Shooting with Speed, Stability and Sharpness
By Daniel Tjongari
Speed, stability and sharpness are what make Sony a triple threat in the photography realm.
An instance that supports this notion is my process with landscape shots. I usually take pictures of natural landscapes using a tripod. This ensures that my camera is stable for blur-free pictures, especially when using long exposure techniques.
However, I often capture beyond just the scenery, such as local cultural performances or religious processions happening on the sidelines. I sometimes include quaint personalities who live in the area. This requires a different photography technique as the activity is ever-changing with people constantly in motion. A moment is not to be missed.
Thankfully, Sony’s encapsulation of speed, stability and sharpness in its camera and lenses has helped me capture subjects successfully time after time.
I will elaborate more about these three wonderful features that you can expect from Sony.
Alpha 7R III | FE 24mm F1.4 GM | 24mm | 1/2000 sec | F8 | ISO 200
The superb speed of Sony’s cameras and lenses are best described in my recent photo trip in Solo, Central Java region.
I visited an area where locals made colourful fabrics with various motifs in a traditional way. After colouring these fabrics, locals would toss them onto the grass to be dried in the sun. This action of tossing these fabrics is something of a unique moment to capture.
I was using the FE 24mm F1.4 GM with the Alpha 7R III for this shot. The camera’s focus mode was set to AF-C (Continuous AF), which quickly captured the movement while maintaining total focus on the local.
For the shot, I also used the burst mode at 10fps with uncompressed RAW file format into slot 1 (support UHS II). With its large buffer, the Alpha 7R III easily captures multiple images in great quality at one go. This way, I am provided with a range of shots that I can pick from later.
Alpha 7R IV | FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM | 70 mm | 1/800 sec | F4 | ISO 100
The marvellous speed of Sony’s gear is once more demonstrated in the above photo. I captured a racing horse and its rider in high quality with the Alpha 7R IV and FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM. The camera was set on burst mode 10fps with uncompressed RAW file format. Further boosted by the FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM, the camera ensures every moment is captured in the highest quality with a buffering capacity of up to 32 frames. Nothing escapes its shutter speed!
Alpha 7R IV | FE 600mm F4 GM OSS | 600 mm | 1/640 sec | F4 | ISO 100
At the zoo, I tested out the Alpha 7R IV’s Animal Eye Focus on a white tiger, together with the FE 600mm F4 GM OSS.
I was in front of the cage of a white tiger prowling around until it came to rest. Thanks to the wider coverage phase detection from Alpha 7R IV, the photo-taking process was easy and precise. The Real-time Tracking of Animal Eye Autofocus works very well as it tracked the moving tiger. This allowed me to determine the appropriate composition before pressing the shutter button.
The sharpness of the FE 600mm F4 GM OSS is also shown, with its Optical Steady Shoots granting more precession in a high-quality shot.
Alpha 7R IV | FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS | 150 mm | 1/200 sec | F8 | ISO 100
Sony’s astounding autofocus system explained
The accuracy of a focus cannot be separated from how many focus points there are on the camera. In this case when I use the Alpha 7R IV which has 567 phase detection points that cover nearly 74% width and 99% height of the sensor surface, it is very easy for the camera to work to determine the focal point. Sony’s advanced AI technology optimises focus algorithm with Real-time Tracking, making it easier for me to capture moving objects with more precision.
What if the object that I want to capture is in a large area? Can the camera be able to read objects so quickly, especially when they are moving? I put this to the test using the Alpha 7R IV with FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS in mountainous areas, where horsemen were racing across the terrains. The results: The intelligence-based autofocus on the Alpha 7R IV worked very well, and this can be seen in the image above.
Alpha 7R III | FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM | 31 mm | 1/8 sec | F8 | ISO 100
From the Alpha 7 II series to the latest full frame series, Sony has improved the Internal Body Image Stabilisation (IBIS) that stabilises the sensor to 5.5 stops. This feature is very helpful when we are photographing in a state of low light levels. The Alpha 7R III and Alpha 7R IV both have a fantastic IBIS capability of 5.5 stops, plus the ability of low light sensitivity is -3Ev (F2 lens). With IBIS, there is more room for creativity in various shots.
An example is a shot captured in the city of Kathmandu, Nepal. While the cloudy weather made for low light conditions, I captured a poignant moment in a morning market with the subject in full focus, while the surroundings reflected a wee amount of motion by lowering the shutter speed.
In two other low-light scenarios, I captured a shot in a temple at Boudhanath area in Kathmandu and a potter in Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Both photos showcase IBIS’ sensor stability that injects an artistic flair to an otherwise simple photograph.
Alpha 7R III | FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM | 39 mm | 1/10 sec | F8 | ISO 100
Alpha 7R III | FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM | 29 mm | 1/10 sec | F8 | ISO 100
Understanding telephoto lenses
Sony’s telephoto lenses all boast Optical Steady Shot (OSS) and 5 axis in-body stabilisation that steady the position of the lens before firing off. A fine example is photographing natural sceneries using the Alpha 7R IV and FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS. The results were very satisfying where the image is extremely sharp and devoid of blurriness caused by shaking. Best part? Everything was handheld, a tripod or monopod was not needed.
Alpha 7R IV | FE 70-200 mm F2.8 GM OSS | 70 mm | 1/250 sec | F10 | ISO 100
Stability in long exposure photography
I usually take my pictures by using a long exposure technique. While using a tripod is important to anchor the camera in a safe and stable position, natural elements such as strong wind may shake the camera. However, this exception is almost minimal. Employing long exposure techniques is fantastic for shots of the sea or waterfalls, especially accompanied by dramatic clouds like the picture below in Bali.
Alpha 7R IV | FE 16-35 mm F2.8 GM | 16 mm | 1/71 sec | F8 | ISO 100
Sony at the forefront of photography tech
With the Alpha 7R IV as the pedestal, Sony has indeed ticked off all the boxes of powerful photography prowess: The number of focus points, the speed of the focusing process, the impeccable sharpness, and the stability of the sensor in low light conditions.
Furthermore, most of Sony’s cameras are able to store more images, thanks to dual memory slots for UHS-II storage. A more comfortable and ergonomic camera handling also makes photo-taking a breeze.
With all these and more, I know for sure I can rely on Sony to get my shot.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of Daniel Tjongari. They do not reflect the opinions or views of Sony Singapore.