I`m finally in India and on my first day here, took the opportunity to try and use the Sony A550 for some birding shots. Unlike the UK where I have to walk miles to try and catch a glimpse of any bird, I`m in birding paradise here. My backyard is haven to several species of birds and I hope to showcase them through my lens on this blog while I am here. (below: white cheeked barbet)
Anyway I used , the my Minolta 500mm reflex lens with the camera. The camera itself is awesome, firstly the autofocus has greatly improved and compared to the A200, I get a lot more keepers just because i can focus on the bird with more accuracy in the limited time available
The above shot is of a purple rumped-sunbird – a small and fast bird that never sits still. It was high up in the trees and the image has been cropped quite a bit.
The metering though seems to over expose most shots, (above: Magpie Robin) but these are just my initial shots and I do have to work on good settings both before and post imaging.
The extra pixels allow for a fair bit of cropping. While I could use the smart teleconverter via the live view mode, It would take up valuable time. Time is of essence in bird photography and a second lost could make a difference between shooting the bird or ending up with an image of just the branch. (above: Plum-headed Parakeet, Below: Common Mynah)
Below: Asian Koel
Below: Scarlet Minivet Male
Most impressive however, has been the ISO performance. Last Evening I saw this Red whiskered bulbul sitting within a clump of bamboo and tried to get a shot at ISO200. With the lens being limited to f8, the shutter speed was too long to make sense and eventually i ended up with a useless, blurred and dark image. I then selected auto ISO and reshot and got the image below. The ISO is at 1600.
I`m not very happy with the sharpness of the images, I guess it can be attributed mostly to the lens, but I think I need to fine tune my shooting style as well. A tripod could improve things a lot.
More to come on these beautiful birds. Keep checking.