how can the NEX auto-focus miss these shots?

Started Feb 17, 2014 | Discussions
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Sir Punk Regular Member • Posts: 399
how can the NEX auto-focus miss these shots?
2

I know the photographer makes a difference but I am getting annoyed with my nex 5R because sometimes it misses good shots where autofocus and the subject in question shouldn't be trivial to figure out it should be in focus. I don't always or want to change the focus point because sometimes there is just no time and it should be evident. Look here... what do you guys think? I had face detection on (regist faces) but I have no faces registered, regardless, why is it focusing on everything else but the subject in the center. I have multi-area focus mode. Is there a setting I am missing somewhere?

this looks to be in better focus until you look at it closer or in full screen

Chewbokeh Regular Member • Posts: 155
Re: how can the NEX auto-focus miss these shots?

This happened quite regularly with my old Nex7 as well and really bugged me that I had to always use peaking to check, at which point often the moment was lost.

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eths
eths Contributing Member • Posts: 775
Re: how can the NEX auto-focus miss these shots?

If there are high contrast edges in the background, e.g. the house in the first picture, my Nex-7 prefers them to whatever is in the foreground. Once one is aware of this, it tends, at least for me, not to be a serious problem.

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Sir Punk OP Regular Member • Posts: 399
Re: how can the NEX auto-focus miss these shots?

what about the 3rd picture where it's mostly white background?

chromnd Regular Member • Posts: 407
Center focus and re-compose

Autofocus with my NEX-6 is not very reliable to me either. I always use center focus, half press to lock focus and then re-compose the scene (usually rule of thirds). I also use DMF, because sometimes when I use large aperture at portrait shots and I focus on one eye, it happens that the NEX chooses to focus on the hair next to the eye, because they have simply more contrast.

The problem is, that it all has to go very quickly, so a lot of practice is mandatory. I wonder how the new a6000 will perform, to be honest I'm not so confident about a major improvement - but that's just my gut feeling.

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Richt2000 Senior Member • Posts: 2,900
Re: how can the NEX auto-focus miss these shots?
1

Probably nothing you are doing wrong.

You'll probably get better results with single point af (small) though, and focus on the nearest eye. You don't say what lens you are using, but make sure you aren't too close and you are not inside the minimum focus distance of the lens

NEX cameras are very hit and miss with AF, especially multi zone modes. I use them for landscape / travel shots mainly. Stopping down the lens a little to give you more DoF will help.

Don't get me wrong, I am an A7r and Nex7 user and love the cameras, but I don't use these cameras for people much - DSLR or m43 cameras nail the focus for portraits...

hopefully the new A6000 will improve things.

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j0sh
j0sh Regular Member • Posts: 363
Re: how can the NEX auto-focus miss these shots?
1

Sir Punk wrote:

I know the photographer makes a difference but I am getting annoyed with my nex 5R because sometimes it misses good shots where autofocus and the subject in question shouldn't be trivial to figure out it should be in focus. I don't always or want to change the focus point because sometimes there is just no time and it should be evident. Look here... what do you guys think? I had face detection on (regist faces) but I have no faces registered, regardless, why is it focusing on everything else but the subject in the center. I have multi-area focus mode. Is there a setting I am missing?

If you want to focus where you want don't let the camera decide...

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Tonkotsu Ramen
Tonkotsu Ramen Senior Member • Posts: 2,030
Re: how can the NEX auto-focus miss these shots?
1

just use center focus

i've never had such issues with any of my NEX cameras.

eths
eths Contributing Member • Posts: 775
Re: how can the NEX auto-focus miss these shots?

Hard to say with the third one, especially because everything is out of focus, and it does not look like movement blur.

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blue_skies
blue_skies Veteran Member • Posts: 9,879
Re: how can the NEX auto-focus miss these shots?

Did you press the shutter too quickly all the way through?

The 5R should have used phase-detection at 55mm f/5.6 1/125 ISO 100, and should have resolved the focus, especially in multi-mode with face detection on.

Face registration does not matter - it only tells the camera which face to focus on if there are multiple faces defected within the frame.

Even with the white background, the PDAF should have worked.

The first image looks like a classic CDAF background focus problem.

Is your lens updated for PDAF support?

Did you get too close (mfd limits)?

Did you press too hard and moved the camera?

Did you press too quickly (should work in PDAF mode though)?

Are these one-off, or typical results for you? If one-off, the white background may be culprit.

Do you have another PDAF enabled AF lens and if so, do you get same results? How about with this lens at 35mm position?

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Cheers,
Henry

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007peter
007peter Forum Pro • Posts: 10,488
Common Frustration.....Face Detection Help to alleviate the AF inconsistancy
1

Sir Punk wrote: I know the photographer makes a difference but I am getting annoyed with my nex 5R because sometimes it misses good shots where autofocus and the subject in question shouldn't be trivial to figure out it should be in focus. I don't always or want to change the focus point because sometimes there is just no time and it should be evident. Look here... what do you guys think? I had face detection on (regist faces) but I have no faces registered, regardless, why is it focusing on everything else but the subject in the center. I have multi-area focus mode. Is there a setting I am missing somewhere?

Sadly, an all too common experience for most of us here soon or later.

My NEX C3 (no PDAF) will sometimes missed shot that is right in front of it.  Its a source of my constant annoyance with NEX.  I found these steps helps:

1. Take multiple shots of the same scene (machine gun approach), then threw away the OOF

2. Sony Face Detection (and Smile Shutter) works surprisingly well

They help to alleviate my NEX AF frustration, but I got tired of inconsistent result and sold my NEX.  The new Sony A6000 AF seem very promising.  Unlike NEX 5R with its exaggerated PDAF claim, the new A6000 seem to have nailed it on the AF.  I'm looking forward to A6000 with cautious optimism.

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telefunk
telefunk Contributing Member • Posts: 525
Re: how can the NEX auto-focus miss these shots?

This happened to me so often I got rid of the Nex3N. The Nex7 seems to be slightly more accurate, but even on center or spot, it will sometimes focus on the foreground in a landscape (see comparison). I don't want to always be second guessing what the camera is going to do wrong!

It's a problem you read a lot of people complaining about on Amazon reviews. Maybe the A6000 will nail it, because of the new processor and a smarter algorithm.

My Panasonic LX5 hardly ever have this problem (see below)....

Nex 7

LX 5

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blue_skies
blue_skies Veteran Member • Posts: 9,879
Re: how can the NEX auto-focus miss these shots?
1

telefunk wrote:

This happened to me so often I got rid of the Nex3N. The Nex7 seems to be slightly more accurate, but even on center or spot, it will sometimes focus on the foreground in a landscape (see comparison). I don't want to always be second guessing what the camera is going to do wrong!

It's a problem you read a lot of people complaining about on Amazon reviews. Maybe the A6000 will nail it, because of the new processor and a smarter algorithm.

Neah - the A6000 will not solve aperture (DOF, or lack thereof) and FL choices for you.

Of course, that's what the EVF can be used for - after a shot like this you can easily see that you have the settings wrong. Matching the LX5 shot (focus/DOF) is not hard to do, but you have to know what you are doing.

Now the inverse - creamy backgrounds - are easier to achieve with the A6000. This will be a selling point, I am sure, especially when mated to the E35/1.8 OSS lens. Same for low light and indoors shots...

My Panasonic LX5 hardly ever have this problem (see below)....

Nex 7

LX 5

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Cheers,
Henry

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nevercat Senior Member • Posts: 3,193
Re: how can the NEX auto-focus miss these shots?
1

First, a camera can't know what you want to have in focus or not.
As said by some others, when shooting people you can use facedetection , the camera will focus on a face and les likely on the background. This works fast, but a face from the side may not be recognized as so...

What I have done is this:

Set the camera (Nex 5) to DMF and focus peeking. When the camera confirms focus I see what part of the picture is in focus, when neede I refocus manualy, when not I take the picture.

It is hard to understand why the last picture is that bad out of focus, maybe the pictre was taken befor the camera was ready focussing?

For those one of a lifetime shots you may have to accept a little out of focus pictures sometimes...

Trollmann Senior Member • Posts: 1,311
Re: how can the NEX auto-focus miss these shots?

Good advice here - use center focus!

And be a bit patient until focus is locked (in low contrast areas like a face against the light the focus speed will be rather slow compared to focusing in high contrast areas). Learning how the camera works will be a great boon when going for those precious images. Then it is easier to avoid mishappen like the images shown here.

And as always after failing - the next image will be brilliant! Keep up the good work!

spacemn Senior Member • Posts: 1,684
Re: how can the NEX auto-focus miss these shots?

Use a smaller AF centre box and recompose, or use the awesome eye AF feature if you using native lenses.

sabesh
sabesh Senior Member • Posts: 1,546
Try a smaller aperture. You might be at MFD (n/t).
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patriotspyke
patriotspyke Regular Member • Posts: 169
Re: how can the NEX auto-focus miss these shots?

it is focusing on the background with contrast, the best solution is to use spot or centre focus

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jamesbm Regular Member • Posts: 181
Re: how can the NEX auto-focus miss these shots?

spacemn wrote:

Use a smaller AF centre box and recompose, or use the awesome eye AF feature if you using native lenses.

I have a NEX-7 and face detection works ok. I use its quite a lot even in M. However AF does not appear to be a NEX strength until perhaps now.

What is the eye AF feature? Is this only in newer models?

Thanks

GaryW Veteran Member • Posts: 8,268
Re: Center focus and re-compose

chromnd wrote:

... I also use DMF, because sometimes when I use large aperture at portrait shots and I focus on one eye, it happens that the NEX chooses to focus on the hair next to the eye, because they have simply more contrast.

At some point, I cut the camera some slack and figure that it doesn't know exactly what I want to focus on, and it's just picking something. In general, the DOF will be large enough that it's probably OK.

If you aren't going to rely on the AF choosing a point for you (particularly when there's a shallow focal plane, or something else in the way that you know the camera is going to focus on, like shooting through a fence or some branches), DMF is a really good option.

The problem is, that it all has to go very quickly, so a lot of practice is mandatory. I wonder how the new a6000 will perform, to be honest I'm not so confident about a major improvement - but that's just my gut feeling.

Someone mentioned "eye-focus"?! That might help, although I wonder how it knows which eye, if you have that shallow of a DOF....

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Gary W.

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