Sony Alpha 1, SEL 200-600 or Canon R5, RF 100-500

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
And-roid Senior Member • Posts: 1,492
Re: Sony Alpha 1, SEL 200-600 or Canon R5, RF 100-500

duncang wrote:

And-roid wrote:

Hi Duncang, what are your typical settings for these, ie tracking sensitivity etc eg more responsive or more tracking etc?


I use both AF Area Wide and Tracking Expanding Flexible Spot (a9) and Tracking large spot (or whatever on the A1).

All other settings are just the default settings - I have never seen any need to change them since the cameras have no problem tracking the birds - the problem is me being unable to keep them in the frame for more than a could of seconds.

However I am shooting in a very particular setup chosen specifically to avoid any of the usual tracking problems, such as busy backgrounds or water surface.

(as an aside I am busy putting together a video to explain how I do it and to show more of the images and a typical capture sequence and will post a link once it is done on the forums.)

So with the exception of the bug pickups the background is 30 or 40 meters away, or if it is water it is 6 or more meters away from the bird.

As a result the background is nicely blurred and contains just enough detail to know something is there.

As a consequence once the cameras have acquired the subject there is little chance they will lose the subject if it remains in the frame. And so the skill is almost entirely about acquiring initial focus and then keeping the subject in the frame. Neither the a9 nor the a1 appears to have any trouble tracking after than. Not every image is in focus and quite often birds that get very close have the focus plane behind the eyes - I assume that fast that close results in some difficult keeping up. But out of 16,000 images I must have just over 400 tack sharp images - and quite a number are shot in overcast conditions with quite poor light. I quite like the images from those days as they have no visible shadows and a nice soft look about them. The are not ultra sharp because there is quite a lot of noise which obviously reduces the sharp detail.

So while the a1 and a9 af systems are excellent they are not going to work well for swallows or other small birds when there is a busy background close by. So pick your spot carefully.

Hope this helps - if not perhaps the video will offer some useful ideas.

Swallow have always been the BIF benchmark for me - them and small parrots are super difficult to get outstanding details BIF images. Not sure I could have done it without this new mirrorless gear.

Many thanks, looking forward to the video 👍

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