Five Common Sony Alpha Camera Issues and How to Fix Them

Sony has got through times of a huge success with their mirrorless camera lineup as more and more filmmakers make the switch or begin their careers with a Sony Alpha camera in their hands. But as common and known as the brand can be, and as efficient and reliable the gear can be, there are still some small inconveniences that new users should be aware of.

Some are technical issues due to inexperience and others are small quirks that we hope that Sony will take on and fix eventually. Anyway, Jason Vong has a nice video about the five most common issues and how to fix them. Let’s take a look.

Issue #1 – Vertical Bars

Now, this is a strange one, and it’s a stills thing. Many users seem to complain about some strange vertical patterns that appear on their pictures. It’s a weird series of small vertical lines that go across the image from one side to the other. Unfortunately, once the damage is done there is no easy fix, but it’s easy to avoid it in the future.

It seems to be an issue with the front curtain and the flash syncro, although some users are reporting the same issue also on continuous lighting after the fix. Anyhow, in the menu search for the e-Front Curtain Shutter. Turn it off, and most of the times the weird lines will disappear.

Issue #2 – Hollow Sound

Did you ever shoot a video on the internal mic, went back to your editing station only to find that the voices you recorded seem to come from another dimension, like from underwater? It’s not your speakers that have gone awry, it’s the camera. Many users seem to think that the Wind Noise Reduction is a good thing, and leave it on.

What’s the worse that can happen, right? Well,  it turns out that something can happen after all. If you use Wind Reduction in a setting where there is no wind, the filter will try to cut off the frequencies associated with wind usually creating an unrealistic and unusually hollow sound effect. Just turn off the wind noise reduction from your menu, and you will be good to go.

Issue #3 – Updating on MacOS

For once it seems that the streamlined ease of use of macOS has halted. It is, in fact, a goofy turnaround that you need to do to get an update on your Sony camera. To be honest, though, it’s probably a fix that needs to come from Sony more than from Apple, but anyway, if you’re having issues upgrading it’s not your fault, you need to follow precisely the next steps.

Download the update for your camera from Sony’s website (you may need to register first), make sure it’s the Mac version, and open the dmg. Instead of installing the software, you need to right-click it and go to Show Package Content. Navigating through Content>MacOS, you’ll find the SystemSoftwareUpdater. That’s it. Install it, give permission where need it and follow the prompts on when to plug the camera. There you go, camera updated.

Issue #4 – Overheating

This is one of the most common ones. Sony is indeed notorious for having some overheating issues. Period. What that means is that many Sony cameras, when used continuously, will reach a point where they produce too much heat, and the system will shut down to give the chipsets and the sensor the time to cool down before any damage to the circuitry happens.

This is particularly common when shooting 4K video over extended periods of time in hot weather. So, there is a setting that can help you, it’s called Auto Power OFF Temp. Basically, it’s the threshold for the overheating shutdown. If you set it to high, you’ll have a little more time before it goes off.

Issue #5 – Video AF

Let’s get it straight out. Eye detection does not work in video mode. It never has. That being said, the kind of AF that you can use in video mode is the Face Detection, but there are a couple of exceptions. The weirdest one is the external monitor. For some reason, if you plug in an external monitor you disable the Face Detection.

Not clear what could be the reasoning for Sony in this choice, but at the moment it’s like that. The second occurrence is when you record proxies. This is probably a simple problem of computing power. When recording a proxy, the camera isn’t able to manage to do the Face Detection AF too, so you should disable the proxies if you absolutely need the AF. Watch out that a proxy recording will limit your fps, disabling the option for 120fps.

These are some of the most common problems new Sony shooters experience. What do you think? Did you encounter some? How you managed to fix them? Let us know in the comments!

[source: Jason Vong]

Sony Alpha a7 III Mirrorless Digital Camera (B&H, Amazon)

Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless Digital Camera (B&H, Amazon)

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