The Sony NEX-5R has an "AEL w/ shutter" option that

Sets whether or not to fix the exposure when you press the shutter button halfway down (On/Off)

(from the manual)

What are the pros and cons to locking the exposure? Under what situations does it help, or not help?

I can think of specific examples where locking exposure helps, and examples where it hurts, but I wanted to check if there's a bigger picture I'm missing.

As I understand, this setting controls only the exposure and not the focus, which is controlled by setting the focus mode to AF-S or AF-C.

Note that this camera doesn't have an AEL or AE/AF lock button.

  • This question is not about the AEL physical button, but about the menu setting, which are different. For example, you hold the AEL button down, but you can't do that with the menu setting. Besides, you can hold the AEL button down with or without half-pressing the shutter button, which leads to three combinations (holding down both, holding down only the shutter, hold down only the AEL) — none of that applies here. So, it's not a dupe. – Kartick Vaddadi Sep 26 '14 at 6:54
  • 3
    Reading your question, th only question is "What are the pros and cons to locking the exposure? Under what situations does it help, or not help?", that is perfectly answered in the question I linked to. It doesn't discuss the physical button at all and is not brand specific, so I don't get where you're going there. – Hugo Sep 26 '14 at 7:06

This question deals with the pros.


  • If you also focus on half-press, it makes it impossible to lock exposure and lock focus at different times.

    This means you cannot lock exposure while pointing at something, then re-frame, then lock focus.

    If your camera has a separate dedicated AE-L button, then using that can allow you to very quickly lock exposure on one thing, move, then half-press and take the photo.

  • If the light is variable and changes between half-press and taking the photo, the change won't be reflected in the metering.

    Then again, this con could be viewed as a pro: it makes it more predictable what the exposure is going to be.

    Also, auto-focus lock suffers from the same issue anyway.

  • I suggest this would be better as an answer to the original question, not this one. – Philip Kendall Sep 26 '14 at 7:22
  • Thanks, thomasrutter. As I wrote in the question, my camera doesn't have a physical AEL button. And thomasrutter's answer here makes more sense than at a different question, which is related but different. – Kartick Vaddadi Sep 26 '14 at 7:25
  • I assumed cameras that didn't have physical AE-L buttons wouldn't have the setting about whether to lock exposure on half press, but it looks like I'm wrong here? – thomasrutter Sep 27 '14 at 11:57

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