Skip to main content

SONY A77 focusing options

The A77's big (100%), bright electronic viewfinder (EVF) didn't just make it easy to compose this shot, the EVF and the A77's brilliant focus magnification feature made it easy to nail the focus.

Kiki on the bed. SONY A77V + SONY 16-50 f/2.8 SSM lens @ 40mm. ISO 320, 1/90s, f/4. Manual focus using focus magnification in the EVF.

This is a tricky shot. I'm pretty close to Kiki here, less than 2'. (Minimum focus distance for the lens is 12".) Depth of field is less than an inch. Autofocus is too risky. The cat's whiskers and eyebrows are a bit like the bars of a cage at the zoo and will tend to attract the autofocus sensors away from the eyes. I confirmed this by trying to manual focus with the new focus peaking enabled: the whiskers and eyebrows were highlighted red and it was hard for me to get the focus changed. In other circumstances, when I'm a little farther away from the subject, focus peaking is a wonderful feature that makes manual focusing easy and effective.

But this was a job for focus magnification. On my camera, I've assigned this function to the AF/MF button near the rear control dial, which sits beside the rear control dial, where I can hit it effortlessly with my right thumb. I was able to move the focus area over the eye on the right, focus manually, and take the shot. Helped that Kiki wasn't turning her head too much, of course.

And, with the A77, I can do all this through the electronic viewfinder, which means that the camera is up to my eye and my arms are tucked tightly against my chest so the camera is held securely. Using the similar but much more awkward Focus Check Live View function on my A580 requires use of the rear LCD, which for me means that I either need to use a tripod or hold the camera out in front of my face 6-8", which is inherently unstable.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Wireless control of Olympus OM-D E-M1 with OI.Share app

The Olympus Image Share or "OI.Share" app for smartphones allows you to do some very neat things with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera, like control focus, shutter and other settings, download photos to your phone, and geo-tag your photos. The only problem with this partnership between camera and phone — at least for me as a micro-four-thirds and Olympus novice — was getting it to work.

The documentation provided in the app and in the user manual for the camera is typically bad. I wrote this blog article from the notes I started making as I was trying to sort this out for myself. I hope I save somebody else an hour and some worry.

Ingredients To get started you'll need to have an EM-1 and a smart phone with the OI.Share app installed. I'm using an iPhone 5 running iOS 7 and version 2.1.1 of the OI.Share app. I downloaded the app from the App Store.

Addendum 7 January 2015: This article was first published a little over a year ago, in December 2013. I just went through the…

Why DxO Optics Pro 10 stays in my toolbox

You can read this post here, or read my reposted version over over at Medium.

I've used over a dozen apps in the last decade to convert my raw files and process my digital images. Today I rely on four main tools to process my images: Lightroom 5.7, the Nik suite of apps (now owned and published by Google), onOne Software's Perfect Photo Suite 9 — and DxO Optics Pro 10. I want to talk about Perfect Photo Suite some other time; it's my replacement for Photoshop and I really like it. But today, I want to say nice things about Optics Pro 10.

Might seem an odd thing to admit, but I don't really want to use Optics Pro. It can't hold a candle to Lightroom for browsing and managing images. And it doesn't support layers (like Perfect Photo Suite) or much in the way of selective editing (like Lightroom, Nik and Perfect Photo Suite do). I'm able to get what I want from most of my images using Lightroom, or Nik or Perfect Photo. So most of the time, I don't need Op…

Why I switched from Lightroom to Aperture

Read today an excellent article, "Why I use Aperture instead of Lightroom," by Mel Ashar; it's posted at the Aperture Expert blog edited by Joseph Linaschke. Ashar, a landscape and architectural photographer, provides a useful catalog of some of the reasons Aperture is a strong choice for photographers who use Macs. He focuses on the file-management advantages of Aperture that arise from the fact that Apple controls an entire file ecosystem, comprised not just of Aperture, but of iCloud and the file systems on both Macs and iOS devices (iPhone, iPad).

Now, notwithstanding the advantages Ashar enumerates, the consensus seems to be that, Aperture as a photo processing app lags way behind Lightroom. I disagree with the consensus. In fact, shortly after the public beta of Lightroom 5 became available, I started looking again at Aperture and this time I really gave it the old college try. To my surprise, I discovered that I liked it. I liked it a lot. So, instead of upgrading…