RX10iv Birds in Flight (my first time out)

Started Oct 30, 2017 | Discussions thread
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Horacecoker Senior Member • Posts: 2,141
RX10iv Birds in Flight (my first time out)

I know I've said a lot regarding the focusing on the new RX10iv (too much possibly) but I've finally had a chance to try it out on BIF or to be more specific GIF (gulls in flight). These were taken at Swan Pool in Falmouth, Cornwall. I must say straight off, the gulls were very obliging and weren't too far off so actual image quality is very good. With this in mind, these shots aren't really that representative of typical nervous wild birds in flight at greater distances. Nevertheless it was a good starting point for me as I need to gain confidence with what the camera can and can't do. I know this much, compared to the focusing on RX10iii it's night and day with the iv, but I admit that may only apply to me so please, RX10iii owners, don't rant at me for that statement.

I soon found out that with birds this close 600mm equivalent was unusable as my ability to keep the whole bird in the frame wasn't good. I settled for 300mm equivalent in the end for most shots. Of course a better test will be seeing how I cope with the RX10iv with birds further away and using full zoom. Maybe some folk start at that extreme and wonder why they have problems? Unlike static birds that I nearly always shot using maximum zoom with my RX10iii, BIF are a different ball game and I now realise the zoom must be used sensibly.

RX10iv F4 1/2000 100 ISO 300mm (equivalent)

RX10iv F4 1/2500 100 ISO 300mm equivalent

RX10iv F4 1/2500 100 ISO 300mm equivalent

RX10iv F4 1/4000 100 ISO 135mm (equivalent)

RX10iv F4 1/2500 100 ISO 300mm (equivalent)

RX10iv F4 1/2500 100 ISO 300mm (equivalent)

Rx10iv F4 1/3200 100 ISO 135mm (eqvivalent)

These are cropped images and in all cases slightly downsized too. I deliberately crop to taste and downsize all my images when post processing to fit perfectly within the linear dimensions of a 4k monitor, maximum size 3840 x 2160 (16:9). If I stick to the sensor default aspect ratio when cropping (3:2), image size will then be 3240 x 2160. They are still big images at around 7 or 8mp. I do this because a) I don't print so have no need for anything bigger and b) because of the limitations of a 1" sensor when pixel peeping at full res compared to full frame. All shots processed from RAW in Lightroom Classic and Photoshop.

The lighting was very contrasty with the sun out, this has good points and bad points. Good points are being able to keep the ISO low and shutter speed high and to my eyes birds look far better when lit up by sunshine. Bad points are harsh shadows and difficulty in getting the exposure right especially for white birds without blown highlights. I used large spot for metering and this seemed to have helped with the exposure except for when the bird drifts away from the large spot metering circle in the centre of the screen. The PDAF focusing points have no problem keeping up with the bird but the spot metering doesn't seem to follow the dancing AF points when in wide area focus. I could see this because the birds were sometimes overexposed near the edges of the wide area focusing frame. Not that I have the frame visible I just know where it ends.

Still a lot to learn and a lot to play with but these were my settings on the day.

Focus mode = AF-C

Focus Area = Wide

Shooting Mode = Aperture Priority (F4)

Metering mode = Spot (Large)

ISO = Auto (100 min 800 max)

ISO Auto Minimum shutter speed = Faster

Frame Rate Continuous Mid (10fps)

Steady Shot = Off

I took a hell of a lot of shots and ditched a good 95% of them like I usually do. Not because the camera failed to focus in all these cases, far from it, I reckon only 20% were truly out of focus unlike the RX10iii where I only ever saved one BIF shot in all the time I had it due CDAF not being good enough for BIF (for ME!) I'm very critical and only keep the very best shots taken on a day out with any camera. This is especially so when rattling photos off at 10 or even 24 FPS.

All birds are Black-headed Gulls in winter plumage, hence the lack of black heads (which are actually brown anyway in summer).

One last tip, because I found I was continually nudging the zoom ring whilst holding the camera, I swapped the zoom function to the outer ring and the manual focus to what was the zoom ring. Now I find I can hold the camera much better with my left hand as I can actually hold part of the lens without moving the zoom setting. I can move the larger ring all I want now and it doesn't effect anything when in the auto focus modes.


 Horacecoker's gear list:Horacecoker's gear list
Sony RX100 III Sony RX10 IV Sony a7R III Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Sony FE 28mm F2
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