Sony NEX-7 goes to Hartsholme Park

Back in July of this year I went to Hartsholme Park with my family as well as my sister and nephew. Although I have been to the park many times usually along with a powerful SLR an Lens combination (such as the D3S + 70-200mm f/2.8 VR-II lens) I decided to travel light so only took the Sony NEX-7 and the 18-200mm lens. Admittedly this isn’t a very fast lens either in Autofocus (AF) performance or maximum aperture at 200mm. But I wanted to see what I could do and what the limitations are, additionally as I was going with the family this wasn’t a dedicated photo shoot that I would usually do earlier in the morning and sometimes with my good photographer friend Richard.

Fact-1) Birds-in-flight (BIF) are out, the AF simply cannot keep up and at the maximum telephoto range of 200mm you are at f/6.3. There is so little light getting to the AF sensor at this range that the AF is even worse. I managed to get some OK shots but you need good fast glass and a DSLR to do BIF any justice; the mediocre shots I got are not good enough to post on this blog.

Fact-2) 200mm on a crop factor body giving an equivalent 35mm-FOV of 300mm isn’t long enough. You really need 300mm or even better 400mm to get shots of the animals that are too shy to come any closer to you. Recently I had the opportunity to acquire a cheap (excellent quality) second hand 70-400mm Sony lens from LCE; coupled with the LA-EA2 Sony-A to Sony-E Mount adapter would give me an effective 105mm to 600mm 35mm-FOV lens. However I hesitated and now it is gone. šŸ˜¦

Now onto the photographs.

The first shot is of a female Red Crested Pochard with a Mallard in the background:

Shot at 200mm at 1/160s f/8.0 ISO-100

Next was of a Bar-headed Goose that I hadn’t seen before and according to the various reference books that I read should not be in this country. However Wikipedia states that they are bread in this country and a few of them had escaped so this must be an escapee:

Shot at 200mm at 1/160s f/8.0 ISO-100

But birds aren’t the only items using the lake; there are a number of remote control model boats that use the lake from time to time:

Shot at 200mm at 1/40s f/8.0 ISO-100

As we walked around the park I saw this guy with a bag of peanuts feeding this grey Squirrel. I converted this to black and white as the colour in the shot added nothing to the scene:

Shot at 200mm at 1/40s f/8.0 ISO-100

Once we managed to get around to the other side of the lake we saw this Great Crested Grebe fishing:

Shot at 200mm at 1/320s f/8.0 ISO-1000

Whilst the Grebe was trying to swallow the fish, I switched to video and filmed the spectacle (I apologise for the voices in the background):

The Grebe managed to get the fish back after the video but I don’t think it managed to tactually the swallow the whole fish!

The final shot is of my nephew as he is into climbing tress at the moment so feels the need to do so:

Shot at 123mm at 1/125 sec f/8.0 ISO-1600

The above shot had more work performed in Photoshop Lightroom than most of my photographs and the use of negative clarity works wonders on skin.

All in all the NEX-7 performed very well and much better than I expected. If you take into account the negatives (and they exist in any camera/lens combo) you can achieve great results. The fact that you have 24 megapixels (MP) to play with really helps when you need to crop your photographs. The colours that come out of the camera are rich and vibrant (but not too vibrant) and the 24MP chip is very good at handling noise at high ISO’s and noise wasn’t an issue with those photos that were into the 1000+ ISO range.