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Showcase Sony FE400 f2.8

Ziggy99

TalkEmount Veteran
Joined
Jan 25, 2019
Messages
488
Location
Australia
Using the 2x TC and A9, I like the results from static birds but BIF appear a little soft. Ideas welcomed.

Brolgas

Brolgas (3).jpg
ILCE-9    FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS + 2X Teleconverter    800mm    f/11.0    1/1250s    ISO 2000

Swamp Harrier

Swamp Harrier IF (18).jpg
ILCE-9    FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS + 2X Teleconverter    800mm    f/5.6    1/3000s    ISO 250


Swamp Harrier

Swamp Harrier IF (17).jpg
ILCE-9    FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS + 2X Teleconverter    800mm    f/5.6    1/3000s    ISO 250
 

Ziggy99

TalkEmount Veteran
Joined
Jan 25, 2019
Messages
488
Location
Australia
I've been doing a lot with the 2x TC, and found that esp with BiFs shutter speeds have to go up and attention paid to the lens OSS settings - more than on other supertele's that I've used. 1/1500s for static and 1/4000s for BiF cp the normal 1/1000s and 1/3200s.
It would be helpful if the factory was clearer about what the lens settings mean. 'Normal'? What's clear is that in panning mode the shots will likely be soft when you stop panning.
Old setting shots follow; these work because the bird is slow and large in the frame.
Black Swan; Brown Falcon
Black Swan flying into the dawn.jpg
ILCE-9    FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS + 2X Teleconverter    800mm    f/7.1    1/3200s    ISO 6400
Brown Falcon launching (10).jpg
ILCE-9    FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS + 2X Teleconverter    800mm    f/6.3    1/3200s    ISO 5000
 

Ziggy99

TalkEmount Veteran
Joined
Jan 25, 2019
Messages
488
Location
Australia
With the 2x TC I got close to one of our apex predator today, the Wedge-tailed Eagle (2.3m wingspan).

This guy is unusual in getting around within a stand of trees. They're so big they perch on top of trees usually. They also usually fly away when you get close but it circled around me twice. And its 'mane' is striking - unique in my experience.

The close-up is what you get with an 800mm prime and a bird that doesn't give a damn about you.

Wedge-tailed Eagle (40).jpg
ILCE-9    FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS + 2X Teleconverter    800mm    f/8.0    1/3200s    ISO 6400


Wedge-tailed Eagle IF (52).jpg
ILCE-9    FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS + 2X Teleconverter    800mm    f/8.0    1/3200s    ISO 3200


Wedge-tailed Eagle IF (31).jpg
ILCE-9    FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS + 2X Teleconverter    800mm    f/8.0    1/3000s    ISO 1600
 

Ziggy99

TalkEmount Veteran
Joined
Jan 25, 2019
Messages
488
Location
Australia
A Black Swan set.
The silhouette doesn't quite work but suggests what would.
The swan running to get airborne got cropped of course but you get a good sense of its undercarriage at work here.
Black Swan getting airborne (1).jpg
ILCE-9    FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS + 2X Teleconverter    800mm    f/5.6    1/3200s    ISO 1250
Black Swan IF (5).jpg
ILCE-9    FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS + 2X Teleconverter    800mm    f/7.1    1/3200s    ISO 6400
Black Swans IF (7).jpg
ILCE-9    FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS + 2X Teleconverter    800mm    f/6.3    1/3200s    ISO 1250
Black Swans silhouette.jpg
ILCE-9    FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS + 2X Teleconverter    800mm    f/8.0    1/1250s    ISO 320
 

Ziggy99

TalkEmount Veteran
Joined
Jan 25, 2019
Messages
488
Location
Australia
I've written a piece on shooting with this lens over here: https://www.alphashooters.com/sony-fe-400mm-f2-8-gm-ern-reeders/

In November pandemic permitting I'll be doing an 18 day expedition around the subantarctic islands south of New Zealand. The logistics of carrying and covering my rigs have proven difficult. There'll be flights, rain and zodiac spray, walking and rock hopping.
If anyone is interested I'll write about my choices.
Useful information on active shooting in harsh conditions can be found on the shuttermuse website.
 

fractal

Super Moderator
Joined
Jun 17, 2014
Messages
3,268
Location
Southeastern PA
Real Name
Chris
I've written a piece on shooting with this lens over here: https://www.alphashooters.com/sony-fe-400mm-f2-8-gm-ern-reeders/

In November pandemic permitting I'll be doing an 18 day expedition around the subantarctic islands south of New Zealand. The logistics of carrying and covering my rigs have proven difficult. There'll be flights, rain and zodiac spray, walking and rock hopping.
If anyone is interested I'll write about my choices.
Useful information on active shooting in harsh conditions can be found on the shuttermuse website.

Love to read that - and excellent photos!
 

Ziggy99

TalkEmount Veteran
Joined
Jan 25, 2019
Messages
488
Location
Australia
https://www.heritage-expeditions.co...tic-islands-travel/birding-down-under-cruise/

This will be an 18 day boat trip through the roaring 40s and furious 50s. We'll be taking zodiacs to and around world-heritage listed islands full of unique wildlife and plants, we'll be shooting on beaches, walking on tracks and rock-hopping. The water will be coming from the sky, blown horizontally, sprayed from zodiac bows and sneaking up as waves. Gear will need to be carried on foot, planes and boats.

So there'll need to be padding and membranes, but in which order?

I shoot birds opportunistically with those in flight a priority. Currently the LowePro LensTrekker 600 AW allows me to pull the fully assembled rig out of the bag and start shooting straight away. That comes with a rain cover but it doesn't do 360 degrees. That would mean adding a lightweight drybag around the rig inside the pack. That would mean in turn that the padding would soak up some H2O - not ideal.

So I decided on a waterproof pack with padding added. I've drawn a blank on getting something big enough here in Australia to take this rig hooded (58cm long x 18cm diameter, with another body and the FE100-400 & TC or FE16-35 alongside). There are 70l units that would need to be imported from overseas but diving that deep for gear isn't ideal anyway. So the 400 2.8 sunhood is going to have to be reversed for carrying (there's no lens cap which makes this a pain, only a vinyl hood which isn't quick).

There'll be a 45l drybag backpack by Overboard. This will take my F-Stop XL ICU when needed but that's not up for both bodies with telephotos.
https://www.over-board.com.au/products/classic-waterproof-backpack-45-litres?variant=19974346375279
https://fstopgear.com/products/icu/pro-icu-xlarge

For outings just with the 100-400 I've ordered a drybag holster from Overboard...
https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B009LEQ3MU/ref=pe_2361882_282382012_TE_item
A neoprene lens pouch will go over the front during carrying.

The telephoto lenses have LensCoats to provide some protection against bumps. More padding will be needed and the only option I can see for the 400 2.8 is the LensCoat Travel Coat with the mount end cut out. Or I can have a go at fabricating a sock out of wetsuit material.
https://www.lenscoat.com/travelcoat�-sony-p-3604.html

For body protection there's a couple of LensCoat Bodyguards on order:
https://www.lenscoat.com/bodyguard�-p-681.html

For shooting when wet threatens I have an Aquatech Sport Shield XL rain cover:
https://aquatech.net/products/na-sport-shield-rain-cover-ssrc-xlarge

The southernmost island we'll reach can be expected to get down to freezing so I've got these flip-top gloves and Goretex mitt shells to cover them when needed:
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/prod...ompany_32303_heat2_softshell_mitten_size.html

For 'open carry' I use the Cotton Carrier Skout which works very well; it frees the hands up when necessary and can be worn a little offset to allow me to see where I'm walking. It's about at its limits with the FE400 and hanging another holster off it for the second body has yet to be tested.
https://cottoncarrier.com/collections/skout/products/grey-skout-camera

....

The Australian winter and some XC skiing is coming up to test all this stuph out.

It's disappointing to find that the high end factory case supplied with the lens won't take a body, won't take the lens with a LensCoat on and won't take mine with my dovetail plate added to the lens foot. Replacement feet are available and I have one but it has other limitations.

In researching gear I found a couple of helpful sites from wild country photographers covering their gear and Tony Whitehead was kind enough to advise on bags.
http://www.tonywhitehead.com/wildli...g-up-for-a-photo-expedition-photography-gear/
On rain covers and gloves:
https://shuttermuse.com/best-camera-rain-covers/
 
Last edited:

Ziggy99

TalkEmount Veteran
Joined
Jan 25, 2019
Messages
488
Location
Australia
Photography means drawing with light.
The standard advice for landscapes and wildlife is to shoot in the golden hour or even just the golden 15 minutes. So I get to my favorite bird shooting location by sunrise. There's the bonus that the sunrise allows you to shoot into it and get some bird silhouettes against a flaming background.
Many mornings this summer clouds have stolen my 15 minutes of would-be fame. But I'm coming to appreciate the subtleties in whites and greys - how they change the subject according to the angle of the light source to it and to me.
Here's the same Great Egret changing its position in relation to me and the filtered morning sun.
Note that the first shot has been lifted more in post than the others. I think probably #3 needs more lifting - a bird known to be white is disconcerting when it's shown as grey.


Great Egret IF (3).jpg
ILCE-9    FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS + 2X Teleconverter    800mm    f/6.3    1/4000s    ISO 1600
Great Egret IF (6).jpg
ILCE-9    FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS + 2X Teleconverter    800mm    f/6.3    1/4000s    ISO 1600
Great Egret IF (7).jpg
ILCE-9    FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS + 2X Teleconverter    800mm    f/6.3    1/4000s    ISO 800
 

Ziggy99

TalkEmount Veteran
Joined
Jan 25, 2019
Messages
488
Location
Australia
Another Black Kite. They have a range of subtle colours and need good light to show them off.
I'm getting sharper results at 800mm with the shutter at 1/4000s and OSS mode selected carefully.

Black Kite IF a.jpg
ILCE-9    FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS + 2X Teleconverter    800mm    f/8.0    1/4000s    ISO 800
 

Ziggy99

TalkEmount Veteran
Joined
Jan 25, 2019
Messages
488
Location
Australia
Black Swan
The light was early morning and indirect but there was some reflected up from the water.


Black Swan closeup (1).jpg
ILCE-9    FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS + 2X Teleconverter    800mm    f/6.7    1/1500s    ISO 3200
 

Ziggy99

TalkEmount Veteran
Joined
Jan 25, 2019
Messages
488
Location
Australia
Heads-up:

Mine started back-focussing about 9 months in: 3cm over 10m.

It's been sent back to Japan to be fixed.

I'm aware of 2 UK cases; one of them did it from the beginning, not sure about the other.
 

Ziggy99

TalkEmount Veteran
Joined
Jan 25, 2019
Messages
488
Location
Australia
So, after over 3 months waiting for the repair, it's still not done, and the comms between Japan and the local agent suggest that as of last week it hadn't even been started.

A month after accepting the loaner, about 10 weeks from the start, I told Sony AU it wasn't suitable for my needs they offered me a loan 400mm. I said it was time to have my repaired lens back or a replacement.

It's now a month after that. During that month I was told the delay was due to availability of parts.

Through this period they've had my two TCs as well, which they wanted for testing, so that means my FE 100-400 has also effectively been unavailable for use.

Sony is in breach of two provisions of Australian Consumer Law under which consumers are guaranteed a product that is durable and of sufficient quality and that services are provided in a reasonable time.

I've told them they now have ten working days to supply a new replacement or I'll start an action in our consumer affairs court.

Overall, they have been lazy and complacent in the extreme.
 

JonathanF2

TalkEmount All-Pro
Joined
Aug 16, 2014
Messages
1,289
Location
Los Angeles, USA
So, after over 3 months waiting for the repair, it's still not done, and the comms between Japan and the local agent suggest that as of last week it hadn't even been started.

A month after accepting the loaner, about 10 weeks from the start, I told Sony AU it wasn't suitable for my needs they offered me a loan 400mm. I said it was time to have my repaired lens back or a replacement.

It's now a month after that. During that month I was told the delay was due to availability of parts.

Through this period they've had my two TCs as well, which they wanted for testing, so that means my FE 100-400 has also effectively been unavailable for use.

Sony is in breach of two provisions of Australian Consumer Law under which consumers are guaranteed a product that is durable and of sufficient quality and that services are provided in a reasonable time.

I've told them they now have ten working days to supply a new replacement or I'll start an action in our consumer affairs court.

Overall, they have been lazy and complacent in the extreme.

3 months is ridiculous for a repair on a current lens they should have ample spare parts for. Issues like this make me hesitant to invest fully into Sony. I think I'd rather trust Canon or Nikon when it comes to big lens repairs.
 

Ziggy99

TalkEmount Veteran
Joined
Jan 25, 2019
Messages
488
Location
Australia
Bird photography is like hunting - but the only thing that gets hurt is the bank balance.

It was a pleasure to take the new old rig out in early morning; it felt familiar and 800mm was ideal for flying birds and little birds.

Little Black Cormorant - wet from fishing and ready to dry out on a favorite roost

Little Black Cormorant flapping (4).jpg
ILCE-9    FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS + 2X Teleconverter    800mm    f/6.3    1/3200s    ISO 5000


Australasian Grebe snapping at a passing bug

Australasian Grebe and bug.jpg
ILCE-9    FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS + 2X Teleconverter    800mm    f/6.3    1/2500s    ISO 2000


Little Black Cormorant

Little Black Cormorant IF (15).jpg
ILCE-9    FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS + 2X Teleconverter    800mm    f/7.1    1/2000s    ISO 4000


Welcome Swallow trying to balance on a reed flower

Welcome Swallow IF (1).jpg
ILCE-9    FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS + 2X Teleconverter    800mm    f/7.1    1/3200s    ISO 5000
 

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