Action AF advice wanted for Sony alpha cameras

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
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OleNorway New Member • Posts: 7
Action AF advice wanted for Sony alpha cameras

Sony action shooters, here's a question for you.

I’ve been doing a lot of tests to find the best tracking focus settings for my Sony a9ii camera. The aim was to get as many sharp images as possible of a jumping squirrel in the air. Then I came to the conclusion that the following settings was the optimal ones for the Sony a9ii with 200-600mm:

Electronic shutter, RAW compressed and the following AF-C settings:
AF1: Priority Set in AF-C = Balanced Ephasis
AF1: Focus Area = Tracking > Flexible Spot M
AF2: Face/Eye AF Set. > Face/Eye Priority in AF = On
AF2: Face/Eye AF Set. > Subject Detection = Animal
AF2: AF Tracking Sens. = 3(Default)
AF2: AF w/ shutter = Off

So to the questions I have for you:
1) AF Tracking Sens.:
I have tried with different AF Tracking Sens., but come to the conclusion that I do not get a higher hit rate either with 5-Responsive or 1-Locked on compared to 3-Standard. Locked on was completely useless in this setting, and I did not find Responsive to be quicker to change focus. Does anyone have practical experience with it being useful to change the AF Tracking Sens. from the default value?

2) Priority Set in AF-C:
Tried changing from Balanced Emphasis to Release but that doesn't seem to help. Any comments on that?

3) Focus Area:
I have also experimented with different areas of focus. Sony recommends Tracking: Flexible Spot M, and it has worked well for me, but I've also had roughly the same results with other settings, e.g. Zone. What is your experience?

There are several usable settings that give me roughly the same results, but no matter what I do, I can't get the camera to focus until the squirrel has reached the same point in the jumping path, as the picture I've attached illustrates. The big pictures are the only two usable in a series.

I’m about to conclude that my Sony a9ii is at the edge of its performance, but I'm happy to listen to advice from people who do action photography. Tell us what has given you good results and how you got it - preferably illustrated.

Sony a9
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