Stupid needle? It's stepless! Far better than LED readouts. Learn sunny 16 and basic exposure conventions, and the needle will make more sense. Centering the needle will not give you good exposures either, its just going to give an average tone of 18% grey, learn to exaggerate or tone down values through use of exposure.
Have you used that camera specifically? In theory yeah, it could give a much better reading than a LED readout, but honestly, it's so erratic that it even moves up and down wildly when I'm not changing any settings. And this wasn't a shifting light situation.
Sounds like a very small diameter center-spot meter. Likely quite foreign to those who grew up with a Matrix meter.
Advantage - you can quickly tag multiple areas to either go all out Zone, or evaluate EV while training your eyeball.
Disadvantage - small recomposition can lead to drastic changes in meter reading.
Try your DSLR on spot meter mode, and see if you see similar behavior. I'm guessing you will.
Interestingly, it has a spot meter and an average meter.
I have the manual, I haven't had time to fully read it yet. I have skimmed it though.