Focus factor with wildlife HELP

Janice

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New to photography.l Trying (and failing) at learning manual settings. I have the a6600. Tried to shoot a few birds in the backyard (see photos attached).
Problem 1: I sett he camera on Manual. It automatically wants to set ISO. I manually go in and choose an ISO but it reverts to a different setting when I shoot.
2. Stationary bird (relatively) and details of feathers are not there in most shots. Bluejay and Sparrow are exceptions.
3. I only cropped out the sides of the photo did not enhance the photo using any other editing techniques.
4. How do I get these shots in focus. Bird furthest from me was only about 25 yards away.
Settings:
Female cardinal: 1/1000 f/7.1 350mm ISO3200
Male Cardinal: 1/000 f/7.1 350 mm ISO 2500
Blue Jay: 1/1000 f/7.1 328mm ISO 1600
Sparrow: 1.000 f/7.1 350mm ISO 6400 Exposure bias +1.7
 

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Ziggy

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For perched birds use Small Spot AF.
Bump your SS up a bit.
Use OSS mode 1.
Shoot in short bursts.
Don't know about the Sony APS-Cs but the FFs regularly simply fail to AF in that circumstance. Try getting a lock on something nearby and transferring it.

I think auto ISO is correct. When you choose SS and aperture effectively you're choosing ISO anyway.

Cropping has its limits. A small bird at 25 yards is hopeful.

But you must diagnose the problem. Could be focus, subject or camera movement (OSS has its limits), overcropping or atmospheric conditions.
 
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Jeff A

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Jeff
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New to photography.l Trying (and failing) at learning manual settings. I have the a6600. Tried to shoot a few birds in the backyard (see photos attached).
Problem 1: I sett he camera on Manual. It automatically wants to set ISO. I manually go in and choose an ISO but it reverts to a different setting when I shoot.
2. Stationary bird (relatively) and details of feathers are not there in most shots. Bluejay and Sparrow are exceptions.
3. I only cropped out the sides of the photo did not enhance the photo using any other editing techniques.
4. How do I get these shots in focus. Bird furthest from me was only about 25 yards away.
Settings:
Female cardinal: 1/1000 f/7.1 350mm ISO3200
Male Cardinal: 1/000 f/7.1 350 mm ISO 2500
Blue Jay: 1/1000 f/7.1 328mm ISO 1600
Sparrow: 1.000 f/7.1 350mm ISO 6400 Exposure bias +1.7
Those are nice shots I don't know where you are but do we have birds like this on the Left Coast? I must not be paying any attention.
 

Janice

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Those are nice shots I don't know where you are but do we have birds like this on the Left Coast? I must not be paying any attention.
HI! I'm in the eastern, mid-west part of the country. These are fairly common "run of the mill" backyard birds in my area. Trying to get the technique down so when I travel I may be lucky enough to capture eagles, moose, bear, and other wildlife I find in each destination. Thank you for your kind words about the shots. I'm just frustrated I'm not getting the crisp shots of the feathers. My focus is off and I'm not sure why or how to adjust it, hence the post here.
 

Janice

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For perched birds use Small Spot AF.
Bump your SS up a bit.
Use OSS mode 1.
Shoot in short bursts.
Don't know about the Sony APS-Cs but the FFs regularly simply fail to AF in that circumstance. Try getting a lock on something nearby and transferring it.

I think auto ISO is correct. When you choose SS and aperture effectively you're choosing ISO anyway.

Cropping has its limits. A small bird at 25 yards is hopeful.

But you must diagnose the problem. Could be focus, subject or camera movement (OSS has its limits), overcropping or atmospheric conditions.
Interesting! I had not thought about atmospheric conditions. Am using an APS-C camera body. Must research how to use OSS mode 1. Silly thought it was "automatically OSS". ha Tried a center focus with eye detection. I don't think that worked. I'll try Small Spot and up my SS. Appreciate your input!!
 

WeeMalky

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Malcolm Yates
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Prestwick . Ayrshire Scotland
New to photography.l Trying (and failing) at learning manual settings. I have the a6600. Tried to shoot a few birds in the backyard (see photos attached).
Problem 1: I sett he camera on Manual. It automatically wants to set ISO. I manually go in and choose an ISO but it reverts to a different setting when I shoot.
2. Stationary bird (relatively) and details of feathers are not there in most shots. Bluejay and Sparrow are exceptions.
3. I only cropped out the sides of the photo did not enhance the photo using any other editing techniques.
4. How do I get these shots in focus. Bird furthest from me was only about 25 yards away.
Settings:
Female cardinal: 1/1000 f/7.1 350mm ISO3200
Male Cardinal: 1/000 f/7.1 350 mm ISO 2500
Blue Jay: 1/1000 f/7.1 328mm ISO 1600
Sparrow: 1.000 f/7.1 350mm ISO 6400 Exposure bias +1.7
Have look at this Janice https://www.markgaler.com/product/sony-a6600-ebook-free-download
 
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Doug Herr

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The first factors I'd consider include overcropping, focus point and atmospheric distortion.

25 yards is too far away to get a sharp photo with small birds

If you are inside a warm house making your photos through an open window atmospheric distortion can be a very big factor.

In the female Cardinal photo it looks like the camera focussed on the tree's needles above the bird. Try using small spot AF. The camera is going to lock focus on an area with the highest contrast within the focus zone, so be sure high contrast objects other than the bird are outside the focus zone.

If your camera is steady the shutter speed isn't a problem. I often use shutter speeds as slow as 1/125 sec with excellent results, but the camera must be steady and Steady Shot must be on.
 
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Janice

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The first factors I'd consider include overcropping, focus point and atmospheric distortion.

25 yards is too far away to get a sharp photo with small birds

If you are inside a warm house making your photos through an open window atmospheric distortion can be a very big factor.

In the female Cardinal photo it looks like the camera focussed on the tree's needles above the bird. Try using small spot AF. The camera is going to lock focus on an area with the highest contrast within the focus zone, so be sure high contrast objects other than the bird are outside the focus zone.

If your camera is steady the shutter speed isn't a problem. I often use shutter speeds as slow as 1/125 sec with excellent results, but the camera must be steady and Steady Shot must be on.
Thank you for your comments. They have helped me to think about what I'm trying to accomplish! I had opened the door enough to get the lens through so I wasn't shooting thru glass but you're right on the focus and atmospheric along with the distance from smaller birds. Thanks for your time.
 

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