Sony A7II SteadyShot: Switching from OSS to Manual Lenses

There’s an internet post speculating that A7II SteadyShot is disabled when switching from FE OSS lenses like the FE 24-70mm F4 OSS to a third party manual lens such as Leica M using a non-electronic lens adapter.

Supposedly this does not happen when you switch from a non-OSS FE lens such as the FE 55mm F1.8 to a third party manual lens such as Leica M using a non-electronic lens adapter.

I did fairly extensive testing with A7II SteadyShot using an extremely wide selection of lenses and this is not something I had noticed in testing. I frequently switched between Sony FE lenses and third party manual focus glass as well as to Sony A-Mount with LA-EA3 and LA-EA4 adapters and to Canon EF glass with a Metabones Smart Adapter IV.

In case I missed this, I set out to ascertain if using a FE 24-70mm OSS lens on A7II before switching to an manual third party lens disables in-camera 5-Axis SteadyShot.

First, here’s a quick note about Steadyshot settings on A7II (FW 1.00):

SETTINGS:

Setting SteadyShot to ON + Auto:

Menu > Camera Settings 7 > SteadyShot > ON
Menu > Camera Settings 7 > SteadyShot Settings > Auto

Sony-A7II-SteadyShot-Auto

Setting SteadyShot to Manual Settings:

Menu > Camera Settings 7 > SteadyShot Settings > Manual (then select Focal Length)

Sony-A7II-SteadyShot-Manual-Settings

NOTE: When you change from an electronic lens capable of enabling automatic SteadyShot setting to a manual lens the camera should automatically switch from Auto to Manual – yet I verified this in the menu each time.

I shot six sequential handheld images – one right after the next.

1. Sony FE 24-70mm OSS lens: SteadyShot ON / SteadyShot Settings: Auto
2. Non-Electronic Leica M lens: SteadyShot ON / SteadyShot Settings: Manually selecting Focal Length
3. Non-Electronic Leica M lens: SteadyShot OFF / SteadyShot Settings: Manually selecting Focal Length
4. Sony FE 55mm lens: SteadyShot ON / SteadyShot Settings: Auto
5. Non-Electronic Leica M lens: SteadyShot ON / SteadyShot Settings: Manually selecting Focal Length
6. Non-Electronic Leica M lens: SteadyShot OFF / SteadyShot Settings: Manually selecting Focal Length

To make camera shake as visible as possible, I ran a test with the camera held away from my body viewing off the LCD instead of with the EVF pressed firmly to my eye – in other words using “poor technique”

FRAME ONE: Sony A7II + FE 24-70mm F4 OSS lens Handheld | SteadyShot: ON | SteadyShot Settings: Auto

Sony A7II SteadyShot Test
Sony A7II SteadyShot Test


SteadyShot functioned properly when switching from FE 24-70 to a Leica 75mm Summilux-M on VM-E adapter. SteadyShot Settings automatically changed from ‘Auto’ used on FE-24-70 to ‘Manual’ when the Leica M lens is attached. I entered 75mm as the focal length.

FRAME TWO: Sony A7II + Leica 75mm F1.4 lens + VM-E adapter Handheld | SteadyShot: ON | SteadyShot Settings: Manual 75mm

Sony A7II SteadyShot Test
Sony A7II SteadyShot Test


Next, I shot a third frame I turned SteadyShot OFF. The magnified image became noticeably jittery with SteadyShot OFF as does the resulting image.

FRAME THREE: Sony A7II + Leica 75mm F1.4 lens + VM-E adapter Handheld | SteadyShot: OFF

Sony A7II SteadyShot Test
Sony A7II SteadyShot Test


FRAME FOUR: Sony A7II + Sony FE 55mm F1.8 lens Handheld | SteadyShot: ON | SteadyShot Settings: Auto

Sony A7II SteadyShot Test
Sony A7II SteadyShot Test


SteadyShot again functioned properly when switching from FE 55mm to Leica 75mm on VM-E adapter. SteadyShot Settings automatically changed from ‘Auto’ used on FE 55mm to ‘Manual’ when the Leica M lens is attached and manual focal length setting of 75mm was saved in memory.

FRAME FIVE: Sony A7II + Leica 75mm F1.4 lens + VM-E adapter Handheld | SteadyShot: ON | SteadyShot Settings: Manual 75mm

Sony A7II SteadyShot Test
Sony A7II SteadyShot Test


I turned SteadyShot OFF for my sixth and final shot. The magnified image became noticeably jittery with SteadyShot OFF as does the resulting image.

FRAME SIX: Sony A7II + Leica 75mm F1.4 lens + VM-E adapter Handheld | SteadyShot: OFF

Sony A7II SteadyShot Test
Sony A7II SteadyShot Test


CONCLUSION:

When switching SteadyShot OFF, LiveView image on the Display is noticeably more jittery and exposures more prone to image blur at slow speeds. To my eyes, there is no question that SteadyShot was enabled in frames 2 and 5 when compare those to frames 3 and 6 with SteadyShot OFF.

In my tests, switching from a FE 24-70mm OSS lens to a manual lens 3rd party lens does NOT appear to disable SteadyShot.

Bear in mind that 3rd party lenses will do not transmit lens data will not be stabilized in the X/Y axis but you can readily see the compensation provided from the other 3-axes: Pitch, Yaw and Roll.

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69 thoughts on “Sony A7II SteadyShot: Switching from OSS to Manual Lenses”

    1. I just received my A7II and have done a quick test myself. Switching from the 28-70mm Sony OSS kit lens to the Nikon 55mm Micro Nikkor macro. I did not lose the Steady Shot either in my brief testing. I WAS worried that this was an issue for it IS the main reason I switched to the a7II. Hopefully, HOPEFULLY it is not something that will rear its ugly head later on.

  1. Hey Brian,

    Sorry to hijack your post here, but as someone who has Sony’s ear, I was wondering if you could put in a request to them for future models (and perhaps firmware update to current models?)…

    Ever since the SLT tech came in and live view became a constant, one thing that has bugged me is that you can’t assign the ability to turn the Live View Effects Setting to ON/OFF via one of the custom buttons. This would be extremely useful when doing flash photography outdoors (for example), as having the effects setting on is useful as you set the exposure for your background/ambient light, but then turning it off as you compose and light for your subject. As it is now, though, you have to go like 4 menus in to find that feature and turn it on/off. It seems like you can assign every function on the camera to the custom buttons except for this one, and it’s actually the one I think would be most useful to have at the ready for us strobists. Thoughts?

    Thanks,
    R

      1. Thanks for the reply Brian! I currently have the A7II and the FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens. When switching from that lens to my Minolta MC 50mm f/1.4 Rokkor-X Lens w/ cheap adapter, it does not work. I have tested this extensively. If I mount my 16mm f/2.8 E-Mount lens (sel16f28), then the Minolta lens it works. The camera says it’s working, but the images do not agree. I feel like I need to re-test this now, but I did a detailed test….

        Thanks,
        Jay

        1. Hi Jay, I just tested this several times switching from FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS to the closest thing I’ve got – a Minolta MC 58mm f/1.2 Rokkor-X using a FotodioX Adapter for Minolta MD/MC to Sony E-Mount and it appears to me that SteadyShot IS working – when especially compared to the next frame shot with SteadyShot off.

          Here a couple thoughts:

          It could be an issue with certain adapters tricking A7II into thinking an OSS lens is attached – I think that’s a longshot – but anything is possible.

          I posted the only two setting that to my knowledge affect SteadyShot but there could be an obscure menu setting that’s causing different cameras to behave differently.

          I’m running FW 1.00 and not turning turning the camera off during this process but the user who first noticed this issue has reported that turning off the camera when changing (or after changing) lenses resolves the issue.

          1. Thanks for the additional testing Brian and I guess it is possible the adapter is confusing the camera. Lots of people are having this issue though, not just myself. I also have the FW v1.00 on my A7II. The camera does not have any other settings that could effect this that I know of either. It was a night and day difference when I had SteadShot vs Not having it. I think your adapter theory long shot might actually have some legs? I wonder if some pins are being shorted out or something…

            Thanks again for your efforts and help in this matter. Great work as always 😉

            Jay

  2. Brian — I’ve been having fun with the Tamron 150-600mm for Sony on my A7II (via an LAEA4 adaptor) and gotten, in my opinion, spectacular results at full tele. With manual stabilization enabled, virtually every shot is sharp. A casual test of un-mounting the Tamron, mounting several FE lenses and shooting, then remounting the Tamron does not seem to reproduce the disabling of the stabilization feature that others have reported — so far. However, I wonder if you’ll try your test, but turning the camera “off” between lens changes, as the Sony manual suggests. It would be fascinating to see if “camera on” vs. “camera off” yields a clue. I’ve always, out of habit, turned my cameras off before changing lenses but do you think this is unnecessary? Great site, by the way.

    1. Yes. It abaolutely works if yo follow the directions to turn the camera off, but for those not following the directions it I can’t make it “fail” even when I don’t follow the correct steps.

  3. Got it. You purposely left the power switch “on” during lens swaps for purposes of the test. In any case, I am very much enamored of my Sony A7s, the A7II and the A6000. After years of aching shoulders and wrists wrestling Nikon big iron, the high quality image files possible via Sony’s small, light and quiet packages rock! I just hope the company’s camera division will not be adversely buffeted by the current mess.

  4. So the Loxia lenses would get the 5 axis stabilization right? And the other 3rd party E-Mount lenses like Rokinon, Samyang, etc?

  5. Hello Brian,
    I have a new A7II and a Metabones (dumb) adapter for Nikon. I am convinced that SteadyShot does not work on my body with this combination. I have no Sony lenses at the moment, so switching is not an issue. 1/15 sec with 105mm lens looks terrible.

      1. Yes. Did that. Now seeing it work in some modes. Very confusing what conditions cause it to not function. Perhaps mode or whether SS turned on before or after camera is powered up.

    1. Kelly. Try turning the camera off when changing lenses. I didnt do that in this studio test but it’s a good practice to follow. everyone who has done that said that fixed any issues they were exoeriencing.

      Also, make certain you camera SteadyShot settings follow those outlined in this post.

  6. From my experience, if you do not switch the camera off when changing the lens, there is no problem. The problem shows up only when you do turn the camera off between a lens switch. Hope the new firmware fixes it.

    1. I can’t seem to replicate the issue but see if today’s FW 1.10 update for A7II fixes ot for you. Just follow the durection that i posted on are found on the Sony download page.

  7. Brian, if I get it right, this is possible by clicking Menu > Camera Settings 7 > SteadyShot > Off? And if I do so, in camera stabilization will turn off for ALL lenses/adapters?

    1. That will turn off SteadyShot on all Sony lenses. Steadyshot on all Canon and Nikon mount OSS lenses should ALWAYS be turned off on the lens when used on A7II. ALWAYS.

  8. I understand that, but I ask about IN CAMERA stabilization (IXIS). In other word: what and where I need to turn off when I shooting from tripod (with ANY lens). Thank You.

  9. It sounds so simple but I have put on a leica 90mm 2.0 lens and the steady shot adjust. is grayed out, and I can’t change it no matter what combination of things I do. I have used both a kipon adapter and a fotodiox pro adapter with the Leica lens on the A7II and it doesnt matter. the option to use “manual” is grayed out. Could it be my adapter….the camera says that my lens is not attached, but of course it is, the magnification works and the peaking works just no steady shot. I asked Sony and they said they can’t guarantee third party lenses work with steady shot…..I figure if your 75mm works, then a 90mm should work as well…what could I be doing wrong? any thoughts. thanks.

  10. you are correct, it threw me off because the steady shot adjust is grayed out and I now realize it is grayed out because you cannot change it from manual to auto with the third party lens but I can adjust the focal length and I tested it and clearly the steady shot is working to make the shot steadier than without it. Thanks.

  11. i heard on non E or Alpha lenses it drop 5 axis stablization to 3 axis so it does stabilize but some axis r dysfunctional which might be great for videos as we do lot of movement back and forth hand held moving shots.

    will chi more

  12. Cesar Deschamps

    Great article Brian. I am new to Sony Alpha, I just bought the A7ii. I am devouring your website and learning so much. I bought a rokinon 85mm and a Voightlander 35mm. I have learned to use them and to focus using peaking and magnification. But when I press the function and choose MF, it tells me no lens is attached?. Is this the camera’s way of telling me that I am not using a Sony lens? Should I just ignore this or is there something else going on.
    Keep up the great work!

  13. Hi Brian.

    I am using a7r ii with Canon lens (with IS) via Metabones Adapter. The questions are:

    A. Canon IS better or IBIS better?
    B. If use IBIS, Auto better or manual focal length input better? Sometimes i use zoom lens, so it will a problem changing the focal length.

    Thank you so much.

    1. When using Canon IS lenses on Sony a7II and a7RII cameras, you’ll get better results using in-camera IBIS Stabilization than using in-lens IS, which means when using Metabones Smart Adapter IV updated with fw 0.41 (or later) you should set the IS switch on the lens to OFF. (Please note this only applies to Canon EF lenses with Metabones Smart Adapter IV).

      Auto SteadyShot Settings work fine since the focal length is communicated to the camera with this combination.

  14. Thanks Brian – All works as you say when I use manual lens, however I would just like to clarify when using an auto lens in manual mode does the camera read the focal length, only I can’t change the focal length setting as it says I am in auto and in the viewfinder the manual lens setting remains at the focal length I last set it at when I was using a manual lens.

  15. Hi Brian,

    Thank you for the insightful article!

    I was thinking of switching from A6000 to A7 or A7ii. I used both the Kit lens and manual lenses with my A6000.

    Was wondering if you would recommend that I switch to A7 or A7ii? If I don’t buy the lens but just the body and use my manual lenses?

    Thank you. 🙂

  16. hi Brian,

    I have converted to sony A7r2 body – generally using canon e mount lens with metal bone adapter.

    concern – 1. steady shot – menu icon on / off – show grey.
    can’t turn on or off.
    [with tamron 15-30 f2.8 vc, canon mount lens.

    steady shot setting – set to manual @ say 15mm focal length ? – wondering it work?

    would test for the rest of the lens.

    thanks

    Alvin loh

  17. I can’t even turn the steadyshot function on with my A7s and Samyang T1.5 35mm Cine lens. It just says ” Invalid with this lens”

  18. Great site and posts. I’m having an issue with my Sony a7s ii with metabones and Canon L lenses. I’ve been trying to use the Sony timelapse app but when I go to start it says “Use this application with SteadyShot of lens off”. When I go to turn SteadyShot off it’s greyed out and can’t be changed. If I select to change, a message appears which reads “Invalid with this lens. If the lens has a SteadShot switch, perform the operation from the lens.”

    If I turn the lens stabilizer on, the TimeLapse will start and then I can turn the lens stabilizer off. I just realized that, so I can get it to work, but rather clunky.

  19. Does all manual lenses work on manual SS mode like Nikon, Canon FD and other old manual focus lenses ? If it will work then I’ll bought A7II. thanks

          1. Oh! sorry, thank you for your very informative reply, and this site is only one in this way of information. Thanks

  20. Brian, thanx for this test. Now i feel ready to jump up from my 6300.

    ….and….reading all these posts, one must admire your patience. Answering same questions over and over again… :O

  21. Pingback: DSLR and Vintage Leica Lenses - Beast

  22. Question, if you have an old manual lens with a teleconverter such as the Minolta 135mm F3.5 with a Vivitar 2x teleconverter do you have to select 135 or 270mm in the steady shot manual settings? Thanks in advance!

    -Jason

  23. Pierluca Taranta

    I cannot turn off the stabilizer with Ef mount lenses and metabone (iv). It seems like when I turn off IS on the lens then the IBIS comes on automatically and there is no way to switch it off as the options are greyed out. This happens on my a7rii, as7ii a6500

    1. SteadyShot Menu settings for any lens with a physical OSS/IS/VR switch will be grayed out since the lens switch – not the menu – controls SteadyShot. HOWEVER, as long as your Metabones Smart Adapter IV is running fw 0.43 or later, when you turn off lens IS you will get Auto IBIS even though the menu setting remains grayed out.

  24. Your instructions are perfect and your patience with some of these knobheads is enviable Brian. If any of you are still trying to work out if IBIS is working with a legacy lens whack on something 200mm+ , point it at an object 50 yards away while looking through the VF, now half press the shutter and be amazed 🙂

  25. Brian, thank you for explanation and comments. Recently, I bought A7M2 and tried to use some manual lenses, Canon (very old) FD prime, Tokina prime, Pentacon telephoto, Olympus Zuiko zoom, Nikon zoom, but, of course, I am primarily using Sony kit lens and FE5018).

    For more than 5 years I have A3000 and, even those 2 cameras are not at the same level, I must emphasize amazingly good image quality when A3000 is being used best way.

    About the Steadyshot: it looks that the topic is being discussed many, many times. I had the issue mentioned in discussions, when switching from OSS to manual lens, Steadyshot not being in use, tried many options. Other way, after removing nonOSS lens and mounting manual one, Steadyshot is working. All firmware’s updated.

    Just to say, Handheld Twilight mode at A3000 is taking 6; at A7MK2 4 photos, looks that the reason is frame difference related, but sensor low light sensitivity as well. Anyway, the Handheld Twilight may provide really good results.

    Question about Steadyshot, please, which focal length in mm should be suggested to use at zoom manual lens (variable focal length), if not enough time to go thru menus to correct it. Max, min, somewhere in the middle? Or it is needed to make correction every time different zoom “amount” is being used?

    1. Yup, manual lenses without electronic contacts don’t transmit focal length to the camera and while it’s pretty easy to set Manual steady shot settings for manual primes, zooms are another story. It’s probably best to set Steadyshot for the middle of zoom range and hope for the best (assuming of course you’re not speaking of a super zoom like 24-300mm in which case I that way too much.

  26. Thanks for the answer, and for all suggestions, instructions you are providing here. In recent years, Sony made huge steps, making others to follow the path (not just for mirrorless direction, but many other new technologies). Brave decisions and amazing products.
    And this site is like great online library of perfect examples and meticulous explanations.

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