Did I find my focus/sharpness problem with the A7R4 and FE 200-600?

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Glenn Barber Veteran Member • Posts: 3,477
Did I find my focus/sharpness problem with the A7R4 and FE 200-600?
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I've posted before on my problems capturing sharp images with my A7R4 and my 200-600. While I did not have this problem with the 100-400 it seemed I was always struggling with the 200-600.

These last few weeks I've been shooting birds at the local marsh and taking my 200-600 in the hopes I could improve my technique.

Earlier this week I searched the web and came up with a youtube on Sony Silent Shutter by mathphotographer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEszGtwpYwg

My interest wasn't really get getting a silent camera, but to see if electronic shutter on the A7R4 might improve my images. While watching the video, the narrator also pointed out the impact on noise and speed of focusing on the settings in "Aperture Drive in AF"

Specifically "Aperture Drive in AF" has three settings

Focus Priority - Standard - Silent Priority

In Focus Priority and Standard the camera opens the Aperture just prior to sooting to narrow the depth of field for more accurate focus. This process introduces noise (and likely vibration) as well as delays the focus. In his demonstration he showed the Focus Priority having the most impact - and Standard much less so.

I checked my camera and found that it was set to Focus Priority.

So before my shoot today I changed my "Aperture Drive in AF" setting to Standard. (MENU 1 - 6 OF 15)

The result was that I magically transformed my A7R4 - 200-600 combo. Even though the light at the marsh was gloomy overcast, I had almost no issues getting sharp focus on fast moving targets and particularly with birds over water where it was always hit and miss.

I don't understand the difference in behavior in the lens and camera between Focus Priority and Standard - but it seems to have made a huge difference. Perhaps others with issues with the same combo could check it out.

Below are some samples of shots from today with these settings. (with the exception of the white pelican 2nd to last - all small crops from shots taken at a considerable distance)

 Glenn Barber's gear list:Glenn Barber's gear list
Sony a6500 Sony a7R IV Sony a6600 Sony E PZ 18-105mm F4 G OSS Sony FE 35mm F2.8 +12 more
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