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Thread: An unexpected turn

  1. #1

    An unexpected turn

    I've been mostly enjoying taking all sorts of photos with the A6000. Most of them are 'not that bad at all' with the standard kit 16-50mm & 55-210mm lenses. Sure they are not perfect lenses but they are capable of taking surprisingly good shots, if used within their limits. I have noticed a few of these limits but to be honest, they are also present in many other lenses in other brands that I have used or am currently using, so I can only label them as "typical",, mostly lens distortion at certain focal lengths and more so on the 55-210mm and sometimes not just the usual pincushion/barreling, yet, even the 16-50mm lens has some typical distortion associated with low f/l's. In many shots with the smaller lens, taking photos at 16mm can result in straight vertical lines on the outer edges of the shot, appearing to splay outwards with height. I'm sure we have all seen this before today and we know what this is referred to as,, as I said - "typical", but most shots with the smaller lens come out reasonably crisp well defined and quite "straight'ish" from about 18-20mm and up... However,,,

    A few days ago, I was out at the local airstrip taking shots of small aircraft, mostly across the other side of the runway. The day was sunny and quite warm and across the black runway tarmac there was a bit of heat shimmer. The aircraft were from about 300 - 1000 metres (approx 330 - 1100 yds) away, so the larger lens was a must. I snapped a good handful of shots over an hour or so then headed home. I transferred them to the PC and I was a little mystified at some results. On about 30% of them and especially and longer ranges at the highest f/l (210mm), many of the aircraft appeared to have distorted edges eg... white aircraft against a darker background. When I magnified the shot on the PC, the fuselage's straight lines and wings too, had very distorted edges. At first I thought is was just the heat shimmer and extreme range causing this, but then I noticed than some shots of closer buildings and aircraft suffering the same effect, strangely, all white straight lined objects against darker background colours. It was also noticeable that some of these shots also had a bit of what looked like heat haze - a typical slight white/bluing of the atmosphere over distance, as of there was a fire somewhere and the smoke was wafting across the airstrip, which I found to be so as we left and headed home,, from a nearby farm a short distance from the airstrip. I can only describe the effect as the poor result of digital processing as the photos were formed from CCD to SD card storage. Many other closer shots appeared normal and were quite acceptable, just that handful of more distant shots spoiled the party...

    My settings are very simple.. I use A mode (Aperture), ISO is auto and many of these shots were around F6 - F8 aperture, single point focusing non continuous... I also had the shot size set to 20M and quality set to Fine in 16:9 ratio. As I said - simple...

    Yesterday I decided to give it another. Conditions were very dull, overcast and at times a little dark etc - yuck, horrible, testing,, conditions I like the least of all.. The venue was a small lake (over sized pond to be honest) with a bit of forest, some buildings lots of people, just no aircraft. I took a good handful of shots at all sorts of distances from 50m to maybe 500m and used as much zoom as I dared. You know what..!! I think all the shots came out as good as they could have given the conditions. More than acceptable indeed. I just could not find anything like the other days efforts...

    One thing I did to the settings - I change the photo quality settings from 20M to 10M but kept it at 'Fine'. Why..!! Just for one brief point in time I thought it may have been the way the cameras software processes the higher pixel count shots, in order to get them saved quickly to be ready for the next one, thus inducing a bit of over processing to fill in the gaps. I do have a very high speed SD card but that might not mean much. Maybe the camera felt the need to compensate and 'adjust' along the edges of defined lines, not so defined at distance. Afterall, they are "digital" camera's aren't they..?? Digital means software and software needs programming that has to think from all angles...

    Anyway, on the whole I am quite happy with the A6000 and its performance. 'Mirrorless' certainly is a new direction for digital cameras to head into and I am glad I bought it, however, I am sure that if I could get better lenses, this camera might very well shine even brighter. It certainly has potential. I am sure also, that I have to explore the settings a lot further...


  2. #2
    Very interesting Al. I'm not sure what exactly happened, but the resolution should have nothing to do with it. The smaller 10MP file size is still created from the entire image by the camera and processed.

    Weird how it did not happen on the overcast day leading me to believe the heat and distance may have had something to do with it?

    Jay - Comments, Questions, and Critiques always welcomed and encouraged!

    Current Everyday Gear: Sony A7r, Sony A6400, Sony Nex-6, Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens, Sony E 18-55mm, Sony E 55-210mm OSS Lens, Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Pancake, Rainbow Imagining MC/MD Lens Adapter w/ Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 PG Rokkor Lens

  3. #3
    Actually, I mean to add one other thing I have noticed... The HORRIBLE battery life...

    I have one standard Sony battery and two Wasabi extras, I bought just to get a charger too... The A6000 sucks the life out of these batteries so quickly that it's just not funny. I am noticing about 1% per shot, yeah that's right.. Horrible isn't it..?? I am lucky to get off about 30 - to 40 shots in about an hours shooting time, to see the life down to about 60%. If I dare to venture into settings even for the briefest of times, you can click off what seems to be about 1 or 2% per minute spent in there. Oh, you think I am kidding..?? I wish I was. I also have the settings set to Aircraft mode - no difference noticed.

    A 1000 - 1100 ma battery is far too small for a camera of this nature - BIG mistake..!! When I first saw the capacity, I had my doubts. They are no longer doubts...


  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay View Post
    Weird how it did not happen on the overcast day leading me to believe the heat and distance may have had something to do with it? Jay
    Jay, that's what I thought too. Just plain weird...


  5. #5
    I'm going to try to post two typical examples... Be right back...

  6. #6
    Shot 1... Across runway - maybe 300m, high zoom. Note the extreme edges of the aircraft against the dark background - rough...

    Shot 2... Another in the same spot a while after, zoom practically full,, although shots 1 and 2 are in a dull patch with the single cloud in the sky cloud passing overhead

    Shot 3... In the air maybe 300m, zoomed about two thirds - not bad

    You know, the more I look at these and some of the rest, the more I think it is a heat haze/ripple. I am now looking at them with a more objective point of view and less of a "shocked" sense...

    Attached Images Attached Images    

  7. #7
    One of yesterdays duller attempts... The guys, including my brother, radio control yacht racing.. High zoom..
    These shots, for me, are quite acceptable. The shots have been reduced in size and more than likely, a lot of detail is now gone because of it, but they can't quite covey the poor conditions of yesterday.. Perhaps the yellow raincoats is a good indicator...
    Attached Images Attached Images   

  8. #8
    About distortion, if you are shooting JPEG, be sure the lens correction is "On". That way the distortion is going to be correct in the camera. If you are shooting RAW, you need to apply a lens profile to automatically correct the distortion.

    Looking at the images I think it's the strong Noise Reduction the camera applied.
    If the ISO is too high, the camera apply an strong Noise Reduction and all the details are gone. The best way to deal with noise reduction is on the post process, so either disable the in camera Noise Reduction or shoot RAW.

  9. #9
    What I am seeing is heat distortion caused by the distance and haze. Nothing really more than that though? I only see the distortion on the first two images with the paint flaring effect on the pin stripes. Looks very much like heat wave distortion to me..

    Thanks for sharing the photos, because it really looks like that to me now that I see it.

    Am I missing anything?

    Jay - Comments, Questions, and Critiques always welcomed and encouraged!

    Current Everyday Gear: Sony A7r, Sony A6400, Sony Nex-6, Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens, Sony E 18-55mm, Sony E 55-210mm OSS Lens, Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Pancake, Rainbow Imagining MC/MD Lens Adapter w/ Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 PG Rokkor Lens

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Obelix's Avatar
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    Jun 2014
    Milwaukee, Wi
    I agree with Jay, engine heat and atmospheric distortion.

  11. #11
    I guess at the end of the day, I have to agree. The more I look at them, the more it looks like 'just that'. The only real reason I got a little concerned is a while ago I have my Nikon D600 out at the same spot and basically took shots more or less in the identical same spots, (in the middle of last summer) and the shots actually looked really good, but I guess comparing two different shoots is impossible. I was using a 24-120mm lens lens at the time so the zoom was nowhere near as much but that lens is a fantastic. It's my favourite and I just love it... Actually I was about to update the D600 to a D750 or higher but the budget and the need to try a mirrorless camera made me swerve to the left at the last moment and the Sony A6000 came up as the obvious 'first try' camera. Given what the A6000 was up against as a direct comparison, I can't say I'm "totally" impressed with it, but considering the cost and the few surprises I had gotten from the 6000, I am actually mighty impressed with the thing overall - for what it is. Do I think it can beat a 3 year old Nikon D600 head to head for overall quality..?? No...!!! But, it can give it one nasty little sting in the *ss to let it know that new things are being developed just over the horizon and that all you big boys had best 'pull finger'...

    Although a Nikon D750 or maybe D810a is not off the cards, I have to also get a new PC and that's going to take priority over any new cameras from this point 'til the and of the year/beginning of next year... I like "good" PC's,, good enough to play the latest games and that may end up costing as much as a DSLR body... I also love my Call of Duty and Battlefield - hahahaha...!!! I'm almost ready to retire and I love games. I've probably played ALL the best fps (first person shooters) ever since they came out maybe 20 years ago...

    I've also been suffering from terrible battery life from the A6000,, and I mean terrible,, possibly in the order of up to 1% of life per photo or two taken. I know that sounds a bit exaggerated, but to me it's cold hard fact. I can't think of words strong enough to describe this situation. One suggestion I saw on a forum while browsing Google for possible way around this, was to get a battery power pack. I thought that quite a good suggestion, so today online I bought a 20,000 ma (20 amps) USB backup battery pack which I can plug into the 6000 while out in the field, which will keep the on board battery topped up while it's not in use. I've done this before with other devices - iPods etc, and it is quite a good way to go... It should arrive in a couple of days... I have to admit that 20,000 ma is a bit overboard but hey, while it was so cheap, I thought why not..!! I mean for $30 NZ (equivalent spending power of about $15 or $20 US), it's just got to be worth buying... Try buying one at a store though and you might be looking at double the price or more... On the flip side of the coin, it's probably made in (you know where) and probably no where near a true 20,000 ma rating. I can only wait to find the answer to that one. It may not be the best solution to the root problem but at least I should be able to get round it this way...

    Anyway, thanks for the replies guys...

  12. #12
    Heat ripples or (light Refraction) is a funny thing and is supremely noticeable when using a telephoto lens. Especially if shooting across pavement, the heat ripple will affect the the whole image because everything in focus is behind the wall of moving hot air. This effect is amplified if the air on both sides of the rising hot air is much cooler than the wall of warm/hot air.
    On a side note I recently had an experience when my images were turning with terrible resolution and for the life of me i couldn't figure it out. Turns out it was only the images i was uploading to my phone.
    Apparently there is a setting one has to change camera setting to "fine" on the camera and image size "original" on the playmemories App . if i shot raw&jpeg, the phone would receive very compressed jpeg image.
    Last edited by OldNoob; Nov 8 2015 at 08:10 PM.
    a6300, a6000 , x700 wMD-1, Pentax k30, a580, a560 , a100 (stollen), 650si Date, 9000+MD90/BP90, XG-M, srTmcII,Nikon EM, Nikon N80, Hanimex Practica, Konica AutoreflexA, Ricoh KR5 super
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  13. #13
    Thanks OkNoob,,

    Points taken... I've actually done a lot better since that day with my shots, and I think that the heat shimmers/ripples may well have been 90+% of my worries on that day... Many of the times taking photos since then have been more out in the country etc and on less warmer or milder days, and I've gotten some very nice pics...



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