New camera inbound, Sony A77

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DaveW
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Re: New camera inbound, Sony A77

Post by DaveW »

Regarding autofocus lenses. In the old days lenses focused closer using a helical screw mechanism that extended the bulk of the lens and it's elements away from the film or focusing screen and were heavily lubricated to give them that old silky smooth focusing feel. Sufficient human power to turn the focusing ring and bodily move the lens was available. When autofocus was invented it relied on batteries and to move most of a lens bodily as in the past would have required powerful focusing motors that would have exhausted the battery very quickly, particularly with the large focus travel of macro lenses.

The solution therefore was borrowed from zoom lens technology in that instead of extending the lens as in the past they used much lighter floating or moving elements within it that needed smaller focusing motors and hence less battery drain. Another casualty of autofocus was removing the heavy lubricants that gave old manual focus it's silky feel since this produced extra drag on the focusing motor. Todays autofocus lenses are only lightly lubricated if at all. In manual focus days if you shook a lens and it rattled it was broken. With autofocus lenses with floating elements and minimal lubrication many lenses will now rattle if you shake them and that's completely normal.

Probably with your old lenses the macro setting, meaning extending the lens further, is too much for the focusing motor to cope with, so they return to good old human power to do it.

http://www.ebay.com/gds/What-is-the-Dif ... 149/g.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The above link is not quite correct as to all autofocus lenses since the higher end Nikon bodies as well as having contacts for lenses with built in motors have a motor built into the body to use their older autofocus lenses which coupled though a slot like a cross gate screw head and a little blade that fitted it, hence got dubbed "screwdriver drive". The cheaper newer entry level Nikon's cannot use these, only lenses with inbuilt motors since those cameras do not have an inbuilt motor.

http://www.savazzi.net/photography/autofocus.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
bluetexasbonnie
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Re: New camera inbound, Sony A77

Post by bluetexasbonnie »

Beautiful.
My cactus must be gods. They demand blood sacrifice.
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SnowFella
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Re: New camera inbound, Sony A77

Post by SnowFella »

Funny thing though is that focusing the lens manually doesn't feel any different in the macro range compared to normal range. Plus there's lots of folks out there that have "hacked" their old Minolta lenses to autofocus within the macro range (alittle fiddling and some masking tape is all it takes) and no real problems have crept up for them.
So I don't think it nessesarily was how heavy the focus throw got that made them shift to MF only but rather the fact that the old AF sensors just couldn't resolve at those kinds of magnifications. Remember that these are among the very first AF lenses built back in 1985 for the Minolta 7000 body, and with Sony's continuing support for the screwdrive system they work with all DSLR/DSLT cameras that Sony have made....and are even compatible with Sony's steadyshot system. Beat that Nikon/Canon...near 30 year old lenses that will autofocus with every body and have vibration reduction to boot :lol:
As my "collection" stands to date all bar one lens is screwdrive, and that's the kit Sony 18-55 SAM that I hardly ever use anymore.

Put a few hundred acctuations to the shutter today during a 4 hour walk in a nearby park and out of camera jpg's look decent, not that I was expecting too much as it's a brand new body and I'm still not use to the EFV nor have I trimmed in the settings just like I'd want them. Was also a test of a "new" lens so it was all new to me!
Shot RAW+JPG to be able to fully do post processing and this is the very first photo "developed" from the new gear, using a trial version of Adobe Lightroom.

Australian pelican
Image
Sony A77, Minolta 100-200mm F4.5 @ 200mm, F6.3, 1/1600sec, ISO100
bluetexasbonnie
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Re: New camera inbound, Sony A77

Post by bluetexasbonnie »

Cool. Looks like you are having fun, and have great pics to show for it.

Pelicans are such funny 'ducks'.
My cactus must be gods. They demand blood sacrifice.
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SnowFella
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Re: New camera inbound, Sony A77

Post by SnowFella »

Woops, turns out these things breed when you least expect it....or atleast the wife didn't expect me to come home from an early morning birding trip with 2 cameras rather than the one I left home with. 8-[ Surprise gift in the way of a Sony A37 that is all her's to use whenever we go for walks.
Quite a tiny little thing next to my big hunk of metal.
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DaveW
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Re: New camera inbound, Sony A77

Post by DaveW »

The reason for changing to moving elements for autofocus rather than shifting a large part of the lens, as with previous manual focus lenses, was said to be battery life and the need for more powerful autofocus motors to do so, something which also run down camera batteries more rather than anything to do with the autofocus sensors.

Use an old macro lens and you will see how far the helical focusing moves a significant part of the lens to focus closer and even if the motor and batteries were made powerful enough how much it would slow down autofocus.

As to vibration reduction there are pro's and con's to both in body and in lens systems:-

http://photographylife.com/lens-stabili ... bilization" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Also in most cases the amount of stops extra claimed usually relate to the lens set at infinity. The closer you focus the less effective vibration reduction is. In fact at one time Nikon used to recommend switching off vibration reduction altogether when getting near to 1:1. But of course many photographers never really get to those magnifications anyway.

"On a final note, it is well worth mentioning that for the sharpest results when photographing still subjects, nothing beats a camera mounted on a sturdy tripod with the image stabilization turned off. This is because image stabilization, by its very nature of using motion along one axis to counter motion in the opposite axis, often creates varying degrees of image degradation of its own, whereas a camera firmly coupled to a stable tripod and tripped with a cable or remote release with the mirror locked in the up position will in almost every instance take a sharper picture."

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/pho ... en-turn-it" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

As all image stabilisation methods introduce some camera vibrations of their own many say image stabilisation should normally be switched off and only used in situations where the old law of hand holding at no slower shutter speed than the focal length of the lens applies. That is 1/100th second for a 100mm lens and 1/200th second for a 200mm lens, but never hand holding at lower than 1/60th of a second since the old rule does not work for wide angle lenses.

Only below those limits does vibration reduction confer any benefits in the form of lower shutter speeds.

Also remember VR only stops camera shake, it will not stop subject movement as fast shutter speeds do, meaning the amount of blur on the image caused by using too slow a shutter speed. You still get blurry plant or insect shots using too slow shutter speeds with VR if the plant or insect is moving or wind blown.

Fast shutter speeds do not stop camera shake, handhold cameras shake just as much at fast or slow shutter speeds, it is simply the amount of blur recorded on the image is less at faster speeds than slow because the shutter is open for less time to record it, but as the human eye cannot discern such small amounts of blur therefore the image appears sharper.
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SnowFella
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Re: New camera inbound, Sony A77

Post by SnowFella »

For most of the things I shoot right now I try my darndest to keep the shutter as high as possible, try shooting little twitchy birds with a slow shutter and nothing will come out sharp! Same thing goes for birds in flight. Hedge my bets though and run the camera at 8fps and continous AF so generally a few out of a burst comes out sharp.
Though I fear I'm in for a little of a learning experience in a month or so as I'm going from a 75-300mm lens to a 150-500mm, will take some adjusting to I think.
DaveW
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Re: New camera inbound, Sony A77

Post by DaveW »

It's hard to hand hold long lenses steady and most bird photographers use some form of gimballed tripod mount. Tripods are also used for mounting high magnification binoculars and telescopes for bird watching since human hands are not that steady, and the longer the focal length the more any vibration shows up both in the viewfinder and final image if using a camera. Most bird photographers use a gimballed tripod head as mentioned for such focal lengths so the lens is supported but can be swung around like a "machine gun".

http://www.shutterbug.com/content/gimba ... -accessory" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

A chap I once worked for bought his wife a pair of binoculars for bird watching and thought he was doing her a favour buying the most powerful he could find. She used them only once as with such a high magnification she could not hand hold them steady enough to stop getting a "jiggly" image of the birds she was watching. She really needed to mount such powerful binoculars or spotting scopes on a tripod to take advantage of them. The same applies to long camera lenses, I am afraid you cannot walk around hand holding as you would with shorter focal length lenses and hope to get quality shake free images.
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SnowFella
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Re: New camera inbound, Sony A77

Post by SnowFella »

The new long lens finally turned up today courtesy of the resent Ebay 15% off deal and first tests hints that I ought to be able to handhold it. Old 300mm lens I have managed sharp images with down to 1/50sec in a pinch but I doubt I'll be able to go down to that with an extra 200mm's worth of focal length.
For now though I'll run it freehand plus bring along a monopod on my walks, if I know I'm about to go to a static shoot I'll bring along the tripod.

Whole kit comes in at about 2.5kg so it's going to test the upper body somewhat before I get used to the extra weight.
Sigma 150-500 APO DG OS HSM on my gripped A77.
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DaveW
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Re: New camera inbound, Sony A77

Post by DaveW »

I bought a Tamron 200-500 some years ago and have only used it twice as most of what I take is no more than a foot or so in front of the lens. I really must get around to using it:-

http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/296-tam ... rt--review" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

If you are using the APS-C sensor of course your lens will be the equivalent of a 225-750mm on a full frame 35mm camera assuming it has a "1.5 crop factor" like the Nikons since they use the same sensors. Seems to be pretty good value and image quality like the Tamron for it's price because you pay far more to get that extra bit of resolution the makers own expensive lenses often give..

http://www.birdforum.net/reviews/showpr ... roduct/271" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

By the way the large photos including the swan in the above link have been over sharpened having visible over sharpening haloes (white lines around the chest of the gull and tail of the sparrow). This link shows what they are, but rather than trying to remove them later it's best to avoid them by backing off the sharpening initially until they disappear:-

https://www.dpchallenge.com/tutorial.php?TUTORIAL_ID=80" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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SnowFella
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Re: New camera inbound, Sony A77

Post by SnowFella »

It is indeed a very specialized setup, if it wasn't for the fact that I tend to hunt little feathered thing there's just no way I would of got something like this. Next lens I'm aiming for is on the very other end of the spectum, either an ultra wide for those landscape shots or a proper macro for plants/insects.

And having agonized over this purchase for a few months I think I've read just about everything there is to read about it, both positive and negative. Have to agree that it isn't tack sharp wide open but a stop or so down and I have absolutely nothing to complain over. Only thing that still feels somewhat unsettling is the in lens stabilization, just something in how it makes the image float around in the viewfinder that makes me feel like I'm about to loose my balance.

Here's 2 shots from yesterdays premiere outing, both at the 500mm end and F/8
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DaveW
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Re: New camera inbound, Sony A77

Post by DaveW »

I have heard that before, that image stabilisation movement in the viewfinder induces nausea in some people, a bit like vertigo when standing on a high building and normal body swaying as the eyes move backward and forward induces it.

Of course whilst we get the bonus of extra apparent telephoto length with the APS-C sensor we get the deficit at the wide angle end. So a 28mm wide angle on APS-C sensors is the equivalent of 42mm on full frame sensors. Therefore if we put an 8mm fisheye lens on APS-C we would only get the same angle of view as a 12mm on a full frame sensor. Swings and roundabouts, what you gain at the telephoto end you loose at the wide angle one, therefore you need a more extreme wide angle lens to get the same results as on a full frame sensor.

http://digital-photography-school.com/h ... de-lenses/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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SnowFella
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Re: New camera inbound, Sony A77

Post by SnowFella »

Yup, win some...loose some. Widest lens I have and use is an old Tokina 19-35mm (wife has claimed the kit 18-55 sony lens I had) and in some landscape situations it just doesn't feel wide enough. Being a full frame lens I've tried it on some of the old 35mm film bodies I've got laying around and it's a night and day difference!
Getting a similar FOV using my 1.5x crop sensor I'd have to head all the way down to a ~12mm lens, not to many of them around for the Sony A-mount.
Extreme end would be a Sigma 8-16mm F/4.5-5.6 but that one won't take filters without an expensive adapter so I'd be more likely to head for a 10-20mm lens.
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SnowFella
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Re: New camera inbound, Sony A77

Post by SnowFella »

Oh, and btw, I have absolutely no problems with the resolution that this lens combined with my 24MP sensor delivers. On the other hand it's somewhat blown me away since it's currently the cheapest 500mm zoom you can get your hands on new, least that I was able to find.

The above Bell Miner shot was already cropped somewhat from original, here on the other hand is a 100% crop of the head alone.
http://i1268.photobucket.com/albums/jj5 ... 72834a.jpg
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