tips & tricks
Double your lens' reach with Sony's ClearImage Zoom
Hidden deep down in the menu of your Sony A7s (or A7s II) is a zoom feature that allows you to double the reach of any lens by two times, without quality loss! Find out all about it.
What is ClearImage Zoom?
Much like the 3x crop mode on the Canon 600D I wrote about here, the ClearImage Zoom allows you to double the reach of your lens. A 200mm lens becomes a 400mm lens! But it gets even better if you combine the ClearImage Zoom with Sony's APC-size capture, which adds another 1,5 times zoom/crop! That 200mm lens is now a 600mm lens! Pretty stunning eh?
This not only allows you to get more reach out of your lenses, but also allows you reach a much higher magnification when doing macro shots. And just like with the Canon 600D, you can do all of this without losing light! Your 135mm f1.8 becomes a 270mm f1.8!
The function also allows you to perform smooth zooms from 1x to 2x magnification, or you can use every increment/focal lenghth in between. The feature isn't exclusive to the Sony A7s either: aparently it also works on the A7s II, A7r II and FS5!
Hiding in plain sight
Sony is known for its confusing menus, but I wouldn't have thought a major feature like this could hide in plain sight for so long. I have been shooting with the Sony A7s for over a year, but it wasn't until Erik Naso mentioned the feature that I found out about its existence! Then again, it isn't a feature you accidentally stumble upon as it requires you to change settings in two seperate places in the menu.
How to activate Clear Image Zoom?
To activate ClearImage Zoom, go to the menu, and under the cogwheel icon you'll find a setting called "Zoom Setting". Set it to "On: ClearImage Zoom". See, nothing happens? To activate the Clear Image Zoom you need to go to the Camera icon in the menu and then press "Zoom". Once you've pressed it, you'll see a zoom indicator in the bottom right corner of your screen. Use ANY wheel on your A7s to zoom in or out. If you want to do smooth zooms, press the ISO dial left or right.
The ClearImage Zoom indicator
For faster access, I assigned the zoom function to a custom button. To do so, go to the cog menu and select "Custom Key Settings". Under the custom button of your choice, select "Zoom".
Sony's ClearImage Zoom is a ridiculously useful function, that has been hidden in plain sight for way too long. It allows you to shoot diffent subjects without changing lenses, and even use standard lenses for macro work, without any light loss! If you own any of the compatible cameras, your shooting possibilities have just been upgraded!