Sony releases firmware updates for 7 lenses to improve focus performance

Sony A7S II
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
If you have ever found yourself not quite pleased with the focusing performance on your Sony mirrorless camera, you are not alone. But worry not, the Japanese firm today announced firmware updates for 7 lenses for the express purpose of improving focusing performance.

According to Sony, the FE 35mm F/2.8, FE 35mm F/1.4, FE 70-200mm F/4, FE 24-70mm, FE 55mm F/1.8, and FE 28-70mm, all have new firmware updates available to improve their manual focusing performance in certain conditions. It’s not going to make your A7 series camera focus like an SLR, but it should be an improvement.

Focusing performance has long been one of the biggest gripes for DSLR users who have tried to switch to a mirrorless system like Sony’s. Companies like Panasonic, Fujifilm, Olympus, and Sony have all had growing pains when it comes to AF performance, but the latest releases from all these companies have stepped it up, raising the bar for mirrorless AF performance and bringing them more in line with their DSLR counterparts.

The other piece to the mirrorless battle plan, beyond upgrades to their camera hardware and sensors, are firmware updates for lenses like these ones announced today by Sony. The performance is getting better and better, which helps owners avoid the need to fork over money to buy brand new lenses. Many cite these regular updates and constant improvements as a primary reason for their decision to switch to a mirrorless system.

The update today — as it happens — actually doesn’t help in the autofocus arena at all, but instead targets their manual focusing. This is due to these Sony lenses being focus-by-wire, which means that a motor moves the lens elements back and forth to focus the lens. In the true old-school manual focus lens that most of you are used to, when you turn the focus ring you are actually moving the lens elements yourself, which allows for more tactile response and an ability to make fine adjustments easier.

Sony says that the update today for these 7 lenses will improve the “credibility” of the focus position — in other words, the manual focusing will be more accurate. If you own one of the lenses that are getting the update, you can get all the information and details to download the firmware update package from Sony’s support website.

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