Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
December 4th, 2019

My Comments on the SONY a7R IV AF for Birds in Flight for Adam Rubinstein & Bill Hill and the rest of the gang ...

What’s Up

It is 10:23am Mountain Time and I just began typing. I am at the gate at ABQ headed for Houston Hobby and then Orlando. If all goes perfectly, Jim will be picking me up at MCO at about 7pm. After we stop for dinner we should be home about 9:30pm. I woke early to finish packing and then drove to the refuge for my last 2019 hour at Bosque. There was a nice flourescent orange sunrise despite the almost completely cloudy skies. But the fly-in was not great. On my way to the Crane Pool the colors softened nicely and I made a very sweet Zen-like image of a tree-ful of grackles and blackbirds. The Crane Pool was pretty much a grey dud; blurs only!

This Just In

I just learned via text that Steve Elkins at Bedfords just received three SONY a9II bodies ready to ship free today. Be sure to use the BIRDSASART code at checkout to save $50.00.

My Comments on the SONY a7R IV AF for Birds in Flight

Adam and Bill have been asking me for about two weeeks about a7R IV AF performance for birds in flight.

The short answer is I have no defintive answer at this time but I am sure of this: If you do birds in flight the SONY a9 II has no equal …

I have worked with the Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only) mounted on the Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS Lens for birds in flight and have done fairly well on ocassion, even with the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter. That said, results with the with the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter and even with the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter are surreally oustanding. Again, all of that with the 7R IV on the 600 GM.

Using the two cameras on the Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS Lens is somewhat of a different story. Personally, I have not done well at all for flight with the a7R IV and the 200-600. Most images are not sharp. THe factors that play into that are many. Here is what I am thinking:

  • 1- With the high pixel denisty of the a7R IV any salight motion blur or equipment shake are maginified.
  • 2- With birds flying from side to side, the a7R IV focuses on the near wing most of the time when I am using Zone or Wide. It does OK with birds quartering toward or flying directly at me. Yes, just OK.
  • 3- It is possible that Flexible Spot (S, M, or L) might do a much better job of getting on the face, head, or upper breast of birds flying from right too left or left to right …
  • 4- At age 73, with somewhat deteriorating strength, stamina, hand-eye cooordination, and fine motor skills, the a7R IV/200-600 combination is panning smoothly when hand holding is on the difficult side for me. Being on a tripod topped by a FlexShooter Pro or Mini might help there.
  • 5- It is also possible that one of the many tracking AF modes might do a lot better job than anything mentioned above. The problem there is that I do not yet understand the basics of those options … If you have a definitive clue, please do leave a comment.
  • 6- Animal-eye Control seems too work far, far better with a9 II on the 200-600 even with birds in flight. When I use Wide, for example, the moving AF points are always fighting to stay on the bird’s head or upper neck.

AF performance with the a9 II on the 200-600 is however, another story: my results are consistently excellent. Please however do not forget the superb quality of the 61-MP files of the a7R IV.

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Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase over $1000.00, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H. Those include the SONY a7r IV, the SONY 200-600, the SONY 600mm f/4 GM, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is eager to please.

December 3rd, 2019

The Nikon Lens I Miss the Most, and How to Get Your Dream Gear Soon. And a Superb Juan Tolentino Image from Bird Photographers.Net

What’s Up?

The morning of Monday December 2, 2019 was my least productive morning at Bosque this year. The sky was dead-clear and the bulk of the fly-in was late so I hightailed it to the crane pool. The winds were light from the NNW and the birds were taking off every-which-way. I moved and moved and moved — often several hundred yards. But every time the birds would wind up flying right to the spot that I just left. In short, the cranes outsmarted me …

IPT Updates

  • The 2020 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) WED JAN 8, 2020 thru and including the morning session on SUN JAN 12: 4 1/2 days: $2099.(Limit: 8/Openings: 5)

Click here for complete IPT info and details.

BIRDS AS ART

BIRDS AS ART is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

bedford-logo-w-code

Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase over $1000.00, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H. Those include the SONY a7r IV, the SONY 200-600, the SONY 600mm f/4 GM, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is eager to please.

Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charged a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. They went out of business. And e-Bay fees are now up to 13%. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please scroll down here or shoot us an e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly — I offer pricing advice to those who agree to the terms — usually sells in no time flat. Over the past year, we have sold many dozens of items. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the EOS-1DX, the old Canon 100-400, the old 500mm, the EOS-7D, and the 7D Mark II and the original 400mm DO lens have been dropping steadily. Most recently the price of used Canon 600mm f/L IS II lenses have been dropping like a rock with the introduction of the 600 III. You can always see the current listings by clicking here or on the Used Photo Gear tab on the orange-yellow menu bar near the top of each blog post page.

The Used Gear page has been hot for the past two months with the continuing price drops on Canon and Nikon gear. There are still lots of great buys right now on the Used Gear Page. In addition to the recent sales below, there are many pending sales.

New Listing

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L IS lens

BPN friend Ravi Hirekatur is offering a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L IS lens (the original 1-4) in excellent condition for the BAA record-low price of $499.00. The sale includes the front and rear lens caps, lens hood, the original carrying bag, and insured ground shipping via UPS to lower-48 US addresses only. The lens was cleaned and checked and the image stabilizer mechanism was replaced two months ago by Canon. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Ravi via e-mail or by phone at 1-608-217-9593 central time.

The original 1-4 is a sharp, amazingly versatile telephoto zoom lens. When I used Canon, I made hundreds of great images and saleable with this lens (including the front cover of Scott Weidensaul’s “Return to Wild America. And it was Denise Ippolito’s favorite Canon lens. Ravi’s lens would make a great starter lens for a beginning bird oor nature photographer, especially when paired with a 7D Mark II. artie

Canon EF Extender 1.4X II

BPN friend Ravi Hirekatur is also offering a Canon EF Extender 1.4X II (the 1.4X II teleconverter) in excellent condition for the very low price of $179.00. The sale includes the front and rear caps, the lens pouch, and insured ground shipping via UPS to lower-48 US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Ravi via e-mail or by phone at 1-608-217-9593 central time.

The 1.4X II TC is every bit as sharp when used with older lenses such as the original 100-400 above and the original 500 and 600mm f/4 lenses. The series III TCs provide advantages only when paired with the series II and III lenses. I used this item more than quite often when I was using Canon, often with great success. artie

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Multiple IPT veteran Jake Levin is offering a Canon EOS 7D Mark II in excellent plus condition for $648.00. The sale includes the Canon battery grip, an extra Canon battery, two 32GB Lexar cards, the front lens cap, the strap, and insured UPS ground shipping to both Canadian and lower-48 US addresses. Your item will not ship until your check clears, unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Jake via e-mail or by phone at 1-514-601-9544 (Eastern time zone).

Both Patrick Sparkman and I used and loved the 7D Mark II for many years when we both used Canon. We both made some truly great images with it. Two of my three 2016 Nature’s Best honored entries were created with the 7D II, one still, and one video. One thing is for sure: the 7D Mark II is the greatest value ever in a digital camera body. Jake’s Body would match perfectly with the two items above. artie

Price Drop!

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens

BAA Record-low Price!
Price reduced $100.00 on 12-3-19

Regular Used Gear page seller John Bowden is offering a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lnes in excellent-plus condition for a BIRDS AS ART record-low $498.00 (was $598.00). The sale includes the rear lens cap, the front lens cap, the lens pouch, the lens shade (hood), the original product box, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US-addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact John Bowden via e-mail e-mail or by phone at 1-919-358-5717 EST.

The 24-105mm focal length is my all-time favorite for B-roll stuff: bird-scapes, quasi-macros, photographers and people, scenics, and just about everything else on the planet. Whenever I would decide to leave it in the car I would not get far before I was wishing that I had taken it along for the ride. artie

Red-Shouldered-Hawk-Arts-Blog

This image was created in Ochopee, FL by IPT veteran Juan Tolentino with the hand held Nikon 500mm PF lens and the D500. ISO 400: 1/4000 second at f/5.6 in Manual mode.

Red-shouldered Hawk top shot with arced wings and flared primaries

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

A Dramatic Flight Shot

When I saw this image here in the Avian Gallery at BirdPhotographer’s.Net, I said, “Whoa! This one is very special.” You can follow the link to the original post to see what others in the BPN community had to say about Juan’s fine image.

I got in touch with Juan and he kindly allowed me to share his wonderful image with you here.

Ihe Nikon Lens I Miss the Most

Without a doubt, the Nikon lens I miss the most is the Nikon 500 PF. It is a great flight lens, it is eminently hand-holdable by most folks, it does pretty well with the TC-E14, and is a fabulous walk around lens when you are working around tame birds.

How to Get Your Dream Gear Soon

As much as I love my afiliate friends at B&H many folks have been frustrated by the long wait list for the hottest items. IPT veterans Carl Kling and my great friend Anita North have both been waiting for a Nikon 500 PF from B&H for more than a year. Yes, for moroe than a year. Total insanity. Thus, I have directed many folks to Steve Elkins at Bedfords (see the contact info above) and he has been doing an awesome job of getting the latest great stuff for BIRDS AS ART folks in relatively short order. He has consistently delivered on the following items:

  • Canon 600mm f/4 L IS III
  • Nikon 500mm f/5.6 PF
  • Nikon 600mm f/4 VR
  • SONY a7R IV
  • SONY a9 II
  • SONY 200-600
  • SONY 600 gm

If you have been on a too-long waiting list for the great gear that you want, it makes absolute sense to to get in touch with Steve Elkins at Bedfords asap. If he comes through, you can simply cancel your existing order. And I almost forgot, use the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout to save $50 on oorders over $1,000.00.

Here’s what Juan Tolentino had to say aboout Bedford’s: I contacted Steve Elkins with Bedfords in mid-September and placed an order for the 500PF. I thought it was going to be a long wait, but to my surprise somebody called me from Bedfords on October 31st to let me know that they have received my lens and it was ready to be shipped. I got the lens on the next day with the FREE overnight delivery and I also got a $50 discount when I used the BirdsAsArt code at checkouot. I am really happy with this lens; it is a joy to use.

If In Doubt …

If you are in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Web orders only. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.



Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog or Bedfords, for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would, of course, appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links or Bedfords for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

Facebook

Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right.

Typos

In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

December 1st, 2019

Bosque in Dire Need of an Air Traffic Control System ... Great Buys on Used SONY Stuff

What’s Up?

Bosque continues to be excellent. I have been having so much fun that I am staying two extra days. I fly home on Wednesday, 4 DEC.

It looks as if the great bad weather is over; the forecast is for Boosque morning death: clear skies and NW winds …

IPT Updates

  • The 2020 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) WED JAN 8, 2020 thru and including the morning session on SUN JAN 12: 4 1/2 days: $2099.(Limit: 8/Openings: 5)

Click here for complete IPT info and details.

BIRDS AS ART

BIRDS AS ART is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charged a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. They went out of business. And e-Bay fees are now up to 13%. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please scroll down here or shoot us an e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly — I offer pricing advice to those who agree to the terms — usually sells in no time flat. Over the past year, we have sold many dozens of items. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the EOS-1DX, the old Canon 100-400, the old 500mm, the EOS-7D, and the 7D Mark II and the original 400mm DO lens have been dropping steadily. Most recently the price of used Canon 600mm f/L IS II lenses have been dropping like a rock with the introduction of the 600 III. You can always see the current listings by clicking here or on the Used Photo Gear tab on the orange-yellow menu bar near the top of each blog post page.

The Used Gear page has been hot for the past two months with the continuing price drops on Canon and Nikon gear. There are still lots of great buys right now on the Used Gear Page. In addition to the recent sales below, there are many pending sales.

New Listing

Sony Alpha a7r IV Mirrorless Digital Camera Body

Josh Anon (son of noted photoographer Photoshop expert Ellen Anon) is offering a Sony a7r IV Mirrorless Digital camera body in like-new condition for only $2998.00. The sale includes the original box and all accessories, an extra 3rd-party battery, a screen protector for the LCD, and insured UPS ground shipping to lower-48 US addresses. Photos are available upon request. The buyer will cover any payment fees. Your item will not ship until payment clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Josh e-mail e-mail.

You’ve seen the incredible detail in my a7r IV images made with a vareity of SONY lenses and both teleconverters. I use my 7r IV for 80% of my bird photography and my a9 II in pure flight situations. As the 7r IV sells new right now for $3498.00 you can save an even $500.00 by being the first to grab Josh’s great SONY mirrorless body. artie

Fabulouos SONY Re-runs

FE Sony 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens

BIRDS AS ART Record Low Price

William Schneider is offering an FE Sony 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens in mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $10,697.00. This immaculate lens has seen little use. The sale includes the lens hood, the lens trunk, the front lens cover, the rear lens cap, the lens strap, and insured shipping via Fed Ex Ground. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Bill via e-mail e-mail or by phone at 1-(262) 269-8628 (Eastern time zone).

This super-fast lens is amazingly light at 6.4 lbs, the same weight as the Nikon 300mm f/2.8. Patrick made lots of great images at St. Paul in the Pribilof Islands last July with the lens alone and with either the 1.4x and 2x teleconverters. He really enjoys the 8.86 ft close-focusing capability and the beautiful bokeh that the lens produces. Now that he owns the new SONY 600mm f/4GM OSS lens, he cannot justify owning both. As this lens sells new right now for $$12,998.00, you can save a cool $2,301.00 by grabbing his virtually new lens asap. artie

ps: at the time of publication this lens is very hard to get; it is not in stock at B&H or at Bedfords.

Sony Alpha a9 (ILCE 9) Mirrorless Digital Camera Body

Price Reduced on 11-21-19

Ken Siegel is offering a Sony A9 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body in mint condition for $2598.00 (was $2698.00). Photos are available upon request. The sale includes the original product box and everything that came in it, a SONY A9 Modular Plate (L-bracket — a $200 value), and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Ken via e-mail e-mail or by phone at 1-(864) 680-5921 (Eastern time zone).

Simply put, the SONY a9 has the best AF system of any camera that I have ever used. And Patrick Sparkman agrees 100%. SONY is getting hotter every day. The a9 sells for $3,498.00 and the new a9 II sells for $4498.00. Either way, you can do the math as far as how much you will be saving. artie

Sony Alpha a7r III Mirrorless Digital Camera Body

Price Reduced on 11-21-19

Ken Siegel is also offering a Sony a7r III in mint condition for only $1949.00 (was $2049.00). Photos are available upon request. The sale includes the original product box and everything that came in it, a SONY A7r III Modular Plate (L-bracket — a $200 value), and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Ken via e-mail e-mail or by phone at 1-(864) 680-5921 (Eastern time zone).

You’ve seen my great Galapagos images … I made tons of great stuff with the 7r III and the SONY 100-400 with and without the 1.4X TC. Simply put, the a7r iii is a great camera body. It is selling new right now at B&H for $2498.0 and the new a7r iv is going for $3,498.00! You can save a very cool $500.00 by grabbing Ken’s a7r III right now. artie

Please contact Ken via e-mail e-mail or by phone at 1-(864) 680-5921 (Eastern time zone).

BIRDS AS ART

BIRDS AS ART is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

bedford-logo-w-code

Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase over $1000.00, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H. Those include the SONY a7r IV, the SONY 200-600, the SONY 600mm f/4 GM, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is eager to please.



Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of photographers whom I see in the field and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

Sandhill-Cranes-near-collison-a-_7R43693-Bosque-del-Apache-NWR-San-Antonio-NM-1

This image was created on November 28, 2019 on the 2019 Bosque IPT. I used the Induro GIT 404/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and the Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital Camera body. ISO 640. Exposure determined by Zebras: 1/2500 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:33:)@am on a cloudy morning.

AF Area Mode Setting: WIDE.

Image #1: Sandhill Cranes in flight/near collison

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

In-flight Avian Collisions

On rare ocassion, birds collide in flight. Collisions are most likely when a predator sends a large flock of birds into a panic, or perhaps more frequently, with large birds when the winds are calm. Why the latter? It is very difficult for a bird to change direction quickly on still days. That was the case with the near-collision.

I witnessed one horrific collision on Midway Island in 2011; two Layson Albatrosses crashed into each other on take-off on a windless morning. On bird continued on out to sea, the other fell to the ground stunned. It stumbled around dazed for about ten minutes before it was able to take flight after a long run.

How About You?

If you have ever seen two large birds collide in flight, please leave a comment and share your experience.

Sandhill-Cranes-a-need-air-traffic-control-_7R43692-Bosque-del-Apache-NWR-San-Antonio-NM-1

This image was created on November 28, 2019 on the 2019 Bosque IPT. I used the Induro GIT 404/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and the Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital Camera body. ISO 640. Exposure determined by Zebras: 1/2500 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:33:02am on a cloudy morning.

AF Area Mode Setting: WIDE.

Image #2: Sandhill Cranes in flight/near collison

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

The Stronger Image?

Which of today’s images do you feel is the stronger of the two? Please let us know why you made your choice.

If In Doubt …

If you are in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Web orders only. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.



Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog or Bedfords, for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would, of course, appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links or Bedfords for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

Facebook

Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right.

Typos

In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).