How does "focus lock" work on Nex 5R, 6 or 7?

Started May 22, 2013 | Discussions
Philnw2
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How does "focus lock" work on Nex 5R, 6 or 7?
May 22, 2013

On my Pentax K5, I like being able to disable focus on the half-shutter, and enable an AF button.  This allows me to focus on an area and then take several shots without tasking the camera to refocus each time it shoots.  In low light conditions, this becomes more invaluable since focusing may be very iffy.  Once you lock in a good focus and confirm it by examining a photo, there is no need to change that focus unless the photographer or subject have changed position.

When i go to the Sony store or to the link at BH below, they list "focus lock" in the spec sheet for these 3 Nex cameras.  As far as i can tell, my 5n, doesn't have any way to disable the half-shutter focus other than to switch to manual focus.  Which is ok, i still like the camera.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/892146-REG/Sony_nex6l_b_Alpha_NEX_6_Mirrorless_Digital.html

If Sony Nex doesn't have this enabled, i sure hope they do for future cameras - its a very helpful technique in many situations.

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Phil B
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Tommygun45
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Re: How does "focus lock" work on Nex 5R, 6 or 7?
In reply to Philnw2, May 22, 2013

There might be a method here but I don't have my camera at work with me. I think I remember the possibility of reassigning the AEL lock button on the 6. And I think on the 7 it might have two uses.

Anyways why not just use manual focus? If you auto focus on something and want to shoot more than one shot if you move at all won't it screw up the focus?

Under drive mode there is single shot, continuous, and shooting priority. Shooting priority will lock the AF after the first shot and then rattle off as many shots consecutively after that as your media permits using the initial focus point.

Therefore there is the slow manual way and the continuous burst way.

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Puddleglum
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Re: How does "focus lock" work on Nex 5R, 6 or 7?
In reply to Philnw2, May 22, 2013

I was thinking about this the other day. Using a manual focus legacy lens on NEX is very nice because once you get focus you can snap away. Of course you can always use manual focus with NEX lenses but focus-by-wire is cumbersome, and switching back and forth between manual and autofocus means a trip into the menus. There is a middle ground between refocusing after every shot, and burst shooting. If this can be done on NEX I would love to know how. (I have an NEX-5R)

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blue_skies
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Re: How does "focus lock" work on Nex 5R, 6 or 7?
In reply to Philnw2, May 22, 2013

Philnw2 wrote:

On my Pentax K5, I like being able to disable focus on the half-shutter, and enable an AF button.  This allows me to focus on an area and then take several shots without tasking the camera to refocus each time it shoots.  In low light conditions, this becomes more invaluable since focusing may be very iffy.  Once you lock in a good focus and confirm it by examining a photo, there is no need to change that focus unless the photographer or subject have changed position.

When i go to the Sony store or to the link at BH below, they list "focus lock" in the spec sheet for these 3 Nex cameras.  As far as i can tell, my 5n, doesn't have any way to disable the half-shutter focus other than to switch to manual focus.  Which is ok, i still like the camera.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/892146-REG/Sony_nex6l_b_Alpha_NEX_6_Mirrorless_Digital.html

If Sony Nex doesn't have this enabled, i sure hope they do for future cameras - its a very helpful technique in many situations.

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Phil B
Nex 5n, Pentax K5, Epson R3000

You are describing AFL, which is a feature which is only made available for the Nex-7, and even then it is through a single (extra) button that also (either) controls AEL.

The half-press shutter-lock can only be disabled by going into MF mode (or use a legacy lens).

The 5R, 6 and 7 have a the Fn button which lets you switch between AF, DMF and MF quickly, no need to go into the menus.

On a DSLR, you may have a dedicated AFL button, meaning that you can auto-focus, and then lock the attained focus, until you release it. The Nex-7 comes closest to this behavor, the other Nex cameras do not.

AEL, in contrast, is available in all Nex cameras, and can be locked using the Custom C button - the LCD will show a '*' sign on the lower right once AEL is in effect. Imho, there is no reason why AFL could not be done in a similar fashion.

As to marketing claims, half-press shutter and hold is focus-lock, so all cameras have this feature. Perhaps not in the way that you want. They also all have MF mode, which undoes this feature, also perhaps not in the way that you want.

It is what it is. The FW has been improved, but a number of features are 'sub-standard', and probably because Sony wanted to protect their 'Pro' line of (non-Nex) cameras. In Wikipedia, even the Nex-7 is listed as a 'mid-level' camera.

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Cheers,
Henry

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captura
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Re: How does "focus lock" work on Nex 5R, 6 or 7?
In reply to Puddleglum, May 22, 2013

Puddleglum wrote:

I was thinking about this the other day. Using a manual focus legacy lens on NEX is very nice because once you get focus you can snap away. Of course you can always use manual focus with NEX lenses but focus-by-wire is cumbersome, and switching back and forth between manual and autofocus means a trip into the menus. There is a middle ground between refocusing after every shot, and burst shooting. If this can be done on NEX I would love to know how. (I have an NEX-5R)

I noticed a setting in my menu (5R) which permitted an intermediate "slow-shutter" continuous setting as opposed to the 10fps. That is what I use mostly. It allows me the time to choose between one shot or 2 or more when I squeeze the shutter.

On the "focus lock" issue, I haven't got into that yet, really. But I accidentally invoked that, and noticed a lock-symbol on the screen. I guess it just locks in one predetermined focal setting while you are holding down the shutter either halfway or fully, for multiple shots. Am I correct?

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Philnw2
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Re: How does "focus lock" work on Nex 5R, 6 or 7?
In reply to blue_skies, May 23, 2013

blue_skies wrote:

You are describing AFL, which is a feature which is only made available for the Nex-7, and even then it is through a single (extra) button that also (either) controls AEL.

The half-press shutter-lock can only be disabled by going into MF mode (or use a legacy lens).

The 5R, 6 and 7 have a the Fn button which lets you switch between AF, DMF and MF quickly, no need to go into the menus.

On a DSLR, you may have a dedicated AFL button, meaning that you can auto-focus, and then lock the attained focus, until you release it. The Nex-7 comes closest to this behavor, the other Nex cameras do not.

AEL, in contrast, is available in all Nex cameras, and can be locked using the Custom C button - the LCD will show a '*' sign on the lower right once AEL is in effect. Imho, there is no reason why AFL could not be done in a similar fashion.

As to marketing claims, half-press shutter and hold is focus-lock, so all cameras have this feature. Perhaps not in the way that you want. They also all have MF mode, which undoes this feature, also perhaps not in the way that you want.

It is what it is. The FW has been improved, but a number of features are 'sub-standard', and probably because Sony wanted to protect their 'Pro' line of (non-Nex) cameras. In Wikipedia, even the Nex-7 is listed as a 'mid-level' camera.

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Cheers,
Henry

Thanks Henry, thats exactly the information i wanted.  The focus methods on Nex are so good that i can use manual focusing as a substitute, but I'd prefer the AFL.  With the Nex models so popular but with Fuji coming on strong, it will be interesting to see if Sony rises to the challenge and firmware upgrades some of these features.  As you pointed out, the AEL button is on these 3 models and could be easily used to toggle between AEL, AFL, or both with no additional hardware.

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Phil B
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prime instinct
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Re: How does "focus lock" work on Nex 5R, 6 or 7?
In reply to Philnw2, Sep 25, 2013

My Pentax K-01 can do AFL via AEL/AFL button, which is handy for focus-recompose shooting. On the 5R I'd use the touch screen to turn on focus tracking, and when it works it's really nice - I can even move the camera back or forward to recompose without losing focus. But the touch screen isn't very precise, so sometimes it'll track something other than what I want. Still overall I love it. Sony should refine and name it "Super AFL"

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