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All Reviews

June 27, 2012

Sony LA-EA2 Phase Detection AF (PDAF) Vs Contrast Detection AF (CDAF) – Focus Tracking!!

Sony LA-EA2 Adapter VS Regular E-Mount lens in Real World AF Testing

I got a chance to do a more thorough “Real world” test comparing the PDAF Phase Detection Auto Focus system of the LA-EA2 Lens Adapter Vs the standard Contrast detection AF system of the Nex-5n. To do this I simple used a standard E-Mount lens, which in this case was the Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN Lens, and tested the AF using myself as a subject and walked towards and away from the camera. I then mounted the LA-EA2 lens adapter to the Sony A-Mount DT 35mm f/1.8 Lens (Note: automatically stopped down to f/3.5 during video), and did the same test.

I will reserve further comment on the performance differences of the two different AF systems till after the video. I uploaded this video in full 1080P, so be sure to select the quality option in the player windod!! Once your in 1080p mode you can then go full screen and it will be super crisp. It may take a few minutes to load though as the file was over 50omg when I uploaded it!!



Sony LA-EA2 Phase Detection AF (PDAF) Vs Contrast Detection AF (CDAF) – HD Video Testing

Be sure to select Full 1080P Quality and go Full Screen!!


Closing Remarks

Clearly in these lighting conditions the LA-EA2 Lens adapter with PDAF (Phase Detection Auto Focus) and the Sony DT 35mm f/1.8 lens @ f/3.5 is much faster and more accurate than the standard CDAF performance of the Nex-5n and Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN Lens.

I must admit that the Sony E-mount lens performance is usually better than what is shown here with the Sigma lens. The sigma E-Mount lenses seem to take a little extra time to react and lock on when auto focusing in video mode. Check out my other recent lens test Here>> for more focusing examples and see how the Sony 50mm f/1.8 OSS lens compares to the Sigma!!

It’s also important to note that when in low light, low contrast situations, as seen Here >>, the auto focus performance between the PDAF and CDAF is pretty similar with the CDAF working slightly better in my particular test.

That is about it for now, but please put your testing requests in if you have any. I’m sending all this gear back early next week. I plan on getting the Nex-F3 and A37 with the New 18-135mm  f/3.5-5.6 Lens  and something else 😉  Thoughts??




All The Gear Used in the Test

Sony Nex-5n

Sony Nex-5n

Sony Nex-5n

I reviewed the Sony Nex-5N already, and I own the Nex-7, but it’s totally disassembled in the Lab! So, I needed a Nex camera body for testing purposes and opted for the Nex-5N again as I love the 16mp sensor!! I would went for the New Nex-F3, but it’s not out yet unfortunately.

Price: ~$598 @ BHPhoto (Click Here)


Sony A-Mount Lens to NEX Camera Mount Adapter – LA-EA2

LA-EA2The La-Ea2 lens adapter is an amazing piece of camera hardware that pretty much turns your Nex camera into a Phase Detection Autofocus Monster that will except all A-Mount Lenses. That is correct, you can use all A-Mount lenses on your Nex Camera with this adapter, and have killer fast Autofocus!! So needless to say I’m excited about getting it!!

Price: ~$319.95 @ BHPhoto (Click Here)


Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN Lens

The Sigma E-Mount 30mm f/2.8 EX DN Lens is a prime lens designed specifically for mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. This 30mm lens is equivalent to a 45mm lens in 35mm format and provides a 50.7° angle of view. A very nice fixed focal length to work with on a crop factor sensor like the Sony Nex-5n I might add.

Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN Lens for Sony E Mount CamerasKey Features:

  • 30mm f/2.8 Lens
  • Equivalent to 45mm in 35mm
  • For Sony E Mount Camera
  • Aspherical Design Prevents Distortion
  • Focuses to 11.81″ (30cm)
  • Multi-Coating Reduces Ghosting and Flare
  • Linear AF Motor for Quiet Operation

Price: ~$199 @ BHPhoto (Click Here)


Sony DT 35mm f/1.8 SAM Lens

The Sony DT 35mm f/1.8 SAM Lens is designed for D-SLR cameras with DX-format sensors, so the lens has a 52.5mm equivalent focal length. This is perfect for snapshots and portraits under a wide range of shooting conditions. The ultra fast f/1.8 wide-open aperture along with the 7-blade circular diaphragm allows you to work in low light, and with a minimum focus distance of 9.05″ (0.23m) the lens allows you to get in close to your subject.

Sony DT 35mm f/1.8 SAM LensProduct Highlights

  • Design optimized for DX-format Sensors
  • DX-format has 52.5mm Equivalent
  • Large f/1.8 Maximum Aperture
  • Easy Choice Series Lens
  • Compact & Lightweight Only 6 oz (170g)
  • Minimum Focus 9.05″ (0.23m)
  • Smooth Autofocus Motor (SAM)
  • Focus Mode switch
  • 7-Blade Circular Diaphragm

Price: ~$319.95 @ BHPhoto (Click Here)


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  1. I had a question Jay!
    I’ve been wondering if I should invest in E-Mount lenses any more than I already have(kit lens and 55-210mm) or if I should get the LA-EA2 and get some good A-Mount lenses. I know someday I’ll probably want to move to FF. Are there any advantages to getting the E-mount lenses over the A-mount? Are there any pros or cons that I might be missing?

    • Jay

      Hey Brett,

      Great question and yes there are several factors you need to consider in my opinion.


      1. Size, Weight, and ergonomics are all significantly different. Using the adapter is cool an all, but sucks compared to holding the A57 for example. It’s sorta cumbersome I guess is the best way to put it. I did get used to it pretty quick though 😉

      2. Cost for the A-Mount lenses is usually much more!!

      3.Your going to lose optical steady shot, as the Sony A-mount lenses don’t have it, but the E-Mount lenses do!! A-Mount lenses assume you have the in camera steadyshot on the camera body, and therefore have no OSS.


      1. far superior focusing system

      2. Better lenses and more to choose from

      My Opinion

      I would probably get the 50mm f/1.8 OSS lens first, and then maybe look into a few A-Mounts if you are certain in going Full Frame at some point. I would not shy away from the E-Mount lenses though either, as you can easily sell them for what you paid pretty much, they fit much better, and have OSS. The E-Mount lenses are also really good quality for the money despite what you may read on some websites 😉

      I hope this helps Brett, and please feel free to ask if you have any more questions!!


  2. Colby

    Awesome job as usual! Just a couple of questions…..How do you like the ergonomics of the 5N with the EA2 attached? How does still photo performance compare to an SLT?

    • Jay

      Thanks Colby,

      The ergonomics are not the greatest. I got used to it pretty quick, but I would much rather be holding the A57 or A77 for than the Nex-5n with the LA-EA2 Lens adapter.


  3. Ace Disgrace

    Awesome as always Jay! I want to see more third party glass on NEX5N… Samyang 14mm and the New 8mm 2.8….Will wait 🙂

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