Why I like my sleek Sony A6000 more than my awesome Olympus E-M1 (Part 2: exposure settings)

This is Part 2.  Part 1 is here.

Exposure settings for this post relate to:

  • ISO,
  • aperture,
  • shutter speed,
  • white balance, and
  • EV compensation.

The Olympus EM-1 exposure settings are very nice.  There are two dials on the top plate with which to make adjustments and with the nifty use of an A/B lever you can get four functions from these two dials.  Unless I am out in the field for an extended time using this camera, I have to admit that I get a bit confused by all the functions.  As a result I find I do not use the A/B lever.

The Sony is rather compromised in the dial department but I've learned to like it.  I have things set up so the single top dial makes the important adjustment (changing aperture in aperture priority, changing shutter in shutter priority) and the dial around the four-way controller changes EV compensation by either rotating or (as I do) clicking the down button to get a ruler scale for EV and then I  use the right and left button to move things along the scale. In manual mode, the top dial adjusts shutter speed, the four way controller when rotated with your finger adjusts aperture, and you will need to use the down button to adjust EV compensation.

Since there is no room for a second control dial
on the top panel where it would be more convenient,
the dial around the four way controller

[Note to live view histogram fans:  When adjusting EV, as long as you do it by rotating the dial around the four way controller, you will see live adjustments to the histogram. If you use the down button instead, it will take you to a new screen for making EV adjustment using a ruler scale.  There is no histogram visible here... you will need to enter your EV choice and go back to the original view before you can see the changed histogram.... But, hey, that's a lot better than dSLR folks.  They can't see a histogram until after the picture is taken.]

I like the fact that the features accessed by the four way controller are labeled in white on a black background, so I don't have to remember them. The right button adjusts ISO, though 95% of the time I keep this at Auto ISO, for which I have set min. and max. at 100 and 6400.  (I personally am less concerned about high ISO "noise" than I am in getting a good exposure.) In comparison, the four way controller on the EM-1 is unlabeled.

Below are my four favorite exposure-making features:

1) Auto ISO works in M mode.  The EM-1 does this too, so this is not a reason for me to love the a6000 more than the EM-1, but I do need to mention this feature so as to explain feature #2) below the butterfly.

Let me give an example of why this feature is important to me. We have a local butterfly house.  I like to shoot at 1/250 sec and F8.  (For flowers out of doors I might use 1/250 sec and F2.8.) By using Auto ISO I am able to get a good RAW exposure without thinking more about it.  The Auto ISO takes charge of providing the right exposure as light changes.  This only works well if you need higher ISO than 100.  Obviously if you are outside in bright sunlight, you will get overexposed pictures because Auto ISO can only reduce ISO to 100.  You'll need to switch to aperture priority and let the speed increase above 1/25to 0 accommodate ISO 100 and F8.

M mode.  1/250sec and F8.  Auto ISO chose 1600.

2) EV compensation in M mode.  This is something the Olympus cannot do.  If you are shooting as described above and find that your images are too dark (or too light) in spite of the Auto ISO giving you a "correct exposure", you can use the down button to adjust EV.  Because you have set the shutter speed and aperture manually, the EV compensation will adjust the Auto ISO.  For example, if Auto ISO would give you 1600 for a given situation, if you set EV to -1 (i.e. underexpose by 1 stop), then Auto ISO will now give you 800.

3) Custom white balance.  I like the fact that when setting the custom white balance, you need only aim a small circle in the middle of the screen, at a white of grey card.  Try this:  wear grey or white socks and you can white balance off of them.  I just did it with a 30mm lens at my waist, aimed at one sock.  How cool is that.  With the Olympus you have to fill the entire screen with the white or grey card.  Just like the Olympus, after you create a custom white balance, you will need to confirm it with a press of the center button; but a bonus with the Sony is that on the confirmation view the white balance reading is given in degrees Kelvin. (Not so on my Olympus.) I find this to be a great learning tool.

I performed a custom white balance off my sock from this distance.
2500 degrees Kelvin was the result.
The room was lit with incandescent lights.

Yes, there will be a Part 3  !

No comments: