Fixing a bricked Sony A6500

I own a Fotodiox Pro Fusion mk II autofocus adapter and use it with a handful of compatible Nikon autofocus lenses. The adaptor has developed an dark history that is a muddled concoction of both truth and myth. Regardless of you may think or believe, if you’re reading this you have a bricked Sony camera that may have been triggered by a conflict between a third-party autofocus adapter and the camera body.

Contrary to what you may read from others, the Fotodiox Pro adaptor works well with my Sony A6500 and my set of compatible lenses. And like some photographers out there, the adapter did brick my camera — twice, but I found that it was a pretty simple problem to fix.

Before I dive into a the solution, it is critical to recognize that a digital camera is fundamentally a computer system that is communicating with the adapter’s controller via some clever reverse engineering on the adapter side. Troubleshooting a bricking problem needs thoughtful diagnosis as it could be any number of things ranging from something mechanical (bad), electrical (worse) or tied to software (meh). A camera or lens firmware update always creates the conditions for something to go awry, so it could have worked a year ago but fails with a more recent firmware change.

When my A6500 camera bricked, I was not messing with the mount nor did it fall apart (ahem), which indicated to me that something had crashed at a software level. I did the usual stuff like pulling the battery but that didn’t fix the problem; starting up the camera still resulted in a bricked state. It hit me that it was likely that the photographic subsystem had crashed, so maybe triggering the storage subsystem could reset it.

So I plugged in a USB cable, attached it to my computer and voila, the camera snapped into USB Mass Storage mode. I unplugged it and the photographic subsystem booted up and “unbricked” the camera all by itself. A forced reboot is all that was needed and it didn’t require a hardware reset or Sony service.

If you’ve got an autofocus adapter that bricks your camera (regardless of brand), do some simple troubleshooting and if it makes sense, try plugging your camera into a computer via USB. A quick change of camera state triggered by a physical cable might fix the brick.

Remember, things can go awry with any brand of reverse-engineered adapter and I knew that when I purchased the non-standard Fotodiox Pro bit of kit. Unlike when my Techart Contax G autofocus adapter literally fell apart and became a pile of junk (which nearly trashed a magnificent lens), I opted to get to the bottom of the problem before jumping to conclusions.