Ive been taking sample HD video footage with the Sony a77 for the past week or so, and I’ve learned a few things I did not know. One being the AF doesn’t not work below f/3.5 for some reason? Totally sucks as I was hoping to use the 85mm f/1.4 and autofocus for low light, but no such luck. Apparently the AF system needs the lens to be stopped down to work? I’ll find out why, but I honestly don’t know at this time. Another Major problem is AF does not work in Manual Mode, Aperture Propriety Mode, or Shutter Priority Mode. Only in Program Exposure Mode (P) does AF work, and then it stops down to f/3.5 at a minimum to boot Hopefully a new firmware update will be able to somehow resolve this issue even with the f/3.5 limitation.
You do have full manual control over all the settings in manual video mode, but the ISO tops out at 1600 unfortunately. Fast glass and manual mode is the way to go in these situations, and believe it or not it’s pretty easy when using the “Peaking Function”. Basically what peaking does is super impose a color (red, yellow, or white), over the sharp areas in the scene as you manually focus. It works quite well I must say!! I used it in all the manual focus situations and the really low light with the puppy. Apparently this feature as been around for a long time in the video world and Sony decided to bring it over to the camera side of things. Very cool Sony!!
It’s worth noting that on the Nex-5n you do have Full Manual control of the camera and AF works the whole time unlike the A77. Therefore the Nex-5n or Nex-7 for that matter would be a much better choice for video in my opinion.
All I could find so far of the f/3.5 AF limitation is this courtesy of luminous-landscape.com.
The video quality is excellent and AF works very well in bright conditions, not so well in the dark as you might expect. If you have any questions or want me to try something with the camera, just let me know!! Also, be sure to select the 720p video quality option on the bottom right of the player window!
Gear used for the video:
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