NEX6 manual focus questions

Started Aug 6, 2013 | Discussions
Walnuts
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NEX6 manual focus questions
Aug 6, 2013

I'm trying out Direct Manual Focus, and I must be doing something wrong because it seems I'd need 3 hands to make this work.

While holding the camera with my right hand, with my thumb around the back of the camera and my index finger carefully trying to hold the shutter in the half-way position so auto-focus locks, I then adjust (using 1650 kit lens) the focus ring.

OK so far, and I get the magnified view in the LCD (MF Assist is on) but then I try to use my thumb on my right hand to move the magnified focus area to the place I want (using the arrow keys on the outer dial ring), and I inevitably either accidentally press the shutter too far when I move my thumb, or I let up ever so slightly on the shutter which takes me out of DMF mode.

Any advice (different way to hold the camera or different settings, etc)?

I assume people use this mode a lot so I figure it must be me

SimonOL
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Re: NEX6 manual focus questions
In reply to Walnuts, Aug 6, 2013

If the intended focus point is way off centre, I tend to reposition the focus area before using DMF & MF assist. Otherwise it's easier to focus on the object, wait for MF assist to cancel (to return to the unmagnified view) and recompose the shot to your liking whilst keeping the shutter button half pressed.

It's much easier using a 'real' manual focus lens as the shutter button doesn't need to be pressed until you want to take the shot

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blue_skies
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Re: NEX6 manual focus questions
In reply to Walnuts, Aug 6, 2013

Walnuts wrote:

I'm trying out Direct Manual Focus, and I must be doing something wrong because it seems I'd need 3 hands to make this work.

While holding the camera with my right hand, with my thumb around the back of the camera and my index finger carefully trying to hold the shutter in the half-way position so auto-focus locks, I then adjust (using 1650 kit lens) the focus ring.

OK so far, and I get the magnified view in the LCD (MF Assist is on) but then I try to use my thumb on my right hand to move the magnified focus area to the place I want (using the arrow keys on the outer dial ring), and I inevitably either accidentally press the shutter too far when I move my thumb, or I let up ever so slightly on the shutter which takes me out of DMF mode.

Any advice (different way to hold the camera or different settings, etc)?

I assume people use this mode a lot so I figure it must be me

Try your left thumb?

I'll explain - once you have entered the MF Assist view, you can let go of the focus ring - the camera will stay in MF Assist mode. You keep pressing the shutter halfway with your right hand, but your left hand is now free to press the arrow buttons on the thumb wheel to move the focus zone to where you want it.

Once the focus zone is where you want it, use the focus ring again to refocus, and press the shutter all the way.

Only on the Nex-7 (and on the Contax G AF adapter) you have AFL.

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Cheers,
Henry

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D Cox
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Re: NEX6 manual focus questions
In reply to blue_skies, Aug 6, 2013

blue_skies wrote:

Walnuts wrote:

I'm trying out Direct Manual Focus, and I must be doing something wrong because it seems I'd need 3 hands to make this work.

While holding the camera with my right hand, with my thumb around the back of the camera and my index finger carefully trying to hold the shutter in the half-way position so auto-focus locks, I then adjust (using 1650 kit lens) the focus ring.

OK so far, and I get the magnified view in the LCD (MF Assist is on) but then I try to use my thumb on my right hand to move the magnified focus area to the place I want (using the arrow keys on the outer dial ring), and I inevitably either accidentally press the shutter too far when I move my thumb, or I let up ever so slightly on the shutter which takes me out of DMF mode.

Any advice (different way to hold the camera or different settings, etc)?

I assume people use this mode a lot so I figure it must be me

Try your left thumb?

I'll explain - once you have entered the MF Assist view, you can let go of the focus ring - the camera will stay in MF Assist mode. You keep pressing the shutter halfway with your right hand, but your left hand is now free to press the arrow buttons on the thumb wheel to move the focus zone to where you want it.

Once the focus zone is where you want it, use the focus ring again to refocus, and press the shutter all the way.

Only on the Nex-7 (and on the Contax G AF adapter) you have AFL.

What an incredibly awkward way to perform a simple function. Manual lenses with peaking are so much easier to use.

It could help if Sony fitted a manual focus switch on the lens.

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blue_skies
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Re: NEX6 manual focus questions
In reply to D Cox, Aug 6, 2013

D Cox wrote:

blue_skies wrote:

Walnuts wrote:

I'm trying out Direct Manual Focus, and I must be doing something wrong because it seems I'd need 3 hands to make this work.

While holding the camera with my right hand, with my thumb around the back of the camera and my index finger carefully trying to hold the shutter in the half-way position so auto-focus locks, I then adjust (using 1650 kit lens) the focus ring.

OK so far, and I get the magnified view in the LCD (MF Assist is on) but then I try to use my thumb on my right hand to move the magnified focus area to the place I want (using the arrow keys on the outer dial ring), and I inevitably either accidentally press the shutter too far when I move my thumb, or I let up ever so slightly on the shutter which takes me out of DMF mode.

Any advice (different way to hold the camera or different settings, etc)?

I assume people use this mode a lot so I figure it must be me

Try your left thumb?

I'll explain - once you have entered the MF Assist view, you can let go of the focus ring - the camera will stay in MF Assist mode. You keep pressing the shutter halfway with your right hand, but your left hand is now free to press the arrow buttons on the thumb wheel to move the focus zone to where you want it.

Once the focus zone is where you want it, use the focus ring again to refocus, and press the shutter all the way.

Only on the Nex-7 (and on the Contax G AF adapter) you have AFL.

What an incredibly awkward way to perform a simple function. Manual lenses with peaking are so much easier to use.

It could help if Sony fitted a manual focus switch on the lens.

Or on the camera - the Nex-7 has it on the camera, but executed in a funny way (with AEL sharing).

The Contax G AF adapter is much simpler - once focus locks, you can remove your finger from the shutter, and adjust focus to your liking. You need to neither touch shutter or focus ring, just do as you please.

Then, when you press the shutter again it fires if you press all the way. If you don't,  and you half-press it a second time, then it releases the focus, and the camera starts autofocussing again.

Why can't all cameras be like that - it feels so simple and intuitive - and needs no buttons, neither on camera nor lens...

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Cheers,
Henry

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Walnuts
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Re: NEX6 manual focus questions
In reply to blue_skies, Aug 7, 2013

Thanks for the replies. I think I figured out a way around this.

1). Select flexible spot focus (If you have AF area defined as one of the selections when you press the Fn button, you choose Fn->AF area = flexible spot to activate the small movable orange focus box. You can move (have to move) it into position prior to the half-press of the shutter. Your exposure parameters need to be set/finalized before doing this.

2) Half-press (and hold) the shutter (since I'm in DMF mode it gives an autofocus lock at the location I placed the small orange focus box, and the box turns green).

3) Then you move the focus ring on the lens and the magnification then happens, and you adjust focus per the peaking highlights. Generally it's only a very tiny amount you have to move the focus since the autofocus+spot mode gets very close.

NOTE: You still have to maintain the half-press of the shutter throughout the manual focusing, but it avoids the "need 3 hands" problem I was having and you keep both hands pretty motionless so it's easier to maintain the half-press.

4). Then complete the shutter press to take the photo.

Depending on what you want to do next, the possible downside is that you're still in flexible spot focus mode after you take the photo, which means no controls on the camera are operable (including shutter speed, aperture). I guess this is good if you wanted multiple photo of the same object with very slight shifts. To clear the flexible spot focus mode either push OK (soft key C) or soft key A works too I think.

Once you've picked flexible spot focus via the Fn button, it now gets automatically assigned to soft key B (not sure why) so it's only 1 button press away from that point forward. But that means whatever you might have reassigned to soft key B is no longer active. If you want soft key B back to what you reassigned, you have to get out of flexible spot focus mode (i.e. pick center or multi instead).

Good thing I like puzzles!

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Walnuts
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Re: NEX6 manual focus questions
In reply to Walnuts, Aug 8, 2013

Some additional focus-related questions/puzzles:

Sometimes there is a large green box made of dashed lines that outlines the whole screen once focus is locked (when you half press the shutter). This happens regardless of whether you are in multi, spot, or center focus and seems to only happen when the AF illuminator is enabled.

What I'm not clear on is whether there are other cases besides "AF illuminator active" when this large dashed-line box appears instead of the chosen configuration for the green focus box?

For example I got the large green box today during outdoor shooting (where you would not think the AF illuminator would have been activated). So I guess my question is whether the large dashed green box is supposed to serve  ONLY as notification that the AF illuminator has been activated, or does it serve other purposes?

Is it correct that the focus area is never actually as big as that large dashed-line box would indicate?

Have people found the AF illuminator being sort of unpredictable and turn it off in general? Then only turn it on manually when you know you are in a low light, difficult near-field focus situation?

And a separate question: there is an option in the setup menu (right below the AF illuminator on/off option) for Phase Detection Autofocus Area on/off. Does this just turn the DISPLAY of the matrix of little crosses on or off, but doesn't actually disable PDAF?

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Walnuts
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Re: NEX6 manual focus questions
In reply to Walnuts, Aug 11, 2013

Anyone?

(One thing to add to one of my questions from the immediately prior post above, I did try turning off the AF illiminator, but there were still cases where the large green box with dashed borders came up when half-pressing the shutter in DMF mode. This was when I was in multi focus mode, but I didn't try any other modes at the time)

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