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OSS mode for birds in flight


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#1 stoppingdown

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Posted 08 October 2016 - 12:05 PM

Yesterday I had another chance to test my a6000 with the Sigma 150-600mm C + MC-11.

 

It was totally unexpected - and unfortunately it took me a bit unprepared. I was just at the beginning of the southern climb of the Col d'Allos, France, interested in Fall colours, when, during a bend, I seemed to see a bird, far away, that definitely looked like a griffon. I was just wondering - hey, I should really mount the 150-600mm just in case - and in a few seconds, two bends later, dozens of griffon were flying, also at low altitude, over my head, together with dozens of crows. The road, in that place, is very narrow and two cars can't comfortably cross, so I had first to find the first reasonable place to park. Then, not knowing how long the birds could have stayed, I first started shooting with the SEL70200G that was already mounted on the a6000. It made sense, first because of some "overview" shots, and also because a couple of vultures were so low that they did a good job of filling the frame also at 200mm. When I saw that they weren't in a hurry I mounted the 150-600mm.

 

I shot about 250 frames with the 150-600mm. I'll take the whole weekend to sort them out, but at the moment, despite a number of very good compositions, none seems to be tack sharp, even though some are decently sharp. Even though the background was pretty clear - the blue sky - the camera was probably fooled, in some cases, by the high number of birds around. I also did some mistakes, that is I switched from f/11, which is my preset for birds in flight - to f/8, thinking that it was enough. But in some cases there are two or three large birds in the frame, and only one is in focus because the others are out of the focusing field. The camera didn't pick the one that made more sense composition-wise, because of course it's not smart.

 

But this is not part of my question. There is also a number of frames shot with the 70-200mm and I expected better results from it, first because it's faster in focusing, second because I can perfectly hand hold it. Actually, some shots seems to be spot on for the focus... but are blurred, in the sense that I see a ghost image. I just realised that it should be an effect of stabilisation and that was my fault: I kept "mode 1", while in theory "mode 2" should have improved things, being optimised for panning.

 

But - as far as I understand, "mode 2" just doesn't compensate for horizontal motion. In many cases I was vertically panning, because the bird was flying at me. I'm just guessing whether with this kind of subjects - vultures glide with a very predictable flight - I shouldn't be turning OSS completely off, and next time be smarter and cool enough to set up the tripod...

 

More details as I keep on pruning and observing which settings made for the best shots.


stoppingdown.net

 

Sony a6300, Sony a6000, Sony NEX-6, Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS, Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS, Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS, Sigma 150-600mm ƒ/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary, Samyang 12mm ƒ/2, Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN | A, Meyer Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm ƒ/2.8, Samyang 8mm ƒ/3.5 fish-eye II | Zenit Helios 44-2 58mm ƒ/2 
Plus some legacy Nikkor lenses.

#2 dave's clichés

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Posted 08 October 2016 - 04:06 PM

  You were very lucky to come across so many vultures flying close enough to fill the frame at 200mm.

  You didn't mention the shutter speed you were using, hand-held I shoot  at 1/1600 sec. and some are still slightly soft because of shake. I definitely get far less keepers at a 1/1000 sec. Now with the 500mm Nikon I'm shooting more at 1/2000. 

 The difference between F8 and F11 in terms of depth of field is not great at long focal lengths, so with multiple birds you are only going to get one bird in perfect focus, you just have get the right one.

  I don't use OS/VC.

 The problem with vultures is their very dark undersides, AF struggles with little light off the bird against a bright sky, I've been trying to climb and shoot from above them, now the weather is cooler they have to gain height themselves due to the lack of thermal activity. In the high heat of summer they glide using thermals at altitude and become small targets in the sky. 

 

 10Kgs of raw meat helps bring them closer!  :P  :D


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#3 chlky0001

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Posted 09 October 2016 - 01:26 AM

For A6000 I thought f8 with mc-11 makes more sense, f11 will throw the camera to contrast detection Af mode and focus more slowly

#4 stoppingdown

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Posted 10 October 2016 - 11:10 AM

"You were very lucky to come across so many vultures flying close enough to fill the frame at 200mm."

Definitely. Too bad I was lucky in a bad moment.  :)  Maybe I'd have preferred next year, when I'll be more experienced with Sony AF and I'll presumably own an a6300 with better AF tracking.  ^_^ 

The difference between F8 and F11 in terms of depth of field is not great at long focal lengths, so with multiple birds you are only going to get one bird in perfect focus, you just have get the right one.  

 

 

Some birds were really close, but you're probably right. Next time (who knows when?) I'll try to set up the tripod and use the single focus point that I can control (like I did with my Nikon D7000).

 

  The problem with vultures is their very dark undersides,

 

 

 

You don't know how lucky I've been... The sun was low enough, at my back and the birds did some "rolling" turn so to properly expose their undersides... I'm trying to post a couple of example shots (they are not yet the best ones in terms of sharpness, I've still to prune the final 300 70 ones).

 

Exposure was 1/400 with auto ISO that never went over ISO 320. I probably asked too much to OSS.

 

For A6000 I thought f8 with mc-11 makes more sense, f11 will throw the camera to contrast detection Af mode and focus more slowly 

 

 

Hell, there's always some apparently minor but important detail about the AF of the a6000 that I'm missing...

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stoppingdown.net

 

Sony a6300, Sony a6000, Sony NEX-6, Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS, Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS, Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS, Sigma 150-600mm ƒ/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary, Samyang 12mm ƒ/2, Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN | A, Meyer Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm ƒ/2.8, Samyang 8mm ƒ/3.5 fish-eye II | Zenit Helios 44-2 58mm ƒ/2 
Plus some legacy Nikkor lenses.

#5 dave's clichés

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Posted 10 October 2016 - 09:48 PM

 I have had little success at 1/400th sec.  just the waving around following the birds is enough to induce movement. It's so so tempting to try and keep the ISO low as if you were shooting a landscape, best to shoot at 800-1600 ISO and get a sharp shot and then add noise reduction.  






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