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Alastair M

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  1. Thank you! Actually have been tapping into Mark Galer too and he also pointed me to a couple of his shorter videos and to this masterclass. I believe my key take-out, coming as I do from Canon and the 5d Mark IV, is that I need to "get over myself" in terms of my negative experiences of using either continuous or auto-switching AF ("Ai" mode on the Canon, which never worked very well). It seems like the smarter logic and algorithms inside the Sony means for most of my photography - which consists for 80%+ of taking photos of kids at home and at school - I need to start using continuous AF and reap the benefits of center-lock tracking, face recognition and eye recognition... it requires a leap of faith but I'm sure I'll get there once I know what I'm doing! Thanks again Alastair
  2. Hello folks, I am a new (amateur) user of Sony Alpha having recently sold all my Canon gear and bought a new Sony a9 and three Sony lenses. I love the camera but there are a few things related to the super-smart autofocus capability which the manual is really unclear / unhelpful about. I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to get some additional support from Sony in terms of getting a better understanding of the workings of the various focus systems and functions. Having now given up, I hope someone or some folks will take the time to look through the below and come back to me with at least some of the answers – even knowing the answer to some might help me unravel the rest. Thanks in advance, Alastair 1. Center Lock-On Autofocus a. Getting it to work at all! - There is a setting which appears to be like a “master setting” in Shooting Menu 1 page 5/13 (AF2). When I set this to on, I get a message on the LCD “Object Setting” / “Tracks nearest subject to screen center in ‘o’”. I get the same thing when I set it to on using the default on C4 button which is set to Center Lock-On Autofocus. - When the above messages appear, I can push the centre button of the control wheel and it locks and then tracks a center object – as, I assume it should. - However once I have cancelled that by pushing the center button again, there does not appear to be a way to re-enable the Center Lock-On Autofocus without turning it on again.. what I mean is, looking in AF2 (5/13) it is still shown as being set to ‘ON’ however when I push the center button on the control wheel now, nothing happens. The only way to get it to come back on is to turn it on again (either in the menu or by using the custom button C4).. even though it’s saying it’s on.. you need to reconfirm ‘ON’ again.. at which point the tracking option reappears. - Surely this cannot be the designed behaviour? I expected, if it was turned on, that pressing the center button would start off the center AF tracking but it doesn’t. Only by going back in and turning it on again, THEN pressing the center button. This essentially means a minimum of 3, maybe 4 keypresses before the function is working EACH TIME you want to use it! Rendering it literally worth than useless. - What am I doing wrong here?! b. Single shot AF versus continuous - It appears that this Center Lock-On Autofocus works fine single-shot AF.. I haven’t tried it yet in continuous AF.. does it work in both? c. Versus Focus Area “Lock-On AF: Expanded Flexible Spot” - What, if any, is / are the difference(s) between these two apparently very similar functions? - One thing I do notice is that the Focus Area option “Lock-On AF” does NOT work when the camera is in single shot AF mode. Which is a little weird since clearly these functions are highly similar.. why would one work but the other would not work? 2. Face Recognition vs Eye Recognition a. Recognition capability versus focus area - Does the focus area have ANY bearing at all on how the face rec or eye rec works? For example I normally use Expanded Flexible Spot for my focus area.. if face recognition is turned on, will the camera only look for faces at or near the flexible spot? - If I compose a shot (badly) so I have one face to the right, one face to the left (neither of which covered by the centre spot focus area) and then some high-contrast focusable object in the centre… will the camera choose the left face, the right face, or the non-face high-contrast centre subject? - Slightly less extreme version of the previous, if I have two faces in the frame but neither covered by the center spot, and assuming there is nothing in the foreground under the center spot (so the camera should figure-out that the faces must be the subject)… will it ignore the centre spot and pick one of the faces? Which face will it pick? The nearest? The highest contrast? - Again in a world where there are two faces that are different distances from the lens, which face will the camera choose to focus on.. the closest one..? The one with the best contrast? - Is there a way to “force” / tell the camera which of the two faces that it can see to focus on? b. Eye Recognition - Does eye rec work in fundamentally the same way as face rec i.e. compared to my questions above about face rec, would the answers for eye rec be substantially the same (multiple faces, multiple eyes, different distances, not covered by the center spot, etc)? - Is it correct that eye rec AF will effectively overpower face rec AF? - Again if there are multiple eyes within the overall frame, is there a way to direct the camera as to which eye to use for the focus point?
  3. Hi, New to the forum and to Sony Alpha, I have a new a9 (de-camped from Canon 5D4 and a bunch of nice L glass) - sorry if the below is either dumb or has been asked multiple times. I'm pretty technical so the complexity doesn't befuddle me but some of the combinations seem to be succeeding. I am trying to figure out how to make Center Lock-On AF (which I will call CLOAF from now on) activate consistently. My issue is not to do with how it focuses with CLOAF active, my issue is activating it: - The manual says you must have focus area set to Center or Wide, you can then press the assigned button for Focus Standard and it will start working. - However if I am using my "normal" focusing area, which is expanded flexible spot, and then I use the pre-assigned function button C4 (which comes factory-set to CLOAF on/off) and set it to 'on', it seems to start working (even though I am in the "wrong" focus area mode) - I cannot correllate it but if I follow the manual and press the assigned button for "Focus Standard", sometimes the CLOAF comes on and sometimes it does not but I cannot figure what's different between the times it does come on and the times it doesn't. - I anyway cannot think of a reason why it shouldn't work using expanded flexible spot AF; it also says elsewhere in the manual that if CLOAF is activated it focuses on the nearest thing to the center of the frame anyway and simply overrides all other focus settings.. so what difference does it make what area I have selected? - On a similar note I have seen references saying that CLOAF only works "when using continuous focusing mode" but, to my knowledge, there is no such thing - only continuous shooting mode? However even in single-shot mode (single shot shutter, single shot AF), I can see the CLOAF "window" appears sometimes and manuals refer to being able to use this, once locked-on, to recompose a shot. Which seems fully compatible with and very useful for single-shot photography.. just with fewer focus / recomposition errors.. no? - I am also almost 100% sure (almost.. but not actually 100%) that I either read in a manual somewhere OR saw on an a9 instructional video somewhere that the center-button within the control wheel is used to activate CLOAF (once it has been switched on as a function within the menus).. however this does not seem to work and I have seen elsewhere that this center button is pre-assigned to "Eye AF"... and yet, if I ever actually do manage to get CLOAF activated, the centre button DOES de-activate it.. so, one wonders, if you're using active CLOAF and press that button (which is pre-assigned to Eye AF) does it jump into Eye AF or does it jump out of CLOAF or both? Hope this is making sense. Two other points... - I have also set face recognition active - does it get confused between tracking a face and tracking the center? Are these two compatible? - And finally - when I want to go "one step smarter" with my focus on a face, and use Eye AF (which is assigned both to the center button AND to C3), the little green square over the eye doesn't seem to appear and it's not clear to me whether I am now using CLOAF, Face Detection AF, and/or Eye AF. Could this again be because I am always using expanded flexible spot for my focus area and I am always using single shot for shutter & AF? Still doesn't make sense to me why Eye AF wouldn't work under these conditions. Thanks in advance if you can help! Alastair
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