sony pd 150/170 video cameras

Exposure and Light

Digital video cameras have built-in automatic exposure, or iris, which is pretty good for most purposes. You usually can just depend on the auto exposure to give you the best lighting (although just as with manual focus, if your career goal is to be a professional cameraperson, it's in your interest to learn how to do manual exposure).

Exceptions to just using auto exposure are if there's very little light and you need to open up the iris on the camera to let in the maximum amount of light, or if the background is too bright (called back lighting), and you need to close the iris to reduce the amount of light.

To manually adjust the exposure, look for the exposure switch button, which usually has three settings:

  • Auto - for automatic exposure
  • Manual - to adjust the exposure manually
  • Hold - to hold the manual adjustment you've made while you shoot your video

Set the button to Manual, then adjust the exposure to the level you desire.

Sony TRV900

On the Sony TRV900 the exposure switch button is on the left rear of the camera and is labeled Auto Lock.

To switch to manual exposure, move the switch button to the middle position.

Then press the button on the back of the camera labeled Exposure.

Now open the LCD screen on the side of the camera so you can see a display of the exposure settings.

Use the little Sel/Push Exec dial on the back of the camera just below the Exposure button to increase or decrease the exposure.

Moving the dial toward the + sign on the LCD display increases the exposure and makes the picture lighter, while moving the dial toward the - sign decreases the exposure and makes the picture darker.

When you've selected the exposure you want, move the Auto Lock switch button to the Hold position and shoot your video.

Returning to Automatic Exposure

To return to auto exposure, move the switch button back to the top Auto Lock position.

Sony PD150 and PD170

On the Sony PD150 and PD170 the exposure switch button is on the back of the camera on the left and is labeled Auto Lock.

To switch to manual exposure, move the button to the middle position.

Then on the left side of the camera, just in front of the LCD screen, press the button labeled Iris.

Now open the LCD screen on the side of the camera so you can see a display of the exposure settings.

Use the little dial just in front of the Iris button to increase or decrease the exposure. 

Moving toward the dial toward the + sign on the LCD screen increases the exposure and makes the picture lighter, while moving the dial toward the - sign decreases the exposure and makes the picture darker.

When you've selected the exposure you want, move the Auto Lock switch button to the Hold position and shoot your video.

Returning to Automatic Exposure

To return to auto exposure, move the switch button back to the top Auto Lock position.