Now

GracieAllen

Active Member
Original poster
Followers
0
Following
0
61
3
Jun 14, 2022
Name
David Perez
This has been a while, and it may be what y’all were explaining to me, but I didn’t have enough context for it to make sense…

The "EXPOSURE meter" I’m looking at in the viewfinder, that goes from -5 to +5 stops, is almost NEVER an EXPOSURE METER. Except for 1 situation, its just for exposure compensation.

If I’m in aperture mode, IN Auto-ISO st STD, I can increase the f-stop and ISO goes up and the shutter speed keeps getting lower. Eventually, ISO can’t go higher and shutter speed won’t go any lower – so far, .5 seconds (a limit for continuous shooting?). But, the tick mark is still at zero. I can keep increasing the aperture, and as near as I can tell, the ONLY thing that happens is the small “.5” shutter speed indicator buried in the bottom left of the viewfinder starts blinking. The TICK mark I’m watching in the middle of the meter doesn’t move, nothing else tells me I’m getting more and more underexposed. UNTIL I get 5 stops UNDER, when the arrowhead on the underexposure side blinks.

The same behavior seems to happen when I’m in aperture and NOT in Auto ISO.

The only time it DOESN'T appear to do this (and I didn't try the Program or auto modes 'cause I never use them), is when I put the camera in COMPLETE manual mode, NO Auto-ISO. THEN the exposure meter acts like an EXPOSURE meter. As I make changes the tick mark moves, and if I get at least 5 stops off, the arrowhead on the ends of the scale blink.

BUT, NOTHING else happens. The shutter speed indicator and aperture don’t blink. All that happens is the tick mark moves and eventually the tiny arrowheads blink.

If I do the same thing in manual mode, but I’m IN Auto-ISO, the meter goes back to NOT responding to exposure. The tick mark sits at zero, eventually if I hit the ISO limit the AUTO blinks, but nothing else happens. If I get more than 5 stops under or overexposed, the arrowhead blinks.

If I understand this correctly, other than in the very rare situation where I’m in Manual Mode and NOT in Auto-ISO, the meter that always on the screen is limited to showing Exposure Compensation. Is there a setting in any menu that will tell the camera to use this scale for exposure (not compensation) any time I’m NOT doing exposure compensation? Or even ALL the time, so exposure compensation gets incorporated into the exposure?
 

AlphaWorld

Well Known Member
Followers
2
Following
0
416
220
Apr 8, 2021
Name
Tony
The exposure meter is for the old-school types running manual everything - manual shutter speed, manual aperture, manual ISO. In those circumstances, you need the meter to tell you when you have a combination that meters as correctly exposed.

It’s not an absolute meter (it doesn’t say “this scene is EV 17”) - it’s relative to what it considers “correct”, so it’s showing you how much underexposed or overexposed the image is.

When you are using automatic exposure, the camera adjusts what it is allowed to adjust to give you a “correct” exposure despite what settings you change :) You increase the aperture to let in more light, it drops the ISO or reduces the shutter speed, trying desperately to give you a correct exposure. That mark in the middle is telling you that the image is correctly exposed, according to its metering - bear in mind that if you have spot metering then the rest of the image could be overexposed (spot is on something black) or underexposed (spot is on a lightbulb) ;)

Arguably, the exposure meter is not very useful in auto-exposure.
 

Brownie

Well Known Member
Followers
6
Following
1
856
520
Oct 22, 2021
Name
Tim
Country
United States
City/State
SE Michigan
It appears that on the Alpha 1, when I'm in Manual mode, the Exposure Compensation doesn't do anything. I don't get an error when I rotate the dial, but it doesn't change the ISO or the exposure as near as I can tell. I also have C1 programmed to do exposure compensation, and there I get an error that says it's "Unavailable in the current ISO setting. Valid in Auto ISO." So the camera presumes I'm smart enough to adjust the ISO, which I'm not so good at!

The underlying problem with the control wheel is 20+ years of shooting Nikon where that "dial" is used to move focus points, review, and examination of areas of the image when checking focus stacks. And they way I USE it is to press, the move to the next quadrant I need to move. So with the rotating dial changing ISO, I constantly change it. I haven't gotten automatic at using the joystick to move things around.

And since the Alpha 1 can't do image stacking, and 15-20% of my images are stacks, I have to keep the Nikon D850 so UNLEARNING the habit is being really difficult.

Fortunately, normally if I'm in Manual and setting my own shutter and aperture, I'm also in Auto ISO. I may have to just REMEMBER to program this when I need to adjust ISO and see the effect on exposure, 'cause there doesn't seem to be a good alternative on this body.
I wouldn't expect the EC dial to do anything in M. Exposure compensation is for when the camera is in one of the 'auto' modes (S, A, P) and you want to compensate for the camera's interpretation. In M, you simply adjust the parameter you want to change.

If I want to see the effects of ISO, I simply compose in the viewfinder, press the right side of the dial with my thumb to call up ISO and rotate it.
 

GracieAllen

Active Member
Original poster
Followers
0
Following
0
61
3
Jun 14, 2022
Name
David Perez
It doesn't appear the on-screen "meter" can be set to indicate incorrect exposure, so my question is answered.
 

Pro Membership Upgrade

  • If you'd like to support this community you can easily do so by becoming a Pro Member and unlocking the following benefits:

    ✓ No Adverts in the Forums
    ✓ Pro Member Competitions
    ✓ Sell Items in the Marketplace
    ✓ Unlimited Gallery Uploads
    ✓ Higher Resolution Gallery Uploads
    ✓ Forum Profile Signature
    ✓ Custom Profile Cover Photo
    ✓ Advertise Your Photography Workshops

    Pro Member Upgrade

Shopping Links

You can also support this site by purchasing gear through the following affiliate links:
Although I would recommend supporting your local camera store if you have one.

User Menu

alpha shooters text logo

© 2020 Alpha Shooters. All Rights Reserved.
Disclaimer: Alpha Shooters is an independently run website and is not affiliated with Sony.com
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.