Amazing and Astounding Stuff! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Amazing and Astounding Stuff!

What’s Up?

I drove to Tiger Creek Preserve on Saturday morning and never even got my gear out. There were hundreds of Partridge Pea blossoms, but all were spent and falling apart. I continued on to Ridge Audubon Center and photographed what I think is Southeastern Sunflower. This morning — Sunday 23 AUGUST 2020 — I worked several cranes from Palmetto Drive which abuts North Field. We have had so much rain here that I wouldn’t dare even think about driving on the grass fields right now. The lake is higher than I have ever seen and there are large puddles all along Park Avenue, the main drag that heads down to the lake.

Well more than half of the price-slashed Used Gear stuff listed in yesterday’s blog post sold or have a sale pending. Including and especially Anita North’s Nikon 600 VR. There are still some great buys there.

Be sure to read down to the end to find the link to Arash Hazeghi’s article in which he details the many reasons that the SONY a9ii AF system is far superior to anything in a Nikon or Canon dSLR …

Astounding News?

After hearing so many good things about the Canon EOS R5 and researching the RF 100-500 lens, I am trying to arrange a loan so that I can see for myself. B&H affiliates are eligible to loan photography gear for evaluation purposes. My good friend Izzy thinks that he can arrange it.

Yesterday on the phone with a used gear buyer I mentioned that I would be trying to get my hands on the R5/RF 100-500 rig. He asked if I thought that I might switch back. I only chuckled …

This image was created at Bolsa Chica by Arash Hazeghi with the handheld Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 400mm) and the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 400: 1/4000 sec. at f/5.6.

Image courtesy of and copyright 2020: Arash Hazeghi

Elegant Tern shaking off after diving for baitfish

Amazing Stuff!

From Arash Hazeghi via e-mail on 6/22/2020:

If you do a search online you will find out that many will methodically agree with me that the Sony 200-600mm zoom lens isn’t quite sharp and that a lens’s performance should be evaluated 100% under controlled and field conditions. We have discussed this many times. It is based on science and facts not elitism.

In retrospect, that statement gives me a good laugh …

Both Patrick Sparkman and I have been raving continuously about the sharpness of 200-600 G images, feeling that they rival the sharpness of the 600mm f/4 GM images. After I continued raving about the 200-600 G, Arash realized that the lens he was testing so rigorously might be a lemon. B&H exchanged it for him and as it turned out, he had a bad copy …

You can see what folks had to say about this image here on BPN where Arash is one of our top Avian Forum moderators.

From Arash Hazeghi e-mails in February 2019:

Sony is garbage. Ha ha!

Followed by this, discussing the a9 ii:

But it does echo what I have seen from others who use this camera too and what I also got when I used one briefly, i.e. it feels good in the field like it focuses on everything, part because there is no finder blackout and you feel you got the shot, but the files are jack**** when you look at them on a big screen …

Most recently, see Arash’s Sony A9 II for BIF, initial impressions and comparison vs. Nikon/Canon blog post here. In this lengthy, finely crafted article, Arash explains why the Sony A9 II autofocus system is light-years better than any of the AF systems in Canon and Nikon dSLRs. That Arash is technically brilliant is a given. As far as his career work with Carbon Nanotube Electronics, all that I can say is that he is a friggin’ genius. (See here if you doubt me.) Lastly, the slide show on his home page here will will show you just how good he is at bird photography. In a word, “very.”

15 comments to Amazing and Astounding Stuff!

  • avatar Anthony Sakal

    I always wanted to remind Arash about his referring to Sony as garbage. He does not take criticizing his criticism well. Only Artie could get away with that. What I would have loved to see is how Arash responded to someone else reminding him of his earlier comment. It would have been especially funny had it been done just prior to his acceptance of the A9 II. I could have done it but I might have been permanently banished from commenting on his site. But his comment would probably have been recirculated by Artie forever, considering that Arash finally had to accept the Sony A9 II for being the finest technology available for BIF photography. Arash hates to be wrong.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I am not too good at taking criticism either 🙂 Arash and I are good friends. I have let him know that when you are in a position to advise others, it is often best to temper your remarks … As he has never really acknowledged that I have to keep reminding him 🙂

      One thing is for sure, he is a great photographer with any gear …

      with love, artie

      • avatar Anthony Sakal

        You are a good friend of Arash and he is, unquestionably, an amazing photographer and that is why we read what he has to say. There are a ton of us, originally from Brooklyn, like you, that were pretty smart when we were kids. There was no Department of Education and no NEA yet we all became well educated. Some of us were brilliant. And some of those, like Fauci, never got over themselves. Most of us have become tempered and very tolerant of others struggling to become good at what we try to do. And I’m not just speaking about photography. To me bird photography is like fishing. I fish . . . not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important but because I suspect that so many other concerns of men are equally unimportant–and not nearly so much fun.

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          I have caught my share of fish. I was a very competitive fisherman. And yes, it was great fun.

          Fauci? He should be incarcerated.

          with love, a

  • avatar Rick

    Hi Arti. You implied in a comment that you expected Arash would not hang onto his (?) Canon 500 f4 for long. What would you think he would replace it with?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      The 500 PF is an excellent Nikon lens. Not Canon. Arash sold all of his Canon gear several years ago right after I switched from Canon to Nikon.

      with love, a

  • avatar Adam

    Hi Adam,

    Thanks as always for leaving a comment.

    Yes Ari’s work is quite epic.


    With respect to the R5 like all things there are compromises. First, the eye tracking is amazing and it works. I’m still working on optimizing the settings though it sticks to the eyes like glue so far on perched birds, swimming fowl, and slow flying large birds such as GBH’s.

    That is great.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t had the opportunity to try a diving osprey, swallows, or other challenging subjects. The e-shutter is impressive though it has a greater tendency to create rolling shutter than the a9.

    Please send me two JPEGs that show what rolling shutter looks like. 1200 pixels on the long side.

    Switching to MS does produce some evf stutter at 20fps and purportedly the smoothness in ES is due to frame substitution though I have no problems tracking with it.

    I am confused as this is from the manufacturer:

    12 fps continuous shooting with a mechanical shutter

    The files themselves are classic Canon and for now, I’m processing in dpp.

    That is good because as I understand it Adobe Camera Raw has not been updated to handle R5 files. Did DPP 4 require an update?
    The colors, resolution, and ability to crop are outstanding.

    As expected.

    While I have a 100-400 IS Ii and 500 IS II with tc’s, I really miss the Sony 200-600 for its size, sharpness, and internal zoom.

    For those with an R5 the Canon 100-500 is looking mega. That’s why I want to try it. After that, who knows?

    with love, artie

    ps: stay safe!

    • avatar Adam

      Hi Artie,

      Thank you for your thoughtful reply and for catching my mistakes. The MS at “12fps” produces a bit of stutter in the evf, though it’s not troublesome. In ES or first curtain the evf is incredibly smooth.

      The DPP version is 4.12.60.

      Yes the 100-500 looks interesting and I’m wondering how it would work with their 1.4 R tc.

      Appreciate the sentiments and I view all of these innovations as positives for the industry and photographers.

  • avatar Bill Atwood

    Arash’s initial comments on the 200-600 were puzzling. Good to see he got it ironed out. The lens is a real game changer (as are the a9 & a9II) and gets much positive discussion on other forums. There’s a saying that it’s not the camera, it’s the photographer, which is true, but the Sony kit makes it less so.

    Also I appreciate the heads up on Alan Murphy’s webinar. Very applicable for the subjects available in Central IL versus the avian models you have down in FLA!

  • avatar Bryan Reynolds

    Partridge Pea, Chamaecrista fasciculata, is the larval food plant for the Cloudless Sulphur, Phoebis sennae. This butterfly is extremely common in Florida. You should look at the plants for their caterpillars:

    The Little Yellow, Pyrisitia lisa, is also extremely common in Florida and also uses this plant as a larval food.

  • Artie,
    Love the Tern Photo. I would chuckle also, why switch from something that works so well! Layton

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Arash is shooting SONY now for the most part. He might still have his 500 PF but I have predicted that that will not last …

      with love, artie

      ps: in fact, his new favorite flight photography rig is handheld the a9 ii, the 600 GM, and the 2X TC! He has posted some amazing images on BPN.

  • avatar Frank

    Hi Arti,

    I do think that different camera technology should not be compared. As this will result in a wrong understanding. Especially when you compare old technology with state of the art technology.
    I would therefore strongly recommend to compare the same camera technology from different brands with each other.

    Therefore I have to say that Arash article is well outdated and needs an update!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Frank,

      I disagree in part. He is comparing different cameras that he has used for BIF. Surely the EOS R5 is the new kid on the block.

      That’s why I’d like to get my hands on one. Time will tell.

      with love, artie

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