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HELP not happy with these shots

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LAbernethy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote LAbernethy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 August 2017 at 02:54
Originally posted by dxqcanada dxqcanada wrote:

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.


Shutter speed is an issue. he's at 400mm and under 1/1000 of a second with the steady shot off; But the lens is back focusing.
 



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angora View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote angora Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 August 2017 at 08:12
hi Martin! :-)
bummer!!
envy you for that subject + that lens

you didn't mention if you used a tripod. if you did, did you uncheck in-camera stabilisation?
(rumour went that c/b an issue. no experience here, wouldn't know how to shoot flying birds from a tripod. use my 400mm handheld).

+ all of the above.
(bird is rel. small now. you c/b below f7.1? 1/500s for a moving bird (and 400mm lens) is not much. A77 s*cks at higher ISOs?).
at 2nd glance I think you nailed focus, branch is much sharper than your birdie?


Edited by angora - 09 August 2017 at 08:18
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Post Options Post Options   Quote maewpa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 August 2017 at 12:55
Keep on practicing and next time use support. Agree re shutter speed, distance, ISO, technique and that you are not hitting focus. Can you hit focus normally with that combination?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote linearamp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 August 2017 at 20:09
Hi all
thanks so much for the info and advice here.

So the majority have said that the focus is off . So i think the first thing i need to do is try sort the focusing issue.

My question is how does one micro adjust a zoom lens,what subject to use to do this .Can anyone here give me any advice regarding this.

I cannot get any closer the kingfisher as im shooting in a static hide. i may have to try take my tripod and shutter release .Trouble with that is the hide is not that big so it might annoy other shooters in the hide space wise..i agree that the window ledge on the hide maybe not that stable so with steadyshot turned off could cause lack of sharpness .

i realise that this setup is not the best for birding but i was hoping to get better shots than what im getting.

i will be going back to the same spot to try my luck but not before i try to rectify the focus problem.

Thanks again the advice here is great .Look forward to the next replies hopefully regarding micro adjustment.

Martin

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Post Options Post Options   Quote QuietOC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 August 2017 at 20:24
I'd make sure to adjust the focus at the focal length and distance you are shooting here.

I suspect the lens. There a plenty of reports of substandard 70-400Gs. The images I got with the Minolta 100-400 look much better, and that Minolta wasn't as sharp as my 55-300 on a 1.4X TC. I leave Steady Shot turned on, FWIW.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sybersitizen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 August 2017 at 21:52
Originally posted by linearamp linearamp wrote:

My question is how does one micro adjust a zoom lens,what subject to use to do this .Can anyone here give me any advice regarding this.

The first question should be How do I confirm that my lens is capable of good sharp focus?

I answered that (briefly) on page one: I think some strictly controlled testing is in order (using a tripod, self-timer, and careful manual focusing with the focus magnifier). Set up an appropriate target and see if you get good results.

Once you confirm that the lens is optically up to par in manual focus mode, then you can test and adjust the camera's AF system. If needed, the adjustment should be made at the focal length you're most likely to use in the field.
 



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momech View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote momech Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 August 2017 at 22:14
Since you're using it at 400mm then adjust the AF at 400 mm. Since you're shooting what amounts to a portrait, use center spot AF and metering.

And shoot wide open to keep your shutter speed up. Shooting birds with my A77 I hated going over ISO 400 if I was going to crop at all. Too much noise in the feather detail.

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.

As far as your gear, the lens should be fine. Maybe try the A77 II ? I switched to Canon for this sort of thing years ago. If you really want to get into it big time, as in 600mm f4 lenses, etc., I'd seriously think about Canon or Nikon.      

Edited by momech - 09 August 2017 at 22:19
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dxqcanada Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 August 2017 at 22:28
I used this: focus adjustment aid
I used some thick cardboard ... though eventually it warped, I think foamcore would be better.
Since I primary use the SAL70400G @ 400mm ... that is what I adjusted for.

... and focus peaking is handy when doing this.


Edited by dxqcanada - 09 August 2017 at 22:33
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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 Posted: 09 August 2017 at 22:37
Originally posted by momech momech wrote:

Since you're using it at 400mm then adjust the AF at 400 mm. Since you're shooting what amounts to a portrait, use center spot AF and metering.

And shoot wide open to keep your shutter speed up. Shooting birds with my A77 I hated going over ISO 400 if I was going to crop at all. Too much noise in the feather detail.

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.

As far as your gear, the lens should be fine. Maybe try the A77 II ? I switched to Canon for this sort of thing years ago. If you really want to get into it big time, as in 600mm f4 lenses, etc., I'd seriously think about Canon or Nikon.      


Would a A77 II be any better than what i have as i was thinking about this a while ago ,but some reviews are just saying it would be more of a sideways move rather than a upgrade ?

Also was thinking of another brand and lens , dont think my budget would stretch to 600mm f4 lens .i would have about £3000 GBP to get a body and lens for birding/wildlife .What would my options be ? would be looking into the 2nd hand market as well
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Post Options Post Options   Quote stiuskr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 August 2017 at 22:59
Originally posted by linearamp linearamp wrote:


Would a A77 II be any better than what i have ...


This would be veering too far off of the Critic's Corner objectives, I'd advise to start a new topic in the A-mount ASP-C sub forum about upgrading the a77 if that topic hasn't already been covered yet...

http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/a77-vs-a77-mk2_topic128050.html

etc.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote SnowFella Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 August 2017 at 23:00
Being an A77 shooter with a slightly lower rated Sigma 150-500 I see no reason why your combo should't be able to capture pin sharp shots at that distance and settings. Anything over ISO800 will start showing some noise but the detail should still be there.

Not being locked down on a solid tripod I would of left steadyshot on though, even a tiny wiggle as you push the shutter button will show up in the photos.

Start out as has been suggested and check if there's some MFA needed and if it's capable of sharp shots from manual focus.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote stevo71 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2017 at 05:56
All of the above have very valid points and here's my two cents for what it is worth:

Leave SSS on if not using a tripod AND a remote shutter. A shelf on a hide does not compensate for this.

Focus here is an issue as stated use spot focus and do some tests to determine if you have a back focus issue at 400mm if that's what focal range you typically shoot at.

There is nothing wrong with Sony gear for this type of shooting and you CAN get bad copies of lenses and bodies from any manufacturer. The Sony 70-400G and the newer Gii version are supposedly manufactured for sharpness throughout the focal range and wide open on the aperture. I concur with this having used both versions.

Shutter speed is definitely an issue at 400mm you want to be at least 1/1000 of a second as stated and even that may be too low depending on light and speed of the subject.

I used to own an a65 which is basically the same internals as the a77 and it does not handle low light at high ISO well at all. In fact I never shot above ISO400 because the noise just became intolerable. An upgrade within budget to the a77ii would be worthwhile as it's low light capabilities are much improved over the original version as is the AF system. However I am a big advocate for Sony's full frame cameras the a99 and now the a99ii you may lose some reach but that is more than made up for in the crop factor and low light capabilities.

Without trying to sound harsh your issues sound more like technique and too high expectations from your equipment IMHO.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote SnowFella Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2017 at 06:29
Originally posted by linearamp linearamp wrote:

Hi all

My question is how does one micro adjust a zoom lens,what subject to use to do this .Can anyone here give me any advice regarding this.



Adjust it at the long end if that's what you mostly will use and try to do it at the distance you mostly will use it.
And hope the 70-400 isn't like my Sigma 150-500mm where MFA shifts from backfocus to frontfocus depending on focus distance.
Once worked up an MFA setting for it at ~15-20m and got it tuned in, next outing I ended up with little wrens right at my feet...result was a whole lot of nicely focused tail feathers

A65 and A77 isn't really that bad when it comes to high ISO noise if you fix it a tad in post, I find though that when you need that higher ISO it's already dark enough that the AF module has started getting unreliable and you are seeing focus misses.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2017 at 07:40
For this kind of photography Sony now is just as good as comparable competition - the Sony A77m2 is as good as the Canon 7D2. Canon (and Nikon) has a wider range of long lenses though if you want to move up.

The 70-400G is between the older and newer Canon 100-400L. There might be sample variation as QuietOC mentioned, but I don't think that is the problem here (I don't understand the Minolta 100-400 reference) - it is clear the focus is off.

Those kingfishers are small, it is easy to miss focus and if you miss focus they're completely out of focus (big mammals are easier).

Zoom lenses are complicated, SnowFella's experience doesn't surprise me. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't do a MFA. If you use the lens mainly at a specific distance, do it at that distance. If you use it as a general purpose lens, do the MFA about 25x the focallength, that is about 10 meters for a 400mm lens - but make sure to check the other focallengths.

You need a fast enough shutterspeed, if you use a 400mm lens on an APS-C camera, consider the equivalent focallength: 1/focallength on APS-C gives an 1/(1.5x400)=1/600s minimum shutterspeed, a little faster would be preferable - higher pixelcount cameras and longer lenses suffer more from camera shake. I tend not to factor in image stabilisation.

I guess I basically say the same as everybody else

I never used the A77, but I think the A77m2 has a very competent AF system and the sensor seems a little bit better. But you should be able to get these Kingfishers with your current set-up.
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