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Old Thursday 3rd March 2016, 04:32   #26
PaulZr
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Originally Posted by GrahameNZ View Post
Hi,
Lets try and eliminate a few variables.
You say the birds are moving, the feeder is moving, there's 2 - 3 seconds between half press and the shot being taken and a reasonably slow shutter speed.
We can ignore the window as the outside shot is equally as bad.
Any one or probably combo of these things will cause grief.
What result do you get if you put the camera on a tripod and focus on a stationary object that's in front of your back fence hedges.
Using a cable release or the timer would be good as well.
What I'm wanting to know is what does the camera do when you and any movement are taken out of the equation, not shot through the window either.
If possible try with a high contrast and a low contrast subject (in relation to the background)

Another thought reset the cam to the original factory settings.
You've been playing a lot with different things there could be some oddball setting that's causing probs.

You should get real good pics with this cam and lens combo with out having to resort to being a rocket scientist
Thanks Grahame, they seemed like some simple photos, but in retrospect, I see the potential for grief. I will try your suggestions soon, and post my results.

I see you're from NZ, my daughter just began a study abroad semester at Massey in Palmerston North. She's already seen a number of life birds!
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Old Thursday 3rd March 2016, 04:36   #27
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"slight MF adjustment based on focus peaking,"
Why are you trying to out think the cam ?
The focus is out for sure .....
Reset to factory settings and then lets start to play again.
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Old Thursday 3rd March 2016, 05:21   #28
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I'm having similar problems with a DSLR and 100-400mm I recently acquired. Prior to this I had a Mirrorless Camera and burned through a series of long lenses. While I didn't have these problems, I was never happy with them. If I'd stuck with it, experimenting with settings, I might have gotten better shots eventually. I think with the entire photo creamed out, slightly out of focus, that yours isn't an autofocus issue. If it were, focus would look good closer up or further away. Manual focus would bear that out.

Your advice from these good folks seems like the ticket to rule out every possible thing, before thinking you have a defective copy. I think with factory QC, that's unlikely... but who knows? It looks to me like light challenges, and/or micro-vibrations, even that filter, clear or not. My micro 4/3rds was a fussy system.

I switched from native lenses with my mirrorless, to a high quality Apochromatic Refractor telescope on a tripod with remote shutter release. I was primarily shooting at home, perching birds (I live on a river with a nice Avian "green belt" up and down it's banks), so lugging the beast around wasn't that big of a deal at that time. Obviously, having no control over aperture was an issue, especially for video. I shot aperture priority and only modified ISO for light challenges.

This is the first thing I noticed. Magnifying the image using the LCD, and the button shutter, OR EVEN THE BREEZE OF MY BREATH, would cause a tiny, high speed wiggle, vibration, that always took a moment to go away. Remote shutter release and tripod was magic for my photos. I really think the impact of micro-vibrations is too often under-stated by folks.

For me with that camera I noticed three other things. From the tripod with that shutter release, Image Stabilization creamed out my shots. There was detail loss. I know your Image Stabilization is in the body, whereas mine was in the lens. I'm not familiar with your model so take this with a grain of salt. The second thing I noticed was that any filter at all was impossible. It impacted focus and I had dozens of shots just like yours. Any shade or cloud cover and it looked like Dusk. The third thing I noticed (this should be first because it happened with native lenses), was that autofocus was very difficult with birds in flight... impossible against the sky (for me), and too slow to acquire the subject, even with background/foreground to assist the camera.

I just got my first DSLR, as stated but now I read that they've finally come out with a 100/400mm lens for micro 4/3rds. With arthritis in my hands, needing a shoulder replacement as well, my poor skills holding that camera steady (it weighs a ton), I'm seriously second guessing my decision to go to DSLR, and wishing I hadn't sold My Gimbal Head and tripod. That's a honey of a new lens they've come out with.

This makes me think of one more thing. Have you tried another lens? If you have one that's good, it would certainly rule out all that fussing with settings. Try your factory, default settings, using the camera's own, point and shoot mode. Then, when getting a good shot, review the details tab on your File Properties. I considered that alone, a mini-tutorial. That's an essay you probably didn't need to read. Good luck to you. I'm wanting some for myself as well.

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Old Thursday 3rd March 2016, 05:50   #29
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"I see you're from NZ, my daughter just began a study abroad semester at Massey in Palmerston North. She's already seen a number of life birds!"
And quite a number of UK birds in greater numbers than you have left at home.
Sad :(
Yes OT sorry.
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Old Thursday 3rd March 2016, 05:53   #30
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One more thing just occurred to me. I noticed some chromatic aberration which simply should not be there. Someone else may know whether or not that's a "settings" issue, but it certainly makes me suspicious of the lens.
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Old Thursday 3rd March 2016, 12:56   #31
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I would like to try to rule out something first: next time use S preset rather than P, set the shutter time at 1/500 (and preferably try something like 1/800 as well). I am suspicious that your ibis is not really working as well as it should - and anyway, ibis would never be able to account for the slight movements of the target that wind can cause. (for comparison: with my Pana, it is rare I go as low as 1/300)

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Old Thursday 3rd March 2016, 13:53   #32
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I'm having similar problems with a DSLR and 100-400mm I recently acquired. Prior to this I had a Mirrorless Camera and burned through a series of long lenses. While I didn't have these problems, I was never happy with them. If I'd stuck with it, experimenting with settings, I might have gotten better shots eventually. I think with the entire photo creamed out, slightly out of focus, that yours isn't an autofocus issue. If it were, focus would look good closer up or further away. Manual focus would bear that out.

Your advice from these good folks seems like the ticket to rule out every possible thing, before thinking you have a defective copy. I think with factory QC, that's unlikely... but who knows? It looks to me like light challenges, and/or micro-vibrations, even that filter, clear or not. My micro 4/3rds was a fussy system.

I switched from native lenses with my mirrorless, to a high quality Apochromatic Refractor telescope on a tripod with remote shutter release. I was primarily shooting at home, perching birds (I live on a river with a nice Avian "green belt" up and down it's banks), so lugging the beast around wasn't that big of a deal at that time. Obviously, having no control over aperture was an issue, especially for video. I shot aperture priority and only modified ISO for light challenges.

This is the first thing I noticed. Magnifying the image using the LCD, and the button shutter, OR EVEN THE BREEZE OF MY BREATH, would cause a tiny, high speed wiggle, vibration, that always took a moment to go away. Remote shutter release and tripod was magic for my photos. I really think the impact of micro-vibrations is too often under-stated by folks.

For me with that camera I noticed three other things. From the tripod with that shutter release, Image Stabilization creamed out my shots. There was detail loss. I know your Image Stabilization is in the body, whereas mine was in the lens. I'm not familiar with your model so take this with a grain of salt. The second thing I noticed was that any filter at all was impossible. It impacted focus and I had dozens of shots just like yours. Any shade or cloud cover and it looked like Dusk. The third thing I noticed (this should be first because it happened with native lenses), was that autofocus was very difficult with birds in flight... impossible against the sky (for me), and too slow to acquire the subject, even with background/foreground to assist the camera.

I just got my first DSLR, as stated but now I read that they've finally come out with a 100/400mm lens for micro 4/3rds. With arthritis in my hands, needing a shoulder replacement as well, my poor skills holding that camera steady (it weighs a ton), I'm seriously second guessing my decision to go to DSLR, and wishing I hadn't sold My Gimbal Head and tripod. That's a honey of a new lens they've come out with.

This makes me think of one more thing. Have you tried another lens? If you have one that's good, it would certainly rule out all that fussing with settings. Try your factory, default settings, using the camera's own, point and shoot mode. Then, when getting a good shot, review the details tab on your File Properties. I considered that alone, a mini-tutorial. That's an essay you probably didn't need to read. Good luck to you. I'm wanting some for myself as well.
Dan,
My tripod shots did have IBIS off, though I'll do some more as previously suggested, to eliminate camera movement, and compare against hand-held shots of the same subject. I do need to figure out how to get the best shots without a tripod, though, since that's the primary use of this camera, getting good documentation shots while out birding.

I'll also do a factory reset, do some full auto pics, and then add back in the settings above that have worked best so far. I have not yet tried another lens sample - if I exhaust all the other suggestions here, I'll give that a go. I'd also like to do some direct comparison between the Oly 75-300 and Pana 100-300 at some point, perhaps through a lens rental outfit.

The first pics I took with this camera were in iAuto, of the same feeder birds, and the shots came out positively awful - I didn't post any of those here. That's what started me down this road. I do think that the burst mode has helped with vibrations caused by my finger pressing of the shutter, or possibly caused by the shutter itself.

Yes, that 100-400 looks like it could be mighty handy for birding in the field, but I need to figure out this lens first. It would need mighty good OIS at 400mm handheld. I went with Micro 4/3 for the reasons you state.

Thanks,
-Paul
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Old Thursday 3rd March 2016, 14:01   #33
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"slight MF adjustment based on focus peaking,"
Why are you trying to out think the cam ?
The focus is out for sure .....
Reset to factory settings and then lets start to play again.
When you say the focus is out for sure, are you referring to the Geese or Sparrow shots? The 3 Canada Goose shots had the exact same focus, as the camera isn't refocusing during burst, yet there is a significant difference in sharpness between them. I did have IBIS Burst enabled, though, so it was attempting to stabilize for each of the 3 shots.

Anyhow, I was tweaking MF for 2 reasons - The initial shots I took with full iAuto were awful, it was focusing all over the place, so the first thing I did was to start using MF. Now that I'm using a small central spot, this should be less of a problem. With birds in the bush though, even with a small focus spot, it will sometimes focus on a branch. These are the cases where I'll still expect to need MF.

When birds are in the open, I'll take some shots without touching MF, noting where focus peaking is, then some subsequent ones tweaking MF, to see if I do better, or worse than AF. Should be interesting!
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Old Thursday 3rd March 2016, 14:15   #34
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I would like to try to rule out something first: next time use S preset rather than P, set the shutter time at 1/500 (and preferably try something like 1/800 as well). I am suspicious that your ibis is not really working as well as it should - and anyway, ibis would never be able to account for the slight movements of the target that wind can cause. (for comparison: with my Pana, it is rare I go as low as 1/300)

Niels
Thanks Niels, I'll also try this, when I can get some reasonably static subjects (Ducks and/or feeder birds). As cloudy as it's been here lately, that will push ISO up, as the lens is already wide open at 300mm.

I think Olympus claims 3 stops of improvement with 5-axis IBIS, so using the reciprocal rule, at 300mm (35mm 600 equiv.), start with 1/600, and 2 stops of improvement should allow 1/150 speed. So, 1/250 should be OK with IBIS?

-Paul
I have lots of things to test now, so it may be a few days before I'll post again, but keep the ideas coming, thanks!
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Old Thursday 3rd March 2016, 14:37   #35
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I think Olympus claims 3 stops of improvement with 5-axis IBIS, so using the reciprocal rule, at 300mm (35mm 600 equiv.), start with 1/600, and 2 stops of improvement should allow 1/150 speed. So, 1/250 should be OK with IBIS?
For use with a static object such as a reference chart, yes. For use in real life situations with items that move, maybe or maybe not. That is one of the things that need to be figured out with actual testing.

Quote:
As cloudy as it's been here lately, that will push ISO up, as the lens is already wide open at 300mm.
For figuring out if the focusing is a problem, pay the price in iso, You can return to the subject of pushing iso downwards afterwards after your problems have been figured out. But expecting iso 200 during dark winter days in Europe is unrealistic.

On my older panasonic, I allow the camera to go to iso 3200 when needed. Good exposure and post processing of RAW images makes that usable. I would expect that with a newer m43 camera I would use iso 6400.

Niels

PS: Ducks might not be the best subjects for testing, because effects of humidity and reflections over the water makes that more difficult to get right. I would even encourage you to take some images of a tree trunk with some structure to make sure you also test something that does not move at all.
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Old Thursday 3rd March 2016, 15:40   #36
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You're smart and tech savvy so I know you'll nail this down, (better than I would). The fact that allowing the camera to do ALL the work automatically gives you the same result, would tell me that something is very wrong indeed and settings modifications may not do what you hope. I'm "Debbie Downer," but I KNOW, that is a fabulous camera and a reputable lens.
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Old Thursday 3rd March 2016, 19:40   #37
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When you say the focus is out for sure, are you referring to the Geese or Sparrow shots?
The Canadas.
Interesting that they get more in focus as the sequence progresses.
But shot 3 is still a binner.
Until you do a factory reset / tripod mounted / stationary subject / hands of test we wont know what is happening.
I have a suspicion what is wrong.
You should be able to lift that cam to your eye push the shutter button and get pretty much tack sharp images.
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Old Friday 4th March 2016, 01:58   #38
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OK, four more test photos, not everything that was asked for, but all I had time for today. These were all taken after a complete factory settings reset, shot at full 300mm zoom, full camera auto-focus, using a central point. Images cropped to roughly 1200x900. Auto-IBIS on, as it is by default, single drive mode, no anti-shock.

Pic #1 was a full iAuto hand-held, of a hydrant out my car window while waiting for a train. 1/250, f6.7, ISO640. Train was done before I had a chance to try more. :( Quite Blurry.

Pic #2 was a full iAuto hand-held, of a Goose about 30' away, moving very slowly. 1/250, f6.7, ISO400. Quite Blurry.

Pic #3 was speed priority, hand-held, of a Goose, again moving very slowly. 1/1000, f7.1, ISO1600. Better than #2.

Pic #4 was a full iAuto tripod shot, indoors, of one of my kids toy birds, using remote shutter from O.I. Share on my phone. 1/13, f6.7, ISO1600. I did take a hand-held shot, but due to the very low speed, it was obviously very blurry, so didn't attach it here.

So, Pic #1 is similar to my first iAuto shots with this camera, quite blurry. Increasing the speed to 1/1000 made a much more clear shot, so it would appear the blur is hand shake related. At 300mm, 1/250s, I would have expected IBIS to handle this for a more crisp shot. Have I simply run up against the limits of IBIS?

I need to do tripod testing during the day, when I can get shutter speeds up to typical outdoor shots.
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Old Friday 4th March 2016, 02:10   #39
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I think you need to go to the shop and borrow a second camera, using your own memory card. Most likely that will show a large difference between the two cameras and you should get a straight switch over to a new one.

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Old Friday 4th March 2016, 05:37   #40
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I would be interested to see the full image as you say cropped,do you mean cropped or just re sized,i took the liberty of downloading one of the Canada's,the file is too small to do much with and the light looks poor but i would love to have the full file to look at.I just wonder if your over cropping as the file looks very noisy and is breaking up,i could get the same results from my Nikon D7200 in poor light and over cropping.
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Old Friday 4th March 2016, 05:54   #41
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Just thought i would post a couple of edits to show how over cropping can ruin an image.
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Old Friday 4th March 2016, 14:43   #42
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I would be interested to see the full image as you say cropped,do you mean cropped or just re sized,i took the liberty of downloading one of the Canada's,the file is too small to do much with and the light looks poor but i would love to have the full file to look at.I just wonder if your over cropping as the file looks very noisy and is breaking up,i could get the same results from my Nikon D7200 in poor light and over cropping.
Mike, I load my photos into MAC OSX Photos app, then crop to the subject, then export. Full sensor resolution of this camera is 4608 x 3456 (15,925,248 pix). This 1/250s image was cropped to 1178x884, though your re-upload shows 1000x750. I'm not sure why that is, when I download this image from my post, it shows 1178x884. Anyhow, typical full image size is 4-8MB, depending on the JPG mode I have the camera set (Normal, Fine, or Super-Fine).

FWIW, when viewing on the camera, zooming into the bird, I see similar blurriness, though it's certainly possible the Photos app is doing some sort of additional compression when exporting the cropped photos. I'll have to try the Olympus Viewer, with the same amount of cropping, and compare.

I'd be glad to send you full res copies, is there a way I can upload full res photos here?
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Old Friday 4th March 2016, 15:05   #43
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I stated in my first post my previous camera was a Stylus 1, with the TCON-17x adapter. This has a small 1/1.7" sensor, and at max zoom with the TCON, this gave me about 500 mm equivalent focal length (35mm), at f2.8. So, last night, I took a look at a bunch of birding pictures, and even at high crop, most of them were significantly sharper than what I've been able to achieve with the OM-D, at 300mm (600mm equivalent). It rarely needed high ISO values, due to f2.8, even at max zoom. Many images were in the range of 1/125s to 1/250s, and were quite sharp, I never needed to use speed priority for sitting birds.

The Stylus 1 has optical image stabilization. I'm beginning to wonder if the IBIS isn't able to handle longer focal lengths as well as optical stabilization? Unfortunately, I can't do direct side-by-side comparisons.

I'm far from giving up, though, and appreciate all your help.
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Old Friday 4th March 2016, 15:21   #44
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For comparison: with my panasonic GH2 which has a similar size sensor, I most often crop to about 1800 pixels or more on the long side and then reduce size of the image to around 1000 pixels on the long side. Because of that reduction, I usually use a little extra sharpening at the end. If you insist on jpg output, I would set at ultra fine and let it stay there.

My insistence that you use a faster shutter speed now during testing was to allow you to take out the possibility of movement causing the blurriness. If you cannot get a sharp image with fast shutter speed, then you never will. Ibis is almost irrelevant at the really fast shutter speeds, so any blurriness is almost certainly due to the quality of the lens or to the quality of your focus. Once you become convinced those two are good, then you can start using slower shutter speed to figure out how far your ibis will take you.

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Old Friday 4th March 2016, 15:26   #45
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There is a user in birdforum: http://www.birdforum.net/member.php?u=71763

If I recall correctly, she used to not like the oly 75-300 lens and liked the pana 100-300 better. Maybe because she had a poor copy of the oly lens? In any case, your problems might be related to something similar? To read more, make a search for posts from her in the oly section or here in the m43 section.

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Old Friday 4th March 2016, 16:28   #46
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I am running out of ideas but I see you are using S-IS AUTO for the IBIS setting. You could try S-IS1, which is the setting I use on my E-M1. S-IS1 stabilizes in all directions, whereas S-IS AUTO detects the panning direction and applies the appropriate image stabilization. It might be worth a try.

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Old Friday 4th March 2016, 16:43   #47
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The Stylus 1 has optical image stabilization. I'm beginning to wonder if the IBIS isn't able to handle longer focal lengths as well as optical stabilization? Unfortunately, I can't do direct side-by-side comparisons.
How are you holding your setup? You do know that with a long lens one hand should be supporting the lens and the other should be on the shutter button?
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Old Friday 4th March 2016, 17:14   #48
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How are you holding your setup? You do know that with a long lens one hand should be supporting the lens and the other should be on the shutter button?
A pertinent question Jim. I have my left hand holding the lens, supporting the lens from underneath, with left elbow held against my body, right hand holding right side of camera, index finger to press shutter button. The very first day I had the camera, taking pics of the Common Redpolls, I probably wasn't doing this, but since then, with all comparison pics, I've been paying close attention to my stance and camera holding.
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Old Friday 4th March 2016, 17:24   #49
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I am running out of ideas but I see you are using S-IS AUTO for the IBIS setting. You could try S-IS1, which is the setting I use on my E-M1. S-IS1 stabilizes in all directions, whereas S-IS AUTO detects the panning direction and applies the appropriate image stabilization. It might be worth a try.

Ron
Ron, I agree S-IS 1 is probably more appropriate. This last set of 4 pictures used S-IS Auto, as Graham had asked for some shots using factory default settings. Previous posted photos, starting with post #24, all were taken with S-IS 1.

Going forward, I'll be using S-IS 1. This weekend, I hope to do some controlled testing over a range of shutter speeds, with/without IBIS, and with/without Anti-Shock. I'm beginning to suspect that the IBIS either isn't working as well as it should, or IBIS isn't sufficient for my use, as the majority of my use will be at the max 300mm focal length. Neither seems likely, but more controlled testing will at least help me narrow things down.

I wonder if the effort of getting good photographs from any camera is proportional to how much it cost?
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Old Friday 4th March 2016, 17:36   #50
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Originally Posted by njlarsen View Post
For comparison: with my panasonic GH2 which has a similar size sensor, I most often crop to about 1800 pixels or more on the long side and then reduce size of the image to around 1000 pixels on the long side. Because of that reduction, I usually use a little extra sharpening at the end. If you insist on jpg output, I would set at ultra fine and let it stay there.

My insistence that you use a faster shutter speed now during testing was to allow you to take out the possibility of movement causing the blurriness. If you cannot get a sharp image with fast shutter speed, then you never will. Ibis is almost irrelevant at the really fast shutter speeds, so any blurriness is almost certainly due to the quality of the lens or to the quality of your focus. Once you become convinced those two are good, then you can start using slower shutter speed to figure out how far your ibis will take you.

Niels
Thanks Niels, those are good suggestions. I've been cropping to about 1200x900, since I thought that was the maximum size I could upload to the forum. If there's a way to upload larger images, I'd be glad to do that. I'll be doing some controlled shutter speed testing on static subjects this weekend. These last 4 shots used LN (Normal) JPG output, as part of the "Factory Default" testing. Going forward, I'll set it to LSF (Super-Fine). I suppose eventually I'll get into raw shooting, but I suspect my current problems are much, much, larger than the difference between Super-Fine and Raw.
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