FYI: Another case of A7 III eye-AF issue

Started May 1, 2018 | Discussions
jameszhan
jameszhan Contributing Member • Posts: 597
FYI: Another case of A7 III eye-AF issue
17

A while ago, ATLshooter had 3 huge threads about eye-AF failure on two copies of A7 III. I thought I should be okay because only 8 people were reporting the same problem in this forum.

I was wrong. My copy (serial number 3379xxx) of A7 III has the exact same issue.

I didn't do any controlled scientific testing; I didn't need to because I used the same lens, 85mm f1.4 GM, on two copies of A7 III (one mine, one in-store on display shelf), and mine was clearly front-focusing while the other was not.

I'm exchanging my copy tomorrow. I'm making this thread just to raise some awareness because I suspect the problem may be more widespread than we thought.

Please go test out your A7 III's eye-AF with a fast lens before the exchange/return period expires.

No need to debate whether it's user error or not as it is already been argued to death in ATLshooter's threads. And in my opinion, it is quite clear cut that this is not user error.

My copy

Cropped to show it's out of focus

The copy on the shelf in store

Cropped to show the tack sharp focus

Note that this two shots are not the only ones I took. I was using my 24-70 GM at f2.8 and I already noticed a bit of softness at the eye with eye-AF, which was why I went into the store today and tested it with a f1.4 lens.

I would like to thank ATLshooter for raising awareness of it. I don't think I would go in store to get a f1.4 lens to test if I didn't know this problem could exist in some copies of the camera. I currently don't have the budget to buy another lens, and if I found out about the problem when I saved up enough to buy a fast prime, it would most likely be too late for me to exchange.

 jameszhan's gear list:jameszhan's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 28mm F2 Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art
Sony a7 Sony a7 III Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM
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shelant1977 Forum Member • Posts: 62
Re: FYI: Another case of A7 III eye-AF issue
2

Same thing happens when I shoot with my new Zeiss 35mm 1.4 FE. I was contributing it to the softness of the 1.4 aperture, but some shots are dead on and some are soft. I rely on eye af a lot and quite upset with its performance using 35 1.4... anyone else???

 shelant1977's gear list:shelant1977's gear list
Sony a7R III Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Sony FE 70-200 F4 Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 Apple iPhone X
RussKNY
RussKNY Regular Member • Posts: 156
Re: FYI: Another case of A7 III eye-AF issue
2

jameszhan wrote:

A while ago, ATLshooter had 3 huge threads about eye-AF failure on two copies of A7 III. I thought I should be okay because only 8 people were reporting the same problem in this forum.

I was wrong. My copy (serial number 3379xxx) of A7 III has the exact same issue.

I didn't do any controlled scientific testing; I didn't need to because I used the same lens, 85mm f1.4 GM, on two copies of A7 III (one mine, one in-store on display shelf), and mine was clearly front-focusing while the other was not.

I'm exchanging my copy tomorrow. I'm making this thread just to raise some awareness because I suspect the problem may be more widespread than we thought.

Please go test out your A7 III's eye-AF with a fast lens before the exchange/return period expires.

No need to debate whether it's user error or not as it is already been argued to death in ATLshooter's threads. And in my opinion, it is quite clear cut that this is not user error.

My copy

Cropped to show it's out of focus

The copy on the shelf in store

Cropped to show the tack sharp focus

Note that this two shots are not the only ones I took. I was using my 24-70 GM at f2.8 and I already noticed a bit of softness at the eye with eye-AF, which was why I went into the store today and tested it with a f1.4 lens.

I would like to thank ATLshooter for raising awareness of it. I don't think I would go in store to get a f1.4 lens to test if I didn't know this problem could exist in some copies of the camera. I currently don't have the budget to buy another lens, and if I found out about the problem when I saved up enough to buy a fast prime, it would most likely be too late for me to exchange.

I have the same serial number prefix and the same lens, but experience  no front focusing issues with Eye-AF.

 RussKNY's gear list:RussKNY's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM Sony FE 50mm F1.4 ZA +1 more
jameszhan
OP jameszhan Contributing Member • Posts: 597
Re: FYI: Another case of A7 III eye-AF issue

That's awesome. I'm hoping to get a working copy tomorrow!

 jameszhan's gear list:jameszhan's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 28mm F2 Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art
tubbyy New Member • Posts: 7
Re: FYI: Another case of A7 III eye-AF issue
2

Can you try cleaning the sensor through the menus and see if that clears up the problem on your problem body?  I'm curious because that may have fixed the issue on mine. I had maybe 30% hit rate with eye-af on my body but after doing the sensor cleaning the hit rate seems to have increased.  I do however need to do more testing and might go to the next town over to check my lens on another body. I've got 45 days with buydig to make sure I've got a good copy.

jameszhan
OP jameszhan Contributing Member • Posts: 597
Re: FYI: Another case of A7 III eye-AF issue
1

tubbyy wrote:

Can you try cleaning the sensor through the menus and see if that clears up the problem on your problem body? I'm curious because that may have fixed the issue on mine. I had maybe 30% hit rate with eye-af on my body but after doing the sensor cleaning the hit rate seems to have increased. I do however need to do more testing and might go to the next town over to check my lens on another body. I've got 45 days with buydig to make sure I've got a good copy.

Yes, I used the cleaning function from the menu a few times, and also used a blower to clean it. Then I took a photo at the sky with f/22 aperture to make sure the sensor was clean.

Even if it wasn't, I don't think that was the problem (not in my case at least) because all other focus modes worked perfectly.

 jameszhan's gear list:jameszhan's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 28mm F2 Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art
splashy
splashy Senior Member • Posts: 2,950
Re: FYI: Another case of A7 III eye-AF issue
7

I think it's a non discussion.

Once you or your model moves a fraction of an inch at these low F stops the eye will be out of focus.

 splashy's gear list:splashy's gear list
Sony a7R III Sony FE 28mm F2 Sony FE 24-240mm F3.5-6.3 OSS Sony FE 50mm F1.8 Sony FE 24-105mm F4 +1 more
MikeTakesPix
MikeTakesPix Regular Member • Posts: 483
Re: FYI: Another case of A7 III eye-AF issue
7

At f/1.4 and that close to your subject, depth of field is razor thin... I’m seeing one eye in focus and the other not... a common issue I’ve seen most when I don’t stop down during an indoor, close range portrait.

Not discounting your camera might have an issue, but how’s it doing at f/2-2.8?

 MikeTakesPix's gear list:MikeTakesPix's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix X100 Sony a7 III Rokinon 14mm F2.8 IF ED MC Sony FE 24-240mm F3.5-6.3 OSS Samyang AF 35mm F2.8 FE +1 more
ATLshooter Regular Member • Posts: 385
Re: FYI: Another case of A7 III eye-AF issue
9

splashy wrote:

I think it's a non discussion.

Once you or your model moves a fraction of an inch at these low F stops the eye will be out of focus.

People said that was my problem also.

But I let my wife lean up against a wall and shot her with the camera on a tripod. There is no movement with her head up against a wall.

Had the same issue. Just FYI. Plus, I proved my cameras focused in front of where I told them to. See video below.

Now with my 7riii I don't have the issue, despite using the same everything including settings. It's the camera.

Now see the same test shot with 7riii.

 ATLshooter's gear list:ATLshooter's gear list
Sony a7R III Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8
jameszhan
OP jameszhan Contributing Member • Posts: 597
Re: FYI: Another case of A7 III eye-AF issue
1

splashy wrote:

I think it's a non discussion.

Once you or your model moves a fraction of an inch at these low F stops the eye will be out of focus.

No, that's definitely not the cause.

Although that can get the eye out of focus, it's certainly not that easy. Just play with a good copy of a Sony camera with eye-AF, and you can see that shooting at wide apertures isn't a problem at all.

The copy I tried at the store had no problem nailing focus at f1.4.

 jameszhan's gear list:jameszhan's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 28mm F2 Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art
jameszhan
OP jameszhan Contributing Member • Posts: 597
Re: FYI: Another case of A7 III eye-AF issue
8

MikeTakesPix wrote:

At f/1.4 and that close to your subject, depth of field is razor thin... I’m seeing one eye in focus and the other not... a common issue I’ve seen most when I don’t stop down during an indoor, close range portrait.

Not discounting your camera might have an issue, but how’s it doing at f/2-2.8?

I simply don't like so much of the face to be in focus for portraiture.

I personally like it when only one of the eyes is in focus. And I know I'm not the only one who shoots portrait at fast apertures. Irene Rudnyk , one of my favorite portrait photographers, always shoots at f1.2 and her portraits are ethereal.

Even if I don't shoot at f1.4, I would like my relatively expensive, 2018 camera to be working as it is supposed to be.

Moreover, as I mentioned in my first thread, eye-AF front-focused when shooting at f2.8 too, which was the reason why I decided to look into the matter more.

 jameszhan's gear list:jameszhan's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 28mm F2 Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art
tonyreidsma Senior Member • Posts: 1,237
Re: FYI: Another case of A7 III eye-AF issue

My A7 II focuses to the eye ball every time without issue at 1.4 on the 85gm, and other fast glass.

I'm feeling pretty lucky that I have not bought into the A7 III yet.

MikeTakesPix
MikeTakesPix Regular Member • Posts: 483
Re: FYI: Another case of A7 III eye-AF issue

tonyreidsma wrote:

My A7 II focuses to the eye ball every time without issue at 1.4 on the 85gm, and other fast glass.

I'm feeling pretty lucky that I have not bought into the A7 III yet.

In single-shot AF, the III doesn't not front focus ever, so it's entirely comparable to the II's performance there... it's the III that ups the ante with Eye AF in Continuous AF where issues occur for some people.

 MikeTakesPix's gear list:MikeTakesPix's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix X100 Sony a7 III Rokinon 14mm F2.8 IF ED MC Sony FE 24-240mm F3.5-6.3 OSS Samyang AF 35mm F2.8 FE +1 more
navierb Regular Member • Posts: 102
Re: FYI: Another case of A7 III eye-AF issue

Out of curiosity, wich S/N hat the camera at the store?

 navierb's gear list:navierb's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 35mm F2.8 Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM Sony FE 100mm F2.8 GM Sony FE 85mm F1.8
jameszhan
OP jameszhan Contributing Member • Posts: 597
Re: FYI: Another case of A7 III eye-AF issue

MikeTakesPix wrote:

tonyreidsma wrote:

My A7 II focuses to the eye ball every time without issue at 1.4 on the 85gm, and other fast glass.

I'm feeling pretty lucky that I have not bought into the A7 III yet.

In single-shot AF, the III doesn't not front focus ever, so it's entirely comparable to the II's performance there... it's the III that ups the ante with Eye AF in Continuous AF where issues occur for some people.

In my case, I was using AF-S. 

 jameszhan's gear list:jameszhan's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 28mm F2 Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art
jameszhan
OP jameszhan Contributing Member • Posts: 597
Re: FYI: Another case of A7 III eye-AF issue
1

navierb wrote:

Out of curiosity, wich S/N hat the camera at the store?

Didn't check. I'm heading to the store now; I will take a look.

 jameszhan's gear list:jameszhan's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 28mm F2 Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art
jameszhan
OP jameszhan Contributing Member • Posts: 597
Re: FYI: Another case of A7 III eye-AF issue

tonyreidsma wrote:

My A7 II focuses to the eye ball every time without issue at 1.4 on the 85gm, and other fast glass.

I'm feeling pretty lucky that I have not bought into the A7 III yet.

How's the AF capabilities of the A7 II in general? If I can't get a working copy of the A7 III I might have to just get the A7 II. Eye-AF not working is a crucial flaw to me.

 jameszhan's gear list:jameszhan's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 28mm F2 Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art
RussKNY
RussKNY Regular Member • Posts: 156
Re: FYI: Another case of A7 III eye-AF issue
2

jameszhan wrote:

MikeTakesPix wrote:

tonyreidsma wrote:

My A7 II focuses to the eye ball every time without issue at 1.4 on the 85gm, and other fast glass.

I'm feeling pretty lucky that I have not bought into the A7 III yet.

In single-shot AF, the III doesn't not front focus ever, so it's entirely comparable to the II's performance there... it's the III that ups the ante with Eye AF in Continuous AF where issues occur for some people.

In my case, I was using AF-S.

Then this isn't the same issue reported by ATLshooter. I'm pretty sure he specifically said that his camera did not have any focusing issues in AF-S. The issue was occurring in AF-C mode only.

 RussKNY's gear list:RussKNY's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM Sony FE 50mm F1.4 ZA +1 more
ATLshooter Regular Member • Posts: 385
Re: FYI: Another case of A7 III eye-AF issue
1

RussKNY wrote:

jameszhan wrote:

MikeTakesPix wrote:

tonyreidsma wrote:

My A7 II focuses to the eye ball every time without issue at 1.4 on the 85gm, and other fast glass.

I'm feeling pretty lucky that I have not bought into the A7 III yet.

In single-shot AF, the III doesn't not front focus ever, so it's entirely comparable to the II's performance there... it's the III that ups the ante with Eye AF in Continuous AF where issues occur for some people.

In my case, I was using AF-S.

Then this isn't the same issue reported by ATLshooter. I'm pretty sure he specifically said that his camera did not have any focusing issues in AF-S. The issue was occurring in AF-C mode only.

No I updated my stance on that in one of the last threads on the topic. AF-S yielded a higher accuracy rate, but still exhibited the issue more than half the time.

I'm about to order another 7iii (my third).

Really, really hoping I get one of the good ones!

 ATLshooter's gear list:ATLshooter's gear list
Sony a7R III Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8
shelant1977 Forum Member • Posts: 62
Re: FYI: Another case of A7 III eye-AF issue

splashy wrote:

I think it's a non discussion.

Once you or your model moves a fraction of an inch at these low F stops the eye will be out of focus.

Eye af in AFC mode suppose to follow the subject (an eye), so theoretically it should always focus on the eye correctly regardless of f-stop

 shelant1977's gear list:shelant1977's gear list
Sony a7R III Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Sony FE 70-200 F4 Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 Apple iPhone X
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