Sony A7 IV Bird Eye AF Test

Sony A7 IV Bird Eye AF Test

Could you rely on Sony A7 IV Bird Eye AF? What could you expect from it? I tested the Sony A7 IV (with firmware v1.10) Bird Eye AF with Tamron 70-180mm F2.8 over 70 birds and more than 200 test shots. Check out the testing on my YouTube channel here (or you can watch directly below after accepting the Cookies)!

Sony A7 IV Bird Eye AF Test

So, the test video clips should show you what you could expect from Sony A7 IV’s Bird Eye AF. In short, the Bird Eye AF works brilliantly on the birds with minimal movement. As long you see the Eye AF overlays on the bird’s eye, you should be confident that the camera is accurately focusing on the eye. However, fast-moving and flying birds could be a challenge to the Bird Eye AF system. Sony A7 IV swiftly identifies and tracks the flying birds, but I didn’t see any Bird Eye AF overlays in the replays.

And yes! The Bird Eye AF works similarly in video shooting as well.

Bird Eye AF Test Summary

Let’s have a glance at the AF test summary for each test scenario.

#1 Test Result – Birds In Clear Sight
#2 Test Result – Behind The Cage
#3 Test Result – Running/Flying Birds

During the shooting, Sony A7 IV triggers the Bird Eye AF around 80% of the time when shooting the resting birds. The tallied results are close to my shooting experience.

Bird Eye AF Triggering Rate

I know I will get a sharply focused shot when I see the Bird Eye AF overlays properly on the bird’s eye. The summary below shows the focus rate with Bird Eye AF triggered (I exclude all the shots without the Bird Eye AF from the summary below).

Eye Focus Rate WITH Bird Eye AF

Sony A7 IV does not always trigger the Bird Eye AF, but its AF system is reliable to cover the focusing job. However, I feel more frustrated when the Eye AF overlays in the wrong place. Luckily it only happened occasionally.

Exclusive Tips!

I have some tips that could help you to get more keeper shots with Sony A7 IV.

First, aim the side view of the birds!

Shoot the side view

The camera does a better job of identifying the bird’s eye when shooting the bird from the side view.
Bird’s Side View With Bird Eye AF

Next, get closer to the birds! No, not closer physically, but optically! A typical 70-200mm zoom lens (I was using the Tamron 70-180mm in the bird park) is barely enough for bird photography. Try the 100-400mm or longer lens if possible!

Zoom Tightly Onto The Birds

Sony A7 IV focuses faster and more accurately on the bird’s eye when it takes a significant portion of the frame!
Bird’s Side View With Bird Eye AF

Last but not least, use different AF focus area settings for resting and fast-moving birds.

Use “Tracking: Expand Spot” Focus Area For Resting Birds

It gives a faster and more accurate result when shooting those resting birds.
Focus Area – Tracking Expand Spot

Use “Tracking: Wide” Focus Area For Fast-Moving Birds

Sony A7 IV could detect and track the bird faster than us
Focus Area – Tracking Wide

Conclusion

The Sony A7 IV Bird Eye AF performance exceeds my expectation.

It is is basic but functional. It won’t turn a beginner into a professional, but it gives a certain level of assurance and confidence during the shoot. I will be showing you the animal Eye AF test in the coming video.

So, click the button below to subscribe to my YouTube channel for the upcoming video.

Peace!

James Tan

James Tan is a Singapore-based professional photographer who shoots products, nature, and cityscapes. Learn more about his works on his galleries. He shares his perspective on cameras, gadgets, and photography tips & tricks in his blog. You can follow him on his YouTube channel and Instagram.

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