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Sony A500

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Old Tuesday 13th July 2010, 23:32   #1
Nadia A
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Sony A500

Hi

I have just bought a Sony a500. Its brilliant! My first DSLR Camera. I also bought a 2x teleplus MC4 kenko converter as well as two other lenses as I couldn't afford a really expensive lense. I am having problems focusing it with the converter on the 75-300mm lense. I was wondering if anyone out there has this camera and converter. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old Tuesday 13th July 2010, 23:49   #2
Wildmoreway
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Hi

I have got an a550 along with a Sigma 70 -300 and a 1.4 converter. Auto focus using converters is only really effective on lenses with wide appatures greater than around f4 even other than in very good lighting conditions, so manual focusing is the only real option for much of the time. Whilst I find the teleconverter useful in emergency truthfully it will be better long tern investing in something like the Tamron 200 to 500 lens or if you really cannot afford to pay more looking for a s/h minolta 500mm af mirror lens.

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Old Wednesday 14th July 2010, 10:14   #3
carlj
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SW is correct (and keeping quiet about his new acquisition!). I believe the 75-300mm becomes F8 with the 2x converter on, and that is very dark for manually focussing. Of course, with the A5xx range, you can mount it on a tripod and use manual liveview to zoom in - but that precludes moving objects...

Don't want to scare you, but this is a better option than the teleconverter...

http://www.mifsuds.com/acatalog/Used...AF_Lenses.html

Bigma covers 50-500mm - Mifsuds are great to deal with, I got my Tamron 200-500mm from them a couple of years back.
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Old Wednesday 14th July 2010, 11:08   #4
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thanks guys, I am quite anoyed with myself for jumping into getting the converter now. I don't have a tripod yet so maybe I should get one?

NA
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Old Wednesday 14th July 2010, 14:07   #5
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Nadia,

A tripod is always useful, but also something not to scrimp on. Sony's stabilisation is good, allowing me to handhold the Tamron 200-500mm comfortably in most conditions, but at times I have to rely on a sturdy tripod.

I got a teleconverter too, and it's now a paperweight :)
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Old Wednesday 14th July 2010, 20:03   #6
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I did only pay £70 for my teleplus teleconverter s/h, it is useful in very bright conditions and in those conditions the autofocus my sigma usually works, it usually works best if the lens itself is short of the the maximum zoom range ie around 260 mm.

For the time being don't lose hope with just using your 300 mm lens on its own, Carl and I do know of one lady on a forum who seems to take quite a lot of decent bird and insect shots with a 70 to 300 zoom.

For anyone else thinking of buying a s/h teleplus be aware that it will probably be the earlier version with 5 teminals and will only work with lenses that have 5 terminals, and not with the later lenses with 7 terminals.

Another word of warning you will often see obscure makes of mirror lenses advertised with Sony and other mounts at low prices, these lenses are cheap and of poor quality and will need to be manually focussed (which as their apature is f8) will be virtually impossible to do, best to ignore them.

Last edited by Wildmoreway : Wednesday 14th July 2010 at 20:10.
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Old Wednesday 14th July 2010, 20:33   #7
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Thanks Sw. I will give it a go with using just short of the lenses maximum. Also I was playing around with it earlier and discovered if I put the flash on and have the camera set to P the converter gives slightly better results. maybe just a coincidence I dont know. Im afraid im not too experienced with this yet!!
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Old Wednesday 14th July 2010, 23:30   #8
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Nadia,

The flash would be balanced against the background/ambient light level, and illuminate the near focus, ie, the subject. This burst of light will have 2 effects. 1) it will increase immediate contrast, and visually sharpen the image and 2) select a smaller aperture ie, F8-11 which gives a larger area of sharp focus. Which reminds me, I need to organise a band shoot with just 2 flashguns :)

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Old Friday 16th July 2010, 18:08   #9
Digital Dingbat
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Just for the record on teleconverters, there are a number of problems with Sony
http://www.dyxum.com/lenses/teleconverters.asp
(where have the graphics gone!)
The gist of all this basically forget auto focus functions where the converter takes the maximum aperture smaller than f5.6. So if you are using Sony/Minolta 75-300 f5.6 you will lose two stops i.e. it becomes f11.
I have two tc's Teleplus (5 pin) & Tamron (8 pin) both 1.4x and I only use them under extreme provocation!

Another link for Sony is www.dynaxdigital.com a very friendly forum.
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Old Sunday 18th July 2010, 13:17   #10
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Dynax is indeed a warm and fuzzy place
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Old Tuesday 20th July 2010, 15:54   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlj View Post
Dynax is indeed a warm and fuzzy place
Only just worked out your ID there Carl .. how's the tardis
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Old Tuesday 20th July 2010, 23:21   #12
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Gettin' a lil cramped - there's a ginge and a floppy haired fella in there :)
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Old Thursday 23rd December 2010, 22:21   #13
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I bought the A500 in the summer with the twin lens kit. Both lenses were great but, being a bit short of oomph for wildlife shots, I sold a few beloved guitars and purchased the Sigma 150-500mm lens.

Got to admit that it's not all sweetness and light though. It's a heavy combo to carry around for any sort of distance and short of bright sunlight the AF searches like mad. So to get decent shots, 9 times out of 10 I find myself manual focussing, using aperture priority (f8) for sharpness and either a tripod or monopod (which just add to the weight further).

I've managed some great shots of stationary birds using this method, but I've still to get a keeper of a bird in flight (probably more me getting used to my new gear, even though I've been using SLR's since the 1980's).

I can't help but wonder if I would have got better results with a similarly priced Canon or Nikon? (Previously owned a Canon T90 and then a Nikon F90 and I was more than pleased with the results from both).
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Old Friday 24th December 2010, 15:25   #14
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Carl J manages some excellent shots with an a300 and a Tamron 200 to 500, your combo should be managing good results, it may also be worth turning the steady shot off for the BIF shots if you don;s already do so.
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Old Friday 24th December 2010, 16:01   #15
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The Sigma is heavier than the Tamron, and the A300 was a brute with focus tracking - rarely worked. Have moved to the A55, with a much improved AF algorithm, but the A500 should be better than the old A300. To be honest, the cheaper 500mm's are slow, and as a result, slower to af - the HSM version of the Siggy should be quicker though.
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Old Saturday 25th December 2010, 02:05   #16
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Rob, I'd tend to blame the lens more than the camera in your case...not that the 150-500 isn't a decent enough lens, but it may just be a bit too slow for bird in flight success unless you've got really good light. Even the Tamron 200-500, which is a bit faster than the Sigma 150-500, is still a fairly slow lens, but on my A550 is no problem at all getting birds in flight regularly. Some lies in the techniques and settings you use of course, but I shoot with lots of birders using Sony, Canon, and Nikon gear, varying from entry-level to semi-pro level...and my experience has been that the photographer and the lens make all the difference in the world, while the camera bodies are really not all that different from brand to brand. The semi-pro models have more focus points, faster AF acquisition, and more direct and custom controls, but that too seems to be fairly equal from brand to brand when comparing equal class of camera. The A500/550 should be a draw against the entry or advanced-entry Canon and Nikon (I shoot alongside a T2(550D) and a D90 - they don't get more hits than I do on birds in flight...in fact I often get more than they do, but I don't credit that to my camera but to my experience having shot birds in flight for many years.
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Old Wednesday 29th December 2010, 11:58   #17
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Thanks for the replies. I had thought about upgrading to an A55, but have heard that the Sigma 150-500 is incompatible due to the translucent mirror?

I turn the steady shot off when using a tripod, but hadn't considered this for BIF shots, will it speed up the focussing to a noticeable degree?

Starting to wish that I'd waited to be able to afford the Tamron 200-500 or bought a Canon body and used the Sigmas OS instead of Sonys onboard steady shot.
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Old Thursday 30th December 2010, 14:29   #18
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I don't think turning off stabilization will speed up your focus for BIF...most likely, your problem is all in the lens' gearing. The solutions are pretty much universal, regardless of which brand camera you are using - better lens, hypersonic focusing motor in lens, better gearing, lens with focus limiter, more money! Buying the el-cheapo big zooms won't help you with Canon either - if anything, you have a disadvantage since you can't get stabilization. You're just seeing the basic limitations of a lower cost lens that can do a great job optically, but suffers a few compromises in areas such as focus speed.

I'm not sure how practiced you are with birds-in-flight shots, but you can still score some lovely shots just honing your technique and working around the lens' limitations. First off, accept that this type of shooting will result in quite a few misses...even very good bird-in-flight shooters I know with cracking good fast primes on full-frame bodies and top tracking AF systems will throw out 8 or 9 of every 10 shots - it's the nature of the game. Second, you might try manual focus (crazy as it sounds, it's not all that hard - and if you pre-focus a particular spot where the birds are flying, you only need small tweaks of focus especially with a smaller aperture...it'll prevent all the hunting around the lens will do trying to AF). Or, use the pre-focus technique with autofocus - find a tree, patch of ground, anything that is around the same focal length you expect the birds to be - focus on it, then when the bird comes along and you get it in the viewfinder, the lens won't have to crank the focus as far to achieve focus...avoiding spinning the lens from one end of the focus to the other while the bird flies out of frame. When shooting birds, I find using AF-S mode is often best and more accurate - track bird, half-press for confirmation, fire...no AF adjustments during the shot. And I typically use spot meter for cluttered backgrounds or larger birds. And if you haven't already, when shooting birds against a fairly empty background (such as sky), consider setting your camera to Wide focus area, AF-C mode - two different settings for two different types of bird in flight shots. The AF-C mode will tend to track nicely, using the full AF grid as needed, when there's nothing in the background to pull the focus away - so birds in the sky are fairly easy to let the system track for you and just fire frames.
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Old Friday 22nd July 2011, 20:15   #19
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I know it's been a long time, but my big lens AF problems were recently solved in one fell swoop! I had contacted Sigma as the AF tracking seemed to be getting worse and it turns out that my lens was one of an affected batch that qualified for a free of charge recall and repair that I had never been contacted about. What a difference! I take it all back, the 150-500 HSM is a fabulous lens!
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