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Philip Bloom Masterclass – Using Autofocus on Sony Alpha Cameras


You have a Sony Alpha camera, but the highly acclaimed autofocus just doesn’t seem to work the way you expect it to? Philip Bloom is here to help. In his two-part Sony Alpha Masterclass, he shows you all the ins and outs of the autofocus system and the best practices for getting the most out of it.

The Sony Alpha mirrorless camera ecosystem offers a lot for its money. And the autofocus system (for video!) is one of the more complex topics to master if you want to intuitively use these cameras as a filmmaking tool.

Reliable autofocus for video hasn’t been around for too long, but it has become a very powerful tool when used correctly. The “manual” part of modern autofocus systems lies in dialing in the proper adjustments and settings to suit the shooting situation at hand.

Philip Bloom Autofocus Masterclass

As part of the so-called Sony Alpha Academy, acclaimed filmmaker Philip Bloom has issued a complete master class on the subject: how to reliably use the autofocus system of modern Sony Alpha cameras.

It is indeed an extensive topic, and you can tell Philip has put a lot of work into it. With that in mind, it’s even more gratifying that the two-part masterclass is completely free! All you have to do is kick back, listen, and learn.

Sony Alpha 7 IV
image credit: Sony

Accessing the second part, however, is a bit more complicated. Be sure to check out Philip Bloom’s first (pinned) comment on the video of Part 1. There he describes how to access the second part of the series.

Mastering autofocus

As autofocus capabilities have evolved dramatically in recent years, Philip notes that it (the autofocus system)

has gone from something I would never use to something I rely upon for a lot of my filming

Philip Bloom

So how do you master the dreaded autofocus menus? While the latest version of Sony’s menu structure improves the logical composition and makes it a bit easier to find the required items, the older system is a bit more confusing as it mixes still and video modes quite a bit.

A good starting point is to set up the so-called “My Menu” within the menu structure in order to have all important settings readily available when you need them.

Sony Alpha Philip Bloom Masterclass
image credit: Sony / Philip Bloom

Once everything is in place, you can experiment with different settings like drive speed, sensitivity, and so on. I don’t want to repeat everything Philip explains in the video, as it makes much more sense to see the result of a particular setting directly. So watch the video and see if you can up your autofocus game!

If you are hungry for more, be advised that Philip Bloom has a whole Cinematic Masterclass over on MZed.com, as well as another course called Filmmaking for Photographers (MZed is part of CineD). And then, of course, there’s his 75-minute review of the Sony a7s III. By the way, there is a special discount this week when signing up to become an MZed Pro Member ($279 instead of $349/12-month membership).

Link: YouTube | MZed

What do you think? Did you learn something new in these videos? Share your experiences in the comments below!




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