ILCE-9 Focus Setting Guide

Face/Eye AF Set.

In the ILCE-9 (system software Ver. 5.00 or later), in addition to custom keys, you can run Eye AF (compatible with AF-C/AF-S modes) by pressing the shutter button halfway down or by pressing the AF-ON button. Pressing the shutter button halfway down to perform Eye AF, will cause AF area settings to show even when no eyes are detected, so this is useful for reliably focusing within an area.
(When using Eye AF via a custom key, the AF area is fixed as Wide. The camera will not focus if no eyes are detected.)

Operating method

Focusing on eyes by pressing the shutter button halfway down, or when pressing AF-ON

Sets whether or not to detect faces inside the focusing area and focus on the eyes (Eye AF) when autofocus is activated.
This is effective for sports photography, etc. where the eyes are not always visible.

Operating procedure

MENU → (Camera Settings1) → [Face/Eye AF Set.] → desired setting item.

When eyes are detected:
Focuses on eyes

When eyes are not detected:
Tracks using the set [Focus Area]

[Focus Area] settings

When face detection frames and focus areas overlap, you can focus on either the face or eye. This way, you can switch to the best focus area depending on the shooting scene. For example, when a [Flexible Spot] of [Focus Area] overlaps a face detection frame as shown below, the face detection frame changes from gray to white, and you can focus on either the face or eye.
* When [Right/Left Eye Select] is not set to [Auto], or you execute [Switch Right/Left Eye] using the custom key, the eye detection frame appears.

Face and eye not in focus

Can focus on face or eye

[Wide]:
Useful for subjects that are moving around, or when the position of faces is unpredictable.
[Zone], [Center], [Flexible Spot], [Expand Flexible Spot]:
Set when you will decide in advance how to compose shots, or when you will focus on a certain person among multiple subjects.

Focusing on eyes by using [Eye AF] via a custom key

The Eye AF function can also be used by assigning [Eye AF] to a custom key. The camera can focus on human eyes as long as you are pressing the key. This is useful when you want to temporarily apply the Eye AF function to the entire screen regardless of the setting for [Focus Area].
For instance, if [Focus Area] is set to [Flexible Spot] and you want the camera to focus on an eye outside of the focusing frame, you can apply the Eye AF function by pressing the custom key to which [Eye AF] has been assigned, without changing [Focus Area].

Operating procedure
  1. MENU → (Camera Settings2) → [ Custom Key] → desired key, then assign the [Eye AF] function to the key.
  2. Point the camera at a person’s face, and press the key to which you have assigned the [Eye AF] function.
  3. Press the shutter button while pressing the key.

When eyes are detected:
Focuses on eyes

When eyes are not detected:
Does not focus. Recommended for situations such as portrait photography where you want to reliably focus only on the eyes

Specifies the eye to be detected. [Right/Left Eye Select]

In addition to automatically selecting an eye to focus, you can now designate the right eye or the left eye in advance. For example, during portrait photography, you can concentrate on the composition and shooting when the targeted eye is already designated. In the MENU, from [Right/Left Eye Select], you can set either [Right Eye], [Left Eye] or [Auto]. This setting will show during photography using Eye AF.
Furthermore, assigning [Switch Right/Left Eye] to a custom key, allows you to instantly switch between [Right Eye] and [Left Eye] with a press of the custom key while shooting. You can use this as required by the scene.

Use MENU to select the eyes to detect

Operating procedure

MENU → (Camera Settings1) → [Face/Eye AF Set.] → [Right/Left Eye Select] → desired setting item.

[Auto]:
The camera detects eyes automatically.
[Right Eye]:
The right eye of the subject (the eye on the left side from the photographer’s perspective) is detected.
[Left Eye]:
The left eye of the subject (the eye on the right side from the photographer’s perspective) is detected.

Switch between the left and right eye with each press of a custom key

Operating procedure

MENU → (Camera Settings2) → [Custom Key] → desired key, then assign the [Switch Right/Left Eye] function to the key.

  • When [Right /Left Eye Select] is set to [Right Eye] or [Left Eye]:
    You can switch between detecting the left or right eye with each press of the custom key to which you have assigned [Switch Right /Left Eye].
  • When [Right /Left Eye Select] is set to [Auto]:
    You can use the custom key to which you have assigned [Switch Right/Left Eye] to temporarily switch between detecting the left or right eye.
    The temporary left/right selection is cancelled when you perform the following operations, etc. The camera returns to automatic eye detection.
    • Stopping pressing the shutter button halfway down.
    • Stopping pressing the custom key to which [AF On] or [Eye AF] is assigned.
    • Pressing the Fn button or the MENU button.

The link between Tracking and [Face/Eye AF Set.]

In advance, set the following in the MENU: [Face/Eye AF Set.] → [Face Priority in AF] → [On]. When the face or eyes of the subject are detected while tracking the subject in tracking mode, the camera will automatically focus on the face or eyes. This is effective for sports photography or for photographing portraits of a model making spinning motions.

  1. Tracking distant subjects
  2. If a face is detected once the subject is closer, the focusing frame will move to the face or eyes。

This allows you to photograph scenes where focusing on the eyes is usually difficult.

Where a gymnastics ribbon, etc. obstructs the eyes

Timing an athlete facing forward during a crouching start

Timing a boxer facing forward