Sunday, July 5, 2020

A New Hope for A-Mount Lenses...

Also in this issue:
  • A new way to stabilize video
  • A new Camera Problem-Solving Guide by Mark Galer and Gary Friedman
  • Wireless Flash on a camera that doesn't support it
  • ZV-1 Discoveries
  • In the Pipeline
A Free Sony Camera Problem-Solving Guide 

Let's start with something free.  Australian Sony Digital Imaging Ambassador Mark Galer and I have teamed up to create this free Sony Camera Problem-solving Guide, a compilation of all the email queries we get from users trying to find out why their camera is not behaving as expected.  You can download this free resource (did I mention it was free?) from Mark's website.

If you're not familiar with Mark, he's been producing free tutorials for the Sony platform for years, plus you can subscribe to his high-end tutorials on Patreon.  Spend some time on his site at; you'll be impressed.  The problem-solving guide is a work in progress and will be updated periodically with new material.  Enjoy!

A New Way to Stabilize Video

Newer Sony cameras including the RX0 II, RX100 VII, and the new ZV-1 (which I'm writing a book on) have a gyro sensor built-in which can sense and record handheld shakiness and record the information in movies.  This information can be harnessed in post-processing to smooth out the shake, ostensibly better than what the "Intelligent Active" setting used to do on Sony's older cameras.

How well does it work?  First, let me refer you to a blog post a year ago where I was trying all sorts of ways to smooth out a handheld video after-the-fact.  Go read it and watch the videos now; as it explains the problem, and the second example from Adobe Premier lets you intuitively understand why smoothing a video must always involve a degree of cropping.  (Or a gimbal. :-) )

Programs that do this kind of stabilization are expensive, but the phone app from Sony (mentioned in last year's blog post but un-tryable at the time) is FREE.  How well does it work?

Here's Sony's official page for the app, which also shows off the app's other features.  Their first video shows how well the video-stabilization-after-the-fact feature works, but in my opinion it's entirely misleading since it implies that no cropping takes place.  In fact, the more you stabilize, the more cropping happens.  The app even gives you a degree of control over this.

So here's a quick non-misleading test where I compare the in-camera choices (Movie SteadyShot = Standard and Active) and then I uploaded the video to my phone and had the Movie Edit Add-on feature give it a try.  As you would expect, the more you zoom in the more leeway there is for correcting shaky video.  But this gives a realistic example of what to expect.

How do you like the quarantine beard?

Step-by-step directions for using this software appear in my upcoming book on the ZV-1.

Other ZV-1 Revelations

If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you know two things about me: 1) I love the RX100 series of cameras, and 2) I love wireless flash.  The ZV-1 is the first point-and-shoot since the RX100 II that has a hot shoe on it.  I'm sure it was put there to hold accessories like a shotgun mic or video light (or an external EVF like the kind made for the RX1); but it also supports accessory flashes as well.  But my favorite feature, wireless flash, is not officially supported.

That is, unless you have some Godox flashes and a radio trigger, in which case it works just fine!  When used, the camera thinks that an accessory flash is attached to the hot shoe - no special menu mode need be invoked.  And while the official flash sync speed is 1/4000th, in my tests the fastest you can shoot without attenuating the light is 1/500th.  Still, a great tool for the world traveler who wants to take "Wow!" portraits without weighing him or herself down!  (Click on any image to view larger and sharper.)
Godox radio transmitter on top.  Flashpoint (Godox) Zoom Mini R2 wireless flash placed in front.  This was shot indoors with the lights on.  The ambient looks black because the camera was set to f/8, 1/500th, at ISO 100.  Only the flash was powerful enough to show through.
[Note to other RX100 owners: Godox flashes also have an "S2" optical slave mode which will allow your camera's pop-up flash to trigger them also (but in manual mode and not with TTL flash metering).  Still, it's something!]

I was also exited that the ZV-1 FINALLY had an LCD with a hinge on the left side where God meant for it to be.  This is important because it allows me to shoot vertical portraits of the kids without having to get down to their eye level.  Until now only my A-mount cameras like the A99 II allowed that.

Me in the studio shooting vertically at eye level without having to get down on the ground with my much-loved Sony A99 II.

Here I am shooting the same way with the ZV-1. 
But why couldn’t they make the screen flip out 180 degrees instead of only 176 degrees?  Sony can make anything; this seems like a ridiculous omission.

I have two theories about that: 1) They didn’t want the user to see glare on the screen, which could happen if it hinged 180 degrees.   2) They didn’t want to pay a patent licensing fee (so it wouldn’t violate patents that claim a 180 degree hinge).

Anyway, I have no idea; all I know is I got my wish.  The book on the ZV-1 will be finished in in about 1 week.  Watch the website for availability!

One last thing.  When the RX100 IV came out it could shoot 4K video for a whopping 5 minutes because of thermal problems and a tiny battery.  The ZV-1, using the same battery can shoot a whopping 42 minutes of 4K video!  It can go as long as 57 minutes with an external battery.  That is just a miracle.  More people should be talking about this.

In the Pipeline

Fujifilm X100V is out!
Fujifilm X-T4 is next.  Pre-order here at a discount!
Sony ZV-1 is a couple of weeks away!
Olympus E-M1 III has been pushed out to September.  You can pre-order this title at a discount.

Some of these books are being released later than planned because both Tony and I have had major life events happen (Tony even more than me).  So for those who have pre-ordered books, we do appreciate your patience.

And Now, A Word From Our Sponsor

Next time in Cameracraft Magazine

I interview John Wilhelm (who refers to himself as a Photoholic) who creates the most amazing pictures of his family.

If you're not a subscriber, you're missing out on my most interesting writing, plus the best printing in the business - way better than National Geographic - allowing you to take in fine quality photography at its best.  Now in our 8th successful year - Subscribe today!

A New Hope for older A-Mount lenses

If you're like me, you STILL have a ton of outstanding A-mount lenses which use the older screwdriver-type autofocus coupling.  I'm talking about lenses such as the Minolta 80-200 f/2.8 G; Minolta 85mm f/1.4, and Zeiss 135mm f/1.8, macro lenses, and the f/4 trilogy (including the 'beercan'), just to name a few.  When adapted to a modern E-mount body via Sony's LA-EA4 adapter many of the camera's advanced focusing features such as Eye AF, Animal Eye AF, and focus tracking are lost.

For many years people have publicly asked Sony to come out with an updated adapter to allow these older lenses to not be crippled when adapted (such as this one by Sony artisan Brian Smith), to no avail.

Then this arrived on my doorstep yesterday which promises a solution, which I'll tell you about next month after I have a chance to put it through its paces.  Are you a person who's been waiting for something like this as I have?  Then shoot me an email at Gary at Friedman Archives dot com and I'll tell you more.

[More about Sony's A-mount to E-mount adapters can be found via one of my more popular youtube videos explains it all.  (And don't forget the sequel!)]

Until next time,
Yours truly, Gary Friedman


  1. Hi Gary,
    I cannot wait for your review of the monster adapter. Do you confirm the translucent mirror has been removed? I'm still holding on to my a99 because of my precious Minolta glass but this could be the reason to move on to mirrorless instead of the forever expensive a99II.
    I am still thankful to Minolta engineers to have chosen screw-drive AF.
    Thank you

    1. Yes, the translucent mirror gets removed in the process, as it's no longer necessary.

  2. Great post .. now do some reason I have the urge to go out and trim my hedges... weird

  3. Hi Gary,
    this sounds very promising. I've got a whole bunch of really nice A-mount glas from Minolta and Sony and don't rally like the Sony LA-EA4. A mirrorless adapter which enables the whole potential of the A7R4 even on my old lenses would be perfect. Looking forward for your review of it and the day this little new wonder gets available.
    By the way; thank you very much for all of your interesting posts and outstanding camera books!
    With best regards from Switzerland, Josef

  4. Hi Gary,

    I would be interested in learning more about this adaptor

    1. And I'd love to tell you more! Send me an email at Gary at Friedman Archives dot com and I'll do so.

    2. I sold one of the biggest Minolta collections in the UK to a collector in French Alps... whole large van load but I still have some prized Minolta Alpha mount lenses and Sony A77 ii and A7r iii am I waiting for the impossible ?

  5. To all of you who register as "Unknown" and leave a comment asking for more info... I don't know who you are or how to reach you. Please send an email to Gary at Friedman Archives dot com and I'll fill you in on the details!

  6. I still have a little hope that Sony will bring out an up-to-date A-mount camera. Is there any reason to hope such? I think Sony owes us at least one camera before it tells us that A-mount cameras are dead.

  7. While an upgraded adapter is nice to hear about, I still have some hope that Sony will at least produce a farewell A-mount camera that encompasses the advances of the last few years. We trusted Sony to support A-mount and for them to pull the rug out from under us is shameful.

  8. While it is nice to hear of an upgraded adapter to allow the use of A-mount lenses on E-mount cameras, I still have some small hope that at least a farewell A-mount camera that encompasses all or most of the advances of the last few years will be available. We trusted Sony that A-mount was something they would support and they didn't ever come out with a statement that they were dropping the A-mount system. I find that entirely shameful. Is they any real hope of an update A-mount camera?

  9. Be interested to hear about the new adaptor

  10. Your review of the new adapter will be interesting but quite frankly I love my 2 1/2 year old A99ii so much that I have no interest in any of the E Mount cameras. Since I'm 75 it may last the rest of my life.

    1. A99II has a lot of life in it and has the benefit of DSLR feel with mirrorless features. I have two A99IIs and have no intention to go mirrorless for as long as I can see.

  11. Nice looking beard!

    Please send me more info about this unicorn adapter, I think I know where this is going, saw some post fly by on a group earlier in the year.

    It would be great to have all the AF modes with my 85mm f1.4 !

    1. Send me your email and I'll provide more info...

  12. I’d like Sony to take the E Mount to a slimed down A99ii body style camera. Sony could add dual CF cards slots for faster transfer rates and a fully functional A99ii style touch sensitive LCD screen I think the pros that are reluctant to go mirrorless would be attracted to the larger mirrorless camera body.

  13. I have been waiting for a proper Sony adapter for a very long time. I eventually gave up and figured I will just have to keep my two A900's to use the classic glass (I dont like Sony SLT), and use mostly Nikon these days.

  14. I would love to have an adapter for my 200 mm HS en Reflex lens, which is not crippled. Thanks in advance Gary.

  15. I'm going against the stream here, but can you confirm that the is no solution for mounting a FE glass on my A-mount A 99? I only have an A99 and old Minolta lenses which limit the AF speed and other features of my A99. I was under the impression that some FE lenses would use the full potential of A99 AF... but it doesn't seem to be possible...

    1. Confirmed! For technical reasons, you can't get an FE lens to work on an A-mount body.

  16. Will this work with a a7r III? The new LA-EA5 only works with screw motor lens in a7r IV 😕

  17. Hi Gary, I have the sony A6000. what could be a definitive adapter to take advantage of all sony A lenses with autofocus ?. thanks since now!
    from Argentina,
    Daniel Oliveira

    1. Hi, Daniel. You didn't say which A-mount lenses - the answer to that might change my recommendation. Check out my youtube videos which explain the nuanced differences: (Anyway, my default answer would be "LA-EA2" if you can find one.)


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