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Beginning to work with A7/action setup and shooting.

ohaya

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Jul 9, 2021
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43
Hi,

As a newbie, I have been continuing to familiarize myself with the A7, and am currently focusing on working with:

- A Sony E 55-250mm lens (the only native "long" lens I have so far) - used this mostly at 210mm.
- An Altson EF-to-Emount adapter + Canon 100-400mm II (I have an MC-11, but the 100-400mm does not do AF-C with it, whereas AF-C does work with the Altson adapter) - used this about 300mm.

Mainly, for testing, I am shooting hummingbirds on our back deck from inside our house through glass door - sorry long story, but this is all I can do).

I am generally shooting 1/3200 - 1/5000, with aperture 5.6 - 7.1 and auto ISO (with max set to 1600, 3200, or 6400).

I am using AF-C, and no stabilization (neither above enable stabilization), shooting manual exposure. I have tried Wide, zone, flexible spot (S, M, and L), and a little spot. Shutter is continuous (I think I also tried Shutter speed priority once, but had too many misses).

We gave 4 feeders, hung such that I have line of sight to them. The closest is is about 7' and the farthest is about 20'. The birds go to the feeders kind of randomly, and sometimes from one feeder to another.

What I have been finding (some of this may be obvious) is:

- the Sony lens focuses faster (I know it is not super fast, but faster than the adapter+Canon)
- the adapter+Canon lens focuses slower - I notice that even if I pre-focus then wait for a bird, then try to press the shutter, the lens will oftentimes go out of focus, then try to focus, slowly. So in the viewfinder, it oftentimes looks like it is out-of-focus in realtime, but when I review the images later, I still see some (maybe 30-50% (a guess) ) in-focus.

I feel like, with the adapter+Canon setup, Wide and Flexible-medium seem to give me best results(?).

I have tried some testing with the Lock AF on and Lock AF shutter, but I felt like Lock AF off worked the best for me, so I am not sure how that is supposed to work.

I have also tried some testing with Pre-AF on, but can't tell if that made much difference.

I have been reading the Sony manuals, but some of the setting descriptions are kind of terse. Is there any better resource for detailed explanations and examples about these settings? Also, any comments/recommendations? I know that the A7 is older and less capable, but I am trying to learn about it, hopefully eventually getting an A7 IV when (if) it does come out.

Thanks!

Jim
 

WNG

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Did you try back-button focus to prevent your pre-focus shots from refocusing? This would be the best way to use zone focusing.
 

Thad E Ginathom

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I have been reading the Sony manuals, but some of the setting descriptions are kind of terse. Is there any better resource for detailed explanations and examples about these settings?
I don't know exactly what models they covered, but books by David Busch and Gary L Friedman have helped me out a lot with the two Sony cameras I've owned in recent years.
 

bdbits

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Pre-AF is mostly useless and a real battery drainer. I would keep that off.

With AF, how well an adapted lens works will vary a lot by lens and adapter. A "native" emount lens is always going to perform better, and Sony lenses often have a bit of an edge over 3rd-party lenses. Throw in a fast-moving subject like hummingbirds and I don't think 50% is too bad of a keeper rate.

As Thad mentioned, Gary Friedmann has put out quite a few books that go into a lot of detail on camera operations and has one for the A7. It will cost you a bit.
https://www.friedmanarchives.com/sony-alpha-a7-and-a7r/

If you like videos, I've not viewed it, but Mark Galer usually has good information on setting up Sony cameras.
 

ohaya

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Jul 9, 2021
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Thad and bdbits,

Thanks, I will take a look at the books. I have run across some of Mark Galer's videos also.

Haven't tried BBF on the Sony - have had problems with using that on other cameras, so I usually try to avoid that and just use shutter button, but I may try it on the A7.

I have a couple of other Canon zooms to try to see if they are faster, and yes I know that native lenses (even the 55-210) will be faster, but I guess I am conflicted about how much $ to commit to the Sony system yet. It's a kind of catch-22, e.g., I probably should have gone with at least, an A7II instead of the A7, and same for the lenses... I was hoping that adapted lenses would be "good enough" :(....

FYI, I am thinking of getting a Tamron 70-300. How will the focus speed with that, on the A7? I know that lens doesn't have OSS/VC, but I am shooting at high speeds (and on a tripod), so I probably shouldn't enable OSS/VC even if the lens has it.

Jim
 

bdbits

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Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I believe on the A7 these are in reference to focus tracking and so only apply in AF-C. You can assign Lock-On (focus-tracking) initiation to a button or use the menu option, or use shutter press (or maybe half-press), to begin tracking. At least, I think this is the way it works. I am not a big AF guy.

On the latest bodies you can enable realtime focus tracking and the camera is supposed to figure out what to track at all times. I believe that is on the current A9 and A7R4 and A1.
 

ohaya

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Jul 9, 2021
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43
Hi,

FYI, I ended up getting an A7 ii. I haven't figure out what to do with the A7 yet, but I'm only/mainly working with the A7 ii now.

Thanks,
Jim
 

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