How far Sony’s autofocus system has evolved in just the past four years

Aug 10, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

How far Sony’s autofocus system has evolved in just the past four years

Aug 10, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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It’s pretty crazy just how quickly mirrorless technology has evolved, especially from Sony. They went from being a somewhat small player in the world of photography to pretty much the dominating force in the mirrorless world, and driving sales away from DSLRs.

But just how far has Sony come in those short few years since the original A7 series? In this video, Dave Dugdale picks up his old Sony A7S and compares it to his current model Sony A7RIII to find out!

Dave goes through a number of different tests during the video, including the reliability of facial tracking, and how it finds other objects. He also looks at the speed of the system, how quickly it can move from one focus distance to another accurately.

While the original Sony A7S is still a very impressive camera, it looks a little primitive when compared to the A7RIII. And it really makes you go wow when you realise how quickly the technology has evolved.

Dave notes in the video description that…

  • The AF speed has increased, the a7riii has become tenacious it will not let go of a face.
  • AF has become much smoother, before you would get a shimmering
  • If you have turned off face detect, obj tracking and touch spot focus, when you want the camera to continuously [AF-C] auto focus over the entire frame [Wide], basically allowing you to concentrate on other things besides focus, the area is heavily center weighted meaning it places priority on high contrast objects in the center of the frame, if something is around the edge of the frame that is higher contrast and closer, it will still focus on the center items. IF AF-C and Wide then focus only on center items regardless of distance, UNLESS there basically nothing in the center of the frame
  • With af turned on you can press the shutter half way down to snap to the nearest high contrast obj, unless movie w/shutter is turned on Focus on nearest obj, press half way and hold the shutter button
  • If you want to focus on an object (no face) outside the center weighted area then use obj tracking/flexible spot or use Touch spot focus
    a7s: With face detect turned off, it would only focus on a small portion of the center of the frame regardless if the area set to wide, once an object leaves that small area it focus to the back wall

So Dave concludes that there is most definitely a speed increase, as have the face-holding abilities of the A7RIII’s facial tracking system.

It’s always fun to compare how camera tech is now vs in the past. Although, in this digital age, we don’t have to look too far back now to feel old.

I’m really curious now to see how the whole Nikon and Canon mirrorless systems work out over the next couple of years. It would be nice for them to give Sony some stiff competition in this sector. Or, well, to at least try.

[via Sony Alpha Rumors]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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One response to “How far Sony’s autofocus system has evolved in just the past four years”

  1. Viggo Næss Avatar
    Viggo Næss

    Even bigger difference for video AF between 5d3 and 5d4?? I’ve also shot my cat in full blown attack mode with DPAF on the 1dx2, which is a tad more challenging for AF than a person sitting still, and it did not let go. Just sayin’