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Old Sep 6, 2010, 8:04 AM   #1
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Default Blurry Viewfinder on Sony Alpha 200

Hi all,

So, I am new to all this and decided last year to start at entry level into the whole D-SLR route. I have produced some spectacular photographs, at least I think so but perhaps more through luck than design. I got the Sony Alpha 200 with an 18-70mm lens, and later I found a WA lens that fitted nicely on the end of that.

Recently I came back from holiday in Spain. I had spent the morning taking shots in the marketplace and of the old iberian buildings contrasted beautifully against the sky, and then decided to go into a Cathedral. Using Aperture Priority in the gloom I set it at a long distance, and held the camera against the pews for stability. Later in the day I fixed my wide-angle lens to to camera to take some great pictures of the interior.

Later that day, after removing the lens I found the viewfinder all blurry. The AF couldn't focus, and Manual focus didn't help. I left it for an hour thinking it might be condensation but nothing cleared up. I twiddled the dioptic wheel in case that might be it to no avail.

The only thing that did work was putting the WA lens back on. After that the focus worked and all things were fine, but taking it off again reverted the camera back to a blurry viewfinder!

Any ideas what I've done? I'm sure when I've used the WA lens before I never had this problem.

Cheers.

S.
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Old Sep 6, 2010, 10:09 AM   #2
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Did happen to go into manual mode by accident...... check your focusing mode also check the view finder and to the right of it the dail adjusts the focus and move it back and forth and see if that brings it into focus.

Also take a few pictures and see if they come out in focus or not with both lenses. Maybe the other lens has issues and its not the camera......

dave
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Old Sep 6, 2010, 10:21 AM   #3
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Do you have any other lenses that attach directly to the camera?
Does the same thing happen with them?

Can the camera autofocus with the WA lens attached?

I don't have a lot to go on, but it sounds like the 18-70 lens is damaged, possibly by the WA lens.
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Old Sep 6, 2010, 12:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
I don't have a lot to go on, but it sounds like the 18-70 lens is damaged, possibly by the WA lens.
That sound like a very likely possibility. SLR lenses really aren't designed to hold the extra weight of a filter thread attached add-on lens (which is apparently what's being used used on it), and when you have a lens with a rotating front element (like the Sony 18-70mm kit lens), the extra weight of the front mounted add-on lens can strain components (gears in lens, etc.), and may have contributed to a premature failure.

I'd suggest removing and remounting the 18-70mm lens to the camera body to make sure it's making a good connection. If that doesn't solve it, I'd try a different lens on it and see if it's only a lens problem versus a more serious issue.
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Old Sep 7, 2010, 4:34 AM   #5
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Thanks for your comments so far. I won't get home to check these out until the weekend but I will try your suggestions. I'll be less than excited if it turns out the 18-70 lens is broken.

Is it possible to have broken the 18-70 lens if it still auto-focuses with the WA attached? It is only blurry if I try without the WA. Once I re-attach the WA it becomes sharp again. I only have a WA lens to try with it so I can't try to see whether it would work with any other attachment.

I remember twiddling the dial to the right of the viewfinder and found it had no effect on making the image crispy-sharp, so I'm beginning to think it must be something to do with the focus mechanism itself.

Cheers. I'll let you know what I find.
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Old Sep 7, 2010, 5:34 AM   #6
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The diopter adjustment on the side of the viewfinder is to adjust the sharpness of the viewfinder for your eyesight. It doesn't adjust the sharpness for the camera.

Since the autofocus system can obtain a sharp image when the wide angle converter is attached, then the autofocus system is working fine.

I think it's possible that the 18-70 lens has had an element shift in the lens barrel, such that it can't obtain focus within the normal range of the lens' focus mechanism. But since the wide angle converter is generic, and wider angles of view have a deeper depth of field, I think it's possible that the AF system is able to obtain an adequate focus despite the problem with the 18-70 lens.
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Old Sep 20, 2010, 7:41 AM   #7
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Default Tried your advice

Well then. Nothing's fixed it.

I need to take it to a shop and get them to look at it, but if your advice in any barometer it looks like I'll be claiming on the holiday insurance for this one.

I can't understand it. I don't recall bouncing it, dropping it, or knocking it. Are these lenses inherently delicate? Should I shield them from light breezes and harsh language?

<Sigh> Thanks anyway guys.
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Old Sep 20, 2010, 4:11 PM   #8
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Maybe you could take your body to best buy or something and see if you could try one of their lenses to see if it's the lens that is at fault.
Oh, and you can get that kit lens used for $70-$80 (cheaper on a good day) on ebay. But I think now would be a good time to upgrade. Even the new kit (18-55) is better from what I've heard.
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Old Oct 11, 2010, 7:47 AM   #9
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Default Fixed it.

So, I took the camera into Jessops and asked them to do a damage assessment on the Alpha 200. The guy looked at it and then unscrewed a small macro lens from the end.

Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!

Turns out my WA lens comprises of two parts. A Large WA lens, and a smaller Macro lens. Both of these screw seamlessly together, so when I removed what I thought was the WA lens assembly, I left the macro lens on.

I thought I would let you know what happened lest some other anxious amateur comes across the same problem.
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