Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)

Started May 13, 2018 | Discussions
ansel141 New Member • Posts: 7
Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)
3

Hi, this is just a quick post to let you know I recently got my Sony A7 III from a camera store in Madrid (Spain) and it is certainly affected by the (very frustrating) Eye-AF issue that has been vastly reported in previous posts.

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4273349

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4275541

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4276377

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4277220

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4278856

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4281799

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1540503

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1543271

Eye-AF with AF-C front-focuses at the eyebrows (or nose bridge) instead of the eye in more than 50% of the cases. I tested the camera with both the Zeiss Sonar 55mm f/1.8 (SEL55F18Z) and the Sony 50mm f/1.8 (SEL50F18F) wide open, with the same results.

These are examples of the issue with the 55mm at f/1.8 and ISO 640:

ISO 1000

Same issue with the 50mm f/1.8 ISO 800:

These are examples of well eye-focused images (it is very satisfying when this happens):

I am currently waiting for a new Sony A7 III to see if it works. I think I will probably keep the new one even if it doesn't work, contact Sony, and wait for the firmware fix. It is my first FF camera and so far I've liked it that much. That said, I think Sony should have acknowledged the problem by now. I'm leaning towards the hypothesis that the majority of the Sony A7 III cameras are affected by the issue.

My serial number is in the 3780XXX batch.

Hope this helps somebody. European users: please, test your A7 III's Eye-AF function with wide aperture lenses...

Sony a7 Sony a7 III
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jameszhan
jameszhan Contributing Member • Posts: 597
Re: Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)
1

Thank you for reporting the problem; I’m glad you did so—I’m glad not because it “proves me right” but because it will raise more awareness of it and hopefully more people will at least test their new camera out to make sure they don’t have a defective unit (even though they might not need the feature). I hope the fact that more people are reporting the problem will pressure Sony to fix the problem too.

Since Sony said it’s a software problem, I feel like you should just keep your unit. I exchanged my first copy that had eye-AF issues, but the second one had a stuck shutter so I’m now left camera-less for a month becuase the camera is so hard to get now.

It’s quite a gamble to try to get an A7 III with functional eye-AF I feel like.

 jameszhan's gear list:jameszhan's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 28mm F2 Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art
tesilab
tesilab Veteran Member • Posts: 3,002
Replace and don’t wait
7

I don’t think waiting for a firmware fix from Sony is a good strategy here. If you have a defective A7III—even if you reason that Sony will eventually fix it with an update—just replace it now and get one that works.

You can’t rely on the possibility of an update that will fix this. It might require a recall. Sony might not make it easy for you to replace later as part of a globally acknowledged issue, and individual affected users who know their camera is not working correctly might have to make their case independently with Sony, resulting in units being returned with no fix or with meaningless maintenance reported as being “within spec.”

 tesilab's gear list:tesilab's gear list
Sony RX1R II Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Sony a7 III Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Sony FE 85mm F1.8 +1 more
The Lotus Eater
The Lotus Eater Regular Member • Posts: 415
Re: Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)
1

ansel141 wrote:

I am currently waiting for a new Sony A7 III to see if it works. I think I will probably keep the new one even if it doesn't work, contact Sony, and wait for the firmware fix. It is my first FF camera and so far I've liked it that much. That said, I think Sony should have acknowledged the problem by now. I'm leaning towards the hypothesis that the majority of the Sony A7 III cameras are affected by the issue.

I'm a bit confused by the rationale here.

Firstly, what is your basis for assuming it affects the majority of A7 IIIs?

Secondly, if there are fully working cameras out there (clearly there are - mine included), then wouldn't this indicate faulty cameras, rather than an inherent problem in the firmware?  I'm wondering what good or damage a firmware update designed to 'fix' the issue could do to a camera without the issue.

 The Lotus Eater's gear list:The Lotus Eater's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony a6300 Sony a7 III Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN +8 more
The Lotus Eater
The Lotus Eater Regular Member • Posts: 415
Re: Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)
2

jameszhan wrote:

Since Sony said it’s a software problem, I feel like you should just keep your unit. I exchanged my first copy that had eye-AF issues, but the second one had a stuck shutter so I’m now left camera-less for a month becuase the camera is so hard to get now.

It’s quite a gamble to try to get an A7 III with functional eye-AF I feel like.

When did Sony say this?

If it's a software problem, why does it not affect all A7 IIIs?

 The Lotus Eater's gear list:The Lotus Eater's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony a6300 Sony a7 III Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN +8 more
OP ansel141 New Member • Posts: 7
Re: Replace and don’t wait

just replace it now and get one that works.

You can’t rely on the possibility of an update that will fix this. It might require a recall. Sony might not make it easy for you to replace later as part of a globally acknowledged issue, and individual affected users who know their camera is not working correctly might have to make their case independently with Sony, resulting in units being returned with no fix or with meaningless maintenance reported as being “within spec.”

I also fear that Sony might not make it easy for me to replace it later, but it is not easy for me to replace it now. I live in a remote place and my camera store is a 6h drive away. Since Sony Spain hasn't acknowledged the issue yet, shipping costs to my camera store to get a new camera are on me, around 20€. 50€ if we include a shipping insurance.

My camera store will receive new cameras these week and they said they could try to test the new ones before I have to ship back my current one, but they don't completely understand the issue as I think I do, so I'm not sure they will be able to tell if the new ones will be working. As jameszhan said I also feel like it's quite a gamble to try to get an A7III with functional eye-AF.

I got a reply from Sony Customer Service and they told me to contact the authorised repair centre in Madrid which would pick up my camera and inspect it. This is my last option, since that would potentially leave me without a working camera for a long time.

I could also return the camera, but I would then have to give back the 5 years full coverage card I got with the original deal and considering the situation I will try to keep it.

OP ansel141 New Member • Posts: 7
Re: Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)

The Lotus Eater wrote:

ansel141 wrote:

I am currently waiting for a new Sony A7 III to see if it works. I think I will probably keep the new one even if it doesn't work, contact Sony, and wait for the firmware fix. It is my first FF camera and so far I've liked it that much. That said, I think Sony should have acknowledged the problem by now. I'm leaning towards the hypothesis that the majority of the Sony A7 III cameras are affected by the issue.

I'm a bit confused by the rationale here.

To be sincere, there's not rationale here. I just know most of my European friends are not aware of the issue and haven't tested their cameras.

Firstly, what is your basis for assuming it affects the majority of A7 IIIs?

No basis, just a hunch.

Secondly, if there are fully working cameras out there (clearly there are - mine included), then wouldn't this indicate faulty cameras, rather than an inherent problem in the firmware? I'm wondering what good or damage a firmware update designed to 'fix' the issue could do to a camera without the issue.

Good point. You guys are making me lean towards the decision of shipping my current one back and trying with a new one, although it will be time- and money-consuming.

jameszhan
jameszhan Contributing Member • Posts: 597
Re: Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)
1

The Lotus Eater wrote:

jameszhan wrote:

Since Sony said it’s a software problem, I feel like you should just keep your unit. I exchanged my first copy that had eye-AF issues, but the second one had a stuck shutter so I’m now left camera-less for a month becuase the camera is so hard to get now.

It’s quite a gamble to try to get an A7 III with functional eye-AF I feel like.

When did Sony say this?

If it's a software problem, why does it not affect all A7 IIIs?

I wrote a detailed report to my local rep about the eye-AF problem; he reported it to Sony and he said Sony told him that it's a software problem and they are looking into fixing it. I can provide no proof of this because my local rep told me it over the phone. It's up to you to trust what I said or not.

Software problems don't always affect all the units. For example, on Android or iOS, some bugs only manifest themselves in some devices but not others. I'm not in tech so I don't know the nitty-writty.

 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: Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)
1

jameszhan wrote:

The Lotus Eater wrote:

jameszhan wrote:

Since Sony said it’s a software problem, I feel like you should just keep your unit. I exchanged my first copy that had eye-AF issues, but the second one had a stuck shutter so I’m now left camera-less for a month becuase the camera is so hard to get now.

It’s quite a gamble to try to get an A7 III with functional eye-AF I feel like.

When did Sony say this?

If it's a software problem, why does it not affect all A7 IIIs?

I wrote a detailed report to my local rep about the eye-AF problem; he reported it to Sony and he said Sony told him that it's a software problem and they are looking into fixing it. I can provide no proof of this because my local rep told me it over the phone. It's up to you to trust what I said or not.

Software problems don't always affect all the units. For example, on Android or iOS, some bugs only manifest themselves in some devices but not others. I'm not in tech so I don't know the nitty-writty.

That's because there are hundreds for different hardware configurations that run Android. All A7IIIs are identical in terms of hardware specs.

 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
TrackDayLT4 Forum Member • Posts: 90
Re: Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)

RussKNY wrote:

jameszhan wrote:

The Lotus Eater wrote:

jameszhan wrote:

Since Sony said it’s a software problem, I feel like you should just keep your unit. I exchanged my first copy that had eye-AF issues, but the second one had a stuck shutter so I’m now left camera-less for a month becuase the camera is so hard to get now.

It’s quite a gamble to try to get an A7 III with functional eye-AF I feel like.

When did Sony say this?

If it's a software problem, why does it not affect all A7 IIIs?

I wrote a detailed report to my local rep about the eye-AF problem; he reported it to Sony and he said Sony told him that it's a software problem and they are looking into fixing it. I can provide no proof of this because my local rep told me it over the phone. It's up to you to trust what I said or not.

Software problems don't always affect all the units. For example, on Android or iOS, some bugs only manifest themselves in some devices but not others. I'm not in tech so I don't know the nitty-writty.

That's because there are hundreds for different hardware configurations that run Android. All A7IIIs are identical in terms of hardware specs.

Nope, it is normal to use multiple suppliers for components and there can be variations is spec and performance.  Just use the Sony FE 24-105 lens recall as an example.

jameszhan
jameszhan Contributing Member • Posts: 597
Re: Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)

RussKNY wrote:

jameszhan wrote:

The Lotus Eater wrote:

jameszhan wrote:

Since Sony said it’s a software problem, I feel like you should just keep your unit. I exchanged my first copy that had eye-AF issues, but the second one had a stuck shutter so I’m now left camera-less for a month becuase the camera is so hard to get now.

It’s quite a gamble to try to get an A7 III with functional eye-AF I feel like.

When did Sony say this?

If it's a software problem, why does it not affect all A7 IIIs?

I wrote a detailed report to my local rep about the eye-AF problem; he reported it to Sony and he said Sony told him that it's a software problem and they are looking into fixing it. I can provide no proof of this because my local rep told me it over the phone. It's up to you to trust what I said or not.

Software problems don't always affect all the units. For example, on Android or iOS, some bugs only manifest themselves in some devices but not others. I'm not in tech so I don't know the nitty-writty.

That's because there are hundreds for different hardware configurations that run Android. All A7IIIs are identical in terms of hardware specs.

Sure, but it happens with iOS too. Software bugs simply don't always manifest on all devices, not even on the same models. Some bugs do though.

Maybe it's the way the employees install the FW in the factory? I don't know.

Again, I'm not in tech so I can't argue with you. I was just saying what my local rep told me.

 jameszhan's gear list:jameszhan's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 28mm F2 Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art
jameszhan
jameszhan Contributing Member • Posts: 597
Re: Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)

TrackDayLT4 wrote:

RussKNY wrote:

jameszhan wrote:

Software problems don't always affect all the units. For example, on Android or iOS, some bugs only manifest themselves in some devices but not others. I'm not in tech so I don't know the nitty-writty.

That's because there are hundreds for different hardware configurations that run Android. All A7IIIs are identical in terms of hardware specs.

Nope, it is normal to use multiple suppliers for components and there can be variations is spec and performance. Just use the Sony FE 24-105 lens recall as an example.

Ah that makes sense.

 jameszhan's gear list:jameszhan's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 28mm F2 Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art
zurih
zurih Regular Member • Posts: 398
Re: Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)
1

ansel141 wrote:

The Lotus Eater wrote:

ansel141 wrote:

I am currently waiting for a new Sony A7 III to see if it works. I think I will probably keep the new one even if it doesn't work, contact Sony, and wait for the firmware fix. It is my first FF camera and so far I've liked it that much. That said, I think Sony should have acknowledged the problem by now. I'm leaning towards the hypothesis that the majority of the Sony A7 III cameras are affected by the issue.

I'm a bit confused by the rationale here.

To be sincere, there's not rationale here. I just know most of my European friends are not aware of the issue and haven't tested their cameras.

Firstly, what is your basis for assuming it affects the majority of A7 IIIs?

No basis, just a hunch.

Secondly, if there are fully working cameras out there (clearly there are - mine included), then wouldn't this indicate faulty cameras, rather than an inherent problem in the firmware? I'm wondering what good or damage a firmware update designed to 'fix' the issue could do to a camera without the issue.

Good point. You guys are making me lean towards the decision of shipping my current one back and trying with a new one, although it will be time- and money-consuming.

I got a feeling you will get the same results with a different unit.

OP ansel141 New Member • Posts: 7
Re: Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)
2

The Lotus Eater wrote:

if there are fully working cameras out there (clearly there are - mine included), then wouldn't this indicate faulty cameras, rather than an inherent problem in the firmware?

The Lotus Eater, could you show us an example of your working camera? It would help me believe there's a chance my upcoming new unit's eye-af will work...

HFLM Senior Member • Posts: 1,946
Re: Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)
3

The Lotus Eater wrote:

ansel141 wrote:

I am currently waiting for a new Sony A7 III to see if it works. I think I will probably keep the new one even if it doesn't work, contact Sony, and wait for the firmware fix. It is my first FF camera and so far I've liked it that much. That said, I think Sony should have acknowledged the problem by now. I'm leaning towards the hypothesis that the majority of the Sony A7 III cameras are affected by the issue.

I'm a bit confused by the rationale here.

Firstly, what is your basis for assuming it affects the majority of A7 IIIs?

Secondly, if there are fully working cameras out there (clearly there are - mine included), then wouldn't this indicate faulty cameras, rather than an inherent problem in the firmware? I'm wondering what good or damage a firmware update designed to 'fix' the issue could do to a camera without the issue.

Hi,

I was in contact with Sony providing them many raws, too, just to get their opinion. The technicians said the camera would work as it should and the solution is to rock the camera back and forth in continuous high around MFD, even though the A9 and A7riii don't show that "problem" (I put that in quotes, as it isn't really a problem for me).

Now, although I think this to be a weird answer from Sony, it has to be made clear, that eye-AF works as it should, very reliably even at very large apertures for all use cases besides shooting around minimum focus distance in AFC, where the head fills the full frame. In that case the eyes are so large anyway, that using flexible spot S does the job as well. Additionally, I don't like images like that at all, I want context, too. At normal portrait distances all my f1.4 primes nail the eyes 99.9% of the cases with the A7iii, too.

Most lenses shorten the focal length when approaching the MFD, so my guess is, that the A7iii doesn't account for that with some lenses. My A7iii does work fine in AFC even at MFD with the 85GM.  Comparing the GM with all my other lenses, I can see a change in FOV in the 35, 50, 85 Batis, 135 Batis, when getting closer (esp. nice to see when comparing the BATIS 85 to the 85GM), not so much in the 85GM. At this point, therefore, this is my theory behind this "problem", which I wouldn't call eye-AF fault at all, as it only affects certain shooting scenarios. Additionally, AFS+eye-AF, where we get an additional CDAF step doesn't show any front focus at all for all my lenses.

 HFLM's gear list:HFLM's gear list
Sony a9 Sony a7R III Sony a7 III
lattesweden
lattesweden Senior Member • Posts: 2,860
Re: Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)
1

jameszhan wrote:

That's because there are hundreds for different hardware configurations that run Android. All A7IIIs are identical in terms of hardware specs.

Sure, but it happens with iOS too. Software bugs simply don't always manifest on all devices, not even on the same models. Some bugs do though.

Maybe it's the way the employees install the FW in the factory? I don't know.

Again, I'm not in tech so I can't argue with you. I was just saying what my local rep told me.

We are all speculating here and my take is that, all cameras might actually not be the same 100%. Often electronics chips and circuitry boards have different revisions over time due to small problems that are found. Sometimes, the software can run fine on it anyway, sometimes there is a problem.

On startup the OS will check what hardware revision it runs on and if there is a hardware bug on that revision it might use another software routine for that function in the hardware that works around the bug, but maybe is tiny bit slower on that particular function etc.

At times small hardware bugs are found, corrected in software (worked around) and then later the hardware bug is fixed in a new revision of the chip and if the software then runs on the fixed hardware it doesn't need to run the fix software routine and by that is a little bit quicker etc.

I'll illustrate this with a story: In 1992 my Amiga 3000 computer couldn't connect an external Syquest drive. I asked on the "comp.sys.amiga.hardware" newsgroup if anyone had an idea what to do since my list of ideas had ran out and I had tried all settings I could think of.

One answer came that told me that my machine had an early SCSI-chip with a hardware bug in it that only manifested itself in my particular use case and that there wasn't any software fix for it. So I needed to replace the SCSI-chip which was sitting in a socket, which often was the case in those days.

The guy gave me very precise instructions on how to remove the chip, exactly which new one to buy (10 USD in price) at a Radio Shack similar shop here in Sweden and how to place it back into the computer. I followed his instructions and it worked after that. He also apologized for the trouble all this caused me. His name is David Haynie, he was the chief constructor for Amiga computers at the time. The Internet was a lot smaller in those days....

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Best regards
/Anders
----------------------------------------------------
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The Lotus Eater
The Lotus Eater Regular Member • Posts: 415
Re: Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)
3

ansel141 wrote:

The Lotus Eater wrote:

if there are fully working cameras out there (clearly there are - mine included), then wouldn't this indicate faulty cameras, rather than an inherent problem in the firmware?

The Lotus Eater, could you show us an example of your working camera? It would help me believe there's a chance my upcoming new unit's eye-af will work...

Sure...

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/61045047

 The Lotus Eater's gear list:The Lotus Eater's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony a6300 Sony a7 III Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN +8 more
OP ansel141 New Member • Posts: 7
Re: Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)

Thank you!

The only photo of your series that would potentially have the issue is the first one (f/1.8 and very close distance) but it is indeed very sharp on the eye.

I understand you are getting those kind of results the majority of the shots. Congrats!

The Lotus Eater
The Lotus Eater Regular Member • Posts: 415
Re: Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)
2

ansel141 wrote:

Thank you!

The only photo of your series that would potentially have the issue is the first one (f/1.8 and very close distance) but it is indeed very sharp on the eye.

I understand you are getting those kind of results the majority of the shots. Congrats!

No problem.

It depends on who you listen to when it comes to ascertaining what scenarios are problematic.  ATLshooter, the OP in that thread I linked to, was having problems at all kinds of distances, not just MFD.

While a lot of people may be reporting the issue at very close distances, and while I don't seem to have any issues, I do wonder if some people are expecting too much out of Eye AF.  Not only does shooting at that distance not reflect the majority of real-life portrait shots, but it requires a good technique because of the extremely shallow DOF.  No matter how good the focus system, even the act of the subject or photographer taking a breath during the exposure could make the difference between in focus or out of focus.

 The Lotus Eater's gear list:The Lotus Eater's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony a6300 Sony a7 III Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN +8 more
Tergo New Member • Posts: 11
Re: Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)

I am having the same issue with my A7III (377XXXXX) and Zony 55mm f/1.8. Rocking the camera back and forth makes it work, but that's not really an ideal solution. But what this basically means is, that there is not a real hardware fault, but rather a bad calibration of sort. So here's hoping for a firmware fix.

 Tergo's gear list:Tergo's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 Sony a7 III Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 ASPH
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