Why do reviews criticize the AF on the A7?

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photo perzon
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Why do reviews criticize the AF on the A7?
7 months ago

Will Sony fix it?

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EinsteinsGhost
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Re: Why do reviews criticize the AF on the A7?
In reply to photo perzon, 7 months ago

Compared to what?

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nzmacro
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Re: Why do reviews criticize the AF on the A7?
In reply to photo perzon, 7 months ago

photo perzon wrote:

Will Sony fix it?

For the same reason they do with m4/3.

Will m4/3 fix it ??

You don't want or need an A7, trust me pp, you need to work that camera.

Danny.

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blue_skies
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Re: Why do reviews criticize the AF on the A7?
In reply to photo perzon, 7 months ago

photo perzon wrote:

Will Sony fix it?

Which reviews?

AF criticism always come in context of.

The A7 has PDAF, but some reviewers were new to the camera and used it incorrectly at the time. They reported many OOF shots.

If you consider high end PDAF cameras (such as FF DLSR), focusing is blindingly fast and accurate. The A7 does not meet this level of performance, in fact, even the LA-EA2 does not meet this either.

If you consider fast CDAF cameras, e.g. the Nikon 1, focusing is helped a lot by the increased DOF of the smaller sensor, and Nikon implemented a clever algorithm. You get a lot of keepers with this system (but you are ISO limited due to the smaller sensor).

For large sensor (mirrorless) CDAF cameras, the A7 has a reasonably acceptable speed and accuracy. Sony already did a great job in improving it. Sure, we still want more, but not at the compromise of image IQ (e.g. all cells become PDAF cells).

And then, moving subjects, that approach you, like dogs and children, do not allow for a 'shutter-half-press, confirm-AF, reframe-and-shoot' method. You have to press the shutter all at once. Sony's PDAF mirrorless cameras do have a reasonable performance for such shots, but the CDAF cameras will miss these shots. Of course, the maximum approach speed depends on FL and aperture - there is a limit that is easily exceeded.

Rather than criticizing, the reviewers should explain when it works, and when it fails. DPreview did so in the Nex-6 review, and they commented positively in the A7 preview (addendum - they retracted their earlier finding).

I find the A7 to be a minor improvement on the Nex-6. It is a tad faster, and a tad more accurate. I am more comfortable to press the shutter all at once on the A7 than I was on any Nex camera. Yet, if the scene does not require it, I tend to avoid it - heck even use DMF, for it is so easy to confirm focus.

So back to you, Sony will fix what is broken. So what exactly is broken?

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blue_skies
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Re: Why do reviews criticize the AF on the A7?
In reply to nzmacro, 7 months ago

nzmacro wrote:

photo perzon wrote:

Will Sony fix it?

For the same reason they do with m4/3.

Will m4/3 fix it ??

You don't want or need an A7, trust me pp, you need to work that camera.

Danny.

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It has been said in other threads: try a Nikon 1

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Henry

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nzmacro
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Re: Why do reviews criticize the AF on the A7?
In reply to blue_skies, 7 months ago

blue_skies wrote:

nzmacro wrote:

photo perzon wrote:

Will Sony fix it?

For the same reason they do with m4/3.

Will m4/3 fix it ??

You don't want or need an A7, trust me pp, you need to work that camera.

Danny.

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It has been said in other threads: try a Nikon 1

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Henry

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photo perzon
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Re: Why do reviews criticize the AF on the A7?
In reply to blue_skies, 7 months ago

Why isn't it in the list of most popular cameras?  It's got all the good specs

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TClair
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Re: Why do reviews criticize the AF on the A7?
In reply to photo perzon, 7 months ago

I use only manual lenses with the A7 and don't currently see a need to change.  Compared to Panasonic M4/3 focusing the Sony cameras have always sucked IMO.

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blue_skies
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Re: Why do reviews criticize the AF on the A7?
In reply to photo perzon, 7 months ago

photo perzon wrote:

Why isn't it in the list of most popular cameras? It's got all the good specs

There was a thread about this earlier. Seemed that dpreview has a database bug (they confirmed).

If you need convincing, click on the Most Wanted DPreview list, and add the tally for A7 + A7r.

Combined score is 553. Second is 5Diii at 486. Third is E-M1 at 378.

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Rod McD
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Re: Why do reviews criticize the AF on the A7?
In reply to photo perzon, 7 months ago

If you're talking about DPR's list of Most Popular Cameras on the right of the page, I'm not sure how it's sourced.  If it's sourced from the clicks on their reviews, they haven't done one of the A7s yet.  If it's sourced from sales, they've barely been on sale for a month.  FWIW, neither are the Nikon D800, the Pentax K3, or the Leica 240 or many other excellent cameras.

Who cares?  Popularity has never been a measure of a camera's worth.

Rod

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Teski
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Re: Why do reviews criticize the AF on the A7?
In reply to photo perzon, 7 months ago

photo perzon wrote:

Why isn't it in the list of most popular cameras? It's got all the good specs

What in the world does the DPReview most popular list have to do with anything much less AF and what Sony should/shouldn't do about it?

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Teski
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Re: Why do reviews criticize the AF on the A7?
In reply to Rod McD, 7 months ago

Rod McD wrote:

Popularity has never been a measure of a camera's worth.

Rod

If you've ever seen or followed PP's posts, you'll know that popularity/newness is huge with him.

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Kiril Karaatanasov
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The problem IMHO is....
In reply to photo perzon, 7 months ago

that A7 will take picture even if focus is not confirmed...this seems buggy to me but this how the A7 works. It is very easy to take out of focus pictures.

Other than this the focus is deadly accurate. This is the thing I love about NEX and now A7.

A7 also has small medium and big zones, has eye Af etc. All great stuff! Lots of progress since NEX-7. A7 supposedly has Af tracking too, I have not tried it though.

Problem with AF is the speed. The Zeiss 1.8/55 takes forever to focus in poor light - it hunts a lot and becomes desperately slow - 2 to 3 seconds to acquire focus! The 2.8/35 seems much better as does the kit lens. I have not tried hte kit lens in poor light. 2.8/35 though is perfectly usable under any light. In decent light focus speed is ok with the 1.8/55

I also tried EA4 and that works well too, except focus zones are all in the center.

The biggest issues with A7 AF IMHO are:

1. The navigation keys cannot be set to move the focus point by default. Instead by default these keys change some settings - drive mode, white balance etc. This makes selecting AF point clumsy - press function key to change the arrow key assignment, set AF point, focus, repeat all steps if you want ot chage the point after focusing...painful!!!!

2. There is no way to reduce the number of selectable AF areas to say 9 or 11 or may be 15 - that can be selected with couple of clicks. 9 zones allows single click operation. AF point selection is not only obstructed by #1 it is very slow due to #2

3. Speed under poor light - I already described this

These are my gripes.

I would not trust the reviewers you probably refer to DPR and Steve Huff's son. I would suppose they have not shot enough with the NEX line and lack understanding of its specifics e.g. did they turn off the AF assist light? Did they turn off the live preview option etc etc. these guys simply do not know how to use the camera.

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nzmacro
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Re: Why do reviews criticize the AF on the A7?
In reply to Teski, 7 months ago

Teski wrote:

Rod McD wrote:

Popularity has never been a measure of a camera's worth.

Rod

If you've ever seen or followed PP's posts, you'll know that popularity/newness is huge with him.

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MattLangley
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Re: The problem IMHO is....
In reply to Kiril Karaatanasov, 7 months ago

Based on most reviews of the A7 I've seen they often say it's AF is decent... most have a lot of the same gripes that they do with m43 systems, in that compared to a DSLR's phase detection + view finder system it's very slow, especially in low light.

That's the same drawback to any non DSLR though. Some non-DSLRs work better in certain situations than others, but none of them are perfect.

The A7 camera sets a bunch of odd expectations since it's the size of the bigger m43 cameras yet its a FF sensor that has IQ that rivals or beats DSLR FFs. This means people come at it what all sorts of expectations, each person is a bit different, and most professional camera review sites put this context very well. That if your comparing it to m43 cameras the AF is quite similar, in some ways better because of it's phase detection hybrid system, though some m43 have contrast detection systems that work a bit better in certain situations.  The m43s have a bit of an edge, especially in low light, partially due to the nature of a FF vs smaller sensor.

Compared to DSLRs it's live view is faster and better... often a weak point of most DSLRs (minus the Canon 70D which is unique it's its system and technology). Though DSLRs leave the Sony A7 cameras and practically all non DSLRs (including m43 cameras) in the dust when using their viewfinder focus and especially in low light

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Chanthis
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Sony will fix it...
In reply to photo perzon, 7 months ago

photo perzon wrote:

Will Sony fix it?

They'll fix it in the A8 or the A9. Maybe the A10.

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MattLangley
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Re: Sony will fix it...
In reply to Chanthis, 7 months ago

Like every camera system from any company they will improve it as time moves on.  Firmware might tweak and optimize the system as well.  The focus system is far from the best in the Sony A7 but it's far from the worst either...  a FF sensor is a bit of a different challenge than most other cameras this size.

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daqk
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Re: Why do reviews criticize the AF on the A7?
In reply to photo perzon, 7 months ago

A7 is plain slow on AF, tried in camera store, hated it very much, never would buy one.

Try one by yourself before buy. Outdoor might be ok, indoor sucks.

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MattLangley
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Re: Why do reviews criticize the AF on the A7?
In reply to daqk, 7 months ago

daqk wrote:

A7 is plain slow on AF, tried in camera store, hated it very much, never would buy one.

Try one by yourself before buy. Outdoor might be ok, indoor sucks.

My indoor isn't bad at all.  Not perfect but still very usable.

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SQLGuy
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Re: Why do reviews criticize the AF on the A7?
In reply to MattLangley, 7 months ago

MattLangley wrote:

daqk wrote:

A7 is plain slow on AF, tried in camera store, hated it very much, never would buy one.

Try one by yourself before buy. Outdoor might be ok, indoor sucks.

My indoor isn't bad at all. Not perfect but still very usable.

"Painfully slow" is very subjective, so it's hard to say whether you're seeing the same thing or not.

Indoors, under mediocre light, I'm seeing about 1 second, maybe a bit less, to go from MFD lock to lock on another subject 2 to 3 meters away. The focusing seems to be quite accurate under these conditions. I'm set to center focus at the moment. If I set it to wide or zone, it seems faster, but it's also much more likely to focus on something other than my intended subject.

1 second to me, to get an accurate lock, is perfectly reasonable. To others, it may be painfully slow. Keep in mind there are those that can't stand the half second it takes to switch from LCD to EVF. I'm much slower than those people... in fact, it takes me half a second to be ready to look at what I'm seeing in the EVF anyway.

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A7 with kit lens and a number of legacy lenses (mostly Canon FD)

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