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Thread: A7r II manual focus -- without using focus assist

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    A7r II manual focus -- without using focus assist

    Hi folks,

    I have a friend with an A7 and now an A7r II. He enjoys using some Leica M mount type lenses on the cameras and takes a lot of photos of people, including his young children. We were talking about techniques for manual focus on the A7 series and he told me that on the A7r II, he no longer uses focus assist (neither focus peaking or focus magnification) when taking photos of people, because unassisted manual focusing with the A7r II is so much better than on the original A7. I asked him to describe it and he said on the A7r II, as he turned the focus ring on the lens, there was a "sparkle" to the image that clearly indicated when it was in (or out) of focus and that as a result, his "hit rate" was much higher on the A7r II than on the A7, even without the use of focus assist.

    I had never heard of this before, so tried to find some info in various reviews or on forum threads here, but haven't had any luck. I haven't had a chance to actually look thru an A7r II for myself to see what my friend is trying to describe.

    Are any of you familiar with this "sparkle" (his description) or some other indication in the EVF that really helps you get accurate manual focus, without the use of focus assist (whether peaking or magnification)?

    I'm still on the fence re whether to get an A7r II or not someday. Living with my A7 for now.

    Thanks!

    Gary Benson
    Eagle River, Alaska

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    Re: A7r II manual focus -- without using focus assist

    Gary, Yes. Old stuff from my Panasonic G1 ( the first Mirrorless ILC).

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    Senior Member ErikKaffehr's Avatar
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    Re: A7r II manual focus -- without using focus assist

    Hi,

    I wouldn't agree. But, if you can find the point half way between image going out of focus in either direction that may be close to optimum focus.

    With today's sensors, the zone of optimal focus is razor thin…

    For me it is live view at 12X or selective AF. But I don't shoot a lot of people shots…

    The most important thing is to know your equipment and find the ways that work for you!

    Best regards
    Erik

    Quote Originally Posted by bensonga View Post
    Hi folks,

    I have a friend with an A7 and now an A7r II. He enjoys using some Leica M mount type lenses on the cameras and takes a lot of photos of people, including his young children. We were talking about techniques for manual focus on the A7 series and he told me that on the A7r II, he no longer uses focus assist (neither focus peaking or focus magnification) when taking photos of people, because unassisted manual focusing with the A7r II is so much better than on the original A7. I asked him to describe it and he said on the A7r II, as he turned the focus ring on the lens, there was a "sparkle" to the image that clearly indicated when it was in (or out) of focus and that as a result, his "hit rate" was much higher on the A7r II than on the A7, even without the use of focus assist.

    I had never heard of this before, so tried to find some info in various reviews or on forum threads here, but haven't had any luck. I haven't had a chance to actually look thru an A7r II for myself to see what my friend is trying to describe.

    Are any of you familiar with this "sparkle" (his description) or some other indication in the EVF that really helps you get accurate manual focus, without the use of focus assist (whether peaking or magnification)?

    I'm still on the fence re whether to get an A7r II or not someday. Living with my A7 for now.

    Thanks!

    Gary Benson
    Eagle River, Alaska

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: A7r II manual focus -- without using focus assist

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Gary, Yes. Old stuff from my Panasonic G1 ( the first Mirrorless ILC).
    I still have a Panny G1 in the closet somewhere, but I don't think I ever used it with manual focus lenses. The G1 and 20/1.7 lens is all I kept from my micro-4/3rds kit.

    Gary

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    Re: A7r II manual focus -- without using focus assist

    Quote Originally Posted by bensonga View Post
    Hi folks,

    I have a friend with an A7 and now an A7r II. He enjoys using some Leica M mount type lenses on the cameras and takes a lot of photos of people, including his young children. We were talking about techniques for manual focus on the A7 series and he told me that on the A7r II, he no longer uses focus assist (neither focus peaking or focus magnification) when taking photos of people, because unassisted manual focusing with the A7r II is so much better than on the original A7. I asked him to describe it and he said on the A7r II, as he turned the focus ring on the lens, there was a "sparkle" to the image that clearly indicated when it was in (or out) of focus and that as a result, his "hit rate" was much higher on the A7r II than on the A7, even without the use of focus assist.

    I had never heard of this before, so tried to find some info in various reviews or on forum threads here, but haven't had any luck. I haven't had a chance to actually look thru an A7r II for myself to see what my friend is trying to describe.

    Are any of you familiar with this "sparkle" (his description) or some other indication in the EVF that really helps you get accurate manual focus, without the use of focus assist (whether peaking or magnification)?

    I'm still on the fence re whether to get an A7r II or not someday. Living with my A7 for now.

    Thanks!

    Gary Benson
    Eagle River, Alaska
    It's just digital aliasing. I don't have the A7, but I have seen it on A7R and A7S. If you really want to see it, just pump the Sharpness to +3. It would affect your JPEG and LV feed. I still use peaking in conjunction with it to get good confirmation.
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    Re: A7r II manual focus -- without using focus assist

    Quote Originally Posted by hiepphotog View Post
    It's just digital aliasing. I don't have the A7, but I have seen it on A7R and A7S. If you really want to see it, just pump the Sharpness to +3. It would affect your JPEG and LV feed. I still use peaking in conjunction with it to get good confirmation.
    Thanks for the info/insight Hiepphotog! With that lead I was able to find quite a bit more information about this effect and it's usefulness for focus confirmation in situations where a person might not want to use focus magnification or focus peaking. The effect which my friend referred to as a "sparkle" is also described as a "shimmer" and with a bit of testing, I can certainly see that in my A7 now and correlate it with in focus areas, especially along curved or diagonal lines.

    Gary

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    Re: A7r II manual focus -- without using focus assist

    Hi Gary, I typically have set contrast to -3, saturation to 0, and sharpening to +3 in combination with red peaking color set to low. That should narrow considerably the area that is indicated as being in focus. Of course, there needs to be a certain amount of micro contrast in the subject.

    With the A7r I always used maximum magnification first for manual focusing, then going back to non-magnified view, focus peaking seems to confirm the focus.

    With the A7r2 I have begun to first focus in non-magnified view with focus peaking, take a quick shot in case the subject, for example a bird escapes, then use maximum magnification to fine adjust focus. With the A7r2 my impression is that focus peaking used in this way often is already on the mark or very close to it. YMMV.

    I find IBIS of great help in this as it provides a stable, non-jerky image so that my eyes can see much better and faster whether the subject is in focus or not.
    With best regards, K-H.
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    Re: A7r II manual focus -- without using focus assist

    Quote Originally Posted by k-hawinkler View Post
    Hi Gary, I typically have set contrast to -3, saturation to 0, and sharpening to +3 in combination with red peaking color set to low. That should narrow considerably the area that is indicated as being in focus. Of course, there needs to be a certain amount of micro contrast in the subject.

    With the A7r I always used maximum magnification first for manual focusing, then going back to non-magnified view, focus peaking seems to confirm the focus.

    With the A7r2 I have begun to first focus in non-magnified view with focus peaking, take a quick shot in case the subject, for example a bird escapes, then use maximum magnification to fine adjust focus. With the A7r2 my impression is that focus peaking used in this way often is already on the mark or very close to it. YMMV.

    I find IBIS of great help in this as it provides a stable, non-jerky image so that my eyes can see much better and faster whether the subject is in focus or not.
    I am going to try focus peaking on low and see if I am successful with that on my A7r2 with fast glass.

    It would save time.

    -Bill
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