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Thread: New A77 Camera, New Bird in yard, got the shots I wanted.

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    Member Matix's Avatar
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    New A77 Camera, New Bird in yard, got the shots I wanted.

    Just heading out for a day with the A77, loaded up the camera bag and walked outside to check the light before loading the bag into the car. Noticed a strange bird I had never seen before, it was not too skittish and as I had the A77 with the Tamron 90mm 2.8 on it, I took the first shot, then quickly put the Tamron 18-250mm on the camera, and took a few more. The 18-250mm Tamron always works well for me, I had one for the D7000 which sold on Ebay today, and the A77 was easy to set up and use quickly, and the EVF is excellent, I would never buy a camera without one.

    I think the A77 did real well in the hands of a relatively new user of this new model, have used Nikon for past few years and the Sony felt great in my hand, responsive, quick and accurate. I shot at 400 ISO, centre weighted and spot focus, which is what I use mostly anyway.

    Maybe could have done better with some more higher spec glass, but the 18-250mm is my walk around lens and it was there at hand. Shot in RAW, Processed in Capture One 6.

    Here are a few shots of the Pheasant Coucal (Centropus phasianinus) a member of the cuckoo family, but one that does not take over other birds nests.

    SLT-A77V, f/7.1 @ 90 mm, 1/500, ISO 400


    SLT-A77V, f/8 @ 200 mm, 1/500, ISO 400


    SLT-A77V, f/7.1 @ 250 mm, 1/500, ISO 400


    SLT-A77V, f/6.3 @ 250 mm, 1/400, ISO 400


    SLT-A77V, f/6.3 @ 250 mm, 1/400, ISO 400


    Phil
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    Re: New A77 Camera, New Bird in yard, got the shots I wanted.

    Looks very good to me.
    Can you comment a bit on the D7000 vs A77?

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    Senior Member dhsimmonds's Avatar
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    Re: New A77 Camera, New Bird in yard, got the shots I wanted.

    They are OK Phil, I'm sure that you are very pleased with them. The A77 certainly allows fast capture of moving subjects, ideal for natural history subjects.
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com

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    Member Matix's Avatar
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    Re: New A77 Camera, New Bird in yard, got the shots I wanted.

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    Looks very good to me.
    Can you comment a bit on the D7000 vs A77?
    Thanks, I will try... the D7000 sold yesterday, would have liked to have kept it along with the A77, but maintaining two sets of lenses is not really practical for the few shots that one would do better than the other.

    I had a thread on DPR with images a week ago, to see the images as well, this is the link: Thread in DPR

    As far as comparisons between the two cameras, most comments are subjective, personal preferences etc. I have used both in parallel for the past few weeks, same lenses and did my best to get the best out of both bodies, the A77 won the test, but for me, they are both excellent cameras with their own strengths and weaknesses.

    My thoughts are.

    Having learned to like a good EVF and Tilt/Swivel LCD with the Panasonic GH1 and GH2, and being over the age of 21!!, those features are important to me, I like the information at my eye which is a huge advantage in outdoors shooting, to see your settings clearly, focusing assistance with the 'peaking' feature is excellent on the Sony, no similar feature on the D7k, and to be able to review the image without moving from the viewfinder is a real advantage in my opinion. The EVF in the A77 is the best example yet.

    The Ergonomics of the A77 are excellent, feels really good in the hand, usability and access to buttons etc is similar to the D300 Nikon, but overall lighter in the hand whereas the D7000 has some difficult button placement, non intuitive and requiring the user to check visually before accessing them. Perhaps minor things, but they annoyed me a lot.

    The D7000 metering I found with over 4,000 shots was frustrating, it is not as accurate as the A77, Matrix metering always seems to overexpose so much it was hit and miss, the only setting to work I found was to have the focus point as Centre and Smallest possible (yes this assists metering accuracy big time) and to use Centre Weighted metering for most of my shooting. While I use these and similar settings by preference for most of my shooting, with the D7K I had to use them or it would overexpose, or set manually, with the A77 I can use more settings such as matrix for wide landscapes and the exposure is spot on.

    The D7k has the edge, slightly on focus speed but loses slightly on accuracy.

    IQ at low ISO settings, ie from 100-1600 is very similar, both excellent.. A77 is ok up to 3200 ISO but seems to degrade to higher noise as the light lessens, the D7K has little noise problem up to 6400 ISO, except for blue skies, a Nikon trait.

    A77 does a fine job with tonal quality in the red channel, Nikon in all my tests has a problem here, note the image of the red cactus early in the thread, I could not get a good shot with the D7k using the same lens and settings or any setting, just a flat red image.

    Dynamic range is better I believe with the A77, but your mileage may vary, as I shoot mostly in daylight hours this has been my experience as I have shot many images with both cameras in testing. This was the main reason for not sticking with the Panasonic Micro 4/3 format, the DR.

    Testing I have done with both on board and external flashes using Nikon SB800 and Metz 58-AF2 flashes for the Nikon, and Sony HVL-F58 for the Sony, give the edge to Nikon, but not by much, once again your needs should govern the minor variances found here as I am happy with both systems.

    In summary? These are my thoughts only, not accurate or scientific and I would have no hesitation in recommending either to an experiences photographer. Both cameras are probably the best of their genre, the flexibility of the Sony, the imaging in natural lighting, focusing and exposure both auto and manual, and ergonomics won me over.. but it was not an easy decision. I experienced less frustration with the A77 than what I did when I first got the D7000 and it works for me, I will miss the high ISO quality once in a while but the EVF will balance that.

    As I said, and feel sure... Your Mileage May Vary...

    Phil
    Photo-Matix Imagery - Capturing Life with a camera
    Panasonic Lumix GX8, Lumix G85, Lumix GX7, and various lenses.
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    Re: New A77 Camera, New Bird in yard, got the shots I wanted.

    Thanks a lot Phil,
    lot of usefull information.
    Last question - how did you find color overall between the two?
    Regards,Tom

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    Member Matix's Avatar
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    Re: New A77 Camera, New Bird in yard, got the shots I wanted.

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    Thanks a lot Phil,
    lot of usefull information.
    Last question - how did you find color overall between the two?
    Regards,Tom
    No problem Tom. As usual subjective, I like colours that pop, usually set Vivid in Nikon and similar in Sony. For me, Sony beats the Nikon hands down, especially where red is involved. Both the D300 and D7000 had trouble with definition of red, in flowers and close up images. I find the Sony colours more natural to my eye, skin tones also are much better than the D7K was.

    For example, both with same Tamron 17-50mm 2.8 Di lenses, the Sony definitely has the better tonal and edge definition for reds:

    A77 f/8 @ 28 mm, 1/80, ISO 400, No Flash


    D7000 f/5.6 @ 30 mm, 1/125, ISO 400, No Flash


    Hope that helps, was an important factor for me.

    Phil
    Last edited by Matix; 29th October 2011 at 16:53. Reason: Typo
    Photo-Matix Imagery - Capturing Life with a camera
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    Re: New A77 Camera, New Bird in yard, got the shots I wanted.

    The D7000 definitely has a very wide red sensitivity. This makes skin hues prone to render ruddy and makes it unsuitable for people. But by the same virtue, it's very well suited to other types of subjects. Like these shots from the San Francisco Zoo, where I went for an almost stylized, Disney-esque look. Hey, it's clichéd perhaps, but I like it. (I was mostly just giving the camera and 80-400 VR a test run, hence ISO and f stops and shutter speeds are all over the map.)

    This look would be absolutely horrible for people stuff. (That's why I have a Leica M9 - and a Sony a850.)







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    Re: New A77 Camera, New Bird in yard, got the shots I wanted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jan Brittenson View Post
    The D7000 definitely has a very wide red sensitivity. This makes skin hues prone to render ruddy and makes it unsuitable for people. But by the same virtue, it's very well suited to other types of subjects. Like these shots from the San Francisco Zoo, where I went for an almost stylized, Disney-esque look. Hey, it's clichéd perhaps, but I like it. (I was mostly just giving the camera and 80-400 VR a test run, hence ISO and f stops and shutter speeds are all over the map.)

    This look would be absolutely horrible for people stuff. (That's why I have a Leica M9 - and a Sony a850.)
    You are correct of course, one must decide the most important personal use for the camera and pick the one that works best for the wider range of use. I rarely shoot people, faces etc so not a major issue. Although I have used the A77 for a few family shots and thought the result was slightly better than the D7K, but that could be affected by many things.

    Phil
    Photo-Matix Imagery - Capturing Life with a camera
    Panasonic Lumix GX8, Lumix G85, Lumix GX7, and various lenses.
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    Re: New A77 Camera, New Bird in yard, got the shots I wanted.

    Matix: thanks for your posting. I have dragged my A77 to a circle of amateur bird shooters and I was very surprised to find none of them use D7000....mostly D300s/D3s. Of course Canon users have 1Dxxxx/7D etc etc.

    For bird shooting, the A77 AF is defective to ME...It can't focus correctly if the background shares similar colors with the subject..but to my surprise, it cannot focus if the subject falls our of the focusing point. To the last point, I was forced to use a lot of manual focus and sadly missed a lot of chances.

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    Re: New A77 Camera, New Bird in yard, got the shots I wanted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark K View Post
    Matix: thanks for your posting. I have dragged my A77 to a circle of amateur bird shooters and I was very surprised to find none of them use D7000....mostly D300s/D3s. Of course Canon users have 1Dxxxx/7D etc etc.

    For bird shooting, the A77 AF is defective to ME...It can't focus correctly if the background shares similar colors with the subject..but to my surprise, it cannot focus if the subject falls our of the focusing point. To the last point, I was forced to use a lot of manual focus and sadly missed a lot of chances.
    Interesting, I have not found that at all. I set the focus point to just the smallest, tiny square in the centre of the viewfinder, with both centre weighted and spot, nailed them perfectly. Having spent a couple of years with the D300, I would say there is little difference.

    3 Shots over the past few days, Tamron 18-250mm so not an expensive lens, and I have not really had a chance for BIF, waiting till I get a lens that is a little faster..

    Phil





    Photo-Matix Imagery - Capturing Life with a camera
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    Re: New A77 Camera, New Bird in yard, got the shots I wanted.

    Matix
    Thank you for pointing out and what you have been doing is exactly what my fellow photographers have been doing with their 1Dxxx cameras. Nevertheless A77 is a enjoyable camera to use.

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    Re: New A77 Camera, New Bird in yard, got the shots I wanted.

    Thanx guys!
    Really helpfull!

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    Re: New A77 Camera, New Bird in yard, got the shots I wanted.

    I totally agree Phil. I am using firmware 1.03 and the focusing is very fast and extremely accurate. I haven't even tried my 70-400G yet but the 70-300G is very fast indeed and 450mm is the longest FL I need just at present and it's a lot lighter to carry around than either the 70-400G or Tamron 200-500 which I will try just for the thrill of it after I get back from my trip to India which starts tomorrow!

    I have decided to take the A77 with the F2.8 DT16-50 and the 70-300G wwith my little Fuji X100 for street work in Delhi. It's the lightest DSLR kit I have taken on an overseas shoot for many years! I am usually well over the top of my hand baggage allowance but this time I am well under! I really must be getting old!
    Cheers, Dave
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    Re: New A77 Camera, New Bird in yard, got the shots I wanted.

    Quote Originally Posted by dhsimmonds View Post
    I totally agree Phil. I am using firmware 1.03 and the focusing is very fast and extremely accurate. I haven't even tried my 70-400G yet but the 70-300G is very fast indeed and 450mm is the longest FL I need just at present and it's a lot lighter to carry around than either the 70-400G or Tamron 200-500 which I will try just for the thrill of it after I get back from my trip to India which starts tomorrow!

    I have decided to take the A77 with the F2.8 DT16-50 and the 70-300G wwith my little Fuji X100 for street work in Delhi. It's the lightest DSLR kit I have taken on an overseas shoot for many years! I am usually well over the top of my hand baggage allowance but this time I am well under! I really must be getting old!
    Hi there Dave
    Have a fantastic trip - sounds like a great kit to take with you, small and perfectly formed!

    @Phil
    Great summary and story - and great shots as well.

    @Mark
    I've found the A77 focussing to be pretty accurate for wildlife in the distance - maybe it's a settings issue?

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: New A77 Camera, New Bird in yard, got the shots I wanted.

    Quote Originally Posted by dhsimmonds View Post
    I totally agree Phil. I am using firmware 1.03 and the focusing is very fast and extremely accurate. I haven't even tried my 70-400G yet but the 70-300G is very fast indeed and 450mm is the longest FL I need just at present and it's a lot lighter to carry around than either the 70-400G or Tamron 200-500 which I will try just for the thrill of it after I get back from my trip to India which starts tomorrow!

    I have decided to take the A77 with the F2.8 DT16-50 and the 70-300G wwith my little Fuji X100 for street work in Delhi. It's the lightest DSLR kit I have taken on an overseas shoot for many years! I am usually well over the top of my hand baggage allowance but this time I am well under! I really must be getting old!
    I did this too. A77 is an incredible landscape camera....

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    Re: New A77 Camera, New Bird in yard, got the shots I wanted.

    Quote Originally Posted by dhsimmonds View Post
    I totally agree Phil. ........ after I get back from my trip to India which starts tomorrow!

    I have decided to take the A77 with the F2.8 DT16-50 and the 70-300G wwith my little Fuji X100 for street work in Delhi. It's the lightest DSLR kit I have taken on an overseas shoot for many years! I am usually well over the top of my hand baggage allowance but this time I am well under! I really must be getting old!
    Dave, have a great trip.. my wife and I were there Dec/January last. I took the GH1 and GH2 with a light kit, great to carry the lighter gear, but the DR and the speed of focus let me down a few times, still a great kit and the EVF and flexible LCD were two of my reasons to go to Sony, a good decision.

    Take a look if you have time to our India trip photos: I found the lens most used in buildings was the 7-14mm, really needed a wide angle a lot.

    Enjoy, we did. Phil
    Photo-Matix Imagery - Capturing Life with a camera
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