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

Started May 13, 2018 | Discussions
nofumble Senior Member • Posts: 2,130
Re: Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)
2

Maybe Sony made an error developing their algorithm using only Asian models with shallow eye socket.

ATLshooter Regular Member • Posts: 385
Re: Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)
1

The Lotus Eater wrote:

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.

But somehow the same shot in the same settings is no problem for my other Sony cameras...just the 7iii. And it wasn't the photographer or subject moving, at Sony's request I showed the problem consistently even with the subject backed up against a wall and camera on a tripod.

And if it were simply movement, the results wouldn't be so consistent across so many users. That makes no sense logically. It's movement, yet the error is the SAME every time with front focusing? That's a deeeep stretch of logic there.

I'm watching these threads but at this point I have no skin in the game since my 7r3 is working fine. When my next preorder for the 7iii comes in I'm still going to keep it even if the eye af is an issue. I can work around that, I just couldn't work around the other issues I was having with focus inaccuracy.

Regardless, I'm staying out for the most part until I have a reason to chime in. I hope you guys can enjoy your new cameras!

 ATLshooter's gear list:ATLshooter's gear list
Sony a7R III Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8
The Lotus Eater
The Lotus Eater Regular Member • Posts: 415
Re: Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)
1

ATLshooter wrote:

The Lotus Eater wrote:

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.

But somehow the same shot in the same settings is no problem for my other Sony cameras...just the 7iii. And it wasn't the photographer or subject moving, at Sony's request I showed the problem consistently even with the subject backed up against a wall and camera on a tripod.

And if it were simply movement, the results wouldn't be so consistent across so many users. That makes no sense logically. It's movement, yet the error is the SAME every time with front focusing? That's a deeeep stretch of logic there.

I'm watching these threads but at this point I have no skin in the game since my 7r3 is working fine. When my next preorder for the 7iii comes in I'm still going to keep it even if the eye af is an issue. I can work around that, I just couldn't work around the other issues I was having with focus inaccuracy.

Regardless, I'm staying out for the most part until I have a reason to chime in. I hope you guys can enjoy your new cameras!

TBH, I think yours were a special case, as you had fundamental issues with focusing in modes other than Eye AF.  Neither of your A7 IIIs seemed to cope with a lot of seemingly straightforward focus tasks.

My point really was that I wonder whether some people are thinking they have an issue because the camera doesn't focus 100% in extreme scenarios, when other factors might be at play, such as subject or photographer movement.   When I was testing myself, I did get a couple of shots that were slightly out, but I could tell before reviewing them because I knew that I'd moved very slightly during the shutter release.  I know AF-C is supposed to counteract that, but we're talking movement at the point the curtain is moving across the sensor and extreme close-ups with ridiculously shallow DOF - shallow enough that one part of the eyeball can be slightly less well focused than another part.

 The Lotus Eater's gear list:The Lotus Eater's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 Sony a6300 Sony a7 III Sony FE 55mm F1.8 +8 more
tesilab
tesilab Veteran Member • Posts: 3,002
???
1

My A7III has near perfect eye-AF at near MFD and everywhere else. I demonstrated this On my Flickr feed including superimposed peaking to show it focuses on the eyeball even filling the frame.

A7III Eye-AF test

Those people who have this issue have a real issue.

The rest is over-analysis. It also doesn’t make a lot of sense to expect anyone you can easily contact at Sony to have a handle on this issue, they are just too far removed from engineers who could know what’s up. This information does filter in to them eventually, but does no good for those with an AF lemon on their hands right now.

Those unfortunate customers have to swap em until they get one that works or drop em if it’s too time consuming or impractical to do so.

 tesilab's gear list:tesilab's gear list
Sony RX1R II Sony a7 III Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Sony FE 85mm F1.8 Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 +1 more
ATLshooter Regular Member • Posts: 385
Re: ???
1

tesilab wrote:

My A7III has near perfect eye-AF at near MFD and everywhere else. I demonstrated this On my Flickr feed including superimposed peaking to show it focuses on the eyeball even filling the frame.

A7III Eye-AF test

Those people who have this issue have a real issue.

The rest is over-analysis. It also doesn’t make a lot of sense to expect anyone you can easily contact at Sony to have a handle on this issue, they are just too far removed from engineers who could know what’s up. This information does filter in to them eventually, but does no good for those with an AF lemon on their hands right now.

Those unfortunate customers have to swap em until they get one that works or drop em if it’s too time consuming or impractical to do so.

I know for a fact that high level Sony engineers are aware of the issue. They even sent me video showing that their camera was functional. I was not in direct contact with them, but I was in direct contact with someone who can reach them. I was filtering information to them, and them back to me.

Rest assured, at least stateside they are aware. I'd post the video but they are using a lady in the office as a subject and I obviously don't have permission to plaster her face on the internet.

 ATLshooter's gear list:ATLshooter's gear list
Sony a7R III Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8
tesilab
tesilab Veteran Member • Posts: 3,002
Re: ???

Yes, well we all expect them to become aware at some point, and it’s good if it’s penetrated to the top, and even made into a priority. But lead times are plenty long for fixes especially for someone holding a bad camera.

Nevertheless Sony is a big company and informed  awareness of this issue just isn’t all that likely across the board right now. My point is we have plenty of reason to believe that not every Sony tech support person is clued in right now, and not sure if and when this knowledge ever becomes universal.

 tesilab's gear list:tesilab's gear list
Sony RX1R II Sony a7 III Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Sony FE 85mm F1.8 Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 +1 more
ATLshooter Regular Member • Posts: 385
Re: ???

tesilab wrote:

Yes, well we all expect them to become aware at some point, and it’s good if it’s penetrated to the top, and even made into a priority. But lead times are plenty long for fixes especially for someone holding a bad camera.

Nevertheless Sony is a big company and informed awareness of this issue just isn’t all that likely across the board right now. My point is we have plenty of reason to believe that not every Sony tech support person is clued in right now, and not sure if and when this knowledge ever becomes universal.

Totally agree.

I suspect many people will get "your camera is within spec" as an answer until this becomes more widely known.

 ATLshooter's gear list:ATLshooter's gear list
Sony a7R III Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8
HFLM Senior Member • Posts: 1,946
Re: ???
1

tesilab wrote:

My A7III has near perfect eye-AF at near MFD and everywhere else. I demonstrated this On my Flickr feed including superimposed peaking to show it focuses on the eyeball even filling the frame.

A7III Eye-AF test

Those people who have this issue have a real issue.

No, most people having this issue just observe it around MFD (eye-AF + AFC). Many of my images have the eye-lashes or brow in focus then, for grown-ups at f1.4. I didn't try it on small kids at f1.8, where the eye is much smaller and DOF could cover up focus mistakes easier.

The rest is over-analysis.

Nonsense. Many here know what they are doing. We shoot professionally, use the A9 and A7riii, so have a comparison.

It also doesn’t make a lot of sense to expect anyone you can easily contact at Sony to have a handle on this issue, they are just too far removed from engineers who could know what’s up.

I got in contact with Sony engineers, but they consider the A7iii to be within specs, although A9 and A7riii don't show this behaviour.

I

This information does filter in to them eventually, but does no good for those with an AF lemon on their hands right now.

Most don't have an AF lemon, as all focus modes work perfectly with the exception of eye-AF at close distances.

Those unfortunate customers have to swap em until they get one that works or drop em if it’s too time consuming or impractical to do so.

 HFLM's gear list:HFLM's gear list
Sony a7R III Sony a7 III Sony a9
NewEraPhotographer
NewEraPhotographer Contributing Member • Posts: 531
Re: Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)

nofumble wrote:

Maybe Sony made an error developing their algorithm using only Asian models with shallow eye socket.

Not cool.

 NewEraPhotographer's gear list:NewEraPhotographer's gear list
Sony a7 II Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS Sony FE 85mm F1.8 Sony FE 28mm F2 Sony FE 50mm F1.8
jameszhan
jameszhan Contributing Member • Posts: 597
Re: Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)
2

nofumble wrote:

Maybe Sony made an error developing their algorithm using only Asian models with shallow eye socket.

Honestly that was my thought too. Just look at the eyes below, one is Asian (mine) and the other is Caucasian. The latter has a much deeper socket. It's fascinating how differently they are structured!

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

nofumble wrote:

Maybe Sony made an error developing their algorithm using only Asian models with shallow eye socket.

That might actually explain why my eyes aren't in focus when my wife take a shot of me, but her eyes are in focus when I take a shot of her.

She's not Asian but her eye structure is very different than mine.

tesilab
tesilab Veteran Member • Posts: 3,002
Do I read you right now?

Ok, I have just reread your first post on the thread very carefully, to give your points the respect they deserve. This is what I understood, summarized:

  • There an AF "issue" that is distinct from, say ATLShooter's generic AF issues
  • His issues revolved around what we hypothesize is 'miscalibrated' PDAF.
  • You claim an EyeAF just doesn't work on really big eyes (relative to sensor)
  • You implicate near MFD, but I'm guessing this depends on focal length, MFD, etc, and really only has to do with eyes
  • You discuss what sounds like focus breathing (FOV change) but I'm not sure how it is related to anything else
  • You claim that a large number of complainants suffer from "big eye" rather than PDF miscalibration.

Do I read you right this time?

 tesilab's gear list:tesilab's gear list
Sony RX1R II Sony a7 III Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Sony FE 85mm F1.8 Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 +1 more
HFLM Senior Member • Posts: 1,946
Re: Do I read you right now?

tesilab wrote:

Ok, I have just reread your first post on the thread very carefully, to give your points the respect they deserve. This is what I understood, summarized:

  • There an AF "issue" that is distinct from, say ATLShooter's generic AF issues

Yes. There are many people here and over at Fred Miranda not having any PDAF problem in general, but only an eye-AF problem at close distances.

  • His issues revolved around what we hypothesize is 'miscalibrated' PDAF.

Quite possible. Reason is not understood yet.

  • You claim an EyeAF just doesn't work on really big eyes (relative to sensor)

I don't claim it, but report and experience myself what many many people see with AFC + eye-AF when the head fills the frame, which is close to MFD. This is easily replicable. I can do controlled experiments to reproduce it (I am a scientist in my main job, so that is an easy task).

  • You implicate near MFD, but I'm guessing this depends on focal length, MFD, etc, and really only has to do with eyes

Of course. AFC works at those distances, AFS+eye AF works, too. Without the contrast detect step AFC+eye AF fails 90% of the time.

  • You discuss what sounds like focus breathing (FOV change) but I'm not sure how it is related to anything else

My theory. Most internally focussing lenses change focal length when getting close, usually the focal length decreases. One an easily google that. I have one lens which doesn't have issues on the A7iii, the 85GM. Compared to the Batis 85, which we have, too, I can see that the 85GM FOV doesn't change that fast and strong when approaching MFD, it doesn't breath much. So my theory, that the A7iii doesn't somehow account for this. All my other lenses show this eye-AF behaviour.

  • You claim that a large number of complainants suffer from "big eye" rather than PDF miscalibration.

Yes. Again look through several threads here and over at Fred Miranda. Only here I read of a limited amount of people having an A7iii which seems to have a non-working phase detect system in general. All others report problems with eye-AF + AFC at closer distances, only.

Do I read you right this time?

As I said, there now is evidence that several units show this behaviour. I said, too, that for my type of shooting it is not a very important thing to shoot tight head shots with eye-AF, but it annoys me from time to time, esp. because the A7r3 and A9 don't show that. So this difference across bodies indicates a difference in software implementation.

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Sony a7R III Sony a7 III Sony a9
OP ansel141 New Member • Posts: 7
Re: Replace and don’t wait

tesilab wrote:

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.”

So I got a response from my sales rep, who had gotten in contact with Sony, and Sony says, as @tesilab suggested, that the camera is "within spec" because "under certain conditions (such us the use of sunglasses, forehead hair, low light or backlight conditions, when the subject is in the shadows, or moving too much) , the eye-AF function can be limited".

I consider this reply unacceptable, but it's the same other users got . I will try a new unit and let you know what happens, but this really feels like gambling.

jameszhan
jameszhan Contributing Member • Posts: 597
Re: Replace and don’t wait

ansel141 wrote:

tesilab wrote:

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.”

So I got a response from my sales rep, who had gotten in contact with Sony, and Sony says, as @tesilab suggested, that the camera is "within spec" because "under certain conditions (such us the use of sunglasses, forehead hair, low light or backlight conditions, when the subject is in the shadows, or moving too much) , the eye-AF function can be limited".

I consider this reply unacceptable, but it's the same other users got . I will try a new unit and let you know what happens, but this really feels like gambling.

Yeah that's bad news.

The first copy of mine couldn't do eye-AF properly even under ideal conditions. It really is a gamble at this point. I'm still waiting for my 3rd copy and I'm not confident that it will be a good copy. Here is to hope it is.

 jameszhan's gear list:jameszhan's gear list
Sony a7 III Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art Sony FE 28mm F2
Lady Ninja New Member • Posts: 6
Re: Replace and don’t wait
1

My first post.

I Just purchase the a7iii here in Norway. They actually had 3 in stock! Im going over from a Canon 5d iii. So all this sony-things a new for me.... BUT I have seriously been reading all that is to this camera. Nerd, yes. But my memory sucks, so maybe back to start... lol.

I did not purchase this for for eye-focus-thingy. I mostly shoot dogs and horses. But I also have a girl at 8 yrs. So maybe I like it anyway and will shoot more ppl

I did not think I had the eye-af problem at first. Or..... when I first saw the threads i thought YES!!!! Me too! But then I thought about user errors. But now I have tried it for at least 4 times, in different scenarios, and the same result.... When it finds the spot, gosh its spot on. But, I almost always see the eyelash most in focus, but at 1.8 I'll take it... But wow, when it really gets the eye...!
The big problem is the eye-af gets literally all over the place, when the subject is moving SLOW towards me. It actually gets beside the head! Weird is that some of the pictures I then review are not that bad in focus, you should maybe think it wouldn't focus on the subject at all. But anyway, most of them are not in eye focus at all. I cant tell 100% if those pictures with the green eye-af focus, when it gets beside the head, or some other place in the face, are those who are out of focus. Clearly there are some.

Is this normal? I would very much think the green box should be on the eye at all time? I tried speed 3 and 5. Same result. Af-c, in single mode its ok, but I understand the problem dosnt exist there...

I really really want to close my ears and eyes and move on, and maybe hope for an firmware. But on the other hand, I can feel the pis*** of feeling whispering inside.

Yes, a little introduction of my case. I expect to be fried that I suck, ore something like that. I would be glad, then its on me and not an issue with it. And THEN the world can move on for my part. Yaaay.

I am just now sorting the images for uploading...

Just do add im trying out the mc-11 with the canon 135 and 35mm with good result.

 Lady Ninja's gear list:Lady Ninja's gear list
Sony RX100 Sony a7 III Sony FE 85mm F1.8 Canon EF 35mm F1.4L USM Canon EF 135mm F2L USM +2 more
Lady Ninja New Member • Posts: 6
Re: Replace and don’t wait

One thing.... I don't like the thought of my familiy open for pixel peeping for the rest of our lifes... Is there any way around? How to you guys do it?

Could I take a "screenshot" of the whole image, ala the size as Fit in Lightroom in the navigation, and then only close up of the eye focus? Would that give any false reading? I would actually like to take the pictures down after some time, but I understand the purpose of having an forum...

 Lady Ninja's gear list:Lady Ninja's gear list
Sony RX100 Sony a7 III Sony FE 85mm F1.8 Canon EF 35mm F1.4L USM Canon EF 135mm F2L USM +2 more
Kenneth16 Forum Member • Posts: 74
Re: Replace and don’t wait
1

Lady Ninja wrote:

One thing.... I don't like the thought of my familiy open for pixel peeping for the rest of our lifes... Is there any way around? How to you guys do it?

Could I take a "screenshot" of the whole image, ala the size as Fit in Lightroom in the navigation, and then only close up of the eye focus? Would that give any false reading? I would actually like to take the pictures down after some time, but I understand the purpose of having an forum...

You can crop the eye(s) out if you are worried about the privacy of your relatives. But this only works if you shot at a close distance. Otherwise the resolution will be too low.

MILC man Senior Member • Posts: 3,159
Re: Replace and don’t wait
1

Lady Ninja wrote:

One thing.... I don't like the thought of my familiy open for pixel peeping for the rest of our lifes... Is there any way around? How to you guys do it?

Could I take a "screenshot" of the whole image, ala the size as Fit in Lightroom in the navigation, and then only close up of the eye focus? Would that give any false reading? I would actually like to take the pictures down after some time, but I understand the purpose of having an forum...

I think that there is a limited amount of time that a post can be edited, so you may not be able to take the pics down later.

do you have photoshop or similar? just do a 100% crop of the eye/eyebrow area, and post that.

S_Harlem New Member • Posts: 9
Re: Eye AF Sony A7 III issue in Europe too (Spain)

I just got my camera today in Spain too and it has the problem. Serial no: 3789. I wrote to Sony already, waiting to hear back from them but I'm thinking I might call the store and try to exchange my unit if they have others available. What did you guys end up doing?

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