Sunday, 14 September 2008

Bird Snapping field test of Sony A200

My primary intended use for my Sony A200 was for bird photography, and I was just dying to know how it would perform in the field. In UK, so much depends on the weather and I was praying to the weather gods to send out some clear weather. Boy, did they hear me; It turned out to be a beautiful day I started off the day shooting sparrows at my feeder:

Sparrow

Sparrow

The dunnocks were not to  be left out and soon joined in:

Dunnock

I had a surprise visitor to the feeder soon after! well actually not one but two- Starlings!

Starling

Starling

They seemed to like the peanuts, and the sparrows were only too happy to share it with them:

Starling

Starling

Soon after, I set out armed with my 75-300mm Minolta lens, never having used an SLR in the field ever in my life before. Here`s what I came back with:

Not sure what this bird is:

Flycatcher?

A great tit in all its colour stopped by:

Great Tit

and then the warblers came out. Before today I had shot just one warbler. Today they were uncountable:

I think this is a Willow warbler but it could be a Chiffchaff

Willow Warbler?Willow Warbler?

I`m pretty sure this one is a Spotted flycatcher:

Spotted Flycatcher?

A goldfinch:

Goldfinch

Another warbler decided to give me an easy shot, this one is slightly different because it has black feet compared to the yellowish pink of the one above:

Willow wrabler/ Chiffchaff

A young wren was sunning itself after a long wet week:

Wren?

and yet another warbler to add more spice:

Willow warbler?

The magpies didnt want to go unrepresented:

Magpie

Another warbler!!!

Willow warbler?

I didnt think I could manage any close up shots of butterflies with the 75-300, but surprise surprise, these shots are taken with the lens and believe it or not they are all at 300mm!!!

A large white(?)

Large white?

a blue

Blue

and a red admiral:

Red Admiral

after snapping so many birds my day wouldn't have been complete without getting a kestrel. I did get it sitting down but the sun was in my camera giving me just a silhouette, but finally after following it for a while, I did catch a few in flight:

Kestrel

…and for those who have read this blog, they`d know my history with Jays. I just cant seem to shoot a decent picture of it ever. I had the best opportunity yet today and this is all I could manage:

Jay

but at least I got a picture worth showing.

To summarise I love the camera, but its going to be a steep learning curve getting used to an SLR after the handy abilities of a point and shoot. I love the way the A200 responds in my hand and I love its speed. The auto focus is awesome at most times, but there are tricky situations when I had to switch to manual focus as it couldn’t locate my point of interest, but I suppose I have to check out different combination of settings. I had particular trouble auto focusing  on flying birds against the bright sky. Once or twice I had problems after being used to the live view of the DSC H9. I didn’t realise I had switched to a higher shutter speed and continued shooting in that mode. In the DSC H9 I would have known it instantly with the live view but that is something I`ll have to get used to. Another feature I would dearly loved to have had is a magnification during focusing, especially manual focus, but I suppose that is possible only with live view. Makes me wonder if it would have been worth paying extra for the live view in an a300/350.

However what I felt the need for most strongly today was more focal length. I desperately need a longer lens. All the images above are strongly cropped. If only I had a 500mm lens! Anybody out there knows a cheap 500mm lens?

More of today`s pictures can be seen on my Flickr gallery.

1 comment:

  1. You did great with your new SRL!

    I switched to a Nikon SRL in April, and am still not quite the master. I loved my Sony Cybershot (on old model now, 5MP and 3x optical zoom), for the clarity of the pictures, the low light capabilities. The Zeiss lenses are magical, in my judgement. I am still not sure I made a good choice, switching to a Nikon.

    As far as moving objects are concerned, my Nikon has a "Sports" setting, letting you focus and "hold on" to an object. I used it occasionally when trying to photograph people moving in the streets, and for birds (not very successful, a 200mm lens is simply not good enough for that).

    Have you ever been to Maalie's blog? He has identified a number of birds on my blog:
    http://maalie.blogspot.com/

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