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FORUMS Sony Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Sony Cameras 
Thread started 08 Apr 2018 (Sunday) 19:49
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You sure can't just slap on a flash with Sony....

 
JeffreyG
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Apr 08, 2018 19:49 |  #1

So here is one nit I'd like to pick about the A7rIII and also see if there is something I'm missing in the handling of these cameras.

I will often want to grab a camera and slap a flash onto it in order to take a family snapshot or something in the house. Compared to a dSLR, I'm finding the process slower because aside from just dialing in my shutter/aperture/ISO, I have to also dive into the menus to change two separate settings every time. Basically, everytime I want to 'slap on a flash' I'm fiddling with other settings. And then when I take the flash off, I'm fiddling again to go back.

1) I have to turn off silent mode, because the flash will not fire in silent
2) I have to change the viewfinder effect to 'OFF' because otherwise I'm staring at a black viewfinder.

Why doesn't Sony at least offer me an option that when flash is detected in the hotshoe, the viewfinder mode turns to 'OFF'

I thought of a workaround, but it doesn't work. I was thinking, why not leave the VF effect 'OFF' and just turn on the histogram. One other super weird (and kind of dumb thing) I notice is that when the viewfinder mode is 'OFF', the histogram is for what the viewfinder is showing you, not for the scene you are about to shoot. So if you have the viewfinder effect mode off, you have the histogram looking great and the meter reading >5 stops underexposed.

I just wanted to take a quick snap of my new puppy sleeping on my wife. This was a lot slower to shoot with the Sony than it would be with my Canon.


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JeffreyG
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Apr 09, 2018 18:10 |  #2

I see this topic doesn't have too much interest for folks, but I will follow up with my approach. The (somewhat obvious) solution was to map a decent flash setting starting point (including silent=OFF and viewfinder effect=OFF) to one of the custom settings on the mode dial. It's a fair solution, the only thing I don't like about it is that these custom settings will re-map everything else (shutter speed, aperture, continuous or one-shot AF, etc. etc.) to whatever I pre-load to the setting. That's the main reason I have never used custom settings on my Canon's too much in the past. Sometimes you fix two settings and screw up three others with a twist of the mode dial.

So long as I'm picking nits - I also do not like the flash hotshoe design for the Sony. Of minor concern, the little wires around the front of the foot that make the connection look pretty wimpy. Of a bigger concern, the manner of contact requires that the flash be very firmly seated or else it doesn't make contact. About 2 of 3 times I first mount a flash, the thing will not fire until I re-seat it.

Canon flash contacts are perpendicular to the foot, so all you have to do is get the flash on close enough to seated that the pins reach the contacts. I've never had a problem getting one mounted in a hurry and ready to fire.


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Talley
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Apr 09, 2018 18:19 |  #3

Easy fix. Register one of the modes for flash. Put flash on, switch to say custom mode 2. It's already preset for something like F2.8/1/160/ISO800 which is my usual starting point for flash.

Could work for me but some people may not. Who knows. Regardless I'm still fiddling with settings of whatever camera I'm using.


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JeffreyG
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Post edited 4 months ago by JeffreyG.
     
Apr 09, 2018 20:03 |  #4

Talley wrote in post #18603415 (external link)
Easy fix. Register one of the modes for flash. Put flash on, switch to say custom mode 2. It's already preset for something like F2.8/1/160/ISO800 which is my usual starting point for flash.

Yeah, that's a fix. It's like, 80% as good as better software.

I find it interesting to compare these systems as I'm now shooting Canon and Sony stuff side by side. Now as spring gets going (kind of....cold this week) I'm finally starting to shoot enough to start noticing things that bug me or are quite different.

So the flash is one place the Sony is pretty fiddly. Another is if you want to shoot an automatic HDR image in camera. If you don't do this ever, fine. I wanted to try it. What I found was pretty much a PITA. It was this stupid round robin chasing my tail to get the settings correct. So I dip into the menu and turn it on. Nope....camera says I'm in RAW capture so it can't (*note....a Canon in RAW will just capture three RAW images, make the HDR JPEG, and then save that. Canon does not force you to turn on JPEG to make what HAS TO BE a JPEG.) So I had to go and change my capture mode to JPEG. Next it tells me I can't enable HDR because silent shutter is ON. So I have to turn that to OFF. I think there was one more. I was like, jeez....just make these changes for me. If I'm turning the mode ON, I'm accepting the other changes.

It's the same as with the flash. If I mount a flash and turn it on, then why on earth do you not automatically turn silent shutter OFF? It's pretty damn clear I turned on the flash because I actually want the flash to FIRE. I didn't add the flash for ballast. :rolleyes:

AF system stuff is interesting too. People never comment on it, but the Sony PDAF sensor array has precisely ZERO cross type AF points. Sure, it has 688 points or whatever, but none of them perform as well in fast tracking as any of the cross type sensors in my 5D3. My general take on AF with the two cameras is shaping up like this (I have a ways to go, so this is not final): Canon dSLRs are better if you are tracking very fast action or shooting in very low light. Those situations will make the Sony miss or hunt. The lack of cross sensors especially seems to make the Sony hunt in low light. The Sony is better with very shallow DOF on slower subjects, probably because of the hybrid AF system and reduced error in on-sensor AF. Basically, when the Sony hits focus, it is much more likely to be perfect. But there are more situations where it can't focus.

I will admit one huge caveat with my AF comments - I don't have a lot of native lenses yet. I base my AF experience on the 28/2, 55/1.8 and 70-300 as these are the only options I have to play with so far. It may be unfair to compare these against the 5D3 with the 24-70/2.8 II and 70-200/2.8 IS II.


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Talley
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Apr 09, 2018 20:28 |  #5

af performance tip for low light...

...switch to af-c.

Just try it. It’s amazing really how bad af-s is in low light but af-c rocks


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JeffreyG
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Post edited 4 months ago by JeffreyG.
     
Apr 09, 2018 20:36 |  #6

Talley wrote in post #18603524 (external link)
af performance tip for low light...

...switch to af-c.

Just try it. It’s amazing really how bad af-s is in low light but af-c rocks

I'll try that. It's interesting as that would be backwards from Canon, where one-shot can grab focus where AI-servo is lost.

Is there some difference, like where the Sony focuses with the lens stopped down in AF-S but not in AF-C? I find the Sony approach (focusing with lenses stopped down) to be kind of strange. I understand the improvement as far as any lens that has some focus-shift issue by design, but it seems like this must give up a lot of AF performance in low light as the system is giving the AF sensor so little light.

I think there is a mindset at Sony where lens 'defects' that can be fixed through correction are OK. Some of their lenses have pretty huge distortion and the wide end of the 24-105 is even occluded if the lens distortion is not corrected. I wonder if they also design lenses with hefty focus shift knowing that their AF approach will make it moot.


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Talley
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Apr 09, 2018 20:53 |  #7

Not sure about the stopped down but wide open for wide open I can tell you the AF-C locks on solid... in very low light. Just remember to use spot focus L or M or wide or center. AF-S just really sucks... on most all occasions. It does some back/forth focus thing before lock when the AF-C just locks on and stays there. I've read this too... sony cameras the AF-C works much much better. I use it exclusively.


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You sure can't just slap on a flash with Sony....
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