Sony A7RV Focus Bracketing – Updated

Shortly after the release of the Sony A7RV, Sony Ambassador Mark Galer posted perhaps the best YouTube video on Sony A7RV's new focus bracketing. This post covers the value of his content and also informs the reader of other content that could help them understand how to use the feature.

Shortly after the release of the Sony A7RV, Sony Ambassador Mark Galer posted perhaps the best YouTube video on Sony A7RV’s new focus bracketing.  This video demonstrates the complete focus bracketing workflow.  What is nice about this video is that Mark Galer also discusses when it makes sense and what doesn’t.  What is nice about this video is that it covers the focus bracketing option in the Sony Alpha Drive Mode settings.

He sets the stage for his presentation on focus bracketing with foreground and background sharpness (jump t0 1:12).

Next after showing images that didn’t need focus bracketing mostly because they are ultra to wide angle lenses, he briefing explained why — hyper focus distance (jump to 2:35).  Using Cambridge in Colour website’s Depth of Field Calculator in advance mode to show what a given lens would provide as the nearest and furthest acceptable sharpness.  Of course, you most likely may not have access to this in the field and that is where you would turn to PhotoPill’s Depth of Field calculator.

Then he introduces the new Sony A7RV and the bracketing feature (jump to 7:15) and shows how this feature works. 

From there he asks the question “Why Focus Bracketing?” and proceeds to answer his question (jump to 9:27).

He then covers how to access the settings and covers your options (jump to 10:45) explaining a new term “Step Width”, which is how far the camera focus will move for the next focused shot.  Then, it continues to cover all the settings you would adjust along with covering the focus breathing issue.

After that he briefly covers, then he walks you through a typical focus bracketing workflow (jump to 18:44) and how you might need to adjust the step width and the number of shots.  He showed that it takes some experience using this feature to gain an understanding of these two settings.

Things I didn’t know

Here are a few things that were new to me and that you might find of value.  

  • Focus Bracketing and Stacking are two separate processes (jump to 7:44)  Focus bracketing is the camera process, while focus stacking is the post-processing technique.  So the only difference between Sony’s new focus bracketing technique is that it automatically applies some spot metering changes based upon camera settings that Mark Galer covers in depth.
  • Did you know that lens choice and of course macro photography most often require focus bracketing (jump to 9:25)
  • Did you know there is a setting that puts all the shots taken in that one focus bracketed sequence into its own folder (jump to 14:29)
  • Focus Breathing.  Did you know about this? (jump to 15:34)  Well it is really interesting and it is tied to the type of lens you are shooting with.
  • Did you know that as of now lens breathing compensation is only available in movie mode (jump to 16:37).  So the solution is choosing a lens with minimal focus breathing.
  • Did you know about the focus stacking software program called Helicon Focus, which is widely used by macro photographers?
Other YouTube videos on this subject
Website Articles on the topic

Focus bracketing is a key new feature only found on the new Sony A7RV.  Everyone else still needs to use manual focus bracketing.  This automated feature will be prized by macro and product photographers, more than the others.  The capability of the camera to create and store each sequence in a separate folder will be greatly appreciated by most users.  This appears to be a cool feature that will take some learning to figure out how many shots are needed.  What is a bit disappointing is there are very few internet blogs and videos on it.  However, Mark Galer’s YouTube does an excellent job.

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