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HELP not happy with these shots

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kankushok View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote kankushok Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2017 at 07:53
I think there's one important point to add that hasn't been stated yet. The AF points on the A77 actually extend a fair way outside of the central box. So even if you think you have the kingfisher dead center, the af might still be keying on the texture of the branch above the kingfisher. This is not a systemic back-focus problem that mfa is going to fix. As others have already noted, you need to do some rigorous testing to determine A: can critically sharp images be obtained using MF and B: is there a reproducible focus offset which mfa would be able to correct.

I'm still extremely skeptical that the Sony a77ii is on the same level as the canon 7d2 for birds and wildlife. According to the dpreview comparison tool and dxo scores, high ISO still lags behind the competition a fair amount. Further, the af tracking is still not on par with canikon according to dpreview and several other review sites. This will be further exacerbated by the evf blackout during bursts. No af algorithm is going to perform well if you can't track your subjects smoothly! This of course has been fixed in the new a9, but that camera is on another level and uses a different mount.   

I think you have a way to go still before you hit the limitations of your current equipment. However, it might be necessary to recalibrate your expectations a little bit. You simply aren't going to get the same quality shots that you see posted in more wildlife focused forums taken with 10k lenses and 8k camera bodies with your current setup if the subjects are not ideally lit and positioned (ie: close).
a100, a77, 16-50, 70-400, Tokina 400, Tamron 90mm, F43
 



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SnowFella View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote SnowFella Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2017 at 08:11
Think Iv'e posted this one in the past, it's ISO1250 and 1/125sec on an A77 without any noise reduction trickery and my Sigma 150-500 at it's weakest point, ie 500mm. Shot handheld with a fair crop in post.


DSC09058 by Johan Olsson, on Flickr

An A77 with a calibrated and correctly working 70-400 should be able to beat this as the Sony has a reputation of being sharper!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote stevo71 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2017 at 08:21
This is quite the good thread and I hope that linearamp uses all this good advice to their advantage.

To add a bit more to these later comments. Johan loves his a77 and is very adept at using it within it's limitations but I'm sorry the a65 and a77 suck at noise handling. As I said I hated going over ISO400 with my a65 although I do find noise a lot more bearable nowadays so if I still owned it I may be a bit more lenient now. However with the a99 I used to set my ISO at ISO1250 when birding under a canopy in the shade and have full confidence of getting manageable noise at worst. Now with the a99ii I can do this up to ISO2500 and even at ISO3200 with the same level of confidence (I don't as it is normally unnecessary but I can). Those ISO's would be unthinkable with the a65.

As with review sites such as dpreview there is so much disparity between opinions. DXO scores and comparison scores are undeniably technically sound but I think having these camera options in your own hands and getting a feel for what suits you is a much better way to do this. For example I have used the Canon 1Dx for shooting burnout comps at night and I truly believe the a99ii is comparable at least when it comes to AF tracking and low light capabilities. Now anything you read on the internet would say otherwise but I know in real terms the gap isn't as wide as those benchmarks would tell you. Let me be clear I didn't say the a99ii was equal to the 1Dx but I do feel it is not far behind it at all and there is a big price difference. Plus I do believe the a99ii to be superior in good light even if it is down to the size difference of the sensor.

Apologies for getting off track in regards to the OP.
a99ii | Tamron 90mm f/2.8 | Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 | Sony 50mm f/1.4 | Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 | CZ 16-35mm f/2.8 | Sony 70-400mm G2
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stevo71 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote stevo71 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2017 at 08:37
Nice shot Johan and a good example of what you can achieve with that set up. However I think that kind of IQ is a rarity and somewhat a fluke with those settings. To be honest you do get the odd good one but with better equipment you would find your hit miss ratio vastly improve. I even get the odd noisy mess when shooting at lower ISO's with the a99ii but it is quite uncommon.

The following is technically unsound comparison for what I am trying to say

a65 + Sigma 150-500mm @ 500mm f/6.3 1/1250 ISO800
Balancing Act by Steve Kerrison, on Flickr

Not bad but on close inspection a large loss of detail due to noise reduction in post.

a99 + 70-400Gii @ 400mm f/5.6 1/1250 ISO1250
Pemberton Pose by Steve Kerrison, on Flickr

Pin sharp and tons of detail even on close inspection and with minimal noise reduction in post.
a99ii | Tamron 90mm f/2.8 | Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 | Sony 50mm f/1.4 | Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 | CZ 16-35mm f/2.8 | Sony 70-400mm G2
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Post Options Post Options   Quote SnowFella Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2017 at 08:53
Love is such a strong word Steve, I'd more tend to call it "learnt to live and work with". If enough cash fell into my lap tomorrow the A77 would be heading towards the great secondhand bin in the sky and hello A99II!
But with the wife out of job since January and a kitchen reno in the works there's just no way an A99II will be anywhere in my near or far future.

Do agree though that the A77 is no high ISO beast, it's noisy as hell and I trade shutter speed for ISO headroom at every opportunity I can get! My go to ISO nowadays is 640 for general birding, if I can push it lower when the light is good and I don't need the shutter speed I do so in a heartbeat.
But I'm no longer afraid to let it climb if I need to, better get a somewhat noisy shot that can be worked over in post than no shot.

As for the above A65 shots, get my fair share of shots like that! Mainly why I shoot bursts at 8FPS, find that the AF between shots tend to vary enough that one or more will be on and some others will be "off". No telling what happens but the "off" shots are usually soft and have more noise than the "on" shots.

Edited by SnowFella - 10 August 2017 at 09:25
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Post Options Post Options   Quote wesleysa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2017 at 09:21
My 2c: I'd swap the 70-400 for a prime. I'm no expert but my first thought is a 200 2/8 with an extension tube might work? If as you say budget isn't an issue go longer.

I get birds outside my house in the afternoon, seeing these I'm curious to see if my 135 would get sharper images - it does with moving dogs certainly.

BUT from memory the 70-400 has pleased so many others...

I'm biased though as currently I'm having major GAS regarding a 200 2.8
 



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SnowFella View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote SnowFella Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2017 at 09:39
200mm f/2.8 with an extension tube won't give you more reach though, all the tube will do is bring the minimum focus distance closer than what the bare lens will do and likely limit the infinity focus to a few meters.

Focal length is one of those diminishing return items, once you go past a certain point adding focal length just doesn't give you the return that you feel it should.
Going from 50mm to 100mm "doubles" your magnification, 100mm to 200mm does the same, 200mm to 400mm does again. Now we are looking at 400mm to 800mm do double again and we are quickly running out of options.
I bet a good copy of the Minolta 400mm F/4.5 would eat a Tamron/Sigma 150-600mm for breakfast any day of the week for sharpness even if cropped to the same field of view.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote angora Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2017 at 09:52
can't believe what I read about the 70-400G!
thought it was perfect? ;-)
(Minolta 100-400 APO here. no G, but a brilliant lens! still have the copies of -very glossy- Minolta magazine (free subscription with the purchase of a M.8000i), in which they bragged about 100-300 APO & 100-400 APO, both been rewarded and tagged as 'excellent' ;-) ).

<Flash would come in handy to keep your shutter speed up and give you a catch light in the birds eye, but probably not a good idea under the circumstances.>

don't think so either, but do have a device called a 'better beamer'.


if I were you I w/b very interested in the results and techniques/gear of your fellow shooters in the eversocrowded? hide.

doesn't the typical hide have a nice branch + moss? as a perch on the threshold + the unavoidable 'mirror'?

can't you produce a hide of your own?
we recently bought a camo pop up tent. (fed up with the lack of hides). not a clue if it will 'help' yet. ;-)
but sure getting closer will help?!!

ever seen the shots of D. member & Sony ambassador ijsvogel (which is dutch for kingfisher ;-) literally 'ice bird' btw. ???).
if I recall correctly he uses a 70-400 as well? (and no canikon!). with a bit of luck you'll be able to see the exifs?

love it when the birders start to show off!
for what it's worth... for all!
blown away by that handsome balancing beast!

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SnowFella View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote SnowFella Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2017 at 09:59
Originally posted by angora angora wrote:


ever seen the shots of D. member & Sony ambassador ijsvogel (which is dutch for kingfisher ;-) literally 'ice bird' btw. ???).
if I recall correctly he uses a 70-400 as well? (and no canikon!). with a bit of luck you'll be able to see the exifs?


Last year or more it's been either Sony 300mm f/2.8 or the 500mm f/4 so that's far beyond the 70-400 when it comes to budget! Add in the A7RII and A99II that he's used and it comes up another notch
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Post Options Post Options   Quote angora Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2017 at 10:30
yes! BUT he is an ambassador? :-) I know someone else who is Sony ambassador and she recently had the A9 + several creamofthecrop new lenses coming to stay at her home for a while! (!!). in order to run some tests? (after they left she said to be suffering from 'empty nest syndrome'! ).

love your pic!! what I love about 'ice birdie''s pics however are the very clean BGs! (perhaps it's called 'ice bird' in dutch because it's 'ice blue'???). making the birds stand out and won't spook the AF?
location, location?


truly sorry about your wife's job btw! never say ..... though when it comes to the A99ii?
(actually I was relieved when they revealed the price. 'just' E 600 more than the A99. double that for the inflated Canikons?).
your pics are selling material?!
(if the tax sharks won't spoil the fun?)

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Basil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2017 at 17:29
I have found that shooting the 70-400 hand-held isn't nearly as sharp as using a tripod and shutter release. while others are able to get excellent hand-held results, that simply isn't the case with me any longer. I have long ago given up my ego in exchange for better photos.
To see is to enjoy. To see beyond is to rejoice.

A77Mark II; A850; A700; A100; NEX 6; various film bodies and an ever-changing collection of lenses
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Post Options Post Options   Quote linearamp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2017 at 20:06
Hi all

so i did a few tests with a focus chart the results are on my flickr
https://www.flickr.com/photos/29648615@N05/

The focus chart is taped to a window sill outside no wind

The shots are taken with the a77 and 70-400
zoomed at 400mm
aperture mode
remote shutter
steady shot off
iso 200
f5.6
spot focus
spot meter
jpeg
on a very steady tripod
approx 30 feet from focus chart.

all i have done with the image is cropped these to make it easier to see the results

The images are from micro adjust 0 steps -1 to -5 and +1 to +5 they are named respectively ..Please take a look and give me your advice .Hopefully this will help to whats going on with the lens etc

thanks again and much appreciated to everyone that has replied so far..

Martin
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dxqcanada Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2017 at 21:29
Looking at your 0, it is back focus.
Your -5 looks much better.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Pirate Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2017 at 22:27
Ahoy

I'm not a Twitcher but I do shoot in the 300mm range, and having owned the series 1 Sony 70-400mm G SSM I have my own opinion with that specific lens, but that aside, how have you set-up your camera in terms of any auto and in-camera settings to include modes, image format, ISO, WB, aperture, focus point(s) etc?

I ask simply because using certain settings and modes can affect the IQ of the image and in addition, there's the lens make/model. Have you checked the images EXIF for shutter speed, aperture, WB etc? I ask because if you're using any AUTO settings, these will affect the IQ so leaving the camera to decide will result in images having different EXIF and therefore making it harder to correct unlike inputting your own settings, but likely I'll be brow-beaten with my response and it took me a long time to realise this, and since I had my revelation, it all changed for the better thereafter.
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