How it Works: Sony’s Super-Fast Hybrid AF Explained

One of the most exciting things about Sony’s new A6000 is the crazy-fast AF system that’s been built in. At just 0.06 seconds of lag, the A6000 claims the title of ‘world’s fastest AF’ and blows most mirrorless cameras and APS-C DSLRs out of the water.

But if you’re like us, you’re not satisfied with knowing THAT it’s fast… you want the WHY and the HOW as well. Fortunately, Sony has just released an episode of LearnTV that answers this question for you, and teaches you a few things about the different types of AF systems while it’s at it.

The 9-minute video starts by discussing the differences between phase and contrast detect autofocus systems and how they work before moving on to how a hybrid system like the one in the A6000 works, and why it works so darn fast.

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It’s a fascinating video if you’ve never looked into how the different AF systems function. And even if you do know how contrast and phase detection AF work on their own, chances are you’ve never had a hybrid on-sensor system explained before.

Check out the video to hear the explanation for yourself, and when you’re done, head over to the LearnTV channel on YouTube to let the Sony guys know what tech subjects you’d like explained in future episodes.

(via sonyalpharumors)

  • Renato Murakami

    Heh, weird things that popped out right off the bat with this show (I’m being nitpicky, bare with me a little bit):
    For people probably hired and working to talk about camera improvements and whatnot, it’s just awkward that they chose to dress like they did.
    One guy using a black shirt that made the product being talked about disappear, and another one with a thin stripped shirt making the moiré effect oh so much more evident.
    And then, the flickering blue light right behind them further enhanced probably by YouTube compression will probably end up getting a lot of attention. Guessing it’s an older FLC tube.
    Editing problem: I think they screwed up on the first graphic explanation/animation… or it became harder to understand with the fade outs. I’m thinking it wasn’t meant to be there in the first place.
    Finally, we have a problem there with color correction and lighting… room is a bit dark, their faces are completely red, and it gets more noticeable as they switch the image from one camera to another. No calibration in between.
    The overhead camera seems to be the most accurate one.

    Again, I’m being very nitpicky here, and know that most of those things don’t really matter all that much… it’s a nice learning channel and the information is pretty great.
    Still, some things they might want to take care of in future episodes.

  • PeerlessPaw

    hope they implement the a6000’s fast focusing to the a7 series via firmware or to it’s successor

  • Karen

    Ever wondered why Sony with all it’s resources is putting out a show like that?
    Well, it is to compete with and have a foothold in amateur / home review and unboxing videos market. It looks amateur for a reason. Crappy audio, framerate / FLC flicker, bad lighting etc.

  • Mako

    Weird … this is not very good and fast compared to the Canon 70D DUAL PIXEL Phase Detection live/video system ?

  • Mario Liedtke

    Cruel weird moderator, badly explanation sheets that even aren’t technical correct, to much blabla. I don’t like it. Doesn’t helps me to become a Sony fan.

  • fsjal

    Man, I love your all caps DUAL PIXEL

  • Mako

    Notice the caps used in the article :-)

  • GabrielMisfire

    What really pisses me off about all these new “reviews” is how they make these things sound like new stuff. Nikon SLRs has had Hybrid AF for at least a couple of years now. Same goes for Video AF (which a lot of people seem to ignore – ie Photography Life and their list of “Things they should put in cameras but they didn’t yet”). Whate the hell, if you want to curate camera websites, get all your facts straight.

  • Irishhighviking

    The A7r is not suited to action photography where the subject is moving towards or away from you but the phase detect AF is sufficient for every other type of shooting I’ve tried. You’ll find yourself using the optical VF if the subject is moving due to screen lag.

  • anon

    So… am I the only one missing where they explained how the A6000 sensor works? That is, for instance, why it’s supposedly faster than other hybrid AF systems? I already knew the concepts behinds phase and contrast detection, I want to know the actual details that let this implementation work better, which was promised to me in the article above and was not delivered whatsoever. The entire article is billing an explanation on the hybrid AF which is never given. Even Samsung has given more detail than that on their hybrid AF.

  • Wodan74

    But you know they are biassed because there are too much Sony logos.

  • Wodan74

    True, the 70D AF is amazingly fast!