Critical bug with "Focus Magnifier" mode
Old 01-17-2018   #1
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Critical bug with "Focus Magnifier" mode

Here is a bug (?) that wasn't addressed in the II series of the A7 cameras (update: III series as well) :
When manual focusing (with legacy non CPU lenses) in Aperture Priority mode, the focus magnifier feature seems to lock the AE in place. As a result you cannot physically open \ close the aperture (on the lens) in focus magnifier mode, without getting the highlights blown, or a completely dark display. Both keeping you from checking focus.
Is there a technical difficulty implementing AE in focus magnifier mode, or is this a choice by design?
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Old 01-17-2018   #2
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Does this effect occur when the camera is in spot metering mode (I presume it has one - I am not sure)?

The reason I ask of course, is that it may be by design (though wrongly in my view) to prevent people from getting a wrong exposure outcome when focused on only a small segment of the overall image. At the very least with spot metering exposure adjustment it should be possible to make those adjustments for obvious reasons. But of course it should do it in any event.

Of course avoiding incorrect exposure from making adjustments when in magnified mode could instead be achieved by having an informed user base which in my view is vastly preferable. Other than this I cannot possibly see why it would be in any sense "desirable" to lock the camera's AE response to changing the aperture when in this mode - after all magnifying the image is an important precursor in many cases to adjusting the exposure (and focus of course). Which on reflection suggests to me it is a fault in software. In any event it somewhat negates the benefit of having this camera for manual focusing purposes.
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Old 01-17-2018   #3
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The effect occurs in all metering modes.
The exposure is locked on whatever value it was, before entering "Focus Magnifier" mode. It resumes immediately after exiting it.

The A7 is the only mirrorless camera, I am aware of, that acts this way when magnifying the live feed from the sensor.
No problems with Panasonic and Olympus.
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Old 01-17-2018   #4
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Not quite sure I get what the issue is. I’ve never encountered a circumstance when I wanted to adjust exposure when zooming. I use the zoom function solely for foucusing. It could be that the engineers also didn’t foresee the necessity for this functionality and opted to conserve processor power by not implementing it. Anyway, I wouldn’t consider the issue critical, or even a bug, really.
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Old 01-17-2018   #5
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I've noticed this when zoomed in a few times.
Coming from Fuji which had a full time/dedicated exposure comp dial that works during focus magnification, it does seem like a miss by Sony to not include this ability although, how would they since the dials are for navigation during magnification?
Once or twice last summer I swore at the Sony as I had to back out of magnification to "pump up" the viewfinder brightness with some more exposure.
It's a minor niggle in the scheme of things but certainly an area Sony could refine.
Given a choice between magnification spot navigation or exposure comp, I'll take the navigation which is how my Original A7 is set up. (don't know about the A7ii/A7iii.
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Old 01-17-2018   #6
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Peter Jennings - This problem makes it almost impossible to compare sharpness\coma\aberration at open vs, closed aperture, without having to exit Focus Magnifier mode, when you want to select the optimal f-stop. Impossible to do that - when opening the aperture - the displays is completely overexposed \ white, and when closing down, total darkness. No auto gain \ AE in magnifier mode.


f16sunshine - The problem is not with the exposure comp dial, but the display itself, stopping to compensate for changes in aperture and lighting conditions.
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Old 01-17-2018   #7
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Honest question- have you tried it in Shutter priority? I almost never shoot AV mode anymore with manual lenses and auto ISO.

I set a minimally acceptable shutter speed, move the aperture as needed, and the ISO goes wherever it pleases.

I don't have my camera right in front of me, otherwise I'd try it.
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Old 01-17-2018   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmail.com View Post
Peter Jennings - This problem makes it almost impossible to compare sharpness\coma\aberration at open vs, closed aperture, without having to exit Focus Magnifier mode, when you want to select the optimal f-stop. Impossible to do that - when opening the aperture - the displays is completely overexposed \ white, and when closing down, total darkness. No auto gain \ AE in magnifier mode.


f16sunshine - The problem is not with the exposure comp dial, but the display itself, stopping to compensate for changes in aperture and lighting conditions.
I just realized, OP... you're referring to when using native Sony AF lenses (?)... I don't have any of those.... I use only adapted lenses.

My exposure comp dial is the front dial which during magnified view, navigates the magnified area side to side and back dial up and down.
There is no exposure comp during magnified view with non native lenses either.
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Old 01-18-2018   #9
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f16sunshine - I was referring to adapted manual focus lenses as well. Not Sony FE \ E mount lenses.

stupid leica - No difference at all with shutter speed priority. Only makes shooting harder, when you do not get actual shutter speed priority.(besides Focus Magnifier mode).
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Old 01-18-2018   #10
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gmail- yeah i checked last night, i see what you're talking about.

What do you mean by "don't actually get shutter speed priority"?
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Old 01-18-2018   #11
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I just checked on this issue with my A7II. And yes, same behaviour here.
I wondered why I haven't realized that before, then I saw:

- I normally use peaking and not the magnification.
- If I use the magnification, I have selected the aperture before and have never changed it afterwards.

So, yes, problem exists. But you can work around it.
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Old 01-18-2018   #12
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Does it happen with all magnification modes i.e. have you tried it with greater or less magnification than you are currently using?
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Old 01-18-2018   #13
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Camera makers introduce some odd design choices which sometimes makes me think their designers have never actually used one. I have one camera in which to activate image magnification you must press a button (nothing strange there) but when ready to take the picture you have to press it again. Most cameras switch out of magnification mode when you touch the shutter button. The button is also in an out of the way place which makes you move the camera slightly from your eye to get at it. It is most inconvenient for MF work. What is more I find that I can seldom trust image peaking when using MF especially with wide open apertures as the system is not accurate enough in many situations. This more or less forces me to use image peaking as the first rough indication of focus then I must magnify the image to fine tune it. And I often find that when I do magnify the subject it does not have critical focus. This applies to pretty well all camera marques I have used. Too poor, especially with the above mentioned camera.

I keep saying I would trade all the image magnification and focus peaking in the world for a mirrorless camera that has a system like that on the Nikon D700 (and other Nikon DSLRs). Whether in AF mode or MF mode, when the image is in focus, a focus confirmation LED lights up in the viewfinder. That's all there is and that's all you need. It is convenient and always works without fuss. That is, when used with a small central focusing point (not area focus) the image is in focus when the LED is lit - you can take it to the bank. This makes MF quick, sure and convenient. Quick of course is the most important criterion when focusing on a dynamic subject. A couple of seconds fritzing about with image magnification too often loses the shot. But every manufacturer prefers bells and whistles even if it is less convenient and less functional for actual photographers.
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Old 01-18-2018   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm1 View Post
I would trade all the image magnification and focus peaking in the world for a mirrorless camera that has a system like that on the Nikon D700 (and other Nikon DSLRs). Whether in AF mode or MF mode, when the image is in focus, a focus confirmation LED lights up in the viewfinder. That's all there is and that's all you need. It is convenient and always works without fuss. That is, when used with a small central focusing point (not area focus) the image is in focus when the LED is lit - you can take it to the bank. This makes MF quick, sure and convenient.
Agreed... I think other dSLRs have the same in-focus LED too, certainly my Pentaxes and the Leica S2 do, very handy especially with manual-focus lenses.
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Old 01-18-2018   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug View Post
Agreed... I think other dSLRs have the same in-focus LED too, certainly my Pentaxes and the Leica S2 do, very handy especially with manual-focus lenses.
I respectfully disagree. I find it hard to see the little dot on the bottom left of the DSLR viewfinder while trying to compose elsewhere, and it only lights when the camera thinks it has achieved focus. I want to see for myself, so I find the magnification behaviour on my A7S better. And yes, I have encountered the problem as described of changing aperture while in magnification mode, but I'm willing to put up with it.
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Old 01-19-2018   #16
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I guess then that some in-focus indicators are better than others, when there at all. Fortunately on all of mine the LED is center bottom, large enough and bright enough to be easily seen.
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