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Does the 55-210 focus fast enough for kids action?

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by WT21, Jan 25, 2014.

  1. WT21

    WT21 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    610
    Aug 7, 2011
    I have a NEX6 and am thinking of letting my DSLR go, but I need occasional long telephoto for kids events (horseback riding, school spirit days, etc.) Does the 55-210 focus fast and sure enough in outside light to be useful for this, and get a lot of keepers?

    I have to admit, I'm a little turned off by it's looks when mounted on a NEX -- just seems a little awkward, but it might be a good solution for me, in terms of useability.

    Any experience with the 55-210 for these kinds of events?
     
  2. José De Bardi

    José De Bardi Assistant in Virtue

    Aug 31, 2013
    Dorset, UK
    José
    As long as it's a well lit arena/outdoor you'll be ok. And I have Nex 5 which is slower than the 6...

    I've taken lots of horse eventing, show jumping etc - for this AF is not such a big deal as I pre focus knowing the path the rider will take and use continuous shutter as they jump etc.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  3. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    589
    Feb 4, 2013
    I agree, you will be fine during the day.

    In low light it can struggle for sure.
     
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  4. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    Yup, most daylight events seem fine.

    Alternatives are some FF lenses coming available, some use A Mount lenses via an adapter, and others like me use manual focus legacy lenses.
     
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  5. Snowy

    Snowy TalkEmount Veteran

    218
    Nov 18, 2013
    Melbourne, Australia
    Barry
    I recently added one for my NEX 6 and have not had any complaints with it in terms of focus speed, or anything else for that matter, apart of the slight ungainly look which you suggest might be bothersome for some. That doesn't really bother me if the photos are what I want. My first try out was with a taxiing Tiger Moth biplane. I could not complain at all about its ability to focus on that moving subject.
     
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  6. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    If you're buying a used lens, make sure it has the latest firmware. I noticed a significant improvement, especially in low light, after updating mine.
     
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  7. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    In low light, the solution is to prefocus.
     
  8. WT21

    WT21 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    610
    Aug 7, 2011
    I went to Best Buy, and they had an open box for $209. Its smaller than I thought, and the focus speed outside during the day has been acceptable. CAF on the NEX6 got me 50% keepers, which might work. Its a limited use case for me, so its a good price and trade off for such an occasional use.
     
  9. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    50% keepers? Might be that you need to improve your autofocus technique. (Yes, using autofocus on a camera is actually a skill)
     
  10. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    I mean learn how the autofocus mechanism works. It detects contrast, nothing else. And learn to prefocus. It's something you'll need pretty often with todays CDAF systems. Also, learn how deep the depth of field is at your most used aperture / focal length / distance settings. It will surely bring your keeper rate up quite a bit.
     
  11. WT21

    WT21 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    610
    Aug 7, 2011
    Yes, clearly CDAF, grabbing for the highest point of contrast, and which has to rock the lens back and forth, lags action, as opposed to a DSLR which, using phase detect, can actually transmit distance information to the lens. Which is why the NEX6 with the hybrid sensor should help. Part of that, though, is how well the camera and the lens work together, and the limits to the lens' focus speed. If the sensor PDAF can get you in the general vacinity, that could work. Hybrid is the way of the future, IMO, and will be one of the things that kills off the flipping mirror, as hybrid is superior to CDAF or PDAF alone.

    My biggest issue, though, is that it is my wife who uses it for this kind of stuff, and it needs to be point and shoot simple. I tested the lens on sports mode, and it seems to handle good enough for 50%, but needs plenty of light as it goes to 1/2000. So, when she goes out, I'll move the mode dial to sports and hand her the camera. I think 50% keepers in that scenario would be quite acceptable.
     
  12. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    I do the same with my wife. If I have an AF lens attached and she wants to use it I switch to either "Sport" or "Portrait" mode.
     
  13. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Shutter speed does not affect autofocus. Also, the 'hybrid' part, i.e. the PDAF pixels are close to being useless in their current incarnation in NEX cameras, so treat it like a pure CDAF system for best results.

    As handing the camera to your wife - you're right, the limited AF speed will be a problem there, but I'm afraid the only solution to get FAR faster AF speed is by buying the Sony LA-EA2 with a fitting A-Mount zoom lens.
     
  14. WT21

    WT21 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    610
    Aug 7, 2011
    Didnt mean to suggest it did

    That was what the test was for

    Already have a DSLR. Testing to see if the 6 is "good enough" with the 55-210. Think it might be. If I had to buy an alpha lens and that adapter, I'd just keep the dslr.
     
  15. pshojo

    pshojo TalkEmount Rookie

    13
    Sep 5, 2013
    Lenses have firmware updates? I thought it was only the camera that had updates?
     
  16. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Nope, all of Sony's lenses come with firmware, and some get upgraded. These upgrades can make a very significant difference in performance.
     
  17. pshojo

    pshojo TalkEmount Rookie

    13
    Sep 5, 2013
    Had no idea! Easy to update?
     
  18. Zanner

    Zanner TalkEmount Veteran

    395
    Aug 19, 2013
    Wisconsin, USA
    Suzanne
    I bring out this lens when I know my daughter is going to be involved just for that reason. She's a tornado. I agree, you have to have the light for sure.

    This was her running and playing basketball in the driveway last Fall. They came out much more clear than I ever thought I would get.

    12777407544_6387b4545d_c.jpg
    reese3 by Stevsh, on Flickr


    reese2 by Stevsh, on Flickr
     
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  19. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Well, I've always found it easy. Just go to Sony's support site, download the firmware updater, plug in your camera, and run the updater. Having said that, I have read of people having trouble, or even having their cameras "bricked" after attempting a firmware update. But my strong suspicion is that they didn't read the instructions carefully, and either unplugged their camera before the updater was finished, or otherwise failed to follow the step-by-step instructions.

    You haven't filled out your profile, so I don't know where you're located. But here's Sony's U.S. page for updating the SEL55210 firmware.

    But remember: FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS TO THE LETTER!
     
  20. rossi46

    rossi46 TalkEmount Rookie

    19
    Feb 28, 2014
    To answer the original question, yes - the 55210 can capture kids in motion. I just took these yesterday...

    It was my first time using the telephoto (I waited for the new black model to come out) so still learning how best to focus, use shutter speeds, etc. All in all, not bad. :)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]