I have a daughter who loves attracting birds into our back garden. She has even used her own pocket money to buy bird food for this. Her mum bought her a bird feeder for her birthday this year, and this is kept stocked up with food for the birds.
I thought having the bird feeder in the back garden would present a good opportunity to take close-up photos of the birds feeding. But have you noticed that most birds are camera shy? They fly away the instant you try to get closer to them.
Hence I have setup my Sony A6000 and FE 70-200/4 OSS very close to the bird feeder, to try and capture this remotely via the Playmemories App on my iPhone; this feature is also on the A7R, but I chose to use the A6000 because of the extra reach with the 1.5x crop factor.
The app allows me to control the ISO, whitebalance, self-timer, manual focus point selection and exposure compensation. You can also save images taken onto the smartphone or tablet, and choose size to save onto your device.
It also allows you to enable/disable review of image. If shooting subjects where time is critical, I would recommend setting this function to off. Otherwise it will show the image taken on your device which prevents you taking further shots of your subject until you exit that screen.
What is good about Sony remote shooting?
1) It allows for cameras to be placed very close to the subject, without disturbing them which improves success rate and reduces need for cropping
2) You preview in real time (with a slight lag), so can decide when to start shooting
3) You can review the image taken on your device and check the focus
4) You can save the image to your device or share directly from the App
5) Did I mention this App is free?
What could be improved?
1) There is a noticeable lag between choosing focus point and for the focusing to take place – in that time you could have lost your subject. Best to select focus point before hand
2) Sometimes the wifi signal can be weak and you lose the connection with the camera; I’ve had to keep my iPhone at the window to prevent loss of signal
3) Drains the battery quite significantly, so make sure both your device and camera batteries are topped up before shooting
As you can see only the house sparrows were visiting today. I’ll try again another day and hopefully catch other types of birds. All images are cropped in a little to frame the birds. Notice the nice feather structure preserved – not possible to capture when 100% crops.