A Feature We Could All Make Use Of

While manufacturers go to war for our attention with cleaner high-ISO files, millions more pixels than any of us will ever need, and stabilization that counters our coffee addictions, some of the most useful features go completely unnoticed. In this video, Jordan Drake and Chris Niccolls take a look at a feature that made the Sony a99 but could really benefit every camera system.

As the processors in our cameras get more and more powerful, they get given all sorts of additional autofocus tasks, like detecting the eyes of a subject or in the case of Olympus' new cameras, finding trains and airplanes. Tracking moving subjects has become the norm, even in video. However, one feature that was in the a99 series of cameras that took very little processing power and no complex AI-based algorithms was a simple focus limiting system. The user could set minimum and maximum focus distances for the lens and have the autofocus system work only in that area. 

As Niccolls and Drake discuss in the video, this could be really useful for sports shooters, YouTube creators, and wildlife photographers. But the instant thought I had while watching was how much it would be possible to speed up autofocus on slower systems like the Fujifilm GFX 50 cameras or Hasselblad X1D series. In your photography, what benefits could such a function bring? How would you like to see it implemented in your camera?

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Robert Nurse's picture

But, camera manufacturers know what's best. They deliver what we "need" regardless of what those needs actually are and how we might feel.

Deleted Account's picture

Thought I was on the wrong site for a moment!

Matthias Kirk's picture

The Olympus mentioned in the text has this feature. Doesn't work too great because the lenses don't have PDAF compatible motors that know the precise distance but it's better than noting

Mike Shwarts's picture

How about bringing back Canon's DEP mode? Not the useless ADEP they have now.

Jerome Brill's picture

For as advanced as all newer cameras are, I'm really surprised you can't share your in-camera custom settings electronically with others. Especially on something like Sony where you need to customize it to get the most out of it. Allow you to name and publish your settings from camera, people could rate them and try them out.

Camera companies could use this to understand the way people are using their cameras. Sony would finally understand how to make their menu more untitive.

I think this feature could be useful. Plus it's a little social so it opens some doors. Like doing a workshop and having your team try different setups for different shoots.

Edward Bembas's picture

I could use this feature everyday! The uses are limitless. Tell Nikon its time to upgrade

Patrick Smith's picture

The biggest problem with this is that it is also dependent on the lens and although it appears Sony was able to still pull it off on this camera, it does not mean other's could. This is most likely why nobody else has ever had this and probably the reason even Sony had to stop using it, but basically many lenses do not have any type of focus limiter and making the camera communicate this feature to the lens would be very difficult.