Last Saturday I went on my much-ballyhooed Bald Eagle photographic trip. The trip was very interesting. The boat leaves Essex CT and travels up and down the Connecticut River with the guides pointing out to the participants a number of bald eagles flying over head and perched in the surrounding trees. The tour personnel were very courteous and helpful. The day was sunny and cold but mostly the environment was reasonable for a February day in Southern New England.
I rented the Sony FE 200-600mm f5.6-6.3 G OSS lens for the occasion and mounted it on a monpod with a trigger-controlled lens head. I took over 1,300 photos. There were less than a hundred that were even acceptably sharp. This is a failure that I may never live down. It’s like landing on the moon, taking a million shots and on the return trip discovering that you left the lens cap on the whole time. What I did was leave the ISO at 100 and the camera in aperture mode. That left the camera no choice but to lengthen the exposure to as long as 1/100th of a second. With a 600mm lens on a moving boat that translates into motion blur.
The sheer bone headed stupidity of this blunder is breathtaking. Every time I looked through the eyepiece the exposure time was staring me in the eye. To ignore it for two hours is either the sign of advanced senility or the work of an intellect on par with that of a sea slug. I will never live this down.
After going through all thirteen hundred files I picked the two or three that were least blurred as exhibits A, B and C.
The next day when my morale had slightly-recovered I went out to the local lake with the 600mm lens and took some shots at the correct exposure time. And I found the lens quite sharp. These shots were taken at distances between 800ft and 1200ft. I decided to use a tripod instead of the monopod I had on the boat. Although I failed to take advantage of the eagle boat ride I at least was able to decide that the Sony FE 200-600mm f5.6-6.3 G OSS lens is a very good zoom.
Tom D kindly provided a nice closeup of a pair of bald eagles.
Sony’s 100/400 is listed as a GM or G Master lens. That implies a premium or professional grade model. I will attest it is a very well made lens. It’s a metal construction unit and has plenty of heft to it weighing in at over three pounds. Playing around with the autofocus I noted that the A7 III and the 100-400 are well matched and focus on distant and close objects quickly and accurately with no hunting. And using a 400mm lens without a tripod (I used a monopod and sometimes handheld) I was impressed with how the image stabilization (IS) performed. Using the A7 III’s magnified view on close objects without a tripod maximizes the shake observed through the viewfinder but with IS engaged I was very pleasantly surprised to find that once the trigger was half-pressed the shake disappeared.
I tested the lens out as a dragonfly and butterfly chaser. Understand, it’s not a macro lens. Maximum magnification is only about .3 but with the electronic magnification in use I can focus on the eye of an insect to perfect focus without a problem.
I like the rotating tripod collar. It makes portrait shots easy and I used it to move the collar out of the way when I wanted to hand hold the lens.
And first impressions, the lens is very sharp from 100mm all the way to 400mm. I’ve always been a prime lens snob. But I have to admit that being able to zoom the lens to quickly frame the shot the way I want is very convenient and actually improved a number of my compositions. The colors look good (as far as my color blind eyes can tell) with nice rendering of the flowers I’ve been shooting. I’m very interested to see how the 1.4 and 2.0 teleconverters match up with this lens. I want to shoot the 100-400 with them to have something to compare to the new Sony 200-600 lens that’s coming out soon.
And here’s a very unfair test of the lens. This distance would have needed a 1200mm focal length to get any detail.
After you’ve read enough sexbot articles on Drudge maybe switch to something interesting