Sony A77M2 - Help/Pointers requested

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CHOLLY
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Re: Sony A77M2 - Help/Pointers requested

Unread postby CHOLLY » Thu Dec 24, 2015 3:48 pm

My experience with the A77II is that it is a VERY powerful camera in terms of flexibility and the autofocus module is fantastic.

You will have to learn how to use if based on the type of photography you are doing... for instance, capturing a bird diving on prey as opposed to maintaining continuous focus on a car zooming around a race track. AF settings can be adjusted and tweaked to allow the camera to perform each of those tasks specifically and do it extremely well.

It will take practice and experience to learn how to master your camera/lens combination... but with the A77II and 70-400 G mounted up front, you have one of the BEST wildlife/sports action cameras available. SERIOUSLY.

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sury
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Re: Sony A77M2 - Help/Pointers requested

Unread postby sury » Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:15 pm

I fully agree with the practice aspect. I did take it for a "test drive" with 70-400 and came home disappointed.
1) The lighting was poor for BIF to start with...
2) The EVF display lag threw me off
3) I struggled with focusing because (I believe) the settings are not right
4) I was overwhelmed with the #focus points and I lost track of where camera
is focusing. Again, it is a matter of not used to large # of focus points.

My feedback is egocentric since it is I that needs training and the camera does not seem to lack anything.
As for shooting, I do not have a particular style or preference or type of shooting. I am amateur hobbyist
who wishes his skills (of photography) are half as much a match for his passion (for photography).

Sury
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mikeriach
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Re: Sony A77M2 - Help/Pointers requested

Unread postby mikeriach » Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:46 pm

Haha, practice makes perfect Sury.
I warned you about the wide focus mode, for smaller objects try the local groups or even the centre spot if you can keep it on the subject. When it works it is very good but be prepared for many failures till you learn the best method for the different situations. In this case there is not one setting which suits all.
I also had issues at 400mm where my panning technique was poor so the SSS was overwhelmed!

Mike
Some Sony stuff and now some Nikon stuff (shock horror). Sony cannot supply what I want so rightly or wrongly I'm branching out to someone who does.

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Re: Sony A77M2 - Help/Pointers requested

Unread postby mikeriach » Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:47 pm

Some Sony stuff and now some Nikon stuff (shock horror). Sony cannot supply what I want so rightly or wrongly I'm branching out to someone who does.

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sury
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Re: Sony A77M2 - Help/Pointers requested

Unread postby sury » Thu Dec 24, 2015 9:02 pm

Thank you, Mike. I think that is the document I needed. Especially the case 2 and/or 4. Now that I am armed and dangerous, I will practice more. We have been having (much needed) rains and next couple of days is supposed to clear out. Will try again this weekend.
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Re: Sony A77M2 - Help/Pointers requested

Unread postby CHOLLY » Fri Dec 25, 2015 4:19 am

sury wrote:I fully agree with the practice aspect. I did take it for a "test drive" with 70-400 and came home disappointed.
1) The lighting was poor for BIF to start with...
2) The EVF display lag threw me off
3) I struggled with focusing because (I believe) the settings are not right
4) I was overwhelmed with the #focus points and I lost track of where camera
is focusing. Again, it is a matter of not used to large # of focus points.

My feedback is egocentric since it is I that needs training and the camera does not seem to lack anything.
As for shooting, I do not have a particular style or preference or type of shooting. I am amateur hobbyist
who wishes his skills (of photography) are half as much a match for his passion (for photography).

Sury


Aha! First time out the A77II and 70-400 G CAN be intimidating for sure. But have no fear; you will soon get the hang of things. A couple of pointers for you sir:

For BIF, the suggestion to use the center point is spot on! But be sure you have the camera set to AF-C. THEN press your Function button. (Fn). Move to Focus Area, press the joy stick center button, then scroll down past Center focus, to the very bottom choice. Scroll right until you get to the last choice, Lock-on AF: Expand Flexible Spot.

Now, you are ready. To fine tune your ability to track the subject, press the menu button--> Camera 4 --> AF Drive Speed. (FAST for BIF)
Camera 4--> AF Track Duration (High for BIF)

{Note: IF you have enough light to shoot using the reciprocal rule, turn the Stead Shot off! ESPECIALLY if you will be panning. I have found the images MUCH sharper with SS off when using the A77II on a pan. Just remember; when you do the calculation to take into account the crop factor. So at 400mm you SHOULD be shooting at least 1/600 sec. But You probably shoot your BIF at 1/1000 anyhow... so if that is the case, leave the SS off.}

Play around with the Track Duration until you find the right combination for what you are shooting. Short track duration (1 or 2) means the AF system will shift quickly to something else after you have locked on and the subject (or camera) moves. Long duration (4 or 5) means the AF system will hang onto the subject you have locked on with the tenacity of a bulldog!

Second suggestion; if you haven't done so already, check to see that you have the latest firmware for the A77II. It includes some fine tuning of the AF algorithms and response times are MUCH improved all around. Go to Suitcase 6--> Version and check it you have Ver. 2.0

If not, the do the update... but BEWARE; use a PC. If you run a Mac, borrow a friends PC. DO NOT TRY THE UPDATE USING A MAC!!!

GOOD LUCK!

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Re: Sony A77M2 - Help/Pointers requested

Unread postby CHOLLY » Fri Dec 25, 2015 6:34 am

Sury, when you get a little time, check out this excellent walk thru on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjmTjXNUe74

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sury
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Re: Sony A77M2 - Help/Pointers requested

Unread postby sury » Fri Dec 25, 2015 6:49 am

Thank you. Every suggestion you make is the mistake I made not observing it. I did not realize the significance of the settings or lack thereof. With 900/700 I never had to worry about turning the stabilization off, for example. With the five axis it is a different ball game.
Luckily since I purchased the camera couple of weeks ago, the firmware is already at 2.0
I had focus on Flexible expanded not lock on flexible expanded, drive speed was low, af track duration was also at low 2 and steady state on. The light was so poor, I doubt I had a chance to get to 1/fl without undue bump in the ISO which was somehow limited to 1600 for max. As I said, this is turning out to be lot more challenging than anticipated and twice as exciting to figure it out.

Sury
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Re: Sony A77M2 - Help/Pointers requested

Unread postby CHOLLY » Fri Dec 25, 2015 3:56 pm

Well, I hope you will find the camera as rewarding as I have. Once you get to know it... and master it... you should love it. ESPECIALLY the autofocus capability. It will enable you to capture images that you were lucky to catch before.

You really will have to reconsider how you approach some aspects of your photography because this camera gives you new options and abilities to do things you probably never could do before with other gear. It is a POWERFUL tool.

Additionally, Steady Shot does work well, but the effect is different with different lenses.

When I am shooting in good light with my 70-400 G, I like to use the reciprocal rule and turn SS off. The images just seem a little crisper across the range from center to edges at the longer focal lengths. The same is true, though to a much lesser extent, with my 70-300 G. However, ALL my images are sharp at 200mm and below, the best results coming with my CZ 24-70mm and Minny 28-135mm.

As you probably know by now, the ISO range can be adjusted by pressing the ISO button, scrolling to AUTO, then scrolling right to set the minimum first, and maximum ISO by scrolling to each, then scrolling up or down.

{Note: When shooting Auto ISO, I RARELY set my maximum above 3200. (Even though you can reduce the noise in PP, the built in Noise Reduction DOES reduce detail above ISO 6400; detail you can't recover.) Also, be sure to set your High ISO Noise Reduction to STANDARD... the HIGH setting is just too harsh and removes excessive detail. You can do this by pressing the ISO button, scrolling to AUTO ISO (Multi Frame Noise Reduction), then scrolling right.}

You can use either the joystick to move back and forth, up and down through the menus and submenus... or you can use your two control dials. When you get the hang of it, you will be able to move VERY quickly through your menu options with those dials.

When you learn which camera setups you prefer for specific photographic situations, you can program them into one of the three immediately available memory locations accessible on the mode dial (as opposed to being a menu option on the A77). This will come in VERY handy... especially if you need to change setup quickly. For example, you are shooting landscapes, and a flock of birds passes by or you see a great portrait opportunity. Just press the center release and turn the mode dial to the desired memory, then snap away. Or change lenses. In any situation, all you have to do is twist the mode dial; NOT stand there and enter all the required settings for the type of image you will be taking. VERY powerful.

HAVE FUN!

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sury
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Re: Sony A77M2 - Help/Pointers requested

Unread postby sury » Fri Dec 25, 2015 6:27 pm

Interestingly I have Minolta 28-135 too. Heavy lens but excellent images. I have programmed the memory in the past but the settings
were simple enough that seldom I missed a shot (in the past) due to settings needed to be changed. But now it is quite a different setup
and programming the buttons for fast action, landscapes and people (portraits) is an excellent idea. At least I will have a starting point to deviate from, if needed. My appreciation for the camera has gone up in the last few days instead of intimidating me.

Sury
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Re: Sony A77M2 - Help/Pointers requested

Unread postby CHOLLY » Fri Dec 25, 2015 7:51 pm

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sury
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Re: Sony A77M2 - Help/Pointers requested

Unread postby sury » Sat Dec 26, 2015 3:01 am

With Sun peeking out of clouds, I decided to play with 70-400G lens. I was some distance away and could not get the focus on the flower easily. When I pressed the Center button, I got the rectangle and try how hard, I could only manage to get it lock on to the gently swaying flower once (perhaps my lock time is too low) and one time I got it, it nailed it. as shown in the first one.

Image

The second is shown where the lower right boxes lit up and I could not move the focus point elsewhere. I know it is pilot error and if I knew I am doing wrong, I would not be doing it right? :wink: But for most part, I am getting the hang of center lock on focus bit. I have
taken few others with relative ease but with16-80 lens. I think the I got the technique down pat, but need to get the focus points move.
The center point on A900 would activate the cross hair and I always nailed the focus, seldom failed, if ever.

Image

Then nailed this one... I think.
Image
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CHOLLY
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Re: Sony A77M2 - Help/Pointers requested

Unread postby CHOLLY » Sat Dec 26, 2015 9:46 pm

Sury, there is a difference between Center lock on, and Lock On AF: Expand Flexible Spot, which does in fact allow you to move your focal point anyplace you wish using the joystick. When you do, the focal spots around it will activate as the subject moves, but the lock on should keep the subject in focus.

Suggestion: In Gear 3 set your AF Area Points to "Auto" and Flexible Spot Points to "ALL". Also, set your Wide AF Area Disp. to "On".
Also, in Gear 4, set your Priority Setup to "AF".

With the 70-400 G tracking SHOULD be not only fast but very accurate.

So in the second example above, with the AF mode set to AF-C, you will see the flower blowing in the breeze, put the center focal spot on it and half depress the shutter button. The camera should focus on it and stick with it through out it's movement.

Sury, the number of AF permutations this camera is capable of is indeed impressive. And while it may initially seem to be intimidating, trust me, once you learn the settings for each type of shooting situation you will greatly appreciate the flexibility and adaptability.
Last edited by CHOLLY on Sun Dec 27, 2015 1:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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sury
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Re: Sony A77M2 - Help/Pointers requested

Unread postby sury » Sat Dec 26, 2015 11:44 pm

Aah. That explains it. I could not get flexible locking set. Let me follow the instructions. Thank you.
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sury
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Re: Sony A77M2 - Help/Pointers requested

Unread postby sury » Sun Dec 27, 2015 8:14 am

My very first pano with A77M2 and I have no idea what that banding is, next to the trees on the right hand side, in the pano. The pano sweep was from (your) right to (your) left as you view the screen and only plausible hypothesis is that somehow the the strap came in the way. It is there in the last two images of the pano.
Any one has any clues? I cleaned the camera and the camera message said, to follow the instructions in the manual for further cleaning and there is nothing in the manual by the way of further instructions. Baffled but not losing sleep on it.

Sury

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