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Sony A1 Reader Comments: Eye AF?

Important to my B&H loaner support — buy your Sony A1 via the links on this site when pre-ordering starts Jan 27 at 10 AM EST.

Feel free to send thoughtful comments on the Sony A1.

Terrence M writes:

Sony A1

I mainly take portraits using the Eye AF with the Sony A7R IV.

Would the Eye AF be better on the Sony A1 and how much better?

DIGLLOYD: the Sony A1 has 30% more processing power and more AF points and more per-second evaluations, so it might help in some situations.

Possibly the Sony A7R IV is already acquiring focus as fast and as well as can be perceived. If the A1 is faster, it might not be (humanly) detectable for portraiture, which is relatively static. Or, the improvements might all add up in a meaningful way we can observe and quantify. No way to say for sure until the camera arrives.

Autofocus Configuration for Sony A7R II and Siblings: Buttons and Eye AF
Custom Function Menu Customization for Sony A7R II and Siblings
Sony A7R II Examples: Natural Light Outdoor Portraits with Eye AF

But what I want to know is whether the A1 can reliably focus on the iris of the eye instead of the eyelashes—that’s the #1 bugaboo with most brands and Eye AF, and a deal-killer if shooting at wider apertures, because sharp eyelashes and a slightly blurred iris kill the sparkle of a portrait.

UPDATE Feb 2: looks like Sony Eye AF fails to get it right, just like all other brands.

The Focus Hold button on Sony GM lenses can be programmed to initiate Eye AF—very handy.

CLICK TO VIEW: Top-Flight lenses for Sony Mirrorless

CLICK TO VIEW: Sony A1 System and Accessories

Eye AF that doesn’t work worth a damn

When I tested the Nikon Z7 back in August 2020 on some portraits with the Nikon NIKKOR Z 85mm f/1.8 S, I had almost a 100% failure rate, so I didn’t publish anything.

I had a hit rate of only about 1/3 on the Panasonic S1R:

Leica 90/2 SL Examples: Portraits with Panasonic S1R Eye AF

Eye AF gets very close about 1/3 of the times (these images) and the rest of the time it was off enough to be a problem, choosing eyebrows or leading eyelashes–not show

Leica 90/2 SL Examples: Portraits with Panasonic S1R Eye AF

As in previous portrait attempts, I had trouble with the Panasonic S1R Eye AF. Too often the S1R Eye AF focuses on eyelashes or nose in front of the iris. Many shots were discarded from this page with about 12 usable shots out of 40, 2 or 3 ruined by motion blur and the rest ruined by the failing of Eye AF. I was thus left with only a small fraction of the best poses.

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