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Old Saturday 29th April 2017, 09:25   #1
DanC.Licks
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My EM-1 Mark II settings for birds.

My E-M1 Mark II setup for birds.... (what works for me, and what is only one set of possibilities for this immensely configurable camera).

Before going into the three Sets, C1-3, I configured the buttons and dials to make it possible to make all adjustments quickly and easily with my right hand without radically changing my grip and while looking through the viewfinder. As I have no interest in video I have tried to set the camera up specifically for stills of birds, both stationary and in flight. As we know, birds are usually quite uncooperative. They don't stay put or otherwise do what you want them to do, so my goal was to simplify the system and be able to make changes quickly while still concentrating on the subject. So here are my settings with a short explanation of my reasoning. Refer to the English Instruction Manual for the button names etc.

Rear dial: aperture.
Front dial: exposure compensation.
Fn Lever: Basic mode 1 so I can change the ISO by pushing it up and turning the back dial. I myself do not use Auto ISO. I want to be able to choose the ISO according to the circumstances.
AEL/AFL button: AF home, single point center. As I use different AF area configurations in the different sets, I can switch back and forth from the set AF area to home with my thumb.
One Touch White Balance: As I shoot only in raw, I have the white balance set to daylight (5200°K) and leave it there, so I have no use for OTWB. This is set to AF Area Select. If I am in a set and want an AF area other than the default or home, I push the OTWB button and scroll through the options with the rear wheel. Once selected, the area can be moved if necessary with the arrow pad.
Fn1 Button: Set to AFL/AEL should I ever need it.
Fn2 Button: Set to Magnify for times when I need MF. Press once to show its size and placement, press again to activate and scroll to adjust the size. Arrow pad for placement. Hold down to turn off.
Movie Button: Set to Focus Peaking for times when I need MF. I use white, though red is also good.
Preview Button: Here is a biggie! It is set to AF limiter, a great feature especially when using long lenses like my Canon 400/5.6, or FT lenses that simply are not as fast as the newest Olympus Pro jobbies. Push the button to activate or deactivate the limiter, hold down and scroll through the choices with the rear dial. We have four possibilities including off. So I have them set to...
OFF, whole range,
A1 (Set 1 in the viewfinder) 8m-∞ for birds at normal distances.
A2 12m-∞ for BiF as they are nearly never closer than that and still possible to track.
A3 0.1m-12m for birds that are close enough to see your reflection in their eye!
If a lens is being used that has it's own AF limiter, it must be turned off to use the in-camera limiter.

Other things that I might need to change I do through the viewfinder using the OK button and scrolling, as normal.

Mode: My basic mode is A. As I shoot most of the time with my Canon 400/5.6 either wide open or stopped down one stop at most, I don't have that much choice. So my sets are all based on Mode A. Also, I always use release priority-OFF! I have the aperture set to f/6.3 as I like to have the acoustic feedback that the camera is actually shooting. The faint click of the diaphragm is enough, and I prefer it to the camera's AF confirm beep-beep. Remember, release priority is off. For BiFs, depending on the brightness of the sky, anywhere from 0 to +1.3 EV is quickly adjusted with the front dial.

Sets:
C1 is for stationary birds. 400 ISO. 8fps, silent shutter (burst if I need it, single if my finger is up to speed. Usually take 2 or 3 of a static subject and pick out the best later). 5 AF points center. Default AF limiter A1 (8m-∞), off. I will sometimes use A3 in C1. Easy enough to get to... IS 1.
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C2 is for normal BiFs, like soaring raptors etc. 400 ISO. 8fps, silent. All AF points. Default AF limiter A2 (12m-∞), ON! IS1.
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C3 is for fast moving BiFs. 800 ISO. 15 fps normal (they aren't going to hear the shutter anyway and there is less chance of distortion from rolling shutter). All AF points. Default AF limiter A2 (12m-∞), ON! IS off.
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Mostly I just toggle between C1 and C2. I haven't used C3 much yet, but I will for sure, and the normal A mode is always there as an extra "set" should I want to have a variation of a set I am using. Say I am in C1, and sometimes have some super light and want the same setup but with 200 ISO, f8, and 15fps. I just set it up in A mode, and can go back and forth between A and C1 with three clicks of the dial when the light changes.
It is great that you can configure the sets so completely. On the Mark I there were global settings that could not be changed within the MySets (glad they dropped THAT word!) but on the Mark II you can save absolutely everything important in the sets. Hats off, Oly-san!

So that is basically it. Still a work in progress, but it is more or less where I want it. I usually don't have much time to think, and I still need to practice making the adjustments on the fly. I am reminded of Yogi Berra's famous statement to his batting coach who was trying to get him to think about what he was doing... "I can't bat and think at the same time!"

Last edited by DanC.Licks : Saturday 29th April 2017 at 10:59.
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Old Monday 1st May 2017, 16:53   #2
katastrofa
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This should be a pinned post.
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Old Thursday 11th May 2017, 10:17   #3
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That's quite a useful post.

I am still using the Mark 1, considering the upgrade to Mark 2 however not sure if the performance increase is worth the money, or if I should spend it on lenses or other system with capable AF.

Dan, are you satisfied with the AF performance of the Mark 2?
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Old Thursday 11th May 2017, 16:58   #4
DanC.Licks
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Hi Tord,
That is a little hard to answer because it is really a little different, some things better, some things not. There is not a huge difference. I still feel the Mark I was better at selecting small birds out of branches etc, because the single focus points are a bit more selective. See here regarding the Mark II:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/421620...7678027723414/
Some feel the Mark I maybe a little quicker with 4/3 and adapted lenses, but I didn't observe that and all in all I am happier with the Mark II AF. My impression is it works better in low light. For instance, with the super slow Oly 4/3 35/3.5 macro, it is much faster and quieter in good light, and kept on working long after the Mark I gave up as the light got worse. Because the pdaf points are a bit larger on the Mk II, care must be taken. It likes busy backgrounds just as much as the Mark I does. I have zero complaints about the accuracy. The IS is much improved. It feels great too. I liked the EVF on the Mk I better, a little more natural, but I have gotten used to it. *
I was able to adjust very quickly, and the more I work with it the more I see its advantages over the Mark I in areas other than AF.
One thing I REALLY like is how much better the silent shutter is. I have taken about 10,000 shots with the Mark II by now, but only 1300 with the mechanical shutter, and they were all in the beginning. I can't remember the last time I used it.
I have the 400/5.6/Metabones on it easily 95% of the time, so I call it my Boneycanoly!
In short, I don't miss the Mark I, even though I really liked it. If you want super fast C-AF and tracking, you either have to get the new Oly Pro lenses, or go with something like a Nikon D-500, but then, what lenses are you going to put on it? Canon does not interest me in the slightest. I have not thought about the D-500 at all since I got the Mark II. I would love to try the 300/4 Pro, but at over three times what I paid for my new Canon 400/5.6, not much chance I would buy one. No, the Boneycanoly suits my needs very well.

* I should be getting a new pair of lenses of the single element, silicone variety some time this summer. Looking forward to not having to struggle with glasses while shooting any more, and being able to dial the diopter on the VF back to a normal position.
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Old Friday 12th May 2017, 08:53   #5
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Regarding E-M1 Mark II autofocus performance there is a world of difference with the Mark I using PRO Olympus lenses. Since I bought the 12-40 PRO with the original E-M1, and now with the Mark II added the 40-150 PRO, MC-14, and 12-100 PRO, I can't compare it to other lenses. The IS is flat spectacular and industry leading. The first image below was taken with the 12-100 PROhand held at 5/8 second at f/4.** Second image with 40-150 f/2.8 PRO with MC-14 at 10fps burst with continuous auto focusing. The thing is, the new PRO lens line is what makes the amazing E-M1.2 so much more compelling.

The full resolution version of these images are pretty amazing, the detail in the dog's fur is incredible. The third photo was blown up from JPEG to a 20x30 print remaining tac sharp. Now I use both memory slots on the E-M1.2, something not available on my E-M1.1, and I send a RAW version to slot 1 and JPEG to slot 2.

I would recommend reading the 11 section extensive DPReview at https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/oly...e-m1-mark-ii/9 that includes a section on the autofocus system. Below are a few quotes:

It is pretty surprising just how far of a leap forward the E-M1 II makes compared to its predecessor. It gains a quarter more megapixels, a third more autofocus points, nearly three times faster burst shooting with continuous autofocus, and more. Much of this outright speed and power comes from dual quad-core processors, one that is dedicated to the AF, and with a new, beefier battery, CIPA-rated battery life has increased by 25%. . . The Olympus E-M1 Mark II comes with an entirely new autofocus system, featuring 121 on-sensor phase-detection points.

Not only is the E-M1 Mark II Olympus' flagship machine intended to appeal to professional sports and action photographers just like the DSLR flagships, but the E-M1 Mark II's autofocus system behaves very similarly to that of Nikon's 3D Tracking in the D500 - all the while shooting many more frames per second than the Nikon.

the E-M1 II's autofocus system is the best we've seen from a mirrorless ILC. - DPReview

**First image is Akagera, Rwanda 30 minutes before sunrise looking across to the Tanzania border. Olympus 12-100mm f4.0 12mm 5/8 Second, handheld, ISO 800, +0.7 EV, Sat 29 April 2017 5:27:17 GMT.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tord View Post
Anyway, to the topic - EM1 Mark 2. Yesterday I got my hands on a EM1 Mark 2 at the local retailer and tested the AF performance on above lenses. Summary:
  • AF acquisition was faster, hardly any hunting noticed even on challenging subjects. I suppose the cross AF points helped.
  • AF-S accurracy seemed improved. I wasn't allowed to us the body for in-depth testing so cannot present any results.
  • AF-C left a lot to desire, camera was not able to maintain accurate focus with the 300/2.8, even on easy subjects such as moving cars. On the Metabones/Canon it was a joke. Even though focus was acquired and seemed to be maintained, the camera produced totally blurred frames when firing the shutter, you could not see what they were supposed to show.
Based on this I suppose I should consider as next step spending my money on µ4/3 lenses rather than EM1 Mark2 body, since the support for 4/3 lenses still leaves a lot to desire. And keep on using these 4/3 lenses with my trusted E5, which at least focuses correctly even though it is a rather old camera by now.
Both times I have rented the 300mm f/4 PRO or when using the 40-150 PRO with MC-14, I have been enormously pleased with c-af even with BIF in tree branches. See image 4 which at full resolution was very sharp.
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Old Friday 12th May 2017, 09:53   #6
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Hi,

My previous experience of the E-M1 Mark 1 when coupled with 4/3 lenses is that AF is unreliable. Same goes when using it with Metabones and Canon 400/5.6. A summary having used it for 2-3 years:
  • Accuracy is OK on the 50-200 SWD. Not perfect but maybe 50% have correct focus.
  • With the Metabones and Canon 400/5.6 I get around 25% frames with correct focus, these are pin sharp. 25% are a tad OOF, enough to ruin the photos and turn them into record shots. 50% are unacceptable. Furthermore there is a spread of focus between frames in a burst, even when AF supposedly should lock. Something fishy is going on here, I suspect the Metabones is somehow altering the focus.
  • With the 300/2.8 AF accurracy is better, and no spread. However it is not 100% reliable, so to be on the safe side I try to remember shooting several frames with re-focusing in between.
I get similar results when using other EM-1 body.

Anyway, to the topic - EM1 Mark 2.
Yesterday I got my hands on a EM1 Mark 2 at the local retailer and tested the AF performance on above lenses. Summary:
  • AF acquisition was faster, hardly any hunting noticed even on challenging subjects. I suppose the cross AF points helped.
  • AF-S accurracy seemed improved. I wasn't allowed to us the body for in-depth testing so cannot present any results.
  • AF-C left a lot to desire, camera was not able to maintain accurate focus with the 300/2.8, even on easy subjects such as moving cars. On the Metabones/Canon it was a joke. Even though focus was acquired and seemed to be maintained, the camera produced totally blurred frames when firing the shutter, you could not see what they were supposed to show.

Based on this I suppose I should consider as next step spending my money on µ4/3 lenses rather than EM1 Mark2 body, since the support for 4/3 lenses still leaves a lot to desire. And keep on using these 4/3 lenses with my trusted E5, which at least focuses correctly even though it is a rather old camera by now.
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Old Friday 12th May 2017, 18:05   #7
DanC.Licks
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The fact of the mater is that the Mark II and the Pro lenses are made for each other, "a match made in heaven". 4/3 lenses and adapted lenses are a compromise, mixing older with newer technology. C-AF is never going to work for beans with those lenses, so I don't worry about it and get around it as best I can with short bursts in S-AF. C-AF with the Metabones is totally useless, and they pretty much say so themselves.
"AF-C and video autofocus may have unsatisfactory AF performance and/or accuracy. This is a limitation inherent in DSLR lenses, which lack the low latency required for making many fine movements in rapid succession during AF-C and video focusing." I don't know why they also say it works. Maybe it does with other lenses, no idea.
As for Canon 400/5.6/Metabones S-AF accuracy, I would guess I get 75%+ IN-FOCUS. Usually if it misses it is because of a sudden movement, or because I wasn't careful enough framing. If it has time to do it's job, it is bang on. I don't know why Tord has had so much trouble. I have gotten really spoiled by the accuracy.
It is NOT blazing fast and never will be. If my life were to depend on really fast AF I would either invest in the wonderful Pro lenses, or go with a Nikon D-500. Fortunately it doesn't, so I can make the setup pretty much do what I want it to and expect it to. Accepting a systems limitations makes life easier.
That all said, I would love to try the 300/4 Pro some time...
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Old Monday 15th May 2017, 08:09   #8
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One thing that has always bothered me a little is that with heavy lenses on the E-M1s, my left hand is always supporting the lens and I do all the adjustments with the right without changing my grip, EXCEPT for turning the camera on and off which I do rather often to save juice. Solution... (no, not that kind) * The Mark II lets you assign ON/OFF to the Fn Lever! You have two choices, ON either up or down. I have it set to down so that I can turn it on in an instant without having to fumble around with my thumb. As I had ISO/WB assigned to the Fn Lever, I sacrificed AFL/AEL and assigned ISO to Fn1. As I still use Focus Peaking in MF, I didn't want to sacrifice that and assign ISO to Movie.

*The Mark II fires up faster, by the way, if you only have one card in the camera.
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Old Monday 15th May 2017, 09:47   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanC.Licks View Post
...
I don't know why Tord has had so much trouble. I have gotten really spoiled by the accuracy.
...
Something that struck my mind is the mechanical fit of the MB adapter. As I have mentioned before there is a rather pronounced radial play, much more pronounced than I would have expected. The play is both on the lens side and the camera side. Could this indicate there is a risk of axial misaligment, causing focus to change during a burst? The setup is fairly long and even with lens is supported the torque exercised on the mechanical connection is there, and there are variations over time caused by tremors and operating the camera controls.

I can share a video for you to assess how bad it is compared to yours.
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Old Monday 15th May 2017, 11:14   #10
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There is a very slight amount of play in mine, but only radial, and only about 1/2 mm at each joint, which feels pretty normal to me. The lens stays flat against the flanges so there is no axial misalignment possible. I doubt very much that that would cause the camera to change focus in a burst. The controled testing I have done with bursts show no change in focus at all. I am also very careful never to create tension between the body and the lens. I try to support the lens and hold the body as lightly as possibel.
I have yet to see any controlled tests from you, so I can't really voice an opinion, but I myself suspect that changes are due to motion, camera and/or subject and/or vibration. All I know is that Olympus freezes the focus on the first frame unless you are still trying to make C-AF work, (which is just asking for trouble ).
Long lenses accentuate the slightest movement. I have had my Mark II/400 on the gimbal with IS-1 on getting shots of our fledging Blue Tit babies, and I now shoot short bursts of three to five shots. Usually there is one that is better than the rest, but it is never due to focus unless the bird moves, and it doesn't take much to make a noticable difference.

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Old Monday 15th May 2017, 11:34   #11
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Dont know how or even if this could relate but i had a similar problem with a Nikon D7200 and Tamron 150-600,during a burst sequence it would on occasion change from back to front focus for different shots.

For a long time i struggled with OOF shots not really knowing why then i did a burst at a robin on the grass with a worm,it showed the different focus points chosen during the burst.

I never found out why because it was the last of a few problems i had encountered so i returned the lens and got a Sigma 150-600,at least with it working ok it put the blame on the lens not the camera.

Will just add i was using software that would show the focus point so i knew it was on the birds head for all shots.
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Old Monday 15th May 2017, 11:35   #12
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A couple of questions:
1. is there any difference between Image Stabilisation (IS) 1 and IS AUTO?
2. when you fix aperture and ISO, how do you make sure that the shutter speed is fast enough?
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Old Monday 15th May 2017, 13:58   #13
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I have the MB speed booster ultra and it has about 1mm play CAF is next to useless it does try and Sometimes gets there but often just hangs, s af is quit good but slow this is with a 400DO mkII and 600f4 mkII
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Old Monday 15th May 2017, 15:59   #14
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mftmike
I am not so sure about the software that shows the focus point. It shows the one that was selected, either by you or automatically by the camera, but it is not always really what the camera focused on. I have also heard/read complaints about the AF accuracy with the Tamron 150-600. The Sigma Sport I tested was right on. My guess is there was a communication problem between the camera and the lens.
I don't know what Nikon and Canon do, but I do know that Olympus stops all AF communication with the camera in S-AF mode as soon as the shutter button is pressed, and if release priority is off (as it should be, in my opinion) as soon as focus is acquired and the release is triggered.
k...
AUTO IS decides for you which IS you need based on the movements of the camera. If it senses that you are panning, it will select the IS for panning etc. Most of the time it will be on IS 1 anyway. I would just leave it on auto and forget about it. It works so well...
Rob,
do you mean 1 mm radial play? C-AF is not NEXT to useless, it IS useless Not only is it hopelessly slow (good enough for races between snails on Valium) it also completely destroys the burst rate. Those are some pretty fancy lenses you have lying around your place, by the way...

We should keep in mind that AF is not the be-all-to-end-all. It CAN be a life saver, but it can also be a pain. As cameras get smarter and smarter, (and photographers get... ) they want to decide what to focus on, and it is not always the right thing. There are still situations where I will revert to MF even with the Canon 400 because what I want to focus on is not attractive enough for the AF system which tries to focus on something else. Our baby birds are a perfect example. They are nice and soft and fluffy, but the camera prefers the edges of the hole or the bark stuck on the nest box, *
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(focus point according to PhotoMe exif tool)
I have to be really careful and use the single AF box,
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or shift to MF.
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ISO 1600 by the way... the light was not good enough for quick AF. I used a mirror to reflect what I could onto the box.

*This is a bit of an E-M1 Mark II problem due to the nature of the new pdaf system that works much better for some things, but is not fool proof. Has nothing to do with the lens or the adapter.

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Old Monday 15th May 2017, 20:21   #15
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Yes radial Dan and yes I am fortunate to have some nice gear and to be honest took a chance on the Omd setup
mostly for the silent shutter.
It really is a game changer for Owls that come along a bank towards you All Canon cameras iv used have made any Owls turn away even with the reach of a 600 f4 the sound is very quickly picked up .
My last 6 encounters ( outings ) with Owls and the Olympus have had 5 fly right past me within 10ft the 6th I moved just a bit to quick and it saw me a little to early but even that came within 50ft and all the time I'm getting shots .

Note I am very well hidden behind camo netting .
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Old Monday 15th May 2017, 21:30   #16
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The silent shutter is brilliant, not just because it is silent, but also because it is totally vibration free. Even within the mirrorless E-M1 Mark II, the difference is quite noticeable unless there is really good light and you can crank the shutter speed way up, and that is comparing it to the antishock=0 setting.
I have just done a number of hours of controlled testing with a good target and a scale, camera mounted freely in the LensMaster as it would be out in the real world. I tested my Canon 400/Metabones Smart Adapter and my Olympus 50-200 at 200mm and half the distance. Slow shutter speed (around 1/50) to accentuate any movement or vibration.
My findings are basically that I see no variation in the focus between the shots of a burst but I do see differences in clarity due to movement and vibration. If a shot was slightly off, all of the shots in the burst were off by the same amount. I tested silent and AS=0. In Silent, the sharpest shots were accompanied by a couple of real dogs (silent shutter is more sensitive to camera movement), whereas with AS=0 none were as sharp, or as unsharp.
More tomorrow.... getting late and I am getting OLD!
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Old Tuesday 16th May 2017, 19:29   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katastrofa View Post
A couple of questions:
1. is there any difference between Image Stabilisation (IS) 1 and IS AUTO?
Yes. IS-1 will always attempt to compensate for movement of the camera. IS-AUTO can detect that you're panning to follow the action and so won't attempt to correct/fight the panning motion. It's documented in the manual.

Quote:
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2. when you fix aperture and ISO, how do you make sure that the shutter speed is fast enough?
????????????????
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Old Tuesday 16th May 2017, 19:45   #18
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Originally Posted by paulthomas View Post
Yes. IS-1 will always attempt to compensate for movement of the camera. IS-AUTO can detect that you're panning to follow the action and so won't attempt to correct/fight the panning motion. It's documented in the manual.
I know this. My question was in the context of BIF. Rephrasing it: "does it matter for BIF photography if I use IS-1 or IS-AUTO?"
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Old Tuesday 16th May 2017, 20:28   #19
DanC.Licks
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Ah, misunderstood. IS is a crutch; great if you need it, in the way if you don't. If you can get by without it, that is, with your 75-300 at 300 with a shutter speed of 1/600+, you are better off without it. If the light is not so good, leave it on. I only use IS 1, but I am sure AUTO is fine.

One last shot of out fledgling Blue Tits:

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Been fun!
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Old Tuesday 16th May 2017, 21:27   #20
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I use IS auto as I think the camera will know I'm going up and down and left to right, I have had this set form day one seems ok to me .
I like the still image as to me it helps stay on the bird .
Rob.

another Pin sharp shot there Dan.
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Old Wednesday 17th May 2017, 06:21   #21
DanC.Licks
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Thanks Rob,
I think you are right. The new IS is so good! Best not to worry about it...

After a good night's sleep and a nice cappuccino I re-did the last shot.

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