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Old Friday 4th March 2016, 18:00   #51
njlarsen
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Quote:
but I suspect my current problems are much, much, larger than the difference between Super-Fine and Raw.
Agree

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Old Friday 4th March 2016, 19:11   #52
flanken
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulZr View Post
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.
Sorry to hear about all the frustrations you've experienced with this camera/lens setup. I think these test shots (particularly the lack of blur in pic no. 3), and my own experience suggest you're coming up against the limits of IBIS, which is great for shorter focal lengths, but simply not that effective at telephoto lengths.

I used to have a similar equipment setup, the Olympus E-P5 with an add-on EVF, and the same 75-300 lens, and found that while the IBIS did help stabilize the EVF image, the slowest it could reliably get sharp shots was about 1/500s - basically, just shy of the 1/focal length rule one uses for non-stabilized lenses. If I had other means of support, such as shooting from a monopod or bracing against a window frame, I could get blur-free shots at slower shutter speeds. For example, I braced against a window frame to get the following shot at 1/200s. But note that this shutter speed wasn't enough to freeze the moving parts of the wren:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/482826...7626637667333/

So I'd recommend shooting at above 1/500s at all times with this lens and body combo, as well as stopping down to f/8, as the lens does get a bit sharper when stopped down. The following photo at 1/800s is about as sharp and blur-free as I saw this lens achieve. It's okay, but the lens I had simply didn't seem capable of resolving a lot of detail:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/482826...7648961354456/

That said, my recommendation would actually be to sell the 75-300, and switch over to the Panasonic 100-300, or if funds allow, the new 100-400. The 100-300 has lens-based IS, which works much better than IBIS at long focal lengths, and is only slightly bulkier. There is a fair bit of sample variation for the 100-300, but if you get a good copy, it can get some very good results. Good copies of the 100-300 are sharper than the 75-300 in my opinion. The IBIS works well enough such that I can use relatively slow shutter speeds handheld with the small MFT body that I use now, the Panasonic DMC-GM1. Here's a GM1/100-300 shot at 1/320s:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/482826...posted-public/
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Old Friday 4th March 2016, 20:45   #53
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I know some people do not like the Olympus 75-300 but I think it does a good job, although it is at its best in good light. Here are three shots taken with the E-M1 at 300mm, all handheld.

Red-backed Shrike 1/500 sec at ISO 200.
Desert Wheatear 1/800 sec at ISO 200.
Water Rail 1/320 sec at ISO 2000.

Ron
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Old Saturday 5th March 2016, 16:34   #54
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I have read both kinds of statements regarding the Oly lens, and I feel there might be as much if not more sample variation in that lens as in the pana 100-300. Disclaimer: I have a pana lens so no personal experience with the oly lens.

On the other hand, ibis limitations? Check out this thread and especially follow the link in the first post to a guy who is happy with a non-IS 400 mm lens on the em1: http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=313708

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Old Tuesday 8th March 2016, 16:48   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njlarsen View Post
I have read both kinds of statements regarding the Oly lens, and I feel there might be as much if not more sample variation in that lens as in the pana 100-300. Disclaimer: I have a pana lens so no personal experience with the oly lens.

On the other hand, ibis limitations? Check out this thread and especially follow the link in the first post to a guy who is happy with a non-IS 400 mm lens on the em1: http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=313708

Niels
That's an interesting thread, using the 400 lens with metabones. He has some very sharp photos through a window, far better than what I've been able to achieve. He notes that the large mass of this lens really helps hand-held steadiness, as compared to the 75-300. I also wonder how much difference there is between the M5 autofocus and the M1 auto-focus. Even with static subjects, and a single central AF point, my M5 sometimes won't focus on the central object, and I'm forced to either refocus, or MF.

I've taken a bunch of static photos, haven't had a chance to consolidate my notes, and crop for posting comparisons. In many cases, I was able to get hand-held shots as clear as tripod shots, even at speeds down to 1/60. Once in a while, I'd get a really blurry hand-held shot - This may be due to "Halfway Rls with IS", which I've read can reduce the effectiveness of IBIS, if the sensor is near a limit just as the shutter is pressed. So, for now, I'm keeping that off, when at max telephoto (300mm). [For the upcoming 300/f4 lens, Olympus claims 6 stops of IS, only when "Halfway Rls with IS" is OFF.]

Anyhow, I'll keep plugging away. I'd like to rent a Panasonic 100-300 for comparison, to satisfy my curiosity. I shot this photo of an Eastern Meadowlark yesterday, probably 10m away, so cropped from 4608x3456 to 688x516. Used low speed anti-shock burst, with burst IBIS on, auto-focus with no MF adjustment, 300mm. Took a few separate bursts of 3 shots each, this was the sharpest. Perhaps with that amount of cropping, I can't expect any sharper.
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Old Wednesday 9th March 2016, 01:03   #56
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So,

I was finally able to get some bird shots in good sunlight. It's been rather dreary here of late.

This is a Long-Tailed Duck, migrating through, which I was fortunate to see close to shore, 5-10m away. All photos are 100% crop, from the camera's L-SF jpeg files, keeping them below the 1600x1200 forum limit. Hand-held, focal length 300mm, quiet burst mode, starting with S-AF, and checking focus with focus peaking. "Halfway Rls with IS" was off, burst IS was on. The S-AF was pretty good for most of these shots, requiring only very minor MF tweak, though occasionally AF would be way off.

Photo 1 - 1/320, f11, ISO200
Photo 2 - 1/250, f13, ISO200
Photo 3 - 1/400, f8, ISO200

The big difference between these and previous bird photos is good sunlight, allowing much lower ISO, and higher f-stops. I also used quiet burst, instead of anti-shock burst, so don't know how much of a difference that makes. I'll need to test that independently.
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Old Wednesday 9th March 2016, 02:16   #57
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These are as good as I would expect for 100% crops with a cheaper lens. They may be slightly better than what I get with 100% crops on my Pana. Difference is that I usually use fully open aperture, rarely have the light to push the F-number up.

Obviously the last image have the AF on the rear of the bird. That might be a difference from a superzoom we have not talked about: the depth of field is less, and as such you would not expect the entire bird to be in focus in a shot like this.

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Old Wednesday 9th March 2016, 12:09   #58
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Those shots of the Long-Tailed Duck look much better. There is no substitute for good light. A lovely bird too.

Ron
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Old Wednesday 9th March 2016, 20:49   #59
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Nice to see you are taming the beast :)

This still puzzles me.
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Originally Posted by PaulZr View Post

though occasionally AF would be way off.
Would love to see what another lens does, a known good version of the same lens would be real interesting.
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Old Thursday 10th March 2016, 08:07   #60
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Definitely much better shots there. They look about as sharp as what I saw from that lens. You might consider slightly higher shutter speeds (e.g., 1/500s or faster) to further reduce the risk of image shake. Don't be afraid to push the ISO beyond 200, as the 16MP sensor is pretty decent up to ISO 1600.

I do also find it unusual that focusing needed MF tweaking; contrast-detection AF is usually very accurate. If it isn't focusing on the right area for you, consider reducing the size of the focus point.
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Old Sunday 13th March 2016, 04:43   #61
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Thumbs up

So, more practice on Common Redpolls today, which will be migrating north any day now. These were all hand-held, about 5m away, no window, at 300mm, S-IS 1, full silent mode, speed priority, with the smallest possible single focal point. Images are 100% crop, no resizing, from L-SF jpeg files. I took shots at the same speed, bracing the camera against a wall, and there wasn't a significant difference, so I've only posted the hand-held shots. There was no wind, so the feeder was still, only movement was birds, or my hands.

Shot #1: 1/250, f6.7, ISO 1000
Shot #2: 1/160, f6.7, ISO 500
Shot #3: 1/80, f7.1, ISO 320

What am I learning to get this improvement, for small birds? First, and most important, that this lens needs a lot of light, so I just can't expect great results early morning, evening, or overcast days. I was used to f2.8 on my Stylus 1, even at max zoom with TCON (500mm equivalent focal length). Guess I'll have to dream about the 300 f/4 lens.

Second, that I'm learning to hold the camera better, with left hand cradling lens, and left elbow resting against my ribs.

Third, that IBIS really does work - I took these shots with and without IBIS, and it clearly helps. When the bird was still, IBIS was effective down to 1/80s, and my hands are not all that steady. Using the reciprocal rule, without IBIS, I would need 1/600s, so I seem to be getting 3 stops of stabilization. I was seeing noticeable camera shake in photos without IBIS at 1/250s. I think that turning "Halfway Rls with IS" off has helped.

Fourth, small birds like this (12cm) are tough for this camera to focus on - even with the smallest focus point sometimes the camera would not lock on to the bird. When it did, it was pretty good, when it didn't, it was way off, or wouldn't lock at all, so I'd need to MF. Using S-AF+MF makes this easy to do when necessary, along with zoom and focus peaking.

Fifth, the lower the ISO, the better (obvious, I suppose) - ISO was quite good up to 1000, and still OK at 1600. When I tried to shorten shutter speed to 1/1000s, to prevent all bird motion blur, there was a noticeable drop-off in sharpness at 3200, so I've set the max to 3200, and try to keep the speed low enough so it won't go above 1600. The sweet spot with today's light was 1/250. Fast enough to prevent most bird motion blur, unless they did a quick movement, but with a burst of 3, I'd get at least 2 good shots. I took a few shots through the window, with everything else the same, and quality difference was pretty small, though the lens was only a few cm from the window. My earlier posted shots I was 1-2m away from the window. I'm still not sure how much of a difference silent mode makes, but it seems to be working well for me.

I think that's about it. I sure appreciate all the suggestions and critiques, they've helped me understand the camera more, and improve my technique. Probably still have a lot to learn!
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Old Sunday 13th March 2016, 19:09   #62
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The last one looks pretty good! If you allow for some resizing, several of the others will be passable.

I believe my pana 100-300 would be half a stop faster than your lens at maximum zoom. I often find that images shot at about 275 mm are sharper than those shot at 300, you may experiment with yours.

Regarding iso: I find that using ACDSee Pro or ultimate, working with Pana raw images is just as easy as with jpgs. I usually find that the result for higher iso images is better when starting from raw.

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