A6000 AF at the dog park

Started 7 months ago | Discussions
abdoozy
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A6000 AF at the dog park
7 months ago

Since for some reason dog parks are considered the gold standard of autofocus capability, I've uploaded four sequences of Dog Park AutoFocus to the gallery.

Please note that this is not my normal style of photography. I have little experience at this kind of perpetual motion AF, and thus my technique is almost certainly sub-optimal. I am *not* asking for C&C on these, just throwing them out there for a point of reference.

All the sequences were shot in S mode, JPEG Fine, Std, with the 55-210Z. AF-C in Zone mode. I don't recall if OSS was enabled, so it probably was, if that makes a difference.

I think the AF worked pretty well, considering. I can't say it's faster than the NEX-6, since I never shot sequences like this on that body. But I would not agree with those suggesting that the A6000 is "terrible" at AF. If I can get shots that look this good, believe me, the camera is not the problem.

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/4895025362/albums/dog-park-af-sequence-1/slideshow

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/4895025362/albums/dog-park-af-sequence-2/slideshow

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/4895025362/albums/dog-park-af-sequence-3/slideshow

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/4895025362/albums/dog-park-af-sequence-4/slideshow

Since the images in these galleries are 50% JPEGs resized to 1024, pixel peepers will probably pout, so here are a few images from the park, some full sized, some cropped...

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abdoozy
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 abdoozy's gear list:abdoozy's gear list
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Sony a6000 Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS
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Frag01
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Re: A6000 AF at the dog park
In reply to abdoozy, 7 months ago

I agree with your assessment having been to the dog park myself today. Actually I was pretty blown away by the AF capabilities...

 Frag01's gear list:Frag01's gear list
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quezra
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Re: A6000 AF at the dog park
In reply to abdoozy, 7 months ago

Nice counterpoint to the guy who said AF was terrible. I wonder what he was doing different from you (other than refusing to post examples).

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andrewD2
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Re: A6000 AF at the dog park
In reply to abdoozy, 7 months ago

They look ok at websize so you got something from it but the 1024px images are pretty soft or out of focus. You were panning on some of them at least, that is never easy.
Even with the 1DIV and 135L at f4 its not easy to get sharp images, add that to ears and tails flapping around and getting a good leg position its a very tough task.

http://www.photoluminaire.co.uk/posted/RW_es_22.jpg

Andrew

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abdoozy
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Re: A6000 AF at the dog park
In reply to andrewD2, 7 months ago

andrewD2 wrote:

They look ok at websize so you got something from it but the 1024px images are pretty soft or out of focus. You were panning on some of them at least, that is never easy.
Even with the 1DIV and 135L at f4 its not easy to get sharp images, add that to ears and tails flapping around and getting a good leg position its a very tough task.

http://www.photoluminaire.co.uk/posted/RW_es_22.jpg

Andrew

I was panning on virtually all of them.

Hard to get a shot of something running and keep it in the center of the frame otherwise, unless they are running straight towards you -- and I'm struggling to think of a situation where I would be relying on AF to get my shot if that was the case. I'd be zone focusing at a certain distance.

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abdoozy
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curiousmike1300
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Re: A6000 AF at the dog park
In reply to andrewD2, 7 months ago

I'd agree that none of them are sharp... they all seem to exhibit motion softness.

I don't think *focus* was necessarily the issue in any of them - interestingly enough, the first one was the best photo, and it was 1/500 where the rest were 1/1000.

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Bart Hickman
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Re: A6000 AF at the dog park
In reply to curiousmike1300, 7 months ago

curiousmike1300 wrote:

I'd agree that none of them are sharp... they all seem to exhibit motion softness.

I don't think *focus* was necessarily the issue in any of them - interestingly enough, the first one was the best photo, and it was 1/500 where the rest were 1/1000.

I agree.  Usually if the problem is focus, then *something*, behind or in front of the subject, will be in focus, but the subjects (dogs or RC trucks) always seem to be at the sharpest depth in the photo (going by the ground details.)

Seems like 1/1000s should have been fast enough to freeze action so I'm left wondering what's wrong with these.  Could it just be that the 55-210 struggles to keep up with 24Mpixels?

Bart

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RedFox88
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Re: A6000 AF at the dog park
In reply to abdoozy, 7 months ago

What's with the vignetting??

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Ontario Gone
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Re: A6000 AF at the dog park
In reply to quezra, 7 months ago

quezra wrote:

Nice counterpoint to the guy who said AF was terrible. I wonder what he was doing different from you (other than refusing to post examples).

Perhaps he was focusing on predictive tracking, rather than lateral tracking. Even CDAF systems can track side to side. If you look at the OP's galleries, they are littered with missed shots of predictive tracking misses, like this one. Im not dogging the camera, id love to have a cheap mirrorless option for serious action, but when im looking at the samples posted so far im not hopeful. Maybe they are just using it wrong?

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Ontario Gone
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Re: A6000 AF at the dog park
In reply to Bart Hickman, 7 months ago

Bart Hickman wrote:

curiousmike1300 wrote:

I'd agree that none of them are sharp... they all seem to exhibit motion softness.

I don't think *focus* was necessarily the issue in any of them - interestingly enough, the first one was the best photo, and it was 1/500 where the rest were 1/1000.

I agree. Usually if the problem is focus, then *something*, behind or in front of the subject, will be in focus, but the subjects (dogs or RC trucks) always seem to be at the sharpest depth in the photo (going by the ground details.)

Seems like 1/1000s should have been fast enough to freeze action so I'm left wondering what's wrong with these. Could it just be that the 55-210 struggles to keep up with 24Mpixels?

All you have to do is look at the OP's galleries to see, like the one i posted above. Not sure why you guys are ignoring this issue. This isn't motion blur or noise, the background is clearly in focus rather than the dog.

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Frag01
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Re: A6000 AF at the dog park
In reply to Ontario Gone, 7 months ago

I'm thinking that maybe the OP doesn't have the lens corrections on? Here are some I took at the dog park today and didn't see such vignetting. These are straight out if the camera Jpegs (figuring out what to do about Raw files until Aperture catches up). Pls keep in mind these are just test shots and certainy won't win any awards for composition, etc. Shutter speed and technique could stand some improvement but I was pretty impressed with the camera overall...

https://www.flickr.com/photos/96217212@N04/sets/72157644160022434/

Also the OP stated that he didn't think the autofocus was faster than NEX-6. While I can't speak to that I can certainly say that it's in a different league than my NEX-7 and much faster than my former Canon 7D and 5DMkII.

 Frag01's gear list:Frag01's gear list
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forpetessake
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Re: A6000 AF at the dog park
In reply to andrewD2, 7 months ago

andrewD2 wrote:

They look ok at websize so you got something from it but the 1024px images are pretty soft or out of focus.

There are actually at least four problems contributing to the images being soft:

1) most images are clearly out of focus
2) the 55-210 lens is soft at the long end
3) the jpeg noise reduction seems to be very aggressive at this ISO
4) there is a motion blur in some pictures

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abdoozy
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Re: A6000 AF at the dog park
In reply to Ontario Gone, 7 months ago

As the OP mentioned, it's entirely possible that he wasn't doing something right. He's kind of a doofus. 

I haven't drilled deeply enough into the operation of AF, on the a6000 or any other camera, because I often don't use AF at all, preferring to take my time with composition and using focus peaking and zoom. These photos are not far removed from what you'd get handing the camera to someone who had never used anything but a smartphone and said "here, go take pictures of these dogs running." I literally didn't spend more than 30 seconds setting up the combination of camera and lens. I knew enough to use shutter priority, and zone AF seemed appropriate, and that's it.

Hyper-sharp photos from a moving camera of a moving object where the distance between camera and object is not constant are, almost by definition, extremely difficult to obtain. If a gallery exists of photos from another sub-$1000 camera/lens combination that does this better, I'd like to see it.

I would not draw any firm conclusions on the quality of the AF system in the A6000 based on these images, other than my earlier comment that to me it seems the system works pretty well and can't be considered "horrible." But feel free to use them to enforce confirmation bias if you wish.

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abdoozy
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Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony a6000 Sony 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 G SSM Tamron SP AF 60mm F/2 Di II LD IF Macro Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* E 24mm F1.8 ZA +11 more
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abdoozy
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Re: A6000 AF at the dog park
In reply to Frag01, 7 months ago

Frag01 wrote:

I'm thinking that maybe the OP doesn't have the lens corrections on? Here are some I took at the dog park today and didn't see such vignetting. These are straight out if the camera Jpegs (figuring out what to do about Raw files until Aperture catches up). Pls keep in mind these are just test shots and certainy won't win any awards for composition, etc. Shutter speed and technique could stand some improvement but I was pretty impressed with the camera overall...

https://www.flickr.com/photos/96217212@N04/sets/72157644160022434/

Also the OP stated that he didn't think the autofocus was faster than NEX-6. While I can't speak to that I can certainly say that it's in a different league than my NEX-7 and much faster than my former Canon 7D and 5DMkII.

No, the OP did *not* state he didn't think the autofocus was faster. He said he couldn't say if it WAS faster or not based on lack of experience. Big difference.

As for lens corrections -- as mentioned, I didn't drill into the menus at all, and it's possible the corrections were not turned on. Looking at the camera right now I see "Distortion Comp." is set to Off as the factory default. Could this have made a difference? Is there another place to set lens corrections in the menu?

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abdoozy
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abdoozy
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Re: A6000 AF at the dog park
In reply to Frag01, 7 months ago

Frag01 wrote:

I'm thinking that maybe the OP doesn't have the lens corrections on? Here are some I took at the dog park today and didn't see such vignetting. These are straight out if the camera Jpegs (figuring out what to do about Raw files until Aperture catches up). Pls keep in mind these are just test shots and certainy won't win any awards for composition, etc. Shutter speed and technique could stand some improvement but I was pretty impressed with the camera overall...

https://www.flickr.com/photos/96217212@N04/sets/72157644160022434/

Also the OP stated that he didn't think the autofocus was faster than NEX-6. While I can't speak to that I can certainly say that it's in a different league than my NEX-7 and much faster than my former Canon 7D and 5DMkII.

I note that in your photos there is little or no panning involved. Have you taken any shots similar to mine, where panning is required?

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abdoozy
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photohanked
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Re: A6000 AF at the dog park
In reply to Frag01, 7 months ago

Frag01 wrote:

I'm thinking that maybe the OP doesn't have the lens corrections on? Here are some I took at the dog park today and didn't see such vignetting. These are straight out if the camera Jpegs (figuring out what to do about Raw files until Aperture catches up). Pls keep in mind these are just test shots and certainy won't win any awards for composition, etc. Shutter speed and technique could stand some improvement but I was pretty impressed with the camera overall...

https://www.flickr.com/photos/96217212@N04/sets/72157644160022434/

Also the OP stated that he didn't think the autofocus was faster than NEX-6. While I can't speak to that I can certainly say that it's in a different league than my NEX-7 and much faster than my former Canon 7D and 5DMkII.

if you don't mind should you tell us what lens and settings are used here I'm sure everyone would like to know cause their not bad at all. thanks.

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abdoozy
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Re: A6000 AF at the dog park
In reply to RedFox88, 7 months ago

RedFox88 wrote:

What's with the vignetting??

That's my style. Don't blame the camera. I never said those four shots were straight OOC images.

You can see from the galleries that there is no vignetting going on in the capture.

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abdoozy
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Ontario Gone
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Re: A6000 AF at the dog park
In reply to abdoozy, 7 months ago

abdoozy wrote:

I would not draw any firm conclusions on the quality of the AF system in the A6000 based on these images, other than my earlier comment that to me it seems the system works pretty well and can't be considered "horrible." But feel free to use them to enforce confirmation bias if you wish.

Well then, hopefully nobody here will draw any firm conclusions based on the quality of the AF in these images. Here's to learning the basic AF systems of the cameras we buy, good luck with that.

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forpetessake
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Re: A6000 AF at the dog park
In reply to abdoozy, 7 months ago

abdoozy wrote:

Hyper-sharp photos from a moving camera of a moving object where the distance between camera and object is not constant are, almost by definition, extremely difficult to obtain. If a gallery exists of photos from another sub-$1000 camera/lens combination that does this better, I'd like to see it.

Now, it's true that moving subject are more challenging than static, but I think a lot of the softness in those images are due to the lens. It's not particularly sharp even when subject is static, and it's focusing isn't reliable either. With 55-200mm I usually take a burst hoping for one more or less sharp image:

OOC jpeg Sony NEX-5N + 55-210/4.5-6.3

Surprisingly, I had a lot better luck with slow focusing Fuji X-E1 and 55-200mm lens:

OOC jpeg Fujifilm X-E1 _ 55-200/3.5-4.8

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Ontario Gone
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Re: A6000 AF at the dog park
In reply to forpetessake, 7 months ago

Very nice shots there. Sharp, low noise, and you can clearly see the dog is in focus.

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