Sony A1 metering

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sh1209

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Normally over the years I’ve always used matrix metering in Nikon with really good results. I’ve owned the A1’s a year now and have recently been experimenting with metering modes and have found the center weighted option in Sony seems to work a bit better than the evaluative metering. Just curious if anyone else has noticed this and what mode you prefer.
 

sh1209

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I use zebras at 107, adjusting the three exposure parameters to make them go away. I have no idea what metering mode the camera is set to.
That’s the same zebra settings I use and it works great.
 

sh1209

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What's a metering mode? 🤣
Zebras 107 and life is good. At lower iso you can even get away with 109 but 107 works across the ISO range.
I just feel since I shoot 90% of my shots centered in the frame to take advantage of lens sharpness, it get things in the ballpark better than evaluative metering. Probably splitting hairs but on small birds, IMO it works great.
 

DavidT

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I just feel since I shoot 90% of my shots centered in the frame to take advantage of lens sharpness, it get things in the ballpark better than evaluative metering. Probably splitting hairs but on small birds, IMO it works great.
With the 600GM (I assume you kept it) you aren’t limited to the center of the frame for sharpness.
 

bleirer

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I guess I can see all metering modes working if I knew how they behaved on a particular camera and had a reason for choosing one over the other based on the scene. How are they supposed to act on the A1? I mean Is your center weighted meter supposed to be "smart" the way evaluative is supposed to be (based on analyzing a database of scenes) or is it simply a "dumb" average of scene brightness but skewed to the center values? If how it works is dumb then I guess when you use center weighted then if the subject is middle toned It's going to be on target but if the subject or surrounding area is dark or light its going to be wrong. But you are probably already compensating from experience rather than just relying on the meter, so It's all good.
 
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sh1209

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Zebras no doubt are awesome but you’re still exposing for the entire frame and whenever a subject is backlit or small in the frame you can end up with a subject not exposed correctly.
 

sh1209

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I guess I can see all metering modes working if I knew how they behaved on a particular camera and had a reason for choosing one over the other based on the scene. How are they supposed to act on the A1? I mean Is your center weighted meter supposed to be "smart" the way evaluative is supposed to be (based on analyzing a database of scenes) or is it simply a "dumb" average of scene brightness but skewed to the center values? If how it works is dumb then I guess when you use center weighted then if the subject is middle toned It's going to be on target but if the subject or surrounding area is dark or light its going to be wrong. But you are probably already compensating from experience rather than just relying on the meter, so It's all good.
Whenever I shot Nikon, I used spot metering about 30% of the time. The reason for doing so as I shoot a lot of small birds and it meters in the area of that spot just like center weighted is on Sony, you’re metering exposure for the focus area only. In the case of having a small finch, for instance in the snow, if you were only using zebras, it would be very hard to properly expose that bird without bracketing or using a metering mode such a spot metering or center weighted metering and this has been my experience many times over the years. In fact I also have the movie record button programmed to AEL/hold which measures the brightness in the spot circle and locks your exposure only to that circle when pressed. I have this set up this way in case I’m in evaluative metering, and I need to grab it on the fly. I find that in sony cameras, the center weighted works better than spot metering, and it was the exact opposite on the Nikon cameras. Anyhow, just humor me and try it sometime because it works really well.
 

Steve

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I use evaluative (multi) metering in the a1 most of the time, spot and highlighted weighted are distant seconds. However, I seldom find myself using center-weighted and I probably should utilize it more. There are times it's the best choice. Still, the thing you have to remember about metering modes is that they are just like AF modes from the standpoint that you need to use the right one for the right job. There are times one will absolutely work better than the other and then there are times just about anything will work.
 

bleirer

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Whenever I shot Nikon, I used spot metering about 30% of the time. The reason for doing so as I shoot a lot of small birds and it meters in the area of that spot just like center weighted is on Sony, you’re metering exposure for the focus area only. In the case of having a small finch, for instance in the snow, if you were only using zebras, it would be very hard to properly expose that bird without bracketing or using a metering mode such a spot metering or center weighted metering and this has been my experience many times over the years. In fact I also have the movie record button programmed to AEL/hold which measures the brightness in the spot circle and locks your exposure only to that circle when pressed. I have this set up this way in case I’m in evaluative metering, and I need to grab it on the fly. I find that in sony cameras, the center weighted works better than spot metering, and it was the exact opposite on the Nikon cameras. Anyhow, just humor me and try it sometime because it works really well.

So on Sony, is the spot meter based on the focus point?
 

sh1209

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I use evaluative (multi) metering in the a1 most of the time, spot and highlighted weighted are distant seconds. However, I seldom find myself using center-weighted and I probably should utilize it more. There are times it's the best choice. Still, the thing you have to remember about metering modes is that they are just like AF modes from the standpoint that you need to use the right one for the right job. There are times one will absolutely work better than the other and then there are times just about anything will work.
I’m surprised how well spot and center work on the Sony bodies. I also like the fact that you can assign the focus point to be the source of spot metering, which is a very handy feature.
 

sh1209

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So on Sony, is the spot meter based on the focus point?
Change this setting to focus point link.
DAB609E7-F6FE-4642-A662-B1ADEE82DD8C.jpeg
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sh1209

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That's a cool choice to have. Canon is center only, even for spot.
Yep I think it’s an awesome feature and use it quiet often. Like I said I have the function assigned to the movie record button which is easy to access in case I don’t have time to change the actual mode. It’s really amazing how much customization you can do to these bodies.
 

Roaring 40s

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Yes, I link metering to the (spot small) focus point too and find it generally works. Less so when the wind is pushing a big lens around making it harder to keep the spot on the spot.
 

sh1209

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That's a cool choice to have. Canon is center only, even for spot.
This is the setting
View attachment 53648
Full manual settings via my 3 dials and Zebras at 109 (I think...maybe 107 or 108). Metering mode? Don't need it.
Regardless of zebras or whatever numeric setting you have assigned, You're still metering for the entire scene. Spot metering for some subjects used in conjunction with zebras still has a very viable place in photography, especially with backlit or even some side lit subjects.
 

bleirer

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This is the setting
View attachment 53648

Regardless of zebras or whatever numeric setting you have assigned, You're still metering for the entire scene. Spot metering for some subjects used in conjunction with zebras still has a very viable place in photography, especially with backlit or even some side lit subjects.

I see what they mean though. If going for an ettr type shot you could do it even if the meter was totally broken. Just use the zebra to place the brightest part you want to protect as high as possible.
 
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Doug Herr

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Regardless of zebras or whatever numeric setting you have assigned, You're still metering for the entire scene. Spot metering for some subjects used in conjunction with zebras still has a very viable place in photography, especially with backlit or even some side lit subjects.
I ignore the meter. I look at the image in the viewfinder and adjust to avoid zebras where I want highlight detail. I know where I want highlight detail better than the camera does. That's all.
 

sh1209

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I ignore the meter. I look at the image in the viewfinder and adjust to avoid zebras where I want highlight detail. I know where I want highlight detail better than the camera does. That's all.
Yes and that's totally what I do as well but there are instances such as for example a wren sitting on a snow covered branch on a sunny day. If you go solely by zebras, then the bird will be very underexposed. Sure you could bracket and blend the layers in PS, mask the subject and a plethora of other ways but I've found in those situations that using center or spot metering gives a better result SOOC. There is now wrong or right way and like you say zebra are a godsend to gamers IMO and coming from Nikon its a very welcome addition.
 

sh1209

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I see what they mean though. If going for an ettr type shot you could do it even if the meter was totally broken. Just use the zebra to place the brightest part you want to peotect as high as possible.
That works most of the time unless you have a situation as I just posted in the reply above. If you're using matrix metering zebras are going to blink in the brightest part of the image, so If your subject is 1.5 stops darker than say a snow covered branch, then your subject can be severely underexposed. At the end of the day it doesn't matter I suppose but Sonys spot metering works great in these situations.
 

bleirer

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That works most of the time unless you have a situation as I just posted in the reply above. If you're using matrix metering zebras are going to blink in the brightest part of the image, so If your subject is 1.5 stops darker than say a snow covered branch, then your subject can be severely underexposed. At the end of the day it doesn't matter I suppose but Sonys spot metering works great in these situations.

I agree it can be nuanced, though I was careful to add the caveat to say one should watch the zebras for the highlight areas they want to protect. If it is necessary to sacrifice the snow then so be it.
 
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