The a6000/70-200 f4 combo for wildlife- first impressions

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AFishEye
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The a6000/70-200 f4 combo for wildlife- first impressions
4 months ago

Intro:

The focus of this short preliminary report is on the use of the aforementioned combo for wildlife.

Genera comment:

The 70-200 f4 is outstanding optically but this should not come as a surprise (http://www.dxomark.com/Reviews/Sony-FE-70-200mm-F4-G-OSS-lens-review-Classy-contender/Sony-FE-70-200mm-F4-G-OSS-mounted-on-Sony-A7R-High-score-for-FF-telephoto-zoom)

Combo performance:

1. In comparison to other crop E lenses, the 70-200 f4 appears to be relatively (emphasis on relatively) slow to lock the focus. At 70mm the 70-200 is noticeably slower than my 16-70 at the same focal length. If I had to guess, a firmware update for the a6000 and this lens will be provided at some point. Since this is a FF lens it may not be an immediate priority. Also, I did not use the distance limiter as some of the shots were closer than the 3M distance, so it may have slowed the lens even more.

2. The continuous AF set to zone (“dancing ants”) works fantastic when the object is in stark contrast to the background (e.g., bird against sky). In a very “busy” background, such as dense vegetation and a fast moving object, the rate of misses is high. I switched to flexible point (small), but since the lens is only 200mm and the object is tiny, it didn't make things easier or more predictable.

3. The HVL-F43M is a great walkaround flash but recycles too slow for wildlife use. The HVL-F58AM (or the new 60) are much more adequate for such application. The third image was added just to show the results using the flash at HSS mode. Without a flash the outcome would have been extremely poor (too many shadows) in such dense vegetation.

Bottom line:

Shooting tiny, fast moving birds such as hummingbirds at a 200mm focal length, handheld, in dense vegetation, while constantly chasing them around by foot is plain silly. I didn't plan on shooting birds, I just happened to pass by and the hummingbird was there. I returned the next morning and was able to get one more shot with a flash. Shooting hummingbirds requires proper planning, the use of a tripod, preferably lens at 400mm, and having a flash at HSS mode with frensel lens attached just in case.

Considering the circumstances, it’s a pleasant surprise I had any keepers.

The FF 70-200 seems to focus slower on the a6000 in comparison to other crop E lenses and the "dancing ants" will not yield a high rate of keepers against a busy background. However, using the proper setup and with additional practice using this combo, the potential is promising.

P.S

I guess its obvious but I'll mention it anyway: all images are heavily cropped

Against a "busy" background

with flash set to HSS but no frensel lens

 AFishEye's gear list:AFishEye's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony a6000 Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS +9 more
Sony a6000
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