Monday 11 September 2023

Sony A6700 and Sony 75-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS Lens

 I've been a Sony camera user ever since the company bought Minolta and the A mount system about 15 years ago. In fact my first camera was the Sony F717 some 2 years earlier and the decision to upgrade to the Minolta 5D (my first DSLR) was due to their camera's in body stabilisation. It seemed innovative at the time and it made sense. Instead of purchasing lenses with in body stabilisation at a premium price, every lens that you mounted onto the Minolta was stabilised and Sony were very clever when they bought the A mount and that technology.

Since buying the Minolta 5D it's been Sony all of the way for me because they are innovators and I've gone through a number of camera upgrades over the years from the Sony A700 A mount camera to the Sony A7mk2 E mount camera to the Sony A6400 E mount camera which I've owned since 2018. 

The Sony A6400 has been a very capable camera but there have been a few features from my previous cameras that I've missed such as the in body stabilisation and a fully articulated screen which is needed for low level shooting as I get older. I currently own three very good lenses which aren't stabilised and low light shooting can mean either boosting the ISO with the resulting additional noise or using a tripod. 

In recent years I've passed on the opportunity to purchase the A6500 and A6600 cameras, both of which had in camera stabilisation, because I wanted a leap forward in technology to make upgrading from the A6400 worth the money and such a camera was launched in August 2023 with the Sony A6700.

I bought the Sony A6700 online from Park Cameras and there was a 33% discount offered on a selection of Sony lenses when bought with the camera. I've tried a number of long lenses during the Covid years and found them either too big and heavy for the compact APSC E mount cameras or the image quality wasn't quite good enough and I sent them back. 

On offer was the Sony 75-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS. It was released several years ago but all of the Youtube reviews give it high praise for its sharpness, fast and quiet autofocus, compact size and low weight so I bought it with the camera for a little over £500. 

What a great combination this camera and lens are. Without going through the camera's specs which are excellent my main decision to buy came down to the 5 axis in camera stabilisation, a fully articulated screen, and the dedicated AI chip for help with the autofocus. Artificial intelligence is working it's way into all aspects of our lives and it's now in the A6700. The AI chip allows the user to choose a subject for the autofocus to prioritise such as a Human, Animal / Bird, Bird, Insect and it immediately focuses on and tracks the eye, plus Car / Train and Airplane. Focus is immediate and accurate and the tracking of moving subjects is impressive. It's a huge help. No more focus hunting when the subject is surrounded by a busy background.

The Sony 75-300mm also focuses at the 350mm length as close as 4' 9" distance from the subject and combined with the A6700 I'm now able to focus on and track moving insects on flowers without scaring them away. Very handy for my flower photography. 

The test images below were all taken with the Sony A6700 and Sony 75-350 lens at the 350mm focal length at f6.3 with the subject chosen on the AI chip. They are straight out of camera with a small crop for compositional purposes. All were shot in JPEG as my software won't yet recognise the cameras RAW images and the insects were shot at around 5 feet distance from the camera. I expect even better results from the RAW files when DXO Photolab is updated.

To say I'm delighted with this camera and lens combination is an understatement. I've only had them for two weeks but I've now got a camera that will keep me shooting for many years ahead. In fact due to my age it's likely to be my last camera. Happy shooting everyone.