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Questions: MF lens methodology on the NEX 7

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by simonclivehughes, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. simonclivehughes

    simonclivehughes TalkEmount Rookie

    15
    Aug 8, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    I've just upgraded to the NEX 7 and finally have the EVF (that I had hoped the NEX 5 might get), and I'm trying to work on using this body with M-mount lenses. I shot today and have some issues and questions that I'd love to get some feedback on from those of you experienced with this combination of gear.

    Camera Setup:

    At this point, I have got the body set up with MF Assist assigned to the AF/MF button (it never physically worked for me on the bottom (B) button). I have the Right button set for Creative style (I shoot RAW only but like to see either in Vivid or B&W mode). Soft key B is set for Metering Mode and button C is set for Shoot Mode. The right Navi dial is Exposure Compensation. (The left Navi dial is Aperture, but doesn't do anything with manual lenses, of course.) The rear dial is ISO.

    So, what I found is that I had to lock the Navi buttons as I was inadvertently changing the Exposure Comp, and I found that the ISO also changed without me realizing it (I was shooting in A mode with Auto ISO).

    I'm thinking that maybe it would be better to assign ISO to the left Navi dial so I can lock it too. EDIT: Just realized that locking the Tri Navi system includes the rear dial, so I can leave ISO where it is.

    Focusing Issues:

    I am using the EVF exclusively and I have Focus Peaking on, usually set to Mid, and Yellow. I was shooting mostly at f3.5 on a CV 90mm lens or at f5.6 on the CV 28mm f2 lens. I found that the yellow peaking, even set on Mid, seems to get more in the way than I'd hoped. I.e. it's difficult to determine the exact object that is focused upon for all the yellow emphasis.

    In looking at the files, few had the focus really nailed.

    So, I'm looking for feedback from you who are getting great focus results with even faster lenses. How are you doing it? Are you using peaking, or MF Assist? Obviously MF Assist, if you have the time for it, produces "guaranteed" results.

    Also, what is your evolved setup for the NEX 7 for use with MF lenses? What mode do you shoot in (I notice that with Auto ISO, the cam really likes to choose 1/60 sec shutter speed.) How do you have your control functions mapped?

    Any suggestions and tips would really be appreciated.

    Cheers,
     
  2. Phoenix

    Phoenix TalkEmount Top Veteran

    859
    Aug 25, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Phoenix Gonzales
    I had (I'm selling my NEX-7) the following set up:

    As only shoot using 3rd party glass I always have the camera on M, one of the top Tri-Navi controls is on shutter speed and the other dial does not have any function, and the rear dial for ISO. I also have AF/MF button on focus assist (though I have never used it, I'll explain why) and I have the soft button B on smoothen skin tones and everything else I placed inside the function button.

    Shooting on M means you dont have direct control of the exp compensation, I normally shoot at -1 and control this with my shutter speed / aperture/ ISO. I also always have the screen in B&W and the focus peaking in high red with the simple idea that anything in B&W isnt focused, and anything shimmering in red is focused, I always hit critical focus by this method everytime (hence I have never used the MF focusing aid). This works for me as I shoot in B&W jpg most of the time, but this will work even better if you shoot RAW as it doesnt matter if you are shooting Vivid, Deep, B&W, etc... as it is a RAW image and you will be processing it anways, so might as well shoot in B&W with red focus peaking, you can address the colours, tones, etc...later when post processing.

    Happy shooting.
     
  3. Dioptrick

    Dioptrick TalkEmount All-Pro

    Feb 4, 2012
    New Zealand
    Can't comment on NEX7 control functions (I've got the 5N) but sometimes I also get too much focus peaking on certain compositions (especially when I'm stopped-down to f5.6 or more with wide angles), and like you said it's difficult to determine where the exact focus point is.

    • You could try to quickly open the aperture fully to narrow the DOF, focus, then stop down again to take the shot (if you count the clicks you don't need to take your eye off the EVF).
    • Or try using the magnification factor button, focus on the critical object, then press the shutter button halfway (display goes back to full frame), recompose, then depress fully to take the shot.

    Both of these methods do take a little longer...
     
  4. simonclivehughes

    simonclivehughes TalkEmount Rookie

    15
    Aug 8, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    Phoenix,

    Thanks for replying. I think that your method might work with stopped down shooting, but I'm finding that for intermediate apertures, that the peaking shows more than the plane that is actually in focus, hence my original post. For really shallow DOF, such as f1.5, f2.5 etc, which is where I prefer to shoot my fast glass, it's really touch-and-go.

    Cheers,
     
  5. simonclivehughes

    simonclivehughes TalkEmount Rookie

    15
    Aug 8, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    Dioptrick,

    Appreciate your reply. While I agree with your suggested methods, as you point out, they both take time, and for street shooting (which I do from time to time) they're not really viable.

    Interestingly, I find, especially with the EVF, that probably over 90% of the time, I can get the focus pretty much dead on just by eye, with no focus peaking on at all. I guess the best thing for me to do is simply practice this method as much as possible and where necessary, do a quick check on magnified view (which is not too onerous with it reassigned to the AF/MF button.

    Cheers,
     
  6. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    If you are getting too much "yellow" from focus peaking try turning it down to Low. You might also try the other colors. Also try setting your contrast settings lower in either "Vivid" or "B&W" mode. That should help. No effect on RAW files, but if you plan to shoot jpeg or RAW+ it could cause issues.
     
  7. simonclivehughes

    simonclivehughes TalkEmount Rookie

    15
    Aug 8, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    Thanks for the tips but I'm fairly familiar with peaking as I've owned a pair of NEX 5s since they came out. I always try to use the least amount as I can get away with.

    Ciao,
     
  8. Phoenix

    Phoenix TalkEmount Top Veteran

    859
    Aug 25, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Phoenix Gonzales
    What's your contrast setting? the focus peaking relies a lot on the contrast detecting sensor, provided your not shooting at really fast ISOs in the dark you shouldnt have any problem in isolating the peaking more than the plane that is actually in focus. I constantly shot at 1.2 and 1.4 with shallow DoF and didnt have any problems. Then again I usually have my contrast bumped up to high.

    e.g.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. simonclivehughes

    simonclivehughes TalkEmount Rookie

    15
    Aug 8, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    I have both contrast and sharpening bumped up to +3 to try to define edges as much as possible.
     
  10. Phoenix

    Phoenix TalkEmount Top Veteran

    859
    Aug 25, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Phoenix Gonzales
    Hmmm...I remember Armanius having the same issues when he was adapting lenses on his NEX. The sharpening and distortion control on the firmware doesn't work on non-native glass.