The GetDPI Photography Forums  
   
 

Go Back   The GetDPI Photography Forums > Digital Camera Forum > Sony


Site Sponsors

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 26th February 2012   #1
Senior Member
 
dhsimmonds's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Hampshire, UK
Posts: 806
Images: 19
A77 used for wildlife

Since getting my A77 last September, I have use it extensively on two major trips to India and South Africa. I previously used my A900 with either the Tamron 200-500 or Sony 70-400G for wildlife work.

On the last two trips I have used the 70-300G which is not my favourite lens but it is significantly lighter and less bulky, I also took the 16-80 ZA and an old but favourite Minolta 24-105 for use on the A900 for wider shots. The 70-300G actually performs beautifully on the A77 missing some of the poor corner performance it shows when used on the A900.

In South Africa I decided to use JPEG only on the A77 so that I could use the very useful built in converter button (in camera crop tool) this enabled me to accurately compose and focus on the subject hand held at up to the equivalent crop of 900mm ( ie 300mm x APSc factor of 1.5 x 2 or 1.4) all handheld or beanbag supported on the window frame of a Landcruiser.

Some of my successful shots were captured at night on a night drive where the EVF allowed me to compose and focus accurately and very quickly.

I haven't used JPEG only for very many years so I was very nervous of the outcome but I was impressed with the results of the JPEG images taken in India with the RAW plus JPEG file settings, so I was prepared to take a chance and pleased with the results coming back with far more keepers than usual.

Some here complain about noise with A77 images and certainly as with the A900 unless exposures are spot on and post processing of poorly exposed images quickly produce noise. I processed all my JPEG images using my favourite Capture One software even though they were in JPEG format, most but not all of the C1 features are available for JPEG processing and saved to 8bit Tiff format for printing or storage.

Sony 12 bit images are not as robust as the 14 bit images produced by other pro cameras, and prone to developing noise if over processed. Compared to my 16 bit Leica DMR images they are positively thin!

Both the A77 and A900 are tough enough to withstand the rigours of bouncing up and down over very rough terrain, on and off safari vehicles in dust and sometimes wet conditions, my A900 is now over four years old and still going strong.

I doubt if my Leica R9 and DMR back would have survived too much of this treatment and I have both Sony's, a stack of excellent lenses and a wad of spare change from the proceeds of my Leica sale!!
__________________
Cheers, Dave
www.simmondsphotography.com
dhsimmonds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th February 2012   #2
Super Duper
Senior Member
 
Terry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: New York City
Posts: 6,954
Images: 1147
Re: A77 used for wildlife

Dave,
Have you tried the 24-105 on the A77? I kind of forgot about mine and pulled it out yesterday to try on the NEX7. I'm finding more recently I like my focal lengths to be a little longer so the 24-105 is interesting to me right now.
__________________
terry
www.terrybanet.com
Terry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th February 2012   #3
Senior Member
 
dhsimmonds's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Hampshire, UK
Posts: 806
Images: 19
Re: A77 used for wildlife

Thanks Terry, I will give it a try. I like it on the A900 when travelling because it is not so heavy as the Zeiss lenses!

I like something 'widish' angle on hand when on wildlife shoots as the critters sometimes have a habit of getting close up and personal! On the A900 it performs this task admirably. The A900 is definitely the second camera since getting the A77 though. The exception is for landscape shots when the A900 beats the A77 hands down IMHO!
__________________
Cheers, Dave
www.simmondsphotography.com
dhsimmonds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th February 2012   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 477
Re: A77 used for wildlife

Dave, you brought up a good point about the 12bits versus other formats. This is something I know absolutely nothing about and might be a source of some of my issues with the a77 noise.

I use aperture 3 with a couple of plugins mostly for PP but have CS5 and DXO 7 as well. Honestly DXO 7 does slightly better PP a77 noise but only slightly. Not enough to change my workflow from Aperture 3. Before aperture 3 updated its RAW to process the a77 I shot in JPEG: since it accepted the a77RAW I went back to all RAW again.

For me initially in JPG and RAW noise with the a77 was not all that bad. But in the past month in a half the noise issue for whatever reason got worse. I know it sound odd but it did. I thought well maybe Aperture 3 did an upgrade that threw a wrench in my IQ. Then I thought maybe I changed a setting or two in my camera that it did not like. Anyway I eventually reset everything. Aperture 3, the camera, I even formatted the cards (something I never do). With all of this it did get better but those air force grey jet photos stayed in my mind. I went back south and took some more shots of these aircraft in flight. There was the rainbow color noise still. I challenge any a77 owner to shoot air force grey aircraft in flight and get a grey color instead of a rainbow salt and pepper especially in the planes shadows without post processing it out with noise reduction.

My NEX5 nor my a33 do not do this on these planes, I tried it (lil tough with the NEX but got her done ) What I would like is a similar result to these two Sony cameras in the pictures my a77 produces. Obviously what I am experiencing is camera/PP specific more than operator exposure or post processing issues.

Yes I can and do get great photos out of the a77 but my recent issues have made me very noise sensitive in my results and would love Sony to do any firmware adjustment to help in this catagory. Since the initial plane photos I see noise in a lot of my skies with BIF shots and in darker colors on birds or whatever. Yeah I know I maybe over sensitive to it but it's like a sore that itches now.

Wish I never photographed those stink'n planes . Ignorance was bliss.... Dave if you or anyone else know of any tricks to reduce a77 color noise in the initial captured images I would greatly appreciate knowing the secret.
Jim DE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th February 2012   #5
Senior Member
 
dhsimmonds's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Hampshire, UK
Posts: 806
Images: 19
Re: A77 used for wildlife

Hi Jim
Yes the grey on military aircraft is always a problem unless exposure values are spot on with both the A77 and A900. This is compounded if shooting this type of aircraft from the ground against a light coloured sky.

Even with the best spot metering it is virtually impossible without judicial use of the compensation button when as much as 1.5 stops may be necessary.

I had the same problem with grey elephants in Africa as any attempts to "push" the shadow areas of the elephants resulted in your well described "salt and pepper" colour noise. In fact, unlike most cameras the Sony images can take quite a bit of over exposure but definitely not under exposure! I suspect that this is deliberate to negate the effects of blown out highlights so often incurred with many digital cameras.

I do not use Aperture although I have it on my Mac. For many years I have used C1 Pro for processing my RAW images and never tried it for processing purely Jpeg's until this last trip with the A77 and was suitably impressed as I was able to push the shadows with the dynamic range sliders without any apparent noise issues. The same images if processed in CS5 produced noise if pushed at anywhere near the limits required. C1 Pro also has a very effective noise reduction feature but fortunately I didn't need to use it.
__________________
Cheers, Dave
www.simmondsphotography.com
dhsimmonds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th February 2012   #6
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 477
Re: A77 used for wildlife

Dave, thanks for the reply! One for making me realize the grey colored subject noise happens to others and the insight to try more exposure compensation next time. I don't usually do aircraft shots but while at a Bombay Hook NWR doing BIF photography it is so close to Dover AFB that you see plenty of these aircraft. You know how it is .. Shots of opportunity. Wish I had never done it now because it has super sensitized me to this color noise.

Most of my Sony cameras I have gotten used to running a -.3 compensation. I found the first day with the a77 that was not needed on the a77 so I have been running usually with no compensation as a general setting and have rarely had to move it much. I will try using more positive compensation to try and reduce this color noise now but still try not to blow the highlights.

I hate to buy yet another PP software but if that is what it takes to finally get the noise down to NEX 5 levels then I surely will. DXO7 as I stated earlier does a better job than Aperture 3 in this area initially but I use a Topaz DeNoise plugin with aperture and can level that playing field between the two. CS5 can get there too but it takes a lot more steps and I only use CS5 to save a near lost photo that I must have. CS5's workflow is just not for me on a pic to pic basis.

Thanks again Dave .... I am going to a arburitum this week and know the flora and fauna shots will desensitize my color noise sensitivity so maybe by Friday I will dial up the exp comp and give the planes another try.
Jim DE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th February 2012   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 477
Re: A77 used for wildlife

Mike as luck would have it I was armed with my macro today and guess what showed up? One of the rarest occurrences for this location: a immature Bald Eagle. I tried the increase in exp comp and it worked much better even after the excessive cropping I had to do to get the picture I wanted. I only went to +.7 but it made a big difference in color noise. Looked bright when taking the picture but the PP image came out great. Thanks again!
Jim DE is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:20.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2014, GetDPI.comAd Management plugin by RedTyger