My name is Gustav Kiburg and for the last 30 years, I've had a passion to capture the beauty of nature and wildlife, primarily birds. My fascination for nature photography started when I was young, watching nature shows and dreaming of capturing the animals and places of the natural world.
From the early days using the Alpha 700, Sony APS-C cameras have been my trusted companions to get closer to wild animals and allow me to experience their habitat. Now, the Sony Alpha 6700 marks a new chapter in that continuity bringing a new experience to wildlife photographers.
You were one of the first to test the Alpha 6700. What were your first impressions and stand out features for you?
The first thing I wanted to try was the new AI led autofocus to see how it recognised fast-moving animals and I was very impressed. I was in Ireland, photographing Puffins in the pouring rain, and the camera recognised the animal immediately through the rain and tracked it with no issues. This allowed me to completely focus on the composition without needing to worry that I would miss the shot. This reliability marks a real step up from an already established good autofocus performance from the previous generation of cameras.
A very important aspect for me is the user experience when shooting, and the new feature that immediately caught my eye was the addition of a front dial on the body. On my usual Alpha 7 IV, I use this to adjust my aperture, so it made the transition to a different camera much smoother and more comfortable.
How will these features help the type of photography you and others in the same field do?
For wildlife photography, especially for birds and other fast-moving animals, it’s important that the camera recognises and tracks the unpredictable movements of the animals quickly. The Alpha 6700, with its advanced subject recognition technology, ensures that even if the animal turns its back or moves sideways, the camera keeps tracking it very accurately. This is crucial in wildlife photography as wild animals don’t pose – you need to wait for the right moment to capture the right picture, so it's welcome that I now have reassurance my pictures will always be focused on the animal. But the autofocus is not the only part which changes the whole shooting experience. The high-speed shooting capabilities of the camera allows wildlife photographers to capture multiple moments of fast-moving action. With an increased buffer size on the 6700, it means I do not have to wait before shooting and I can really keep my eye on what is happening in front of me.
The Alpha 6700 aims to provide professional and enthusiast photographers the image quality, operability and autofocus performance they need to carry out their projects no matter how demanding they are. Do you think it achieves this goal?
Again, the refined autofocus performance, the overall experience of shooting and the image quality are the key essential ingredients to free photographers from the technical aspect of shooting. No matter how fast-moving the animal is, the Alpha 6700 has no issue in tracking and allows stunning shots to be taken on the go. It is compact and lightweight so ideal to carry for a whole day which is great if you are like me – waiting a long time outside to capture the right frame. On top of that, you can also fully customise your camera buttons to your preferred features which allow you to tailor the whole experience to your needs. For example, I have one custom key assigned to subject change so I can quickly change from animals to bird recognition without the need to go into the menu and it can really make the difference for a nature photographer like me.
Lenses & accessories are another core component of creating images. Which Sony lenses did you use for your initial test and why?
For my travels with the Alpha 6700, I took three lenses that I am familiar with: the FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS, FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS, and the FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II. For wildlife photography, it’s often the case that you are photographing subjects that are difficult to get close to. Therefore, the range of your lenses is incredibly important to be ready for any situation. I personally like to choose full frame lenses as they provide you with extra reach and getting closer to my subject is important for me.
The FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G lens is perfect for getting close-up shots of distant animals. As it's a full frame lens it gives you a 300-900mm equivalent in terms of reach. It is perfect to capture birds that are flying or in places where I cannot get closer to them. This allows me to leave the bird unbothered in its natural habitat at a distance.
I also had the opportunity to test the new FE 70-200mm f/4 Macro G OSS II and this made for a stunning combination. It is light to carry and still provides you with a 105-300mm equivalent in terms of reach. This makes it an ideal setup for a day's shooting with a light backpack, without compromising on the quality of the images.
What advice would you give photographers who look up to you and your work?
My advice is to get to know your camera before you go travelling and wanting to create stunning shots. The Alpha 6700 is an ideal size for many travel and wildlife photographers, but you need to get to know it a little bit with some practice, to make the most out of the experience. For those who already have a Sony camera, you'll feel right at home!
"Bad weather is colour weather"