Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sony a6300 AF Issues - 24 Apr 2016

While browsing the Sony Alpha Forum I came across an interesting and ultimately-important post from a user describing autofocus irregularities and the need for Manual Focus-Peaking. Basically, when one uses AF in Standard color mode the focal points may or may not be on the critical location for accurate and sharp images. For most imaging setups using the standard array of E-mount lenses, this may not be critical, i.e., you can't really tell that the camera is front- or back-focusing. However, for someone who may be using the camera for digiscoping the problem become all-to apparent!

I had this same problem w/ the Sony Cybershot RX100 III when I was using it for digiscoping. I always felt that the camera was missing critical autofocusing when I used it in AF mode. It worked much better when I used Focus-Peaking in manual mode. The same holds true with the new Sony a6300.

I played with the camera a bit using the AF mode by focusing on the keyboard in front of me. Sure enough, if I photographed a particular key, the key behind it was sharper! So my suspicions were right: unless I was manually Focus-Peaking I was missing critical focusing through the spotting scope.

The Forum User suggested switching the color mode in the camera from "Standard" to "Vivid" or "Landscape" Mode, and tweak all of the color options to "+3". The result is more-accurate AF at the expense of higher-contrast or over-saturated images. However, if you shoot RAW then the Standard defaults kick-in during post-processing. So you get the benefits of an accurate AF system. But, you must shoot RAW!

I played with the camera by setting it in "Landscape" Color Mode with all settings at +3, and my digiscoping attempts seem to improve significantly capture critical focal points (like eyeballs on a bird). I've since set the camera up for two User Modes: 1-Manual Focusing using Focus-Peaking, which I prefer to use almost 100% of the time. 2-AF Mode using the "Landscape / +3" settings, for I'm digiscoping fast-moving subjects and don't have time to focus-peak.

In the meantime, I played with AF-Tracking in the yard with Asia as my subject. The camera does a nice job following motion as she trotted toward me, or groomed in the grass.

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