SONY A350 Closed Eyes Problem with Flash

Started Apr 13, 2008 | Discussions thread
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Antti Roine Regular Member • Posts: 312
SONY A350 Closed Eyes Problem with Flash

I had Sony A350 system two weeks with:

Sony A350
Sony 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3
Sony 16-105mm f/3.5-5.6
Sony 50mm f/2.8 Macro
Sony HVL-F56AM Flash

SONY A350 POSITIVE ISSUES:

I was extremely happy with the following issues:

1) Tilting LCD with fast Live View.

2) Steady Shot which works will all the lenses.

3) Fast AF speed.

4) Extremely good flash exposures with direct or bounced flash. The F56AM Flash give correct TTL-exposure even with macro shots like my 30 years old Olympus OM2.

5) The camera build in flash controls in remote mode F56AM and it works! This is not possible with Canon or Nikon. Canon 450D remote flash needs at least two 580EX II flash units.

6) The A350 fill in flash mode gave well balanced exposures with flash highlights and background.

7) Sony do not burn highlighs so easily as my old Canon 20D. Dynamic Range Optimizer even decrease this problem

8) Logical user interface and easy operation.

9) Sony 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 lens was just great. The zoom and macro range covers most of the situations. The image quality was also very good compared to any other long range zoom lenses. The lens size was also small and the price low. There was small distortions at 18 mm but they can be removed with PT lens software.

10) I did not like so much of the Sony 16-105mm f/3.5-5.6. The tele range run out too often. Ofcourse the wide side is very nice but it was not enough to compensate the missing tele side. The zooming ring was too narrow compared to the focusing ring. The average image quality was on the same level as with 18-250mm.

11) Sony 50mm f/2.8 Macro was a real macro lens which smallest object width is some 20 mm with very sharp and distortion free images. The lens works with F56AM Flash and diffuser and makes possible hand held 1:1 macro shots

SONY A350 NEGATIVE ISSUES:

I was not happy with the following issues:

1) Closed Eyes problem with flash is etremely serious. The pre-flash and main flash time gap is too long. Some people with sensitive eyes has time to close eyes between the pre-flash and main flash. I took 50 photos of my wife, the result was that in 45 photos her eyes was closed and in 5 shots semi closed. This was like magic.

I tested all menu selections and build in / external flash settings but nothing helped.

2) The A350 body autofocus motor keeps annoying and whirring noise.

3) HVL-F56AM Flash zoom motor keeps annoying noise.

4) The A350 mirror and shutter noise is also annoying.

5) LCD monitor tilting angle is extremely limited, why? The tilting LCD monitor in my Sony video camera is much more flexible.

6) The A350 body size and weight is larger than Canon 450D.

7) The optical viewfinder is not so good than in Canon 450D. Actually I would have been happy with the high quality and flexible LCD screen only.

8) It is too easy to push some of the the A350 body control buttons accidentally.

9) My 400 EUR Panasonic DMC-FZ18 corrects automatically the barrel and pincushion distortions as well as chromatic aberrations before saving JPG-images. Why my 3000 EUR Sony 350A system is not able to do this automatically? Ofcourse this work can be done with 12 EUR PTLens software but this means extra work to the photographer.

CONLUSIONS:

I changed my Sony A350 system to Canon 450D system. The only reason was the closed eyes problem. I do not want to use a camera which gives photos where some 10% of the peoples seem to sleep all the time.

1) Canon EOS 450D body
2) Tamron 18-250mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di II LD
3) Canon 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM
4) Canon 60mm F/2.8 Macro USM
5) Canon Speedlite 580EX II

CANON 450D POSITIVE ISSUES:

1) No closed eyes problem. Maybe the time delay between the pre-flash and main flash is shorter than with the Sony A350. The people have then no time to close their eyes.

2) The 450D body is smaller than A350.

3) The Live View gives real online image from the sensor.

4) 450D body, 580EX II, 10-22mm and 60 mm lenses have fast AF and virtually silent and noiseless AF and zoom motors:) Tamron AF18-250mm has also fast AF but slightly more noise than Canon 10-22mm.

I did not buy Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OS DC because a) Tamron 18-250mm has better image quality, larger zoom range, more silent and faster AF as well as a very nice touch. However, the Optical Stabiliser is missing from Tamron...

5) The optical quality of Tamron AF18-250mm seems to be as good as the Sony 18-250mm (same lens?).

6) The autofocus with 450D all the lens and flash combinations is very fast.

CANON 450D NEGATIVE ISSUES:

1) No tilting LCD monitor.

2) The autofocus with contrast-detect Live View is quite slow. My 400 EUR Panasonic DMC-FZ18 uses the same contrast based AF, but it is some 10 times faster than 3000 EUR Canon 450D system, why?

3) 450D shutter release do not start Live View autofocus, but -button must be pressed, why? In my Panasonic DMC-FZ18 I just press the shutter release and AF finds the focus.

4) The 450D and 580EX II flash easily burns out faces. The flash exposure must be manually adjusted usually with the range -1.5 to 0. Sony 350A needed much less manual adjustments.

5) I use mainly aperture priority Av-mode. The fill-in flash is nearly impossible to use in this mode because it creates too long exposure times. The 1/200 flash sync makes the background black. The only possibility is to use manual priority M mode with shutter speed some 1/60. However, when going out I must remember to decrease the shutter speed or aperature or change back to Av mode... annoying.

6) The steady shot is missing from the Tamron 18-250mm. I really hope that Tamron adds the same Vibration Compensation system to the 18-250mm as they have in the new 28-300mm lens.

SUMMARY

I will change back to Sony if they will A) fix the closed eyes problem with the flash, B) drop down the sound of AF and Zoom motors and C) Make LCD monitor more flexible.

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Antti

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