Better focusing with the Sony A7r
You might have experienced some focusing problems with the Sony A7r. It’s a known fact that the 36MP full-frame camera is not the easiest of the A7 series to auto-focus with. It only uses contrast detect AF (as opposed to dual phase/contrast on the A7) and is very unforgiving when it comes to any movement (even with an OSS stabilised lens).
As I’m always experimenting with screw-on filters, I noticed that adding a polarising filter improves AF.
Polarising filters are used to select which light rays enter your camera lens. They enable colours to become more saturated and appear clearer, with better contrast. Added benefit for the Sony A7r is that AF seems to have an easier job at auto-focussing, I guess because contrast is easier to detect with a polarising filter on.
A disadvantage is that these filters will darken your images by about one stop, so it’s only helpful in the proper light. Try it out.
Direct manual focus
Another good tip is setting Focus Mode to Direct manual focus (DMF).
Setting your camera to DMF will allow you to make fine adjustments after the camera does the necessary focusing. This setting also has the benefit of being able to use Focus Peaking with autofocus. Although Focus Peaking on the Sony A7r is not as accurate as you might think, it’s still a helpful aide when you set it to LOW. You’ll notice how bad a job the camera sometimes does at AF when it’s set to Low.
Direct Manual Focussing will also allow you to use Focus Magnification to fine-tune focus. Using Focus Magnification is the only way to make sure your focus point is right. Set it to 5 seconds to allow you enough time to get it exactly right.
As setting your camera up this way won’t work for all situations, sometimes you just need to be fast, regardless of the consequences. It might be a good idea to have one of the two memory recall slots set-up like this. (Hit “Menu”, under the camera icon go to page 7, the bottom option is “memory”)