One photographer’s biggest issue with the Sony system

May 13, 2018

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

One photographer’s biggest issue with the Sony system

May 13, 2018

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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If you are using one of the Sony A7X system as a stills camera, you are probably familiar with the EVF. It’s that little monitor at the back of the camera that shows you what the exposure looks like depending on exposure settings.

Of course, you can also set the monitor to show you a constant “proper” exposure regardless of the camera setting. You can decide on this behavior using the “Live View Display: Setting Effect On/Off” menu. When you are at Setting Effect On, the EVF will match hour exposure settings, kinda giving you a preview of your soon-to-be-exposed photo. When you are at Setting Effect Off, the camera will give you a constant exposure. Now Rob Hall has an issue with the third option…

When you add a strobe, or a Sony compatible trigger though, the camera will move into a new mode and show you what it thinks a “proper” exposed subject will be, if you used the flash correctly. Sadly, you have no control over this override and once a strobe is introduced, you are stuck with this method of EVF display.

The problem

Now, what is a “proper” exposed subject when it’s lit by a strobe? Sony’s engineers have the answer.

Here is the thing though, if you are using a strobe, you are making some artistic choices, of course, the camera is not aware of those choices, so its “guess” of a proper exposure is probably crap. The flip side of this coin is that your ability to gauge the ambient is now gone as well.

Come to think about it, this new, forced, method is kinda similar to Setting Effect Off only with less control as you don’t know what is the subject and what the camera thinks your flash output is going to be.

This would not be an issue with a non-recognized trigger, But Sony specific triggers like the Godox Xpro-S for Sony will trigger this behavior.

The (slightly off) solution

Rob found, deep inside page 16 or so of the special function that there is a setting that can bring the camera back to showing what the exposure will look like. This is convenient especially when you wanna gouge the ambient. It’s called Shot. Result Preview, and you can assign it to any button you want. So by pressing this button, you get the same results as you would with Setting Effect On. Rob assigned it to the Exposure Lock button, but if you are using it for back focusing you would have to find different button.

[My Biggest Problem (and solution) with Sony Cameras Flash EVF issue on A7R III, A7 III, A9, A7R II | Rob Hall]

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Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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7 responses to “One photographer’s biggest issue with the Sony system”

  1. B. Ho Avatar
    B. Ho

    The feature is very helpful for focusing in low light situation. Once the on-camera flash popped up (a6000 in my case) or the trigger turned on, the EVF brightens up and you could focus with ease. The trade off is the exposure is kind of a guess work.

  2. Keith Heinrich Avatar
    Keith Heinrich

    Is it a problem? Automation seems to have dulled the skills that existed before cameras became optical computers.

  3. Bob Avatar

    Wait a minute! You want to preview flash in live view? The camera does this so if you can see and focus. Are we getting that lazy to just think about the light instead of just previewing it on screen?

    1. Bob Avatar

      Really, i’m trying to figure this out.. how the f*** will the camera show what the exposure will look like in flash photography?

  4. Eric Raeber Avatar
    Eric Raeber

    I find Robert Hall’s “biggest issue” to be a very convenient feature for me. I often switch between ambient and flash and I need as much brightness as I can get for focusing through the EVF. It has always been a nightmare to find the Live View settings deep down in the menus (that is until a firmware update on the A7R2 made it possible to assign it to a custom function.

    And I have, as Rob suggests, the “Shoot Result Preview” mapped to my C1 button (close to the shutter) for a quick ambient light check.

  5. damianvines Avatar

    I agree with the author. I find this a ridiculous need-to work around :( I mean really, as Bob has mentioned, the camera is going to guess and simulate what the output will look like when the flash fires, before it fires? Really? I might have 4 flashes in the scene all at different power outputs at different location pointed in different direction and it’s going to show in real time what that’s going to look like? HaHaHa They’ve given us pretty much manual control over ever thing else, why not this, this makes no sense at all!

  6. Stefanie Daniella Avatar
    Stefanie Daniella

    What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get Live (Pre)View
    has been around:
    since LV digicams of 1999/2000 (Canon Powershots; and some Sony Cybershots): Aperture Stop-Down ASD-WYSIWYG-LV
    and Canon Exp.Sim LV EOS dSLRs (since 2005: EOS 20Da, and later): WYSIWYG-LV AF w/Aperture Simulation (F1.0 to F90)

    Sony “mirrorless” (live-view) interchangeable lens cameras offer only aperture stop-down ASD-WYSIWYG-LV
    This is a common practice on newer non-Canons, like late model mirrorless Sonys, later m43, and later fujifilm x-series and gfx

    The downside of ASD-WYSIWYG-LV, is the impact on AF with slower f-values when shooting often with just indoor lighting; many face AF failing to work, unless turning ASD-WYSIWYG-LV “OFF”.

    Many Sony mirrorless users have had to turn Live View Display (LV): Setting Effect (S-fx) = OFF, to get AF properly working again.

    All Sony FF Mirrorless are affected: 2012 to 2018+

    Yes, it’s now 2018, and ALL SONY mirrorless LV AF capabilities have NOT improved, except when LV Display Setting Effect is OFF!
    All Fujifilm mirrorless with such ASD-WYSIWYG-LV are affected: ALL
    All m43 (Olympus+Panasonic) with such ASD-WYSIWYG-LV are affected: ALL

    Since Canons having ExpSimLV, its ability to simulate ANY f-value means WYSIWYG-LV “live exposure effects” occurs always at optimal f-value for AF (the f-optimal varies with available lighting, dof, contrast, FL, and lens; which is a proprietary value) even when Enabled (ON) or Disabled (OFF) in any stills modes: M, Av, Tv, P
    ExpSimLV AF covers all EOS M-series Mobile mirrorless digital cameras, too.

    Obviously, for movies (cine-video) capture, ASD (aperture stop-down mode) is used instead, as apertures always set to f-value for capture (this is simply carried over from videocam and film-movie camera era long ago, in 20th century), so for cine-video movie LV, it will be ASD-WYSIWYG-LV no matter what, unless on prefers “effects off”, then ASD-Autogain-Framing-LV is used (auto exposure effect only)
    Nikon 1 “mirrorless” series LACKED ASD-WYSIWYG-LV, and NEVER offered “live exposure preview effects” at all (good riddance)
    (just like casio and kodak LV digicams: RIP), so LV AF was unaffected (nothing to turn ON nor OFF)

    Early Nikon FF LV dSLRs did NOT offer ASD-WYSIWYG-LV.
    Later Nikon FF LV dSLRs did offer ASD-WYSIWYG-LV (but NOT low end new FF LV models)
    Most Nikon APSC LV dSLRs NEVER offer ASD-WYSIWYG-LV.
    Some recent newer Nikon FF+APSC LV dSLRs offer limited ASD-WYSIWYG-LV (compensation effect preview only)
    Pentax APSC+FF LV dSLRs NEVER offered ASD-WYSIWYG-LV, nor LV med.fmt (645-series).

    ALL Nikon LV dSLR LV AF is horrible, worst with ASD-WYSIWYG-LV “ON”; a bit better with it OFF (so ASD is normal in movie modes, so it’s movie LV AF is horrible, too)

    Newcomers to FF Mirrorless w/ASD-WYSIWYG-LV
    Nikon Z7+Z6 (same LV AF dilemma as Sony FF Mirrorless LV AF)
    Nikon Z7+Z6 FF mirrorless camera shooters facing AF failure with “d8” option (Apply Settings to Live View) = ON
    so, they MUST turn “d8” option (Apply Settings to Live View) = OFF, just to get AF to work again.

    VAST MAJORITY of Sony FF Mirrorless and new Nikon FF Z Mirrorless TURN OFF ASD-WYSIWYG-LV “NO live exposure effect preview” when shooting under indoor lighting situations: fashion shows, stage shows, news reporting, sports, etc, etc, etc.

    Canon’s new FF EOS R Mirrorless, has ExpSimLV…
    so it obviously can shoot stills with “live exposure preview effect” ON (or OFF), under any lighting conditions, because it uses optimal f-values, regardless of user selected f-values.
    The Canon EOS R was designed to simulate f1.0 to f90, so “aperture exposure live preview effect” is always available for stills DURING AF, and NOT affect LV AF performance at all.
    EOS R LV AF works even as low as F11 with “live exposure preview effects” ON!!!

    other Mirrorless (SONY FF+NIKON FF) fail LV AF at F4.5 to F8; unless they shoot “wide open”, or with ASD-WYSIWYG-LV “setting/effect” OFF!

    Sony has NEVER overcome this LV AF “camera exposure setting/effect ON” failure in ALL its mirrorless FF models. (FF: 2012-2018+)
    Nikon’s new FF Z mirrorless is unfortunately following Sony’s SAME FF mirrorless LV AF path.
    BOTH resort to “camera exposure setting/effect OFF” when shooting in anything but bright outdoors.

    EOS R LV AF works down to an astounding -6 EV for stills, and -4 EV for movies (cine-video)
    EOS R LV AF inherited EOS ExpSimLV Dual-Pixel Touch-PDAF of its LV EOS dSLRs (best LV AF in the industry)
    Same Dual-Pixel Touch-PDAF used in EOS Cinema Cameras

    EOS R LV AF was released and FEATURED concurrently with Canon’s new EF400/F2.8L IS III USM and EF600/F4L IS III USM super-tele-lenses; both allow EOS R LV AF down to F11. (also F11 on new EF70-200/F2.8L IS III USM, released a month before)
    Obvious, at F11, EOS R has ExpSimLV “ON”!
    BOTH new F11 LV AF on EOS R, also designed to use tele-extender III, 2.0x on F5.6 lenses and 1.4x on F8 lenses (AF @ F11)
    Right now, Canon’s EOS R LV AF is 40x faster than “best LV AF in whole industry” of its ExpSimLV EOS dSLR: 5DMkIV (+1DxMkII)

    this is how REAL WYSIWYG-LV AF should be on “mirrorless” cameras: ON!!! NOT “OFF”!
    otherwise, why bother having an EVF?! just to “frame-or-focus” only?!

    Canon took its SWEET TIME … no rush: WYSIWYG-LV AF “perfect” long ago on ExpSimLV EOS dSLRs

    Sony+Nikon FF Mirrorless LV AF is nowhere close:
    because LV AF aperture “wide-open” (NO WYSIWYG-LV (=OFF)) has it’s own AF inaccuracy quirks:
    DoF differences alter AF accuracy!

    Sony LV AF users are absolutely clueless, as are new Nikon LV AF users.
    Those who are “aware”, try to dismiss need for WYSIWYG-LV entirely, or deny differences in WYSIWYG-LV exist:
    They think Canon ExpSimLV AF does not do its name sake (Exposure Simulation) which covers SIMULATED f1-f90 for AF @ f-optimum (proprietary) … hint: ExpSim is in the owners manual since 2005 EOS 20Da … and EOS ExpSim LV dSLRs have called it “exposure simulation”, and “final image preview” simulation, etc.

    Recently, even the new Canon Powershot G1XMkIII has ExpSimLV, too:
    G1XMkIII does not need ASD-WYSIWYG-LV, for WYSIWYG-LV stills, because it can ExpSimLV AF!
    G1XMkIII uses ASD-WYSIWYG-LV for AF only for video (like ALL others offering WYSIWYG-LV AF in cine-video modes)


    When FLASH is used, obviously “no LIVE flash is simulated”, so “exposure effect without flash” is merely suspended, temporarily, while camera exposure settings are unaffected.

    The same goes for ultra-long exposure “no LIVE long exposure is simulated” (and any unsaveable pre-shot test images are never really “live”; but only “reviewable” when taken, but not saveable)