Am I expecting too much out of SEL55210? Or did I just not take pictures correctly?

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fysloc
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Am I expecting too much out of SEL55210? Or did I just not take pictures correctly?
8 months ago

While I had the lens for a long time now, I never really got a chance to go and look at my pictures and see what I am doing right or wrong, as well as chances to use it for something.

Now that christmas holidays are here, I finally have time to go back through my photo's and study what I did right and wrong. First lens of discussion is the SEL55210 on NEX6.

Photos are primarily from an air show under almost clear skies, with clouds moving in later on in the day, but still excellent light. Another set of photos when I was trying to test some settings and see how they worked, as well as how low I could reasonbly go on shutter speed while handheld with OSS.

My concern with the lens is that they don't appear sharp or clear when stopped down and using a high shutter speed. If viewing the full uncropped image downscaled to 25%, it appears sharp, but once I start getting down to a composition I want that is in the 50-100% range, the sharpness goes out the window. All photos attached are currently uncropped and using DXO Optics default lens correction.

Here are some of the shots I have that I believe are as sharp as I could get them, stopping down by 1 stop or more if I remember to change it in the heat of the moment. For airshow, focus was manually set to what I hope was close to infinity based on a wind direction pole in the distance. Some of the early shots may have been auto continuous focus.

CF-18 Hornet in flyby. When viewed at 25%, it appears sharp, but once I zoom in to a composition that is about 70%, it becomes a blur, and edges around paint markings are nowhere near sharp.

Much closer to the plane, but forgot to stop down. Again, paint job doesn't seem sharp and appears to blur.

P-51 Mustang, stopped down this time, but when zoomed in to 50%, the paint job doesn't appear to be crisp and sharp for edges.

This is probably the best clean shot I got in my batch. Letters is almost sharp at 100%. Baffles me why this one worked out so well, compared to the other 95% of my shots.

Another shot that appears to be sharp. Probably the white on black contrast helping.

Slight loss at 100%, but seems like this is the limit of my camera/lens combo.

Another as good as I can get it shot, looks acceptable at 100%.

So is that flare caused by smudge on the camera? Or is it just basic flare?

Something not airplane related... As sharp as I can get with fast shutter, but bumped out ISO. Again, forgot about stopping down. Doesn't seem as sharp as it can be, and noise reduction probably made it soft at 100%

Stopped down and at ISO 100 so no noise reduction. 1/20s shutter time though, so it could be camera shake making it seem less sharp.

Again, all are uncropped and used default DXO Optics lens correction profile. Please don't comment on the composition as they were not framed for it (Hare pictures definitely needs cropping to cut out the rest of the garden, but sharpness becomes an issue).
So suggestions on what I am doing wrong? Or is what I see actually as good as you can get them?

Sony Alpha NEX-6
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