With the world’s fastest autofocus system (A6000)

Started Feb 12, 2014 | Discussions thread
GaryW Veteran Member • Posts: 8,705
Re: re: few questions on practical aspects of the a6k

erringtont wrote:

Actually, in P mode, you can use any aperture you want -- the camera will change the aperture between focusing and snapping the photo. You can watch the aperture in the lens and see! This is in single-shot mode, though (AF-S) not AF-C.

Thanks for the tip regarding Program mode. I'll give that a try, however Sony is pretty specific about the limitation. In the NEX 6/5R Handbook Page 131:

"When the aperture value is greater than F6.3, Phase Detection AF is unavailable. You can only use Contrast AF."

It may well be focusing wide open, but using CD not PD.


Tried your idea of using P mode and I don't see any difference in operation. Watching the lens it stops down to the set aperture at shutter half press and does not reopen at full shutter release. Perhaps you have another setting active that I don't?

That's correct that it does not reopen at full shutter press.  It's already been focused at the half-press!  It's WIDE OPEN at the start of the half-press, then immediately stopped down as you half-press and it has completed focusing.

I tested, and S-mode works similarly. (Plus, if you turn AEL w/shutter off, it'll keep varying the aperture as you pan around to modify the exposure, which you can of course lock with the AEL button.)

I was pretty excited to see this.  I think it's pretty huge.  It's probably why the camera focuses better for me than for others.  

Many DSLR's have an AF-On button on the rear of the camera (Canon & Nikon in particular) and can be configured so the half shutter press does not activate AF. This is not dissimilar to how we used to focus SLRs before AF. Very handy for focus then recompose without having to use AF-L among other benefits.

Can you do it in the opposite order? You can half-press to compose focus, and then use the AEL button to lock the exposure, then frame how you want and fully-press the shutter. (There's a menu option to turn off setting AEL with shutter.)

Sure, but that's multiple steps to accomplish what one step should/could.

Half-press to focus, AEL to lock exposure.  Now you can fully-press to take the photo.

The other way, you'd have to hold the focus-off, half-press to lock exposure, then you can fully-press to take the photo.  ??

The point is that sometimes what's offered as a limitation isn't.  Now, maybe you object to Sony's way of doing things, but you can either work with it, or get a camera that works the way you want it to. I run into this with software as well; sometimes it's just easier to work within the framework you have rather than fighting it all the time to get to the same place.

Is this new for Sony? The past cameras I've seen in the past don't have any custom setting modes.

Not sure about other Sony models, but many cameras have such a feature. Even my little LX-5 has two user settings memory selections. It helps to avoid menu diving considerably.

What I meant is that Sony didn't seem to do this in its cameras in the past. I'm not saying that it has never been done in other brands. I had an old Nikon P&S that had it. I even found it occasionally useful. However, when deciding whether or not to purchase a Sony camera, I had to make the call -- can I work around that? And it turns out that I've been able to, although turning a dial to a custom mode that you have set up at the start of your shoot can make things a lot easier.

I see the A7 and A7R have this feature, so maybe we'll see it incorporated in more future models.

Looks like Sony is making an effort to make improvements in the UI.  I'm not holding my breath for FW updates for the older cameras.  

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Gary W.

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