Yeah, it may not be the camera indeed, but lenses do play a huge role in our photographic success (of failure, for that matter).
In my rolling reviewing and testing of A mount lenses in the dim but crazy contrasty indoor barn where my kid takes her pony riding lessons, I figured out a very fast lens with good AF might be more useful than a zoom, and decided to test a few bright primes. The camera is the NEX 7 with LA-EA2 SLT adapter mounted. So far I’ve tested the Minolta 50 1.7 (bright, but erratic AF performance and tons of purple fringing) and the Sony 16-50 2.8 SSM (optically cracking good, with fast AF, but a tad to slow aperture wise and too short in focal length) so the Sony 50 1.8 DT was next in line. It was put to the test today. And I have to report results are not encouraging.
Hoping to take advantage of the lens’s very bright max aperture, I set it, realistically, at F2 for great sharpness, and put the camera in A mode with Auto ISO enabled. Wrong move. Since there is no way to configure a minimum shutter speed, the camera chose stupidly low values in order to keep the ISO down. So yes, I got properly exposed and pretty clean shots ranging from ISO 500 to about 800, but my shutter speeds dropped to sloppy 1/80th, which was hardly good enough to ensure sharp shots. It’s not so tragic in itself. What is, is that I shot the *whole* damn session this way, not becoming aware of the issue, hence not correcting it. Lazyness at its worst…
The second issue I ran into (which actually got my full attention and prevented me from addressing the first one), was the AF performance of the lens. Bad, bordering on abyssmal. There’s a lot of hunting and racking back in forth involved, the whole affair is pretty noisy and by the time it does AF you’ll have missed plenty of shots. Not to say it’s not usable. It’s just not reliable enough to be useful.
I had another problem at rather close focusing distance. My kid’s face seemed slightly blurry in my EVF, as if the lens couldn’t quite properly focus on her. I shot anyway to find how it’d turn out, and it seems rather ok. I ran into the same issue trying to focus on my dog’s face for this shot, and again, the outcome is ok (?!?)
I don’t quite know what to make of those focusing woes. In my home it seems to focus pretty reliably as long as I use the center AF point (the others result in miserable hunting unless lighting is optimal).
Overall little decent images, and a lot to cull for misfocus and motion blur. The 50 1.8 DT will make way for its more expensive sibling, the 1.4 version, by next week, which I’ll put through the exact same workout and see how it handles it.