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HELP not happy with these shots

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linearamp View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote linearamp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: HELP not happy with these shots
    Posted: 08 August 2017 at 16:14
Hi
here goes ,im not a very happy Alpha 77 user at the moment and i need some reassuring that i should stay with Sony !!

The below shots are from the last weekend at nature reserve from a hide in good light .

Shots are taken with my Sony a77mk1 ,Sony 70-400G .the perch from the hide is about 8 meters away .steady shot turned off due been able to use the hide window ledge which was very wide and stable to rest camera and the lens on as was shooting slightly down on a angle .Various iso's and F stops ..most in Raw

i cropped not a 100% crop some are only 20% crop ..The Noise im seeing is just not correct ,also the lack of sharpness ,contrast everything basically.

Could anyone give any advice as to what went wrong ,if its user error or not ..
Is there something wrong with the a77 (sensor not aligned . clutching at straws here )   or something else .

There are 14 other shots on my flickr with exif data attached to at least 12 of them .link https://www.flickr.com/photos/29648615@N05/

.Look forward to any advice good or bad i just need to get the bottom of this..

Just want to say all my gear is well looked after has not been misused in any way .ie got wet or knocked scratched etc

Thank you

Martin




[IMG]kingy edit by Martin, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]kingy edit 9 by Martin, on Flickr[/IMG]

kingy edit 8 by Martin, on Flickr

[IMG]kingy edit 11 by Martin, on Flickr[/IMG]

Edited by stiuskr - 09 August 2017 at 17:47
 



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sybersitizen View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sybersitizen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 August 2017 at 16:21
Which were shot as JPEG vs. RAW? The A77's JPEG engine is not great and sometimes the results don't bear close scrutiny, especially when ISO is raised. RAW results are better, but of course those must still be sharpened in the conversion stage.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote linearamp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 August 2017 at 16:30
Originally posted by sybersitizen sybersitizen wrote:

Which were shot as JPEG vs. RAW? The A77's JPEG engine is not great and sometimes the results don't bear close scrutiny, especially when ISO is raised. RAW results are better, but of course those must still be sharpened in the conversion stage.


All the ones ive put on here were all shot in Raw
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Post Options Post Options   Quote linearamp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 August 2017 at 16:30
All the ones ive put on here were all shot in Raw
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Winwalloe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 August 2017 at 16:34
The bird is out of focus on several of these photos.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Basil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 August 2017 at 16:42
Did you use a remote release or did you press the shutter button?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ratboy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 August 2017 at 17:25
Shutter speed may be a bit low (1/500) on some of them. Also noticed these are at least a 50% crop unless you resized them for Flickr ? NOTE this is just a guess, I am no expert with birds !
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Miranda F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 August 2017 at 17:30
I'm, not an expert birder, but OTOH that does mean I get to see a lot of faults in my own pics , so here are some thoughts.

1. In several pics the optimum focus appears either in front of or behind the bird (look at the branch)

2. That might be an AF issue with the A77 which I've heard is not the best in AF, but it might be other things too, eg:
- back focus not corrected (except that one of the pics appears front focussed)
- Did you use centre-spot focus on the bird? Left to its own devices the wide area often picks up on something else.
- You can get more DOF with a narrower aperture, and the lens may work better too. I know the 70-400 is sharp, but at the limit once stop down is better.

3. It's very difficult to get bird feathers sharp at that distance (8m) with any lens, particularly when the light level is low and you're fighting ISO against aperture and shutter speed for wings moving. You may need to get closer or use a bigger lens (one with a bigger front element).

4. If these were jpegs I'd question the noise reduction settings which can kill detail, but I guess that isn't an issue for raw you've processed yourself.

5. If you've been able to set up a hide and get the bird in shot, maybe fixing the camera *much* closer with a wider lens and operating it remotely might be an option? It's a lot easier to get detail from a 100% crop of a 90mm f2.8 lens than a 400mm f5.6 lens.

Having said all that, the pictures are very good even though they're not as sharp as you would wish. It's always tricky to know exactly where you are on learning curve!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sybersitizen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 August 2017 at 17:37
Originally posted by linearamp linearamp wrote:

All the ones ive put on here were all shot in Raw

Okay then ... if they were properly sharpened, I agree the results ought to look better. If there's an equipment problem, I'd suspect the lens rather than the camera because no part of any image actually looks sharp on close examination of the large sizes on Flickr.

I think some strictly controlled testing is in order (using a tripod, self-timer, and careful manual focusing with the focus magnifier).
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Post Options Post Options   Quote C_N_RED_AGAIN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 August 2017 at 18:00
I agree with syber. I was trying to figure out on any of the images where the sharpest or most in focus part of the image was and I couldn't tell on any of them. Personally I use a remote shutter release and a tripod on any image over 400 mm with 1/600 second or less but that is being overly cautious and doesn't explain the utter lack of sharpness in some of those pics especially those at higher shutter speeds
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Post Options Post Options   Quote bigsi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 August 2017 at 20:47
I'm not even remotely a bird photographer, but focus wise the photos seem to be sharper just behind the kingfisher ( I assume you are focusing on the head), so maybe a micro adjust is needed?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote kankushok Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 August 2017 at 21:29
Hi Martin,

I shoot a lot of birds with the exact same setup. Your results don't look atypical of what I'd expect given the same lighting/settings. I'd look very carefully at your settings and do some controlled experiments before blaming the camera/lens. Some things to note:

1) Shutter speed is very low in some of these shots. I find that anything under 1/1000 at 400mm on my a77 is not going to give me critically sharp images. This increases to 1/2000 when the subject is moving quickly. This is much more conservative than the typical suggestion of 1/focal length that is often cited. Of course YMMV, and you will likely be able to get lucky every once in a while with burst mode at slightly lower shutter speeds.

2) Distance to subject is too high. The closer you get the more detail you will pick up. It also becomes easier for the AF system to pick up on the birds head where you want the focus to be.

3) Critical focus has not been achieved in many of these shots. You can see the focus is on the tree branch behind the bird in several shots.

4) ISO is too high. The iso performance above 400 is not going to be conducive to much cropping on the a77. Either you have to deal with a little noise or deal with blurring from noise reduction. This might be improved in post processing by doing selective NR on the background and sharpening only the bird.

5) Lighting is not ideal. The lighting looks very harsh in these photos. In this kind of lighting the feather detail will not show up very well. Try returning to a spot either early in the day or late in the evening.

All that being said, none of this precludes equipment malfunction. From your dragonfly shots, it looks like your camera is working just fine, so if anything is amiss it will likely be the 70-400. It looks like you have a GREAT kingfisher shot. If you keep at it I'm sure you will be able to produce some stunning images!

Lastly, if you're serious about wildlife, Sony is definitely not the ideal system for it. These images haven't come close to the limits of what the a77+70-400 is capable of, but if you're thinking long term, there are many better options in the canikon field for this type of photography (assuming you have the $$$).
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Post Options Post Options   Quote momech Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 August 2017 at 23:18
I think your focus is off like the others say. I'd spend some time with the AF micro adjust.

However, I also think you were too optimistic about the stability of shooting off that window ledge; that could well be the main problem here. I'd try again with a solid tripod and gimbal head or ball head. And leave the SSS on, unless you're solidly locked and maybe even using a cable release. It's so easy to introduce tiny bits of movement when you're trying to stay focused on a bird and squeeze the release button, even if the bird isn't moving much. And shutters firing do produce vibration as well, especially Sony.

After looking at your EXIF, I'd have shot wide open in that situation. Higher shutter speeds are a priority when shooting birds, even if they're apparently sitting still. They ruffle their feathers slightly, twitch, even take a deep breath. Might not be noticeable in the viewfinder, but it shows up in the image.


Edited by momech - 08 August 2017 at 23:25
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dxqcanada Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 August 2017 at 00:56
AF is not on target. What AF pattern/mode is being used ?
Looks like camera is back focusing with this lens.
I don't think the shutter speed is the issue here.
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