More intuitive composition with eye-focus of mirrorless cameras
Continuing on a topic we have discussed here before: a strong advantage that mirrorless cameras have over DSLRs – how Eye-focus makes Composition more intuitive. When I reviewed the sequence of images while photographing a wedding recently, where the bridesmaids were helping to lace up the bride’s corset, the composition immediately stood out for me — all the elements just came together. A bit of luck … and being ready.
The composition really hangs together, because the bridesmaid in the center is framed by all the other elements — the hands (and face) of the other bridesmaids, and on the right-hand side, the dress.
Adding to this are the two lines of the corset lace converging in the top right-hand corner … exactly where the bridesmaid is looking. This obvious triangle helps simplify the busy composition … and it draws your attention immediately to her eyes and face.
From a technical aspect — this image was possible because of the eye-focus capability of the camera I was using. (Sony A9.)
Using the Real-Time Tracking in AF-C mode of the Sony A9, I approximately placed the focusing sensor on her face. The camera did the rest, magically. The AF sensor automatically found her eye, and tracked it as I changed my composition or as she moved.
This allowed me to concentrate on the timing and the composition, without the stress of making sure I am accurately focusing on a proper part of the frame. The camera took care of that …. and as she moved, the AF kept tracking her eye. The camera makes sure I don’t lose focus, or lose the moment in a constant focus-and-recompose movement.
While this situation is relatively easy paid and relaxed, and nothing as demanding as Sport photography for example, the scene within the viewfinder is fairly complex with so many layered elements. This is where the eye-focus is impressive, with the correct AF mode selected, this becomes technically less demanding. If you’re a photographer specializing in action, rather than portrait oriented photography, the advantages of eye-focus becomes even more critical.
I can’t stress enough how big a difference this made for me in getting critically sharp images shot wide open. The camera didn’t focus on her eyebrow or nose or cheek … but right on the eye … as I changed my composition and she moved. Continuously. Amazing.
With a DLSR, I would be toggling the camera’s AF sensor to keep up … but with the eye-focus of mirrorless cameras, that is one less bit of physical juggling I have to do. I can concentrate on the moment … which is the critical ingredient for photography. The moment.
Camera settings and gear used
- 1/125 @ f/2.8 @ 2000 ISO
- available light only
- Advantages of mirrorless cameras – Eye-focus & Composition
- Advantages of Mirrrorless cameras over DSLRs
- Photographic composition – eliminate & simplify
- Electronic / silent shutter of the Sony A9 vs Sony A7iii + A7Riii