How To Use Sony SteadyShot with Old, Manual, and Adapted Lenses
Photographers, in many ways, are like racing drivers (if you ask guys in the pit), because we can wield the tools like the pit crew/engineers can’t, but often photographers don’t reaaally have an understanding of what’s going on under the hood, so to speak.
This is probably most evident with Sony cameras and those who use them, and that’s not to disparage their intelligence, but more a nod to the fact that there’s so much configuring that can be done with a modern Sony mirrorless that you could tell me you’re taking a semester’s class in learning their menus and I’d encourage it. It’s a running joke for those who know them well that it takes a good 15 minutes to set up a new Sony camera just the way you like it, if you know what that is.
Anyway, a question we’ve seen coming up more frequently these days, likely as Sony proliferates the market, is whether Sony’s vaunted IBIS (Steadyshot) can be used with adapted lenses, old lenses, manual, non-electric lenses. Simply, it can, but you’ve got to know how. IBIS is one of the best things about the A7 system (A7ii, A7Sii, A7rii, A9, A6500#title), and thankfully it’s simple and should take you all of 30 seconds to do.
How To Use Sony SteadyShot With Adapted/Manual/Non-Electric Lenses
Understand that for Steadyshot to work, the camera must know what the focal length of the lens is, and in older, vintage, manual, non-chipped lenses, or adapted lenses the camera will not necessarily be able to identify this value – not automatically. Therefore, you must tell the camera the information. Here’s how:
- Go into Menu and Under the Camera Icon Tab (1 or 2). *Software version dependent
- Scroll over until you find ‘SteadyShot‘ and right underneath it should be ‘SteadyShot Settings‘.
- Select ‘SteadyShot‘ and manually turn it on
- Exit that and enter ‘SteadyShot Settings‘ where you’ll see two further sub-menus: ‘SteadyShot Adjust‘ and ‘SteadyShot Focal Length‘.
- Set SteadyShot Adjust to ‘Manual‘
- Set SteadyShot Focal Length to whatever the focal length of your lens.
At this point there are some caveats to consider, and those tend to pertain to lenses using adapters, and zooms. I’ve heard conflicting answers as to what end of the range to set for zooms, so a bit of testing is probably in order.
As per adapters, it was reported with some frequency a few years ago that older Metabones adapters would not communicate data correctly to the camera with error messages saying ‘Lens invalid because lens not attached,’ and variations of that. That complaint seems to have quelled in recent years, however, so I wouldn’t be too concerned.
So, go out and enjoy som3 old quality glass.