This is what Sony’s new real-time AF tracking looks like in action
There’s been a lot of buzz around the new real-time Eye AF and AF tracking on the recently announced Sony A6400. Even more exciting, though, is that this system is also coming to the Sony A9, A7III and A7RIII full-frame mirrorless cameras in a future firmware update.
Photographer Patrick Murphy-Racey recently got the chance to try out the new real-time autofocus tracking with version 5.0 of the firmware for the Sony A9 in Los Angeles. And, fortunately, he filmed it for the rest of us to see.
This was a test of how the A9 was able to use the new hybrid tracking feature by combining the use of distance, movement, Face Detection, Eye AF, color, and pattern. By using all of these together the AI (artificial intelligence) residing in the camera’s programing is able to see the human body type, pattern of clothing & hair, movement, employ Eye AF and Face Detection all at the same time. This creates a very easy to use and even scary combination of auto-focus. I call it the “Spider-Monkey” AF setting. You kind of have to see it to believe it so I’m posting this video to show what it’s like in real time.
Two clips are included in the video above, each played through twice. The first time at 100%, and the second time repeated at 45% speed to help you more easily see what the camera’s doing. Each time the big white box flashes, that’s the camera taking a shot at 20 frames per second.
No matter what brand you shoot, or whether you love or hate Sony, it’s very impressive, and seems to keep up with very fast movements with relative ease. I am curious to see how many of the shots did actually nail perfect focus, but I bet there’ll be a lot of very happy A9, A7RIII and A7III owners out there in a few short months.
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.