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Sony A1 Animal Eye AF: Tigger Gets His Dinner Delicacy, and Declines to Share

I’m preparing some images with the Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS and the Sony FE 200-600mm f/4.5-6.3 G OSS.

Tigger has been a fabulous asset to testing the Sony A1 animal Eye AF, though getting him to cooperate can be ummm... like herding cats.

Below, I had just finished shooting some portraits and the Sony A1 was still set to EyeAF=human when I went to the backyard to see if I could find Tigger. He promptly leapt skyward out of the grass and sped away, not keen on sharing his just-caught delicacy, though in the past he has been generous with us when it comes to rats and squirrels. A juicy young pocket gopher is too good to share—it was gone without one minute, in its entirety. I felt like a proud parent, ridiculous as that might sound. It’s like having my own private mini-puma to enjoy the spectacle of a predator and its prey (Tigger is an adopted feral cat, friendly but still very capable of self support even though we feed him well, and I want to see him remain half-wild).

State of the art is amazing

Panning the camera handheld to track Tigger at at a fast trot with the lens at 571mm at 1/500 second at ISO 12800, the Sony A1 nailed the focus. There is unavoidable motion blur, but the image still works and I’m pleased to have gotten it.

The fact that the ISO 12800 shot is still of acceptable quality and that human Eye AF did the job so well* is really mind-boggling compared to what DSLRs could do just a few years ago, or even mirrorless cameras. I got pushback not that long ago when I predicted that mirrorless cameras would end the DSLR even for sports and wildlife. I think we can now safely say job done.

* Should have been animal Eye AF but I hadn’t changed the setting.

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Tiger at a fast trot with fresh juicy gopher for dinner
f6.3 @ 1/320 sec handheld EyeAF=Human, ISO 12800; 2021-03-22 18:59:35
Sony A1 + Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS @ 571mm
RAW: LACA corrected, +20 Whites, USM {10,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

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