2 x A65 + 4 x A57, all back focusing !

Started Jun 4, 2012 | Discussions
theswede
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Re: 2 x A65 + 4 x A57, all back focusing !
In reply to camperbc, Jun 4, 2012

camperbc wrote:

I guess this means I'll be hanging onto these oldies for a long time, seeing how you are stating that every new Alpha is defective.

If you're really worried about it, bring a lense which focuses precisely on your existing bodies when you look at a new Alpha and do a quick dof test. Just make sure you're in spot focus, the cameras are trying to be very clever these days and may not focus at all where you expect if you don't force them to.

It begs the question though... why would all of the new Alphas be back focusing, yet none of the older models do?

Generally they're not. This is likely to be 123Mike's lenses. I'd go as far as to say that until they're calibrated (or at the very least tested properly) the issue documented is with four lenses and no camera bodies, given the auspicious lack of torrents of people having these problems.

Jesper

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theswede
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Re: 2 x A65 + 4 x A57, all back focusing !
In reply to Shield3, Jun 4, 2012

Shield3 wrote:

I never said a AF adjustment in the menu/software. I'm talking about physically adjusting on the camera...like the A700.......

That's possible with all DSLR's, although it voids warranty and isn't all that easy to get right (especially alignment). How easy it is to actually do varies wildly though. 123Mike states it's not easy to get to the adjustment screws on the A65.

There is probably very little reason to adjust this though. If AF performance is off you'll notice right away and the best recourse is to let Sony fix it. Just make sure you test with a lense you feel certain is properly calibrated or adjustment to the body might not help - or even make it worse with your lenses.

Jesper

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ET2
ET2
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Re: 2 x A65 + 4 x A57, all back focusing !
In reply to theswede, Jun 4, 2012

theswede wrote:

Generally they're not. This is likely to be 123Mike's lenses. I'd go as far as to say that until they're calibrated (or at the very least tested properly) the issue documented is with four lenses and no camera bodies, given the auspicious lack of torrents of people having these problems.

I would say Mike had a valid point. Most people will never notice this little back-focus as the DOF would be larger than a few milimeters back-focus that Mike had shown here.

In any case, this can be fixed under warranty.

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Shield3
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Re: Example actual photo
In reply to 123Mike, Jun 4, 2012

I focused in on the eyes. The original file is there; have at it. Good luck!

123Mike wrote:

Thanks for putting up this photo. Would it be possible to create a 1:1 zoomed crop of, say, about 1000 pixels wide give or take, or the area where you focused in the middle of that area?

I'm going to do the same (tomorrow sometime) and I can demonstrate the eye-lid hair not coming out as sharp as they could be, and showing back-focus.

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Shield3
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Re: 2 x A65 + 4 x A57, all back focusing !
In reply to theswede, Jun 4, 2012

Oh I'm not having a backfocus problem with my A57. I've tried the following:

Sony 70-200 F/2.8
Sony 16-50 F/2.8
Sony 35mm F/1.8
Sigma 30mm F/1.4
Sigma 70-200 F/2.8

Beercan 70-210 (my copy is just not sharp @ F/4 at all, but it's the same if I MF).

Don't know.

I would suggest it's the lenses to for the OP. If you stop and think about it, it's actually 8 bodies vs. 4 lenses, as he had to correct his A33 also.

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theswede
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Re: 2 x A65 + 4 x A57, all back focusing !
In reply to ET2, Jun 4, 2012

ET2 wrote:

I would say Mike had a valid point. Most people will never notice this little back-focus as the DOF would be larger than a few milimeters back-focus that Mike had shown here.

"Enough to spoil most photos" is not something which most people (especially reviewers) will fail to notice. I wouldn't, and I have tested several new Alphas with a calibrated 50MM F1.4 and saw almost no issues at all, and definitely nothing of this magnitude. Unfortunately the photos from those tests are on a hard disk somewhere in China, I don't even know in what city at this point. I might be able to get to them in July, but I'm not certain.

In any case, this can be fixed under warranty.

Definitely. But if it's the lenses the issue will remain even after the camera has been recalibrated properly - it might even get worse.

Jesper

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cyainparadise
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Re: Access to AF adjustment screws HOWTO.
In reply to stol2004, Jun 4, 2012

I know he did, but you might want to re-read my post, as I said "a number", not all of his lenses were slow. Besides, there is the faster 50mm f/1.4.

stol2004 wrote:
He also mentioned Min 50mm F1.7

cyainparadise wrote:

123Mike wrote:

I think the people that think that Sony is not back-focusing their cameras either:

2) Are using cheap kit or kit-like lenses that do not have that shallow of a DOF.

Mike, a number of your lenses are no faster than those "cheap kit or kit-like lenses". For example, your 28-135mm has a maximum aperture of f/4-4.5, which isn't exactly 'speed demon' territory.

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philbot
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Re: 2 x A65 + 4 x A57, all back focusing !
In reply to 123Mike, Jun 4, 2012

123Mike wrote:

All 4 of them?

Riddle me this; how is it MORE likely to be 7 bodies than 4 lenses?

6 bodies show evidence of back-focusing, in a test using 4 lenses.

The 7th body, being my initial A33, showed back-focusing which I fixed after adjusting the 3 adjustment screws, after which all lenses operated perfectly.

But that doesn't prove anything, an equally possible explanation is that the lenses are backfocussing (more obviously on the larger aperture ones) and you simply adjusted the body to match the lenses.. On switching lenses to a new body, lo and behold that now backfocuses.

My A77 is spot on, the 3 or more I tried in store all focussed perfectly at f/2.8 (I try these things instore using all the signage at 45 degrees as test targets), the 2 A65's I also tried focussed correctly, and so did the 4 or more A55's I was looking at last year..

I would repeat your tests using a printed out AF Alignment target, set to centre point focus and ensure the focus box is only focussing on the target line , and no where near the ruler markings.

I can categorically say that no matter what your experience has been (No reason to doubt it either), just send your camera off to Sony with Lenses and get them all calibrated as a bundle, just calibrating the body is fruitless, since moving to a new body will expose any lens issues..

So when mis-calibrated lenses and bodies is a regular issue on all manufacturers forums, and in all cases the solution is to send off and get calibrated, to which when returned people then have perfect focus, you have to come to the simple conclusion that it's not deliberate action to back focus or when you sent it off for calibration, they'd return it backfocussing 'as per the design', yet they don't, they return it calibrated perfectly.

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Spillicus
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Re: 2 x A65 + 4 x A57, all back focusing !
In reply to 123Mike, Jun 4, 2012

Just curious, but did you buy all of those lenses new yourself, or did you get them used from one source or multiple ones? I kind of wonder if over the years the calibration target for some of these lenses has changed slightly. Or if perhaps you got a bunch of lenses from one previous owner, who might have had the lenses matched to some older body with a slightly different calibration.

Just like anything manufactured, there's probably some range of what's acceptable in QA for focus calibration. Maybe you're a bit unlucky and had a run of things that tended towards back focus more than normal. Things like that can come in batches,were the 18-55 kit lens and 55-200 lens produced close together time wise?

123Mike wrote:

Your lenses are probably miscalibrated and backfocus. Let a shop examine and calibrate one or two of them and see if the problem persists.

It is much more likely to be the lenses than the camera bodies. Especially older, used lenses will tend to misfocus. This becomes even more likely if they've been subject to temperature changes, mishandling of some kind or have had service performed without subsequent calibration.

All 4 of them?

  • Sony 18-55 kit lens

  • Sony 55-200

  • Min 50mm 1.7

  • Min 28-135

On my A33 after tuning it, all these lenses, plus my other lenses, all become absolutely picture perfect !

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shootin
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Re: Example actual photo
In reply to Shield3, Jun 4, 2012

Shield3 wrote:
I focused in on the eyes. The original file is there; have at it. Good luck!

123Mike wrote:

Thanks for putting up this photo. Would it be possible to create a 1:1 zoomed crop of, say, about 1000 pixels wide give or take, or the area where you focused in the middle of that area?

I'm going to do the same (tomorrow sometime) and I can demonstrate the eye-lid hair not coming out as sharp as they could be, and showing back-focus.

Not sure if it's just me, but this looks back focused as well. Look at the hair on the top of the head... it sharpest at the very top/crown of the head. Much sharper than the eyes.

Also, Sony Laredo sucks. I sent my A500 in for back-focus problems twice... once by itself, another with the actual lens.. they said they fixed it the second time,but it was still noticeably off. I ended up fixing it myself even though it voided (perhaps if they could tell) my warranty.

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Shield3
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Re: Example actual photo
In reply to shootin, Jun 4, 2012

It's just you. I think the focus is just fine in this pic.

shootin wrote:

Shield3 wrote:
I focused in on the eyes. The original file is there; have at it. Good luck!

123Mike wrote:

Thanks for putting up this photo. Would it be possible to create a 1:1 zoomed crop of, say, about 1000 pixels wide give or take, or the area where you focused in the middle of that area?

I'm going to do the same (tomorrow sometime) and I can demonstrate the eye-lid hair not coming out as sharp as they could be, and showing back-focus.

Not sure if it's just me, but this looks back focused as well. Look at the hair on the top of the head... it sharpest at the very top/crown of the head. Much sharper than the eyes.

Also, Sony Laredo sucks. I sent my A500 in for back-focus problems twice... once by itself, another with the actual lens.. they said they fixed it the second time,but it was still noticeably off. I ended up fixing it myself even though it voided (perhaps if they could tell) my warranty.

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shootin
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Re: Example actual photo
In reply to Shield3, Jun 4, 2012

On second look, I think you are right... that mo-hock is through off my depth perception

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123Mike
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Second look
In reply to 123Mike, Jun 4, 2012

I took another look. The preview mechanism on this forum lets me zoom only up to a point. But even there it shows the eyes are somewhat soft. This doesn't look focused very well I think.

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123Mike
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Re: Access to AF adjustment screws HOWTO.
In reply to ET2, Jun 4, 2012

This problem should be covered under warranty. Send it to Sony to fix it

Every report of someone sending it back, got the camera back not fixed. I think Sony intentionally back-focuses a bit, by spec.

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123Mike
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Re: Access to AF adjustment screws HOWTO.
In reply to theswede, Jun 4, 2012

This "error" has shown up with 4 lenses on all 7 bodies I've ever used/tested.

You still haven't explained how this makes it more likely to be the 7 bodies than the 4 lenses.

Sony intentionally back-focuses in the hopes to either make it spend more of the focused space (in distance) on the subject as opposed to 50% in front of the subject, and/or an intentional back-focus might let more cameras through the QA process.

An adjusted fine tuned (A33) body, the problem went away.

You mean when you adjusted the A33 after the lense performance you couldn't see the problem anymore. That makes perfect sense, and is consistent with it being miscalibrated lenses or miscalibrated bodies.

No. The lenses I had before the 28-135 didn't make me notice it. With those lenses, a bit back-focus wasn't enough to make the image soft. It's a distance range, not a point, that's in focus after all.

After getting the 28-135 I became more critical and only then started to pay attention to things like demanding razor tack sharp eye-lids in photos where I pointed at an eye.

After adjusting the A33, the 28-135 became that tack sharp and all my other lenses became better.

All evidence is that the lenses did not cause any focus error, and that it was entire the body's fault.

All 4 lenses? And while those 4 plus the other lenses I have are all in perfect agreement, on an adjusted A33 body?

Since the lenses are used and older, it makes more sense to suspect them. Especially since a bit of backfocus in factory adjustment of some the lenses was much less critical back when they were manufactured. It is a lot more likely than that Sony churns out broken cameras which no reviewer has managed to catch, and which this forum is not overflowing with reports of.

Two of the lenses aren't old. The 18-55 kit lens and 55-200 from Sony.
Both are capable of producing sharp results on the (fixed) A33.

Both are capable of producing sharp results on the A57 when I get lucky, or using manual focus.

But don't take my word for it (you should take no-one's word for anything). Have one or two tested and adjusted and see what happens. Until you do you have no idea what you're actually seeing; the lenses, the bodies or just really bad luck in the specific combination.

You have not explained how a lens can contribute to a focus error. You stopped short every time with some fuzzy claims and then left it at a holier than thou excuse.

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theswede
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Re: Access to AF adjustment screws HOWTO.
In reply to 123Mike, Jun 4, 2012

123Mike wrote:

This problem should be covered under warranty. Send it to Sony to fix it

Every report of someone sending it back, got the camera back not fixed.

If the lense is the cause, getting only the camera adjusted will not help (and may in fact make things worse).

I think Sony intentionally back-focuses a bit, by spec.

You're wrong.

Jesper

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tqlla
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Re: Access to AF adjustment screws HOWTO.
In reply to 123Mike, Jun 4, 2012

My A550 backfocused badly, before I calibrated it. I am really going to regret selling it, if the A57 backfocuses and I cant adjust it.

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Shield3
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Re: Second look
In reply to 123Mike, Jun 4, 2012

Ahh, now see, you're onto something. I never said the eyes were tack sharp. I said they were in focus. This is a 30mm lens @ F/1.4 (wide open) so just perhaps, maybe, possibly, the image might have been sharper stopped down to F/2.8? F/4?

I wanted this type of a look with the blown out background and wasn't interested in taking the absolute sharpest picture I could have...

123Mike wrote:

I took another look. The preview mechanism on this forum lets me zoom only up to a point. But even there it shows the eyes are somewhat soft. This doesn't look focused very well I think.

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theswede
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Re: Access to AF adjustment screws HOWTO.
In reply to 123Mike, Jun 4, 2012

123Mike wrote:

Sony intentionally back-focuses in the hopes to either make it spend more of the focused space (in distance) on the subject as opposed to 50% in front of the subject, and/or an intentional back-focus might let more cameras through the QA process.

Pure Sony bashing.

All evidence is that the lenses did not cause any focus error, and that it was entire the body's fault.

What evidence is this? Nothing you have presented points to this. It could equally well be the lenses.

Two of the lenses aren't old. The 18-55 kit lens and 55-200 from Sony.

Hardly the epitome of quality lenses, those.

Both are capable of producing sharp results on the (fixed) A33.

Since they probably backfocus and your fixed A33 now front focuses that's not surprising at all.

Both are capable of producing sharp results on the A57 when I get lucky, or using manual focus.

Which supports that it's a calibration error of the lenses.

You have not explained how a lens can contribute to a focus error. You stopped short every time with some fuzzy claims and then left it at a holier than thou excuse.

I've explained it three times. Since you claim you know how PDAF works that should be two times more than you need. And if your claim is incorrect, I fail to see how that's me being "holier than thou". It's not like this issue is more than a google away anyway, even if the articles explaining it are fairly long (by necessity).

Jesper

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Nordstjernen
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The test procedure?
In reply to 123Mike, Jun 4, 2012

1) For sure you put the camera on a tripod when doing this kind of test?

2) You place the active focus point very carefully on the subject, so that there can't be any misplacement? Each focus point might be bigger that the squares in the viewfinder, and the placement might be a bit off the marking.

3) Do you use the same set of lenses for all cameras?

I would not trust a handheld camera for such a test.

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