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Birding: A99 vs A77ii

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skm.sa100 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote skm.sa100 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Birding: A99 vs A77ii
    Posted: 22 July 2020 at 22:31
So I recently acquired an A77ii for its better focusing abilities with a view that it would help with birding that I'm just getting into.
I'm hoping to be able to go to a swamp this weekend and try my luck, even though it's the wrong time of the year.

Anyway I'll be using my Tam 150-600 G1.

Would you recommend the A99 or the A77ii? I would definitely be interested in the extra reach. I'm not sure about focusing speed, though.
Anything else?

TIA
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Jozioau View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jozioau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 July 2020 at 22:49
The a77ii has far better focussing capability plus it offers the 1.5 magnification factor of the cropped sensor. It would be my choice.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote wetapunga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 July 2020 at 23:03
Originally posted by Jozioau Jozioau wrote:

The a77ii has far better focussing capability plus it offers the 1.5 magnification factor of the cropped sensor. It would be my choice.


Good points. The images are still 24MP but the AF system is better.
a77ii- and some Sony/Minolta A-mount lenses.
a7riii- Zeiss Loxia 21mm, Loxia 50mm, Loxia 85mm, Tamron 35mm, Sony 24-105mm, Sigma 100-400mm.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote nandbytes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 July 2020 at 23:13
I used to own both and A99 nearly drove me to Nikon as its AF system was rather basic in comparison. But Sony released A77ii just in the nick of time and it was actually rather decent with some advanced tracking features.

The 1.5x crop factor is beneficial but from what I read the tamron 150-600mm G1 is not the sharpest wide open. so I am not sure how well it will be able to resolve well on a higher density sensor and how much benefit you will get in real life (it may not be a huge lot more than A99 in crop mode but if you have both bodies perhaps you can experiment and let us know).

you could stop down a little to f/8 but then A99 has better ISO performance.
Perhaps consider updating to the G2 version for optimal results.

If you are shooting perched birds and you can get physically close, A99 might be better choice overall. for tracking action A77ii is better.
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skm.sa100 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote skm.sa100 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 July 2020 at 03:53
Thanks, all, for your input.
Turns out I didn't have to wait till the weekend. This evening I went out to a small dam on a river and managed to shoot a bit. Pics below.
Good news: there's a lot of room for improvement!

I put the A77ii focusing mode on C and shot best as I could. Also the aperture was f/9 to f/10, thanks to direct sunlight. Most shutter speed are 1/500s or so.
Perhaps I need to learn how to use focus points a bit better. Perhaps also pan better as I follow the bird.
It's my first time using the A77ii and I used it pretty much out of the box. Need to familiarize myself with the camera as well.

Apart from these technicalities, one huge question for me is: why is the *exposure* so bad? I can simultaneously see blown out highlights as well as burned shadows in some of these pics. Is this specific to the smaller sensor? #4 and #6, for example.
My A99 plus MAF 28-135 does an amazing job in bright sunlight. This could easily be a separate discussion on its own.

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skm.sa100 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote skm.sa100 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 July 2020 at 03:54
Originally posted by nandbytes nandbytes wrote:



If you are shooting perched birds and you can get physically close, A99 might be better choice overall. for tracking action A77ii is better.


Pretty much what I was looking for. Thanks.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote SnowFella Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 July 2020 at 07:07
First suggestion from me would be to crank your shutter speed up, 1/500 is hardly ever enough unless you ace the pan. I'd say go 1/1000 at the least, if you can get higher without ISO compromises then go higher!
BIF is the black art of birding and takes practice to get reliable results.

I kinda went the other way around, A77 to A99ii for the AF improvements, likely would of gone A77ii if it wasn't for the fact that Sony Australia discontinued every SLT bar the 99ii. Can't say I find the AF of the 99ii that much of an improvement over the A77 when it comes to BIF, but that's likely down to the lens used. I'm sure it would improve if I swapped my Sigma 150-500 for a Sony 70-400 G2, but then I'd loose even more reach!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 July 2020 at 07:12
Originally posted by skm.sa100 skm.sa100 wrote:

I put the A77ii focusing mode on C and shot best as I could. Also the aperture was f/9 to f/10, thanks to direct sunlight. Most shutter speed are 1/500s or so.
Perhaps I need to learn how to use focus points a bit better. Perhaps also pan better as I follow the bird.
It's my first time using the A77ii and I used it pretty much out of the box. Need to familiarize myself with the camera as well.
There are several tutorials on-line. There is a lot you can set up for the AF system. I would set Focus Area to one of the Lock-On settings - but I am not a birder and somebody who is might be better suited to give advice.

Originally posted by skm.sa100 skm.sa100 wrote:

Apart from these technicalities, one huge question for me is: why is the *exposure* so bad? I can simultaneously see blown out highlights as well as burned shadows in some of these pics. Is this specific to the smaller sensor? #4 and #6, for example.
My A99 plus MAF 28-135 does an amazing job in bright sunlight. This could easily be a separate discussion on its own.
There is no EXIF in the pictures in general, APS-C sensors are about a stop behind full-frame cameras (DXO Mark shows that as well). So, the A77m2 at 800iso will have a dynamic range comparable to that of the A99 at 1600iso.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote SnowFella Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 July 2020 at 08:56
Originally posted by addy landzaat addy landzaat wrote:

There are several tutorials on-line. There is a lot you can set up for the AF system. I would set Focus Area to one of the Lock-On settings - but I am not a birder and somebody who is might be better suited to give advice.


I've had a hit and miss experience with the Lock-on feature using the 99ii, sometimes it sticks like glue to the subject and sometimes it tends to drift off rather quick even if there isn't any background for it to lock on to.
Whenever I do use it I tend to go for Zone plus Lock-on, gives me a decent starting point for AF tracking.

One tip I've read about and tried from time to time is rather than just do a continuous half press (or continuous back button press) for AF tracking is to "pump" the button. Ie press and let the camera get it's AF lock and fire a few frames..let up fully and then repeat.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote nandbytes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 July 2020 at 09:09
As mentioned above 1/500s is kinda low unless you pan really well. I have got shots at 1/250s but I attribute it down to luck than my skills (not saying you can't beat my amateurish skills, just that you are starting now so it might take you a day or two ). Generally speaking I try to stay above 1/1000s, preferably 1/2000s and if I can 1/4000s on a bright day I take it

For focus setting first familiarise yourself with all the options in the camera:
http://support.d-imaging.sony.co.jp/support/ilc/focus/en/a77/guide/

Then here is a specific guide for what you care about i.e. tracking:
https://www.sony.net/Products/di/common/images/products/g2sw/ILCA-77M2_4DFOCUS_Camera_Settings_Guide.pdf

They totally didn't copy the name from Nikon's 3D focus

good luck

Edited by nandbytes - 23 July 2020 at 09:12
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mambo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 July 2020 at 12:25
Sashi

It is good to see you put the new toy through its paces. As others have said, the trick is the shutter speed. Keep it high (at least 1250). The A77ii will tolerate iso of 2400 or even 3000 with no major loss of IQ.

All the best

Charles
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Post Options Post Options   Quote balanceistischen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 July 2020 at 19:52
Originally posted by skm.sa100 skm.sa100 wrote:

Thanks, all, for your input.
Turns out I didn't have to wait till the weekend. This evening I went out to a small dam on a river and managed to shoot a bit. Pics below.
Good news: there's a lot of room for improvement!

could easily be a separate discussion on its own.

1.





7.


8.



Very impressive photos.
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