Settings , in particular AF mode for stationary birds

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Cliff

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If you don’t already have it set this way, change your AF sensitivity to 5 for most responsive. Medium flexible spot works best for me. Small is too small and expandable flexible spot is more likely to grab something next to your subject rather than your subject. Make sure the lens is on mode 1 for stationary subjects. FYI, if I want sharp photos on stationary subjects I use 1/1000 sec.
we'll, I'm really pleased I posted this conundrum of mine, I know have a better understanding of where I might be going wrong - I have set up on the AF on button a toggle between the AF modes - Zone and expanded flexible spot small - so I'll switch that this morning to medium flexible spot/ and zone and give that a go - I concur completely that the small expandable spot which I've tried does grab focus on surrounding areas every time , and good to hear your confirmation of faster shutter speeds I had been using 1/800 for stationary after much trial and error, so will raise that slightly as well ( light permitting) and now I have a better understanding of the lens modes for stationary and BIF, so mode 1 stationary and either mode 2 or 3 for BIF, if I can remember to switch of course - I have AF sensitivity set to 5 - every day is a school day as they say - thanks for the input, appreciated
 
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Ziggy

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I welcome the chance to pull together what I'm finding.
Some people say that they use mode 3 for all BIF. I've tried that and think it's possible to do better.
 
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Ziggy

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On the A9 I'm happy to shoot up to ISO 6400. That sensor can handle it. My editor will do NR by about a stop worth.
 
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Cliff

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On the A9 I'm happy to shoot up to ISO 6400. That sensor can handle it. My editor will do NR by about a stop worth.
yes, I've been pleased with ISO performance on the A7iii, I"ve found circa 8000 holds up quite well, 10000 in some situations can achieve reasonable results, the gold crest shot I managed at 12800 was a step too far without processing - there I did some post processing in PS to reduce the noise in the background slightly by creating a selection /mask of the bird and applying some Gaussian blur to the background layer ( only 6 points) - so my setting for auto ISO is set at 10000 upper limit - I shoot manual mode with auto ISO generally, then rely on +_ EV compensation if needed
your experiences written in a blog or document would certainly help others , would be an asset/ great resource
 

Ziggy

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Kind of you to say.
Most people don't want to hear any negatives so aren't interested - the tribalism of the internet.
 
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Cliff

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Kind of you to say.
Most people don't want to hear any negatives so aren't interested - the tribalism of the internet.
ha ha, I know what your saying, but I look on it as a positive.....like everything in life , if you want to improve , sometimes you have to experience the negatives to get to better outcomes - its not very often things go well without some pain or frustration along the way LOL, its all part of the fun
 

Ziggy

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Yep. They're complex and capable tools.

Here's another wrinkle that my R III shows; haven't tried the A9:

Do a panning burst that includes a distance jump, either backwards or forwards, of a few metres at least.
Mine won't adjust the AF if I'm recording but will if I'm doing a dry run.

I sent the unit back for a warranty check. They said they couldn't reproduce it - but only because they'd changed Focus/Release priority to Focus - so it stopped recording.

Now using one of these in that mode is very interesting. I've left the 7R III that way and I miss a heap of shots of BIF. Back in Release priority it was showing one or more green boxes when there was none on a bird. And that's OK. My Nikon does the same. Just means it's maintaining the focus distance on the assumption that the actual subject won't have diverged much (or it's actually calculated a likely track).

So when it comes to CAF options there can be several ...

How fast to lock on something that's available for a lock?
How long to keep that lock when something comes between us and it?
How quick to change to something else when it's lost?
What is preferenced among the possible locks? (and with Sony it's what's in the centre with distinctive colour and pattern).
Preference for a closer or a more distant lock among the possibilities? (Pana G9 has just added this as an option in firmware and I believe Nikon used to offer it as well. The G9 offers 3 other setting options).

I'd like to see Sony offer user-definable AF areas. The G9 does but it's CDAF only which is all in software. And you can keep its CDAF thanks all the same.
 
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Kevriano

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I've not read all the replies, so excuse if I repeat anything. For all shooting of wildlife I use AFC, always have, and use centre focus for stationary, or near stationary subjects, it's by far the most accurate mode. OSS is on up to 1/1600th, then I switch it off, and always Mode 1, Mode 2 doesn't seem to do much and Mode 3 is just weird, because the image is moving in the viewfinder all the time. One thing I love about the RIV, is that ability to see the effect any changes you make have in live view. Line up a shot without OSS on at a low shutter speed and you can see the image wobbling, switch OSS on and it stops. That's a very good way of judging whether it's needed.
 
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garuda

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Ziggy, regarding the earlier part of this post, would it have helped to isolate the source of the issue of lens vs. cam AF and/or settings, if Cliff would try using Manual focus w zoom feature to ensure sharp focus? Then if blurred or not, you could suspect lens vs cam AF problem?
 
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Ziggy

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It's worth it if there's time to first AF and then DMF using focus peaking and magnification. That tells you whether and how far AF is out. Needs a tripod.

My 400 2.8 has started regularly back focusing by about 3cm with the 1.4 TC. 2x TC shots are soft too. Bursts and static. Two other owners report the same wrinkle. Mine's going in for testing.
 
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Cliff

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Thanks for all the replies, very helpful, I’m finding more consistent results now, using centre medium instead of small, I think the focus Was shifting ever so slightly .... I’m still monitoring, action I.e. birds in flight are fairly consistent thankfully
 

garuda

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Cliff, if still experiencing inconsistency, you may want to try experimenting w Memu: Cam#1 AF2 page 6 of 15 - "AF Tracking Sens".

5 is responsive, which may tend hunt slightly even if area set Sm or Med or Zone. Then when you pull trigger and burst, there may be a subtle hunting due to hi sensitivity.

I usually use #1 (Locked On) which to my understanding locks focus on specific target regardless if other birds/objects pass in front/behind target. So we might assume sony programmed it not to hunt at this locked setting (#1). You may want to experiment w these two settings.

But Ziggy (or others) may know more about the intricacies of algorithm that functions at these two settings.
 

Ziggy

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Peeps don't usually use tracking for static shots since they're SAF.
You can and I do use CAF without tracking in single shot drive since I want the AF to keep trying. I now also use short bursts on static subjects for the usual reasons.
 

garuda

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I recall Cliff earlier saying he uses CAF & burst-10, since Single even for stationary doesn't guarantee sharpness. So I thought maybe his AF drift during bursts might be subtle P or C hunting due to hi sensitivity in af/track.

In Cliff's situation, I usually stay in afc-track since small birds hop & turn their heads or even take wing. Even toggling drives takes too long, I use only BBs: AF-On & toggling Areas. before pulling trigger. I burst stationary also, unless person has no eyelids.
 
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Alain

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What aperture are you using? I found out with my 200-600 that f/8 is much better than wide open at f/6.3, not just because the lens is sharper, but because it gives me a bit more depth of field and that helps compensate for possible AF lack of accuracy.
 

Ziggy

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f8 is good for BIF for that reason and because spread wings will likely need it.

Static birds generally get wide open from me if possible so as to isolate them.
 

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