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Old Thursday 23rd February 2017, 11:10   #51
katastrofa
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PS. When I have time, I can prepare a blind test for you, and we'll see if the differences between cameras are still apparent.
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Old Thursday 23rd February 2017, 13:49   #52
Jim M.
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One thing to bear in mind when comparing APS-C and m4/3 images for bird photography is that the APS-C shot will typically need to be cropped more because it has a lower crop factor to begin with. Cropping more increases apparent noise.

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The 300mm lens is quite expensive... And there is the problem with fixed magnification, as Jim said.
But 100-400 lens is Panasonic / Leica, how this will affect image stabilisation?
The 100-400 has very good in-lens image stabilization. When you mix brands, you do not get the benefit of the relatively new dual image stabilization of the camera and lens working together. This can allow you to shoot handheld at very low shutter speeds, e.g. 1/30 of a second. It is state-of-the-art as far as image stabilization goes (no DSLR has it afaik); however, it is only useful when the subject is stationary and light is very low.

As for cost, I worry less about plunking down cash on lenses than cameras because lenses hold their value better, so can be re-sold, if need be, without taking a major depreciation hit.
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Old Thursday 23rd February 2017, 14:27   #53
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Is it possible to photograph a stationary bird using the 100-400mm Panasonic lens on an Olympus E-M1 Mk2 (so no in-body IS), handheld, and at the longest focal length? What would be the maximum exposure time?
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Old Thursday 23rd February 2017, 17:06   #54
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Of course it's always possible, but when stabilization is not involved, it's going to be up to the photographer - how steady of a stance do you have, do you know long-lens holding techniques for maximum stability, and of course keeping an appropriate shutter speed depending on your ability to handhold (if you're not very steady, you may need very fast shutter speeds which will be difficult in low light - but if you have good technique and a steady stance, you can get away with much slower shutter speeds). The old rule of 1/focal can be beat without stabilization if you practice how to hold steady...I shoot a 600mm lens at 600mm handheld on a mirrorless body with no stabilization and can get away with 1/500 shutter speeds - but I've learned how to be quite steady.

PS - I see now you were referring to a lens that has lens-based IS - so even without IBIS, you still have stabilization. So that doubly makes my point that you can absolutely shoot handheld at full focal reach!
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Old Thursday 23rd February 2017, 19:27   #55
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Originally Posted by katastrofa View Post
Is it possible to photograph a stationary bird using the 100-400mm Panasonic lens on an Olympus E-M1 Mk2 (so no in-body IS), handheld, and at the longest focal length? What would be the maximum exposure time?
Have only used it with Mk 1. You can choose to use either the olys IBIS or the lens's OIS. I choose the latter and shoot everything hand held and have been happy with the results. But I'm usually using the oly 300mm in low light situations. If you want specific figures, some of the reviews of the lens may provide them with the Mk 1.
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Old Friday 24th February 2017, 13:24   #56
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Thanks. Could you point me to some examples of photos taken in low light condition (e.g. at dusk) with your Sony mirrorless?

My superzoom gave me most grief when I tried to photograph insect-eating birds like wrens or antshrikes which become particularly active before the sun falls (possibly because they're less afraid of predators then), but keep themselves to the bushes. It was hard to focus the camera then. I wonder how a mirrorless camera would handle such conditions.
I've gone through the same frustrations when I used a superzoom (SX50): birds sitting in bushes were a challenge. This photo is one of the few examples where I was almost satisfied with the result.

Focusing manually is more straightforward and easy with Nikon V2 and the CX 70-300, as the lens has a manual focus ring. However, precision and ease of manual focus on a DSLR surely takes the crown. For shots of small songbirds in the (dim) forest there is a clear winner: a DSLR with a prime lens. A mirrorless cannot isolate the bird from the background in the way a DSLR can. If your main purpose is "forest", this fact (and ISO) matters.

Such a decision is a compromise and nobody knows better than you what you want to shoot. A focal length of 800+ mm feels just right for smaller birds.

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Old Friday 24th February 2017, 13:54   #57
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Your photo is very nice, and the pose of the bird is amazingly comical :) Good work IMHO.

I have two photos so far of a bird in the bushes, taken by patiently repeating photos and discarding most of the pictures: Riverside wren and Black-throated trogon.

The quality is much below DSLR standards, but I could stand almost right next to the wren and do not disturb him.
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Old Friday 24th February 2017, 14:13   #58
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However, precision and ease of manual focus on a DSLR surely takes the crown.
I don't think so. The enlargement of the central part of the EVF on my m4/3 makes it easy (once you get used to that feature) and on newer models there are additional features to help you tell what is in focus and what is not when you focus manually.

Quote:
A mirrorless cannot isolate the bird from the background in the way a DSLR can.
The counter argument is that often, too much of the bird is out of focus due to the paper thin DOF. I sometimes feel even my m4/3 (pana 100-300) suffers from that.

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Such a decision is a compromise and nobody knows better than you what you want to shoot.
I completely agree on this one

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Old Friday 24th February 2017, 14:43   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HermitIbis View Post
For shots of small songbirds in the (dim) forest there is a clear winner: a DSLR with a prime lens. A mirrorless cannot isolate the bird from the background in the way a DSLR can. If your main purpose is "forest", this fact (and ISO) matters.
I think that's not quite universally accurate anymore - though still truthful in general. Many mirrorless cameras with more basic focus systems, and older mirrorless, indeed might struggle in low contrast to distinguish the bird from the background - but the latest batch of mirrorless have addressed those issues very well - focus in very low contrast situations has become much more reliable, much more capable, and the focus systems have much more control, with the focus spot points capable of being extremely small to thread through tight spots and still achieve autofocus, with 300-400+ focus points all over the frame, the focus point can be moved to almost infinite positions if shooting off a tripod, and the OSPDAF systems have been tuned much better to work in lower light before resorting to CDAF focusing.

As a whole, most DSLRs are still capable of focusing more reliably in low light than most mirrorless...but some mirrorless have imrpoved low light focus, and can take advantage of some nice features to help with focusing in these low light situations, such as being able to gain up the EVF to see in very dark conditions, being able to zoom in on the EVF to see fine details when focusing (both auto or manual), and being able to reduce the focus point down to just a few pixels in size.

I still shoot DSLR and mirrorless when birding - I don't find one 'better' than the other - each has some advantages, and each has some disadvantages. But I've also seen many of the biggest disadvantages of mirrorless be resolved, to the point where they are as good, and occasionally better, than my DSLR. Focusing in dense foliage is a particular skill of my mirrorless camera, as is BIF shooting...both areas where just 2-3 years ago, large-sensor mirrorless cameras were almost completely inept.
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Old Friday 24th February 2017, 14:48   #60
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Focusing in dense foliage is a particular skill of my mirrorless camera
Can I ask which camera it is?
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Old Friday 24th February 2017, 19:46   #61
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I currently use a Sony A6300. It uses an OSPDAF focusing system that does very well for bird-in-flight action, but also has a very small flex spot focus point - in its smallest size, I can thread it through tiny holes in foliage to pinpoint a bird's eye very easily - it's more accurate than the smallest spot focus point on my DSLRs...so I've actually come to rely on it for AF in those situations, whereas with my DSLR I've often resorted to manual focus.
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Old Friday 24th February 2017, 22:00   #62
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I don't think so. The enlargement of the central part of the EVF on my m4/3 makes it easy (once you get used to that feature) and on newer models there are additional features to help you tell what is in focus and what is not when you focus manually.
This may be true for other (newer) mirrorless models. When I compared my Nikon V2 with a Canon DSLR, in most respects and overall I clearly preferred the V2, but manual focusing and isolating birds in dense foliage due to the thin DOF was a pleasure with DSLR + 400mm prime.
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Old Friday 24th February 2017, 22:10   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zackiedawg View Post
I think that's not quite universally accurate anymore - though still truthful in general. Many mirrorless cameras with more basic focus systems, and older mirrorless, indeed might struggle in low contrast to distinguish the bird from the background - but the latest batch of mirrorless have addressed those issues very well - focus in very low contrast situations has become much more reliable, much more capable, [...]
My Nikon V2 focuses well and fast. It doesn't have problems to separate birds from a background, it does that well even at BIF. What I meant was "isolate bird from background" as in "depth of field" - my Canon DSLR with the 400mm prime is doing better in forests when birds are hiding in a bush. This doesn't change the fact that in general the V2 is better for birding.

I agree that the EVF of a mirrorless (even the older V2) is so useful that I do not really miss the optical viewfinder of a DSLR.
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Old Sunday 26th February 2017, 11:03   #64
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I pulled the trigger on an Olympus E-M1 Mark II. To limit the cost of the initial setup, I will pair it with the Zuiko 75-300 mm lens. Hopefully soon I will some nice pictures to show :)
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Old Sunday 26th February 2017, 16:45   #65
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What I meant was "isolate bird from background" as in "depth of field" - my Canon DSLR with the 400mm prime is doing better in forests when birds are hiding in a bush.
Gotcha - thanks for the clarification - I misunderstood. Indeed larger sensors are always going to be better for shallow DOF and overall depth of field control as they give you that ability to go from extreme shallow - and helpful in dense foliage where the background can be more easily blurred out to be less distracting. My mirrorless is a bit better in that regard than your V1 since it has an APS-C sensor, but not quite as good as a full frame. There are of course full-frame mirrorless cameras - but so far, those haven't quite matched DSLR ability in continuous focus ability.
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Old Sunday 26th February 2017, 17:03   #66
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I pulled the trigger on an Olympus E-M1 Mark II. To limit the cost of the initial setup, I will pair it with the Zuiko 75-300 mm lens. Hopefully soon I will some nice pictures to show :)
Congrats! Should be an excellent light weight setup. It's marketed as a "pro" camera, so it has tons of features and the complexity can be a bit intimidating at first. In addition to this forum, you may also want to check the micro four-thirds forum at DP Review for more tips about using your camera. An author with a good track record has a book coming out about it, but it won't be available until August:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1681982544...I3BHFGBD78OKOE
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Old Sunday 26th February 2017, 17:56   #67
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I pulled the trigger on an Olympus E-M1 Mark II. To limit the cost of the initial setup, I will pair it with the Zuiko 75-300 mm lens. Hopefully soon I will some nice pictures to show :)
I've read many promising reports on that camera, it will be a big step forward from your superzoom - enjoy!
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Old Thursday 9th March 2017, 13:08   #68
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First one so far:

http://www.birdforum.net/gallery/sho.../ppuser/104472

It was an overcast afternoon in Victoria Park in London.
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Old Thursday 9th March 2017, 13:13   #69
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Good shot. For completeness, include the lens when you tell what equipment you use below the image.

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Old Saturday 18th March 2017, 19:54   #70
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Two more:

http://www.birdforum.net/gallery/sho.../ppuser/104472

http://www.birdforum.net/gallery/sho.../ppuser/104472

I'm still learning how to develop RAWs, so the quality of this shots may improve :)

It's definitely a big step-up from my Canon PowerShot SX700HS. Autofocus is much faster and resolution is better. There is of course much less noise at high ISOs.

I don't think battery life is a problem - I think I definitely made more than 500 photos on 1 charge
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Old Friday 24th March 2017, 16:20   #71
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I pulled the trigger on an Olympus E-M1 Mark II. To limit the cost of the initial setup, I will pair it with the Zuiko 75-300 mm lens. Hopefully soon I will some nice pictures to show :)
I'll be intested to see how you like this combo. I've been using an EM5/II with that lens, and recently upgraded to the EM1 Mark II. The speed, battery life, and ergonomics of the EM1/II is a big improvement. I thought of switching to Nikon/Canon, given the cost of the EM1/II, but after trying their APS-C bodies, I still prefered the size & weight of M4/3. If it hadn't been for the (relatively) new Panasonic 100-400 & Olympus 300 telephoto lenses, though, I would have gone APS-C, for the lens options, and lower cost.
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Old Friday 24th March 2017, 17:19   #72
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I like it. I would like the additional reach of 100-400 PanaLeica, but 300mm is enough to make some nice photos. Autofocus is really fast even if low light, although it sometimes hunts a little bit. I never had the opportunity to try a sports-targeted DSLR like Nikon D500, so can't compare.

The possibility of silent photography has proved to be very useful when taking photos of skittish animals like my house cats ;-)
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Old Friday 25th August 2017, 15:07   #73
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As a professional photographer I can impart this tidbit of knowledge. Megapixels is important and a decent body, but in almost all cases it is the Lens. Canon’s 70-300 series of lens is OK but unless you get the L version of the lens you will probably be disappointed. I have used my Canon 70-200mmm f/2.8 L lens with a matching 1.4 & 2x converter and it was much better than the 70-300 4-5.6. Sigma makes great long lens zooms if you can find them cheap otherwise invest in a good name brand long lens over 300mm
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