The Sony Alpha 1 AF settings for bird photography are very similar to the settings for the Sony A-9 MK II. I am going to share what works for me without getting into too much fluff. Straight to the point! The Canon equivalent for AI servo mode (with focus moving along with the subject) is the AF-C mode.
The running Sanderling above is a good example of a top notch Auto Focus performance from the Sony Alpha 1. Small shorebirds running along the beach are always very challenging to track (especially when laying down on your belly). In a nut shell, it comes down to this:
- AF-C mode
- Focus Area on Zone mode (not automatically tracking)
- Bird Eye tracking activated
- Using Zebras to assess exposure in manual mode
- ISO custom set on rear dial
Another example of the superior autofocus achievements from the Sony Alpha 1 with the Rudy Turnstone banking in flight above. It is my only photo of this maneuver with this species, and hopefully there will be many more to come. When it comes to bird photography, especially when capturing birds in flight, I do my best to keep the shutter speed at or faster than 1/2500. The smaller the bird and the faster your shutter speed needs to be to completely freeze the movement.
While I have the Focus Area set on Zone (instead of central point surround on Canon), I do not have the automatic tracker on: the camera still acquires focus atomically and tracks within the zone, but if the subject comes out of the zone box for too long, the camera will not attempt to track it. The fully automated tracking mode performs well, but I prefer this for now. Also, I moved away from the Canon equivalent of the central point surround as I find the area to be a bit too small. The Zone is essentially a bigger box area.
March 26th-27th 2022 / limit 5 people – Full
April 23rd-24th 2022 / limit 5 people – 1 open
3 shoots and 1 over-the-shoulder Photoshop tutoring => 2 boat-based Osprey shoots at the Vero Beach Cypress Lake + 1 land-based Spoonbills shoot at a local rookery. $250 deposit. Send me an email at email@example.com .
January 29th-30th 2022 / limit 5 people – Full
February 26th-27th 2022 / limit 5 people – 1 open
3 shoots and 1 over-the-shoulder Photoshop tutoring => 3 shoots at the Tampa Bay Spoonbills rookery. We typically shoot while wading in the water in the mornings and from the boat in the afternoon. $250 deposit. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
June 25th-26th 2022 / limit 5 people – 3 open
3 shoots and 1 over-the-shoulder Photoshop tutoring => 3 shoots at the Sarasota Bay Black Skimmers colony. We shoot along the beach, where the nesting colony is easily accessible. $250 deposit. Send me an email at email@example.com .