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Small subjects accurate point focus (issues 1 & 2)


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I recently moved to A9 +200-600mm +1.4x and finding serious problems quite often with the AF not able to focus precisely on small point like objects against distant backgrounds. My earlier Canon 7D MK II + 500mm f4 + 1.4x, the AF pin-pointing was not as bad as this.

Here  is one sample image attached as an example,

1. where the owl is quite small in the frame and against a tree and the A9+200-600mm+1.4x combination, the AF tends to focus predominantly on the tree in the background which is understandable but there is no way I could aim to spot focus accurately on the bird ahead of it.

2. The AF also freezes if I try to focus quickly from a far away object to a closer objects (say a bird suddenly coming in and seated on a branch just next to me) .

I usually use the "Zone" focus pattern. I even tried the flexible focus point mode (S, M, L) but its much worst than the zone focus.

Appreciate any similar experiences / kind suggestions / pointers please. I have raised this problem to Sony support team, but no satisfactory solution yet.


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    • Hi Pieter, Not yet. I've thought about that, to use a tripod. But I've no time to try that yet. I'll try it this weekend and let you know.  Thanks!
    • Did you try manually focussing at 135mm, camera on tripod / solid ground, delayed release? If you can get sharp pictures that way, at least you know the optics are fine.
    • I don't know how those cameras would fare as aviation cameras - either of them are far beyond my scope of purchase - but people have been taking pictures of planes and other man-made flying objects well, as long as they have been around.  Unless the aircraft is flying straight at you or flying perpendicularly away from you, the AF lagging behind the shutter should not be an issue and in almost all cases you would be shooting at infinity so internal lens movements to acquire focus should be at a minimum.  If you are expecting to crop a lot, I guess a camera with higher resolution would be better for you but that also depends on what you are going to do with the image.  If you are going to be printing large mural sized prints, higher resolution image would be better but if you are going to print at or below 11x17 or not print at all, even a cropped image from my A7II will be good enough on any consumer grade monitors on the market.  I have seen images printed from the first generation Olympus OM-D E-M5 (16MP) at 11x17 and they were excellent.
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