dpreview updates autfocus section of A7/A7r Preview

Started Dec 11, 2013 | Discussions
rishi o'
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dpreview updates autfocus section of A7/A7r Preview
Dec 11, 2013

Before you get all excited, it's just a one line update.

After stating the following,

"After shooting several hundred images on our trip with Sony in Tennessee, I found far fewer sharp-focus images from my α7 shooting than from the α7R. Other editors had the same trouble, at least one declaring she had no sharp shots from the α7, while the α7R was fine. Most of the trouble I found was when shooting with the 28-70mm OSS lens, so I switched to the 35mm F2.8 just to get a few more sharp images as we walked around Rock City. I got much better, in-focus images with the 35mm and 55mm lenses."

Dpreview put out an update stating:

Update: initial tests with our production-level α7 and α7R cameras have shown much-improved AF speed and accuracy. We'll have more details in our final reviews of these cameras.

I just wish they would mention if the update means the A7 is as accurate as the A7r so I can buy the thing Hopefully soon.. I was an inch from buying the A7r but a part of me still is interested in the A7 if the autofocus is as accurate in low light. I guess I'll have to wait just a bit longer..

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sroute
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Re: dpreview updates autfocus section of A7/A7r Preview
In reply to rishi o', Dec 11, 2013

I'm not at all surprised to see they have new conclusions now they have shipping cameras. I'm finding AF on the A7r is great. Zero complaints.

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quezra
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Re: dpreview updates autfocus section of A7/A7r Preview
In reply to sroute, Dec 11, 2013

I wonder what the people reporting focusing issues on their 1.0 firmware cameras have to say about this?

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Martin Muehlemann
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Re: dpreview updates autfocus section of A7/A7r Preview
In reply to quezra, Dec 11, 2013

quezra wrote:

I wonder what the people reporting focusing issues on their 1.0 firmware cameras have to say about this?

My 7r has FW 1.01

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johnboy
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Re: dpreview updates autfocus section of A7/A7r Preview
In reply to Martin Muehlemann, Dec 11, 2013

Coming from a cannon 5d I have not noticed anything that could be described as slow. It is very snappy, I even tracked my daughter roller skating down the hallway in fairly dark conditions (1600 iso).

A7 by the way, not the R version.

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ZzzooM3
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Re: dpreview updates autfocus section of A7/A7r Preview
In reply to rishi o', Dec 11, 2013

rishi o' wrote:


I just wish they would mention if the update means the A7 is as accurate as the A7r so I can buy the thing

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It is not as accurate, it is more accurate!

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rishi o'
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Re: dpreview updates autfocus section of A7/A7r Preview
In reply to ZzzooM3, Dec 11, 2013

ZzzooM3 wrote:

rishi o' wrote:

I just wish they would mention if the update means the A7 is as accurate as the A7r so I can buy the thing

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It is not as accurate, it is more accurate!

Please don't confuse me more! From scraps all over the web, the A7 is Faster in daylight or at apertures wider open than f/8. In daylight there is no claim that the A7 is any more accurate than the A7r. In low light or apertures smaller than f/8, the A7r is more accurate but there is no claim that it is faster than the A7.

So from what I've read, the A7 is faster in some instances, but the A7r is more accurate in all instances.

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blue_skies
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Re: dpreview updates autfocus section of A7/A7r Preview
In reply to sroute, Dec 11, 2013

sroute wrote:

I'm not at all surprised to see they have new conclusions now they have shipping cameras. I'm finding AF on the A7r is great. Zero complaints.

Same on the A7 - I guess that reviewers don't know how to handle 'unknown' cameras.

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Henry

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blue_skies
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Re: dpreview updates autfocus section of A7/A7r Preview
In reply to rishi o', Dec 11, 2013

rishi o' wrote:

ZzzooM3 wrote:

rishi o' wrote:

I just wish they would mention if the update means the A7 is as accurate as the A7r so I can buy the thing

-- hide signature --

It is not as accurate, it is more accurate!

Please don't confuse me more! From scraps all over the web, the A7 is Faster in daylight or at apertures wider open than f/8. In daylight there is no claim that the A7 is any more accurate than the A7r. In low light or apertures smaller than f/8, the A7r is more accurate but there is no claim that it is faster than the A7.

So from what I've read, the A7 is faster in some instances, but the A7r is more accurate in all instances.

-- hide signature --

Another belief ...

PDAF in the A7 helps the A7 to 'nail' subject focus better than the A7r, at times.

CDAF at the higher resolution in the A7r helps the A7r sometimes to focus better under low light conditions.

In the second case you have to turn the focus assist light off, and even then, it is questionable how much difference there really is, as it is so scene dependent.

One reviewer's comment, albeit based on a true finding, does not mean that it always works that way for all of us.

I have no reason to believe that wide open apertures show any different focus between A7 and A7r, unless is special cases, which may benefit either camera, and I would use zoom-assist most likely anyways then..

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Cheers,
Henry

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rishi o'
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Re: dpreview updates autfocus section of A7/A7r Preview
In reply to blue_skies, Dec 11, 2013

blue_skies wrote:

rishi o' wrote:

ZzzooM3 wrote:

rishi o' wrote:

I just wish they would mention if the update means the A7 is as accurate as the A7r so I can buy the thing

-- hide signature --

It is not as accurate, it is more accurate!

Please don't confuse me more! From scraps all over the web, the A7 is Faster in daylight or at apertures wider open than f/8. In daylight there is no claim that the A7 is any more accurate than the A7r. In low light or apertures smaller than f/8, the A7r is more accurate but there is no claim that it is faster than the A7.

So from what I've read, the A7 is faster in some instances, but the A7r is more accurate in all instances.

-- hide signature --

Another belief ...

PDAF in the A7 helps the A7 to 'nail' subject focus better than the A7r, at times.

CDAF at the higher resolution in the A7r helps the A7r sometimes to focus better under low light conditions.

In the second case you have to turn the focus assist light off, and even then, it is questionable how much difference there really is, as it is so scene dependent.

One reviewer's comment, albeit based on a true finding, does not mean that it always works that way for all of us.

I have no reason to believe that wide open apertures show any different focus between A7 and A7r, unless is special cases, which may benefit either camera, and I would use zoom-assist most likely anyways then..

-- hide signature --

Cheers,
Henry

I'm buying what you wrote Henry and that's why I haven't ordered the A7r yet. I would be swayed towards the A7 if the RAW performance of the A7 compared to the A7r is "close enough" when downsized to 24mp. The dpreview comments about brushed painted jpegs and poor AF performance really did worry me since it comes from one of the biggest photography websites out there.

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zilver
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Re: dpreview updates autfocus section of A7/A7r Preview
In reply to rishi o', Dec 12, 2013

And the wait continues!

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EinsteinsGhost
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A7 vs A7r
In reply to rishi o', Dec 12, 2013

blue_skies wrote:

rishi o' wrote:

ZzzooM3 wrote:

rishi o' wrote:

I just wish they would mention if the update means the A7 is as accurate as the A7r so I can buy the thing

-- hide signature --

It is not as accurate, it is more accurate!

Please don't confuse me more! From scraps all over the web, the A7 is Faster in daylight or at apertures wider open than f/8. In daylight there is no claim that the A7 is any more accurate than the A7r. In low light or apertures smaller than f/8, the A7r is more accurate but there is no claim that it is faster than the A7.

So from what I've read, the A7 is faster in some instances, but the A7r is more accurate in all instances.

-- hide signature --

Another belief ...

PDAF in the A7 helps the A7 to 'nail' subject focus better than the A7r, at times.

CDAF at the higher resolution in the A7r helps the A7r sometimes to focus better under low light conditions.

In the second case you have to turn the focus assist light off, and even then, it is questionable how much difference there really is, as it is so scene dependent.

One reviewer's comment, albeit based on a true finding, does not mean that it always works that way for all of us.

I have no reason to believe that wide open apertures show any different focus between A7 and A7r, unless is special cases, which may benefit either camera, and I would use zoom-assist most likely anyways then..

-- hide signature --

Cheers,
Henry

I'm buying what you wrote Henry and that's why I haven't ordered the A7r yet. I would be swayed towards the A7 if the RAW performance of the A7 compared to the A7r is "close enough" when downsized to 24mp. The dpreview comments about brushed painted jpegs and poor AF performance really did worry me since it comes from one of the biggest photography websites out there.

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I am surprised that very few professional reviews have mentioned that A7r has a different approach to improving its AF performance. It is done via firmware, some kind of predictive algorithm or as Sony calls it intelligent AF. The A7 uses focal plane PDAF assist to speed up. This would explain why some claim A7r being better despite of not having a hybrid AF system.

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blue_skies
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Re: dpreview updates autfocus section of A7/A7r Preview
In reply to rishi o', Dec 12, 2013

rishi o' wrote:

blue_skies wrote:

rishi o' wrote:

ZzzooM3 wrote:

rishi o' wrote:

I just wish they would mention if the update means the A7 is as accurate as the A7r so I can buy the thing

-- hide signature --

It is not as accurate, it is more accurate!

Please don't confuse me more! From scraps all over the web, the A7 is Faster in daylight or at apertures wider open than f/8. In daylight there is no claim that the A7 is any more accurate than the A7r. In low light or apertures smaller than f/8, the A7r is more accurate but there is no claim that it is faster than the A7.

So from what I've read, the A7 is faster in some instances, but the A7r is more accurate in all instances.

-- hide signature --

Another belief ...

PDAF in the A7 helps the A7 to 'nail' subject focus better than the A7r, at times.

CDAF at the higher resolution in the A7r helps the A7r sometimes to focus better under low light conditions.

In the second case you have to turn the focus assist light off, and even then, it is questionable how much difference there really is, as it is so scene dependent.

One reviewer's comment, albeit based on a true finding, does not mean that it always works that way for all of us.

I have no reason to believe that wide open apertures show any different focus between A7 and A7r, unless is special cases, which may benefit either camera, and I would use zoom-assist most likely anyways then..

-- hide signature --

Cheers,
Henry

I'm buying what you wrote Henry and that's why I haven't ordered the A7r yet. I would be swayed towards the A7 if the RAW performance of the A7 compared to the A7r is "close enough" when downsized to 24mp. The dpreview comments about brushed painted jpegs and poor AF performance really did worry me since it comes from one of the biggest photography websites out there.

-- hide signature --

Thanks, but that is different though: when you compare the A7 with the A7r, the A7r will win out on detail, similar to how the Nex-7 compared to the Nex-6.

Even low light examples that I have seen, side by side, favor the A7r, there is simple more detail.

But this is at the pixel level. At the image level this is very different.

As to the dpreview's comments - I have seen (FMforum) A7 RAW processed files that yield more detail than the JPG output from the camera did. So Sony is doing some trade-off between NR and detail preservation. It is quite likely that this is also seen by dpreview.

The poor AF performance has been revoked, imho, and the paintbrush comment should be taken in context of the resolution of the sensor.

There are some images, at different ISO, on the imaging-resource website which give a little more insight. I see the dpreview comments becoming meaningful at higher ISOs when the NR reduction algorithms take a different turn on the A7 then on the A7r, due to the sensor resolution, I guess.

Also, DxOmark reports the A7r as 1/3rd of a stop better at high ISO than the A7. Minor, but noticeable.

Again, you have to think in context of the overall image. Pixel peepers tend to work in context of the pixel density, and tend to favor the densest sensor. But you may be optimizing such a small area in an image that it hardly changes the overal result. Or, only if you print at resolution where 36Mp matters, you need 36Mp...

If you are trying to convince yourself which way to go, choose the A7r - the higher resolution sensor will give you to benefits or a higher resolution sensors.

Drawbacks (to me) were the RF lens adaptability drops off, the lack of PDAF AF, the lack of ECF, higher price-point (no kit lens), and my plan to use it with both legacy and RF lenses - I therefore find the A7 to be a better choice for myself. And also, I do not need this extra oomph of 1/3rd of a stop or the extra Mps.

But again, if you compare a Nex-7 image, and than 'uncrop' to A7 or A7r, do realize that you were looking at a 54Mp camera. So both the 36Mp and the 24Mp will not look as impressive at the pixel level as the Nex-7 does.... you have to think total image IQ.

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Cheers,
Henry

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sroute
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Re: dpreview updates autfocus section of A7/A7r Preview
In reply to blue_skies, Dec 12, 2013

I think they are both darn impressive cameras.

BTW, I disabled the AF assist light on day one and haven't done any experimentation. I like to use the camera at night outdoors and don't like advertising that I'm about to take a shot, nor am I keen to keep switching it on and off, so I've left it off, to no adverse effect that I've noticed so far.

Actually... now that I think about it - in decent window light when the native lens is stopped down to f11 or f16ish I have sometimes seen AF fail to initiate without the AF assist light on. I did not try disabling the through-the-lens effect setting to OFF to see if that changed behaviour by preventing the aperture from stopping down wihile composing/focusing.

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M Powered
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Re: dpreview updates autfocus section of A7/A7r Preview
In reply to sroute, Dec 12, 2013

Yes really interested to see the finding between the two in terms of AF performance.

I've gone through 3 A7 bodies, and they inherently front focus.  Still have high 90% keepers.

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zilver
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Re: dpreview updates autfocus section of A7/A7r Preview
In reply to M Powered, Dec 12, 2013

Really?   I've gone through 2 bodies and both tends to back focus, go figure!

M Powered wrote:

Yes really interested to see the finding between the two in terms of AF performance.

I've gone through 3 A7 bodies, and they inherently front focus. Still have high 90% keepers.

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GaryW
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Re: dpreview updates autfocus section of A7/A7r Preview
In reply to rishi o', Dec 12, 2013

rishi o' wrote:

Please don't confuse me more! From scraps all over the web, the A7 is Faster in daylight or at apertures wider open than f/8. In daylight there is no claim that the A7 is any more accurate than the A7r. In low light or apertures smaller than f/8, the A7r is more accurate but there is no claim that it is faster than the A7.

The Nex-6 has a neat feature where you can still get PDAF at f/8 or greater if you use P-mode. It'll stop-down automatically while focusing!   I haven't read whether or not the A7 will also do this.  It would good to know.

So from what I've read, the A7 is faster in some instances, but the A7r is more accurate in all instances.

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Gary: errr... where is the benefit?
In reply to GaryW, Dec 12, 2013

GaryW wrote:

The Nex-6 has a neat feature where you can still get PDAF at f/8 or greater if you use P-mode. It'll stop-down automatically while focusing! I haven't read whether or not the A7 will also do this. It would good to know.

as we know the PDAF results are better with more light, and worse with closing down (or just shooting a dark scene), so where is the benefit of stopping-down automatically? I'd expect just the opposite, like in [d]LSR classic-PDAF where AF'in is done always wide open, with the iris closing to the preset value only upon shutter's button full-press

jpr2

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M Powered
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Re: dpreview updates autfocus section of A7/A7r Preview
In reply to zilver, Dec 12, 2013

zilver wrote:

Really? I've gone through 2 bodies and both tends to back focus, go figure!

M Powered wrote:

Yes really interested to see the finding between the two in terms of AF performance.

I've gone through 3 A7 bodies, and they inherently front focus. Still have high 90% keepers.

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Really?  I can't get it to back focus for the life of me LOL.

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rishi o'
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In reply to blue_skies, Dec 12, 2013

It's become clear to me that both the A7 and A7r have their strengths and weaknesses for how I shoot and I could make either one work well for the type of photography I do.

Regarding what's important to me, the A7 pros are ECF, smaller raw files, a bit faster operation and a lower price. The A7r pros are a bit better photo quality, a bit better video quality, a bit better high iso, a bit better autofocus (for low light when contrast comes into play), a ever-so-more forgiving raw file with better crop-ability.

Reading reviews and all the little bits and pieces on the web has done nothing but confuse me further! I finally went with my gut feeling as the buy button stared me in the face:

A7r it is! So now I'll go ignorantly on my way and assume it is the better of the two

blue_skies wrote:

Thanks, but that is different though: when you compare the A7 with the A7r, the A7r will win out on detail, similar to how the Nex-7 compared to the Nex-6.

Even low light examples that I have seen, side by side, favor the A7r, there is simple more detail.

But this is at the pixel level. At the image level this is very different.

As to the dpreview's comments - I have seen (FMforum) A7 RAW processed files that yield more detail than the JPG output from the camera did. So Sony is doing some trade-off between NR and detail preservation. It is quite likely that this is also seen by dpreview.

The poor AF performance has been revoked, imho, and the paintbrush comment should be taken in context of the resolution of the sensor.

There are some images, at different ISO, on theimaging-resource website which give a little more insight. I see the dpreview comments becoming meaningful at higher ISOs when the NR reduction algorithms take a different turn on the A7 then on the A7r, due to the sensor resolution, I guess.

Also, DxOmark reports the A7r as 1/3rd of a stop better at high ISO than the A7. Minor, but noticeable.

Again, you have to think in context of the overall image. Pixel peepers tend to work in context of the pixel density, and tend to favor the densest sensor. But you may be optimizing such a small area in an image that it hardly changes the overal result. Or, only if you print at resolution where 36Mp matters, you need 36Mp...

If you are trying to convince yourself which way to go, choose the A7r - the higher resolution sensor will give you to benefits or a higher resolution sensors.

Drawbacks (to me) were the RF lens adaptability drops off, the lack of PDAF AF, the lack of ECF, higher price-point (no kit lens), and my plan to use it with both legacy and RF lenses - I therefore find the A7 to be a better choice for myself. And also, I do not need this extra oomph of 1/3rd of a stop or the extra Mps.

But again, if you compare a Nex-7 image, and than 'uncrop' to A7 or A7r, do realize that you were looking at a 54Mp camera. So both the 36Mp and the 24Mp will not look as impressive at the pixel level as the Nex-7 does.... you have to think total image IQ.

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Cheers,
Henry

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