Still more camera testing / trains

Photos Taken: July 21, 2018

Yes, I’m still working on my exposure settings for moving trains. Earlier this summer I posted my results from previous settings and talked about my plan to improve my photography. My last post on the effort was July 11; I had improvements over the early summer efforts but felt like there was more improvement to be made.

To put it in a nutshell, I decided to go with manual exposure, setting a fast shutter speed to capture the moving trains and an f-stop in the range of 8.0 to capture some depth of field but keeping the Sony A7R3 ability to do fast (phase detect) focusing. Without too many more words, here are my results. You can click on the individual images to bring up bigger versions if you want to see more detail.

20180721 Ridgefield Trains - Manual Mode_A7R2653

Sony A7R3; 1/800 sec at f/6.3, ISO 200



20180721 Ridgefield Trains - Manual ModeA7R02532-2
Sony A7R3. 1/800 sec at f/7.1, ISO 640

As this Amtrak rolled through, my camera lost its focus point. I had about 5 more images after this [image has been cropped] but they were way, way out of focus. This happened twice. I think the culprit was the “Lock-on AF: Expand Flexible Spot” setting for focus area. I switched to “Lock-on AF: Flexible Spot M[edium]” and “S[mall]” These settings kept the trains in focus as it moved past.

20180721 Ridgefield Trains - Manual ModeA7R02588.jpg
Sony A7R3 1/800 sec at f/7.1, ISO 800

Then I pulled out my Sony RX10M4 bridge camera to see how it would do. I couldn’t exactly duplicate the settings but tried to keep them similar.

20180721 Ridgefield Trains - Manual Mode_RX42451
Sony RX10M4 1/500 sec at f/5.6, ISO 125


20180721 Ridgefield Trains - Manual Mode_RX42410
Sony RX4. 1/500 sec at f/5.6, ISO 160


20180721 Ridgefield Trains - Manual Mode_RX42326-2
Sony RX10M4. 1/640 sec at f/3.5, ISO 100

I’m pretty happy with these. Using a fast shutter speed definitely helps. I notice that in my effort to capture the lead locomotive, my shots often leave a lot of the train out. I need to work on a better angle – something like this.

20180721 Ridgefield Trains - Manual Mode_A7R2678
Sony A7R3. 1/800 sec at f/6.3, ISO 400

So there it is – manual mode seems to work well. I’m confident enough to go to another location and take pictures of faster moving trains in some other location. More on that in an upcoming post. Stay tuned.


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