26FEB2021 – Photo of the Day – Hummingbirds Using 600mm Lens – Part 5 of 6

At the end of last summer I had the chance to shoot hummingbirds at a butterfly bush (Buddleia) in my yard.  I decided to try using the Sony FE 200-600mm f5.6-6.3 G OSS lens.  I usually use my 90mm macro at close quarters but the sound of the shutter clicking does disturb the bird so I decided that distance that the 600mm would allow me to use might avoid this problem.  It did and I was able to get some naturalistic shots without the nervous little buggers skittering away.

 

25FEB2021 – Photo of the Day – Hummingbirds Using 600mm Lens – Part 4 of 6

At the end of last summer I had the chance to shoot hummingbirds at a butterfly bush (Buddleia) in my yard.  I decided to try using the Sony FE 200-600mm f5.6-6.3 G OSS lens.  I usually use my 90mm macro at close quarters but the sound of the shutter clicking does disturb the bird so I decided that distance that the 600mm would allow me to use might avoid this problem.  It did and I was able to get some naturalistic shots without the nervous little buggers skittering away.

 

 

24FEB2021 – OCF Update – Something Constructive

I decided today was a good day to do some fiction writing.  I’ve been neglecting it during the run up to the Dementia Joe inauguration and since there wasn’t anything really compelling in the news I figured I’d wait until later to put up a post.  I have a post in progress for the end of the hummingbird Photo of the Day series but I’ll attach something interesting from the archive just to make this worthwhile.

 

American Museum of Natural History, New York City, Sony NEX 5N, Sony 24mm F\1.8 APSC lens

 

24FEB2021 – Photo of the Day – Hummingbirds Using 600mm Lens – Part 3 of 6

At the end of last summer I had the chance to shoot hummingbirds at a butterfly bush (Buddleia) in my yard.  I decided to try using the Sony FE 200-600mm f5.6-6.3 G OSS lens.  I usually use my 90mm macro at close quarters but the sound of the shutter clicking does disturb the bird so I decided that distance that the 600mm would allow me to use might avoid this problem.  It did and I was able to get some naturalistic shots without the nervous little buggers skittering away.

 

23FEB2021 – Photo of the Day – Hummingbirds Using 600mm Lens – Part 2 of 6

At the end of last summer I had the chance to shoot hummingbirds at a butterfly bush (Buddleia) in my yard.  I decided to try using the Sony FE 200-600mm f5.6-6.3 G OSS lens.  I usually use my 90mm macro at close quarters but the sound of the shutter clicking does disturb the bird so I decided that distance that the 600mm would allow me to use might avoid this problem.  It did and I was able to get some naturalistic shots without the nervous little buggers skittering away.

 

22FEB2021 – Photo of the Day – Hummingbirds Using 600mm Lens – Part 1 of 6

At the end of last summer I had the chance to shoot hummingbirds at a butterfly bush (Buddleia) in my yard.  I decided to try using the Sony FE 200-600mm f5.6-6.3 G OSS lens.  I usually use my 90mm macro at close quarters but the sound of the shutter clicking does disturb the bird so I decided that distance that the 600mm would allow me to use might avoid this problem.  It did and I was able to get some naturalistic shots without the nervous little buggers skittering away.

 

20FEB2021 – Photography – Conclusion to A Study in Magnification

In the last four days of the “Photo of the Day” I used the original photo and the three progressively more extreme crops of the photo to highlight the question of when is something close enough  Below I provide those four photos again and discuss what makes the correct magnification for a photo.

(As an aid for those using small screens you should be able to click on each photo and have it “fit” to your screen in a lightbox display.  Then you can close that lightbox and move onto the next photo to repeat that process to get a full view of each photo on your screen.)

 

 

A Study in Magnification – Photo 1

The first picture is the whole frame that I shot in the yard.  The flower is floating in a background that inclues other flowers some more and some less in focus with the blurred view of the foliage and the ground as the distant background.  This gives an effect somewhat akin to an impressionistic painting.  The detail of the flower is only slightly visible.

 

 

A Study in Magnification – Photo 2

In the first crop of the original I’ve isolated the flower with only some out of focus bright and shadow outlines to be seen behind it.  Now it is clear that the flower has a lot of fine structure that includes what look like fuzz and small filaments of some type.

 

 

A Study in Magnification – Photo 3

In the second crop of the original the flower fills the screen.  Now the flower is seen to be more akin to some kind of burr with separate pistils and covered in spiky filaments and the filaments covered with finer filaments or hairs.

 

 

A Study in Magnification – Photo 4

In the third and final crop we get an extreme magnification of the detail of the components of the flower.  The surface of the pistils and the structure of the filaments is clear.  The quality of the photo is decidedly poor due to pixilation of the image at such extreme magnification.

 

 

 

Okay, so which is the “correct” magnification?  And of course there is no correct answer although we may be able to agree that he final crop is is the wrong answer.  Cropping to an extreme magnification reveals the limits of the picture file.  The number of pixels being used is very small and so a crude image results.  This type of photo would only be appropriate for informational purposes such as a scientific paper discussing the structure of the plant.

So what about the first three photos?

Well, the first photo, the full frame originally taken, might appeal to some people because of the composition.  The arrangement of the flowers and the background blur might be seen as soothing.  So this photo is a viable choice.

The second photo is a little odd.  The flower as I said above begins to show its spiky and complex structure while the background still exhibits the creamy softness of the blurred foliage.  I sort of like it.  There is some tension to the image.  I find it interesting.

The third photo is a macro shot.  I like macro.  I like seeing the complexity of small living things.  All the structure and detail interests me.  I think this shot is the best magnification for my tatste.

The fourth shot as a mentioned above is technically poor.  Maybe it could be used in a cheap monster movie.  Now with a higher magnification lens like a 2X or a 3X macro and with the correct lighting and stage a really quality higher magnification image could be made of this plant’s fine structure.  But I was in the yard and even the slightest wind would make that photo impossible.

So as you see there is no right answer, only preference or application.  What you like or what you need.  But just to show I appreciate everyone going through the exercise I’ll provide a survey below.  You pick the magnification you think is best.

 

Which Magnification Is Best?

View Results

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19FEB2021 – Comments on Sony’s Latest Full Frame Interchangeable Lens Cameras (ILC)

Looking back on my older photography posts I discover that in April I will have had my Sony A7 III camera for three years.  I think this is a good time to review what I think about the recent progress that Sony has made and where the A7 III and my photographic needs stand.

First off, the A7 III is a wonderful camera.  It produces images that I never could have imagined possible ten years ago when I started using the Sony mirrorless cameras.  When I moved from my Sony A-850 DSLR to the NEX mirrorless cameras it was incredibly disappointing.  The autofocus didn’t deserve the name.  It was manual focus or nothing.  The battery life was laughable and the viewfinder was pretty sad.  I could get some good results from it, even results indoors that I might not be able to get with my DSLR but frustration was a constant part of the Sony photographic experience.    If I knew then how long it would take Sony to reach the A7 III level of capability I probably would have bitten the bullet and moved on to Canon or Nikon.  But I didn’t and now finally I am truly pleased with the system.  Sure, there are still some quibbles, I wish the LAEA5 adapter would allow me to autofocus my mechanical autofocus A-mount lenses with the A7 III but that is just that, a quibble.  If I wanted, I could buy an A7R IV or an A9 and get that functionality but that would be kind of crazy from my point of view.  So here I am with a very good digital camera and a chance to compare it to the newer Sony models.  After all, the A7 III is a generation before the IV series and a notch down from the professional A9’s and two notches down from the flagship A1.  So here are my thoughts.

Back when the Sony A9 first came out I was curious to see what the advantages of such a camera would be.  I rented it and gave it a tryout.  What I found was that it was a sports camera and the A7 III was not.  I know that was what it was touted as but it wasn’t apparent until I had it in hand just how inadequate the A7 III was for things like tracking autofocus or just how inadequate the file buffer was.  The A9 was light years ahead of my camera.  And even the autofocus I typically used for macro shots of insects and birds was more precise and faster and had additional capability that my camera lacked.  For instance, the A7 III can stay in magnified view when focusing repeatedly on a subject that I’m getting ready to capture.  But once the shot is taken it returns to unmagnified view.  The A9 can stay in magnified view indefinitely for shot after shot.  That is a great advantage.

So, the A9 has capability that I do wish I had.  But image-wise I think the A7 III files are at least as good as the A9 files.  There has been an A9 II update a few years back.  I haven’t tried it out.  From what I’ve read the improvements are part of the autofocus upgrades and allow for even better sports and wildlife action shooting.  I’m sure it’s very capable but once again the sensor hasn’t progressed in terms of high ISO capability.  In fact, based on the DXOMARK testing the A7 III still has the highest ISO rating of any full frame camera on the market.

Recently Sony came out with a $6,500 flagship camera, the A-1.  From what I understand it is an even more miraculous sports camera than the A9 series.  It has a ridiculously large writing buffer and can take thirty shots per second or something obscene like that.  But its sensor is not rated to a higher ISO rating.  It does have a 50-megapixel sensor.  But that also means you get 50+ megabyte file sizes which is starting to get cumbersome.  Maybe someday I’ll try it out just for laughs but that price tag is outrageous.

So here I am.  Other than my camera not being able to autofocus my two favorite a-mount lenses, the Sony 135mm f1.8 lens and the Minolta 200mm f4 Macro, I really don’t need any of the new cameras.  Even the new Sony A7S III really doesn’t interest me.  I’m not a videographer and its high ISO numbers surprisingly still don’t match the A7 III.  This was a bit of a shocker for me.  The A7S series is supposed to have the best low light sensitivity of all the A7 line.  But apparently the video improvements are what drove the new model and high ISO was left as is.

If I were a sports and wildlife photographer then the A1 or at least the A9 II would be the cameras I wanted.  If I was a purely landscape guy then the A1 or the A7R IV would provide me with the resolution I crave.  If I was a videographer and I didn’t want a full-blown video camera I’d be looking at the A7S III.  But I’m just a general-purpose photographer that does some landscape and some macro and a little bit of wildlife and no video.  So, all of those other cameras are overkill and sometimes inferior for my needs.

For yourself this review might help point you in the direction of which Sony full frame ILC is right for you.