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Sony A7R II + Sony 85mm f/1.4 GM Autofocus at Moderate Outdoor Distance

See my Sony mirrorless wishlist at B&H Photo.

Sony 85mm f/1.4 GM

Shooting lens alignment targets is one thing, but what about real-world outdoor shooting at greater distance? Extensive real-world AF experience with the Sony A7R II has long impressed me as being far superior to DLSR autofocus, the concerns about failure to focus at full aperture notwithstanding.

These tests show that the Sony A7R II + Sony 85mm f/1.4 GM blows away the pathetic performance of the Nikon D5 + AF-S 85mm f/1.4G (shot minutes apart on the identical subjects). Realizing of course that the A7R II sensor has 1.4X the linear resolution, and thus that demands for precision and accuracy are far more stringent than with the 20MP Nikon D5. And that the D5 is Nikon’s flagship!

Sony A7R II + 85/1.4 GM Focus Accuracy at f/1.4 (Outdoors)

The antenna shot is shown with 11 frames at f/1.4 and f/4, and the chimney shot similarly, though at f/1.4 only. A reference frame from manual focus is included in each series.

DSLR autofocus technology has had its day and may (for the moment) still be advantageous for certain types of sports shooting, but it is ripe for retirement, if only CaNikon ever figure out that computers and focus are a perfect marriage.

In practice DSLR autofocus is so problematic with f/1.4 lenses in particular that I never could rely upon it for any of my shooting (see for example all the autofocus problems in my review of the Nikon D800E).

It is only a matter of time before mirrorless focus technology blasts away DSLR autofocus technology entirely—so striking are the advantages —and the A7R II doesn’t even have the benefit of sensors with special embedded autofocus pixels. It is only a matter of time until the right camera body comes along. The question is merely whether Sony will do it first, or whether CaNikon will see the light in time.

How hard can it be to focus on a target like this? Very hard for a Nikon D5 apparently. But a piece of cake for Sony A7R II.

f1.4 @ 1/6400 sec, ISO 100; 2016-04-23 19:00:51
Sony A7R II + Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM

[low-res image for bot]

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