A1 bird eye AF - does it add anything?

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Kevriano

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Not all the head is in focus, the eye is.
View attachment 9909
Yes, and while that's ok, to show that it works on the eye, I can do that with centre focus, but I'd use a bigger DOF to keep all of the head in focus, especially on a static shot. Human eye on the RIV works on birds and animals with larger eyes like this.
 

Ziggy

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This was taken with the old tech of a Nikon D500 and pinpoint focus at f5.6 and 750mm focal length equivalent. So the DOF is around 10mm. It was moving too.

Rufous Whistler and prey f (16)-1.jpg
 

Reciprocum

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What % crop is this?
This is around 75% of the full frame, I was lying down flat on the ground for more than the past 0h30, Sun in my back, so the birds got accustommed to my presence and this one moved quite close. I don't recall if I was in APS-C mode or not (to get the 900mm reach). I usually export my non-client JPGs at 3240px short side wich amounts ~15mpx archive file (for 3:2 racio crops), so I don't care if I only have a 21mpx RAW file to start with.
 
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Ziggy

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Well, it's not adding much that I can see. It may make it easier but six grand AUD pays for a lot of practice.
 

Ziggy

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Dan Carr's test of bird eye AF:

good for small bird portraits, complete fail on swans, nothing on BIF.

So, I'm still seeing little that it adds.

 

garuda

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It looks like it works well, but I personally think it's a gimmick on any camera really. There is no real need for it IMO. If you are focusing on the head, the eye is going to be in focus.
Not all the head is in focus, the eye is.
True Afonso… but this bird is standing still allowing the BEAF plenty of time to work its algorithm calculation. And in BIF movement and lots of non-contrast background flying by, I go with Kev’s comment. I suspect BEAF is a very complex calculation in split-seconds time frame. Sometimes hits, other times it misses. Stationary birds likely much easier like in Afonso’s pic. I open DoF as Kev suggests.
.
 

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garuda

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Please avoid repeat posts by reading the thread before posting
Afonso, obviously your comment was well intended to reduce clutter or redundancy on the forum, but I deem this minor violation by Sandy as frivolous, and not needing attention.

Perhaps you didn’t notice that Sandy is a brand-new member and likely not yet very versed in forum drill. I’ve been on forum seemingly like pre-Civil War and I’m still learning the drill. I think we should especially cut newcomers more slack in their efforts to fit-in and learn procedures.

In my view, Sandy was merely trying to offer some info ref the a1’s BEAF feature. And maybe she overlooked the list of entries earlier in thread. But I think it a little harsh to flag a newcomer with less than 3 posts to their name. And sometimes it’s not carelessness, but rather some people don’t have the time to read through lengthy threads.

Hopefully, we try our best to be delicate with our advice or criticism, and remember that we’re here to offer help and promote membership and good will amongst our membership. Your admonishment could have been better handled through a PM to save any possible embarrassment to new members; or old members even.

And yes, perhaps I should have sent this by PM. But I think it’s a good reminder to all us (me included) to be careful in our commentaries, especially to newcomers. After all, Tim gets a $1,000 from Sony for every new member signing up on this forum…. Well… maybe not. :rolleyes:
 
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Reciprocum

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Today I had a few spectacular BEAF fails. The camera locked onto a leaf/straw and would not let go of it.
A1_26265-Web.jpg

Strange because in similar conditions it mostly works without issues.
A1_26074-Archive_m.jpg
A1_25923-Web.jpg A1_26393-Web.jpg A1_26686-Web.jpg A1_26735-Web.jpg
 
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garuda

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In image #2 --- how did you get the sparrows to play hopscotch in front of the camera? Are they drama students? :)

I occasionally have same problem w 7R iv -- regardless of whether AF-lock set to "sticky" or not.
 

Kevriano

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The above is why I advocate centre focus.
 

Paul stuart

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Ziggy

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Bird eye AF?

Nope. Not even tracking. And this was at f4 and quite close.

White-faced Heron IF (2)-1.jpg
 

Ziggy

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Question is do you want to be in control ,or are you happy with sony AI algorithms taking charge .
It's a good question but it's not either/or. There's a pile of decisions made in software by the camera that we can't control and in some cases don't even know about. Eg. CDAF. In the photo above, I'm convinced the A7R III was making decisions between the eye/body and the wingtip.
It's a question of whether the algorithms can do better than we can (and are we expert or novice?), with what subjects in what circumstances.
 

Doug Herr

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In my experience using the a1 for about three months now, the Bird Eye AF isn't 100% perfect but it's quite good. It will follow most hummingbirds' flight and stay locked onto the eye, struggling only with a dark eye against dark plumage in difficult light. Bird Eye AF often also finds the bird in dense brush and locks onto the eye even when the eye is partially obscured. I have a button set for wide area with bird eye AF and often all I need to do is press the button. The camera finds the bird, finds the eye and sticks to it even as the bird hops around in the brush or turns its head to momentarily hide the eye. Definitely not a gimmick.
 
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garuda

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It looks like it works well, but I personally think it's a gimmick on any camera really. There is no real need for it IMO. If you are focusing on the head, the eye is going to be in focus.
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In my experience using the a1 for about three months now, the Bird Eye AF isn't 100% perfect but it's quite good...... Definitely not a gimmick.

I probably shouldn’t be trying to interpret the meaning of another’s opinion. But for me his meaning was likely that Sony invents these more precise functions (BEAF) to entice customers to buy a more advanced camera based on an otherwise small feature like BEAF (when compared to more major improvements). When in fact, having the head in focus encompasses the eye in focus also.

If this BEAF feature vastly improves the speed and accuracy of target acquisition, then perhaps it may appeal to a significant number of alpha shooters and cam prospectors. Personally, I like DoF wider instead of having only the eye in perfect focus while the focus falls off increasing as pixels diverge from the extremely thin focal point/plane, especially at or near the f/1.4-1.8 setting.

I took the poster’s comments (gimmick) to mean just another advanced “selling” feature to nudge customers a bit more, when the GAS bug bites them. I think we all know BEAF can work when conditions are favorable AND when cam settings are conducive to the conditions at hand. But to me, any device or feature that works the majority of the time (51-100%) is a gimmick. When you slide the “ON” lever clockwise, power is supplied to camera 100% of the time, that’s a factual feature, not a gimmick.

[Merriam-Webster Dictionary--- gimmick: a trick or device used to attract business or attention; ie. a marketing gimmick.]
To sell cams beyond your competition, it’s likely prudent to have gimmicky flavors that appeal to the palate of the self-prescribed seeker of cutting-edge technology. And the question I ask myself is, does the extra money justified for these either factual or gimmicky features if they are of little real benefit to my shooting style.
 

Kevriano

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So, the way I see it with the Eye AF, is that yes, it's looking for a specific shape to lock onto, but I think it may be slightly faster still if it were just looking for any part of your subject to lock onto. I do not question that it's impressive, and very clever, and definitely appeals to a great many, but I've been shooting for 40 ears and never had it in the past, and have always managed birds in flight without. I would even say that my old Minolta 700si was as good as anything now at acquiring focus on a flying bird. I didn't miss many!
 

Ziggy

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What the A9 and A7Rs are not good at is locking onto a small static bird. Doug's experience appears to indicate that the A1 does better. That would be down to software and processing power.
That's available only to a few. My advice to beginning bird shooters is to get a Nikon D500 or maybe Canon 7D Mk II.
THE D500 is harder to learn than the A9 but the AF is more reliable and accurate. There's young cheap units aplenty 2nd hand.
 

Kevriano

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What the A9 and A7Rs are not good at is locking onto a small static bird. Doug's experience appears to indicate that the A1 does better. That would be down to software and processing power.
That's available only to a few. My advice to beginning bird shooters is to get a Nikon D500 or maybe Canon 7D Mk II.
THE D500 is harder to learn than the A9 but the AF is more reliable and accurate. There's young cheap units aplenty 2nd hand.
The A7RIV is perfectly fine at locking on to small static birds etc. (Just look at my Butterfly post), so much is down to people using totally the wrong focus mode. Use anything other than single centre and the AF will look around for anything to focus on. I have tried them all, nothing works better than single centre, because you have total control of where it's aimed.
 

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