Camerists: SONY DSLR Autofocus Dying – Anything to Try, or is it Doomed?

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  • Camerists: SONY DSLR Autofocus Dying – Anything to Try, or is it Doomed?
  • smiffy
    Member

    It stopped focussing in low light, now its intermittent in daylight. it just hunts back and forth, past the focus. I’ve tried different lenses, and cleaned the prongs gently with isopropanol. any Top Tips?

    From my experience, if you have already tried different lenses and cleaned the lens mount contact pins, then it may well be a problem with a PCB in the camera, rather than anything to do with the lens itself. In which case, it means sending it off to be repaired. Whereabouts are you, I may be able to recommend someone ?

    smiffy
    Member

    I’m in South Wales. Is a bottom of the range body likely to be worth fixing?

    5thElefant
    Member

    Which camera?

    I’d give the lens contacts a good clean.

    smiffy
    Member

    A290. I’ve wipe the contacts with IPA with a cotton bud.

    5thElefant
    Member

    It’s not worth fixing. You could get a similar or better used unit for less than fixing it.

    Or the Sony a58 is a lot of camera for not much new.

    geetee1972
    Member

    I can’t imagine it would be economical to repair if it’s PDAF module that’s faulty. Besides anything else, it is a very old camera and even buying the cheapest second hand Sony something or other now will get you much better performance.

    The sensor in the A290 is still CCD so no live preview and ISO performance above 800 is apparantly poor. There’s two things that you’ll improve on massively.

    You’ll have existing A-Mount lenses though so perhaps have a look for an Nex-6 or even the A6000 and add in an LA-EA3 adapter that will allow you to use your existing lenses with autofocus (assuming they have internal motors – if not you will need the LA-EA4, but that is much more expensive) and you’d have a great set up.

    5thElefant
    Member

    I wouldn’t look at the la-ea adapters as a substitute for an a-mount body. You can get a real a-mount body for the price of an adapter and you get stabilisation (which you lose on the aps-c e-mounts).

    The adapters were a good cludge when native lenses weren’t available, but that’s about it (I had them).

    geetee1972
    Member

    Well you’re right about the in body IS but the adapters are anything but a ‘cludge’, they work extremely well.

    It might be different than when you tried it but the firmware updates now mean that the bodies allow the use of the camera’s on chip PDAF through the (LA-EA3) adapter.

    The LA-EA4 adds PDAF where previously there might only have been CDAF and still allows for AF on screw mount lenses.

    The ability to combine cheap (relative to the new price) second hand high quality A-Mount glass (I got the 50mm and 85mm T* ZAs for £550 each!) with the A7 body is a great result. The A-Mount bodies might have IS but they are also a lot bigger than say the A6000.

    5thElefant
    Member

    Didn’t work for me. Tiny body and big lens isn’t a good thing. Battery life was double-digit for screw drive lenses. No stabilisation.

    It’s more compelling on the a7r2 but you still lose functionality, like eye-AF. Just buy a native lens. Well… that’s what I did.

    When you’re talking about replacing a 100 quid body the answer doesn’t include a 150 quid adapter to give you a worse experience (once you’ve spent a 200+ more on an actual body).

    Hmm, maybe not. A repair bill would probably be in the region of £150 – £200, so if the camera body is not worth more than £300, you’ll be better off investing in some new kit.

    That being said, it’s worth taking it somewhere to see if they’ll do a free quotation before you hand over the credit card.

    geetee1972
    Member

    Just buy a native lens. Well… that’s what I did.

    Well I would have but there isn’t a native 85mm prime available at the moment. I picked up the SAL85mm about three months ago for £550 and the LA-EA4 adapter for £150 off ebay (you can get the LA-EA3 for about £60 on eBay). Even now you still can’t buy the Zeiss Batis in the UK. It’s very frustrating in a first world problem kind of way. The G Master is coming as well but lordy that will make you weep at the price and I saw a really interesting like for like comparisson between it and the Batis by one of Sony’s sponsored shooters and while the G Master was certainly better, it was pretty bloody marginal. A very small improvement for an additional £1000 on the asking price.

    The SAL50mm f/1.4ZA is a different issue though as there is the Sonnar 55mm readily available. New it’s a bit more expensive than a barely used second hand version of the SAL50mm and if does have eye AF, which the A-Mount doesn’t. It’s f/1.8 compared to f/1.4 but I’m not sure how much that is preferable to eye AF (but then I’m not sure that eye AF is all that compelling eyether – see what I did there :lol:)

    I’m guessing you have the Sonnar 55mm? Would be interested to hear your thoughts on it.

    5thElefant
    Member

    Well I would have but there isn’t a native 85mm prime available at the moment

    We’re in agreement. That’s what they’re for IMO. You can fill in the e-mount gaps.

    Yeah, I have the 55mm and the 50mm f1.4 sal, and had the sel50. The zeiss is eye wateringly expensive but it’s nice. It actually focuses in low light, which the 50mm apsc Sony wouldn’t (on the nex7), which defeated the purpose of it for me. Subjectively the sal gives a smooth minolta rendering and the zeiss is sharper, but I might be hallucinating.

    If it wasn’t for needing to pay £200 for an ea4 (to replace the ea2 I’d sold) I’d happily have stuck with the 50mm but that made the zeiss cost £300 quid which was just about bearable.

    As you have the ea4 then the 50mm is much cheaper option. The minolta branded on in particular. The minolta 50mm f1.7 (had one of those too) is an even better option. You’d be hard pushed to tell it from the 1.4.

    geetee1972
    Member

    Yeah, I have the 55mm and the 50mm f1.4 sal, and had the sel50. The zeiss is eye wateringly expensive but it’s nice.

    Ok very interested to hear more about this – was the SAL50 f/1.4 the Carl Zeiss T* ZA or the other one (there are two versions). The CZ one was about £1400 when it came out but this is the one I picked up for £550 in mint condition.

    The Zeiss you refer to then could be that one or it could be the Sonar 55.

    5thElefant
    Member

    Sonnar 55mm and Sony 50mm f1.4.

    Not tried the cz a-mount one. That’s in the too big for me list, and to be honest I doubt I could tell the difference between any fast 50 without getting into side by side comparisons.

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