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Jpidgeon Tuesday 8th November 2016 08:12

Advice on best camera/lens combo
 
I've used Canon DSLRs but find them, with lenses too heavy to carry about. I tried bridge cameras, Canon SX40 then Lumix FZ1000 but am not happy with the image quality so I'm considering a CSC.

From my research I think the best choice for bird photography would be either Panasonic or Olympus, with the 100-300 or 75-300 lenses, or maybe the Panasonic 100-400, but that may be a bit too heavy.

Any advice on cameras or lenses would be great. Also is it advisable to stick to the same manufacturer for the body and lens or is mixing and matching equally acceptable?

Thanks

nikonmike Tuesday 8th November 2016 11:03

3 Attachment(s)
Your choice is about right as the smaller 4/3 sensor will keep the lens size and weight down,as to which one until the other day i would have said possibly the GX8, using electronic shutter (using the normal shutter with some lenses can induce shutter shock)yesterday i got a Olympus em-10mk11 as a second body and to be honest its surprised me.
I would now say get the EM10MK11 (unless you can run to the EM1 or EM1MK11) and spend more on lenses,i used Nikon with a 150-600 and find the Panasonic 100-400 a doddle to carry after that gear.If you go with Panasonic lenses and Olympus body you have the best mix IMO,if you go with Olympus bodies and there lenses they dont have stabilization in the lenses and the body one starts to run out by 200m
A few shots from this morning with the 10mk11 and 100-400

Jim M. Tuesday 8th November 2016 13:33

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jpidgeon (Post 3480692)

From my research I think the best choice for bird photography would be either Panasonic or Olympus, with the 100-300 or 75-300 lenses, or maybe the Panasonic 100-400, but that may be a bit too heavy.

Any advice on cameras or lenses would be great. Also is it advisable to stick to the same manufacturer for the body and lens or is mixing and matching equally acceptable?

Both the panasonic 100-400 and the Olympus 300mm f4 have in-lens stabilization that works in tandem with stabilization of the newer bodies of their respective brands to provide even better stabilization. So if you go with one of those lenses having a body from the same manufacturer is an advantage. I have both those lenses and don't find either too heavy to carry for long periods with a shoulder strap--though the panasonic is noticeably lighter and occasionally I need to switch shoulders with the Olympus because of slight muscle fatigue. The extra reach (requires the teleconverter for the Olympus) is defintely helpful for bird photography vs. the 300mm zooms. And both are better optically at the long end.

Jpidgeon Tuesday 8th November 2016 15:54

Thanks for the advice. I'm still a little unclear about the image stabilisation. If I were to buy an Olympus body and a Panasonic lens, how would the image stabilisation work? Sorry if this is a stupid question, I'm just trying to get to grips with the technology.

Jim M. Tuesday 8th November 2016 16:05

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jpidgeon (Post 3480868)
Thanks for the advice. I'm still a little unclear about the image stabilisation. If I were to buy an Olympus body and a Panasonic lens, how would the image stabilisation work? Sorry if this is a stupid question, I'm just trying to get to grips with the technology.


Good question. With an Olympus body and a panny lens you can use either the stabilization of the body or the lens, but not both. It's not a big difference between having both working in tandem, but there is a an improvement that allows you to even lower shutter speeds. (Don't believe the tandem option is available with the older 300mm zoom lenses btw). I use my oly body with my panny lens and use the stabilization of the lens alone and consider it to be quite good.

njlarsen Tuesday 8th November 2016 17:09

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim M. (Post 3480872)
Good question. With an Olympus body and a panny lens you can use either the stabilization of the body or the lens, but not both. It's not a big difference between having both working in tandem, but there is a an improvement that allows you to even lower shutter speeds. (Don't believe the tandem option is available with the older 300mm zoom lenses btw). I use my oly body with my panny lens and use the stabilization of the lens alone and consider it to be quite good.

For especially those that have less experience: IS (in body or in lens or combined) can allow you to get a sharp picture of something that is standing still for the period that the shutter is open. Sometimes a bird actually is still for short periods, but at other times they move -- in the second case, only faster shutter can freeze the action, IS will not help.

Niels

njlarsen Tuesday 8th November 2016 17:13

Quote:

Originally Posted by nikonmike (Post 3480752)
Your choice is about right as the smaller 4/3 sensor will keep the lens size and weight down,as to which one until the other day i would have said possibly the GX8, using electronic shutter (using the normal shutter with some lenses can induce shutter shock)yesterday i got a Olympus em-10mk11 as a second body and to be honest its surprised me.
I would now say get the EM10MK11 (unless you can run to the EM1 or EM1MK11) and spend more on lenses,i used Nikon with a 150-600 and find the Panasonic 100-400 a doddle to carry after that gear.If you go with Panasonic lenses and Olympus body you have the best mix IMO,if you go with Olympus bodies and there lenses they dont have stabilization in the lenses and the body one starts to run out by 200m
A few shots from this morning with the 10mk11 and 100-400

If jpidgeon would like to stick with panasonic for both lens and camera, I would currently favor the G80/81/85 (depending on which one they market where). No, I have not tried it, but the reviews certainly make me lean that way at the moment.

Niels

Jpidgeon Tuesday 8th November 2016 17:24

Thanks Niels,
I think I'm now leaning towards an Olympus body as they seem to be generally liked, and if I can stretch to it, the Panasonic 100-400 lens. Any recommendations for best choice for camera body? I'm only interested in stills, not video

njlarsen Tuesday 8th November 2016 17:42

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jpidgeon (Post 3480906)
Thanks Niels,
I think I'm now leaning towards an Olympus body as they seem to be generally liked, and if I can stretch to it, the Panasonic 100-400 lens. Any recommendations for best choice for camera body? I'm only interested in stills, not video

I have no experience with Oly camera bodies. Nikonmike recommended the 10-ii in a previous post, that will be the cheapest one. I am deferring my decision until I see more about the AF experience in the different new models (oly and pana). My camera through several years have been a pana GH2.

Niels

Jim M. Tuesday 8th November 2016 19:24

The only Olympus body I've owned is the EM-1, which came out in 2013. Really like the ergonomics. It's about to be replaced by the EM-1 mk II, which will be available in December for the princely sum of $2000 US. It will then be the best (and most expensive) Olympus camera available. I've no experience with the other Olympus m4/3 cameras, but many are pretty similar. No reason not to consider Panasonic as well; they have a more user-friendly menu system than Olympus. The GH-5, their new flagship, is supposed to come out in a few months.

nikonmike Wednesday 9th November 2016 05:47

From what i understand the next step after the 10mk11 is the 5mk11 and i dont think its as up to date as the 10,one thing you could consider and its on my possible list is a S/H EM1 from somewhere like Wex with a 12 month warranty for about 500

http://www.wexphotographic.com/used-...240-m173-r4003

Try to spring for the 100-400 if you can,any other lens could leave you wishing you had bought the 100-400,its not just the IQ and the reach it has a faster focus motor in it.
If you cant then there is not a lot wrong with the 100-300 or 70/75?-300

dalat Wednesday 9th November 2016 10:23

I hope it's ok to jump in with a question...

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim M. (Post 3480801)
Both the panasonic 100-400 and the Olympus 300mm f4 (...) I have both those lenses

Not many people out there who own both, so it would be nice to get some impressions from you using these for bird photography? E.g. How does the autofocus performance compare for birds in flight or fast moving warblers? Does the Panasonic have enough light in dark tropical forests?

I'm also thinking a bit to moving up from a bridge cam, and naturally the Panasonic with its better portability and lower price is the most attractive option for an upgrade. I just wonder if the the step up is big enough, or if I soon would want the Oly or even DSLR...

Thanks for your thoughts! Florian

nikonmike Wednesday 9th November 2016 13:00

AF ability will depend on the camera model and to some extent the lens,in theory the best kit would be the Panasonic GX8 and 100-400,or without being silly the Olympus EM1 (right i know i said without being silly)the Olympus 300mm pro.the first one is around 2000 and the second 3000.
Gives us an idea of your budget

njlarsen Wednesday 9th November 2016 13:37

Florian, I moved up from the FZ18 to a GH2 w the 100-300 several years ago. Using RAW and a decent raw converter, the high iso performance is so much better than my old FZ18 that the f5.6 at the long end is no problem even in tropical forest. The 100-400 is only 1/2 stop slower at the longest end and the up to date cameras have improved at least one stop over my GH2. By now, what we are all waiting for is a really good tracking performance for BIF in a m4/3 camera. The em1-ii and the promised GH5 might have that kind of tracking (either 1 or both). Of the other pana cameras, I would personally at the moment lean G80/81/85 and not GX8 though the first of these two still are not in the hands of real users.

Niels

Jim M. Wednesday 9th November 2016 14:34

Quote:

Originally Posted by dalat (Post 3481225)
I hope it's ok to jump in with a question...



Not many people out there who own both, so it would be nice to get some impressions from you using these for bird photography? E.g. How does the autofocus performance compare for birds in flight or fast moving warblers? Does the Panasonic have enough light in dark tropical forests?

I'm also thinking a bit to moving up from a bridge cam, and naturally the Panasonic with its better portability and lower price is the most attractive option for an upgrade. I just wonder if the the step up is big enough, or if I soon would want the Oly or even DSLR...

Thanks for your thoughts! Florian

I have not done formal tests, so not sure how useful my comments will be.

I probably would have just bought the Panasonic/Leica zoom, but I wound up with both because I was going on a trip and only the Olympus was available at the time. I had never used a prime telephoto lens before, and decided after the trip that without a zoom I was going to be missing some shots in key situations. My practice now is to generally stick with the Olympus, but switch to the zoom when I am viewing wildlife from a vehicle (e.g. boat or car), or when I expect animals to be close, or large animals to be at medium-range, such as around a lodge where they are accustomed to people. The specs of the Olympus with teleconverter also make it slightly preferable when you are at a distance--40mm more reach and slightly wider aperture.

My impression is that the image quality between the two is quite close. I think in ideal conditions the Olympus is going to give you more of a “wow factor” in terms of being tack sharp and contrasty, but I've been very happy with the results from the Panasonic as well.

As for focusing, I seem to have a problem with getting the Olympus to autofocus when my camera wakes up from sleep mode, e.g. sometimes I have to resort to firing off a shot before it will focus. Not sure if this is a problem with my camera or my settings or the lens. I have not noticed a big difference in autofocus between the two lenses otherwise, except that, obviously, birds in flight are easier to acquire in the viewfinder if you can be zoomed out first. I seem to have mis-focus problems with both lenses similar to what I had with the 100-300 mm Panasonic, which was my previous zoom lens. But I find these easier to correct on the Olympus because I can switch to manual focus simply by sliding the focus ring on the camera forward; the zoom has a switch near the base of the lens which is harder to find when you are looking at a bird.

As for speed, I typically use the teleconverter with the Olympus, so it is at F5.6. (I find the extra reach more beneficial than a somewhat wider aperture). Inside rainforest, I try to take advantage of the dual image stabilization by switching to much lower shutter speeds than I used to use, even down to 1/30. I find shooting with burst mode you can usually get a decent shot of even a fast moving bird at slower shutter speeds, since almost all birds pause briefly when moving. I take a similar approach with the Panasonic, but do not push the shutter speed quite so low because I do not have the dual image stabilization on my camera for that lens. If I go on night walks where I anticipate taking photos of spotlighted animals, I will remove the teleconverter and take advantage of the faster lens.

Hope this helps.

dalat Wednesday 9th November 2016 14:53

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim M. (Post 3481297)
Hope this helps.

Thanks Jim, Niels and Mike, that helps a lot!

As I'm coming from a cheap bridge camera and am not yet used to the hefty prices of better photo gear, of course budget is an issue and therefore makes me look at the panasonic kit first. However, if I'd then feel soon the need to further upgrade to the Oly 300, going for the cheaper pana kit would be a waste of money then as well. However, from what you say, the risk seems not to be that big.

I'm mainly a birder not a photographer, but have come to like the record shots and occasional nice pics from my FZ200, which however has it's obviously limits in speed and IQ. So I think about something better, but don't want to give up too much on the portability of the bridge. I don't feel much need for a zoom, as I see myself taking pics almost always at the long end of the bridge...

So what I take from your comments is that the 100-400 is very usuable, including in low light situations. Also it would be worthwhile to wait for the new bodies to be out and used, to know what they can do (fine, I'm not in a hurry anyway).

Thanks again!
Florian

njlarsen Wednesday 9th November 2016 17:18

A year ago, I was in the Galapagos. I certainly would not have been able to get everything with a fixed 300, many of the birds and other animals were too close. Same for large animals in South Africa when I was there several years ago. In other cases, yes I mostly use the full zoom.

Niels

HermitIbis Thursday 10th November 2016 08:47

Quote:

Originally Posted by dalat (Post 3481225)
I'm also thinking a bit to moving up from a bridge cam, and naturally the Panasonic with its better portability and lower price is the most attractive option for an upgrade. I just wonder if the the step up is big enough, or if I soon would want the Oly or even DSLR...

You should also consider the Nikon V2/70-300 CX combination. I had posted about my experiences here. After using a bridge camera ("superzoom") for four years I find this combo almost perfect for my needs. For Euro 800 (used) I got a silent, <1kg, fast AF camera that can shoot first-rate BIF at 15 frames per second. In comparison to my Canon DSLR, the Nikon V2 has the easier handling (much more "forgiving" if I select dubious settings, if you know what I mean).

There are minor flaws in the Nikon One system: low light capability isn't stellar (but of course better than bridge cameras), the smaller 1-inch sensor requires post-processing with editing software to reduce the noise (e.g. DxO Optics Pro for about Euro 100). If you like to shoot macro, you'd need an additional lens, the 30-110mm plus extension tubes (about Euro 130).

dalat Thursday 10th November 2016 12:35

Quote:

Originally Posted by HermitIbis (Post 3481617)
You should also consider the Nikon V2/70-300 CX combination. I had posted about my experiences here. After using a bridge camera ("superzoom") for four years I find this combo almost perfect for my needs.

Thanks a lot for throwing in this option, hadn't considered this at all. I also wonder how the new 1'' sensor bridge cams (RX10iii or FZ2000) would compare.

However, I feel rather like just going for the best kit at once, shell out the money and then not worry any more for quite a while (the m4/3 with a 100-400 lens is about the biggest gear I currently can imagine to lug around). I did this with binoculars, just bought a Leica straight away, which I think saved me quite some money, compared to slowly climb the ladder and upgrade in steps. Not sure though if the same logic can be applied to photo gear, with the much higher speed of technical development.

HermitIbis Thursday 10th November 2016 16:18

Quote:

Originally Posted by dalat (Post 3481688)
I feel rather like just going for the best kit at once, shell out the money and then not worry any more for quite a while (the m4/3 with a 100-400 lens is about the biggest gear I currently can imagine to lug around).

Excellent philosophy. :king:
A brandnew 4/3 model combined with the very recent lens PanaLeica 100-400 costing 4-5 times as much as the kit I suggested will probably not disappoint you. Actually I am convinced that it is superior in most respects: connectivity, bracketing, much better ISO and much else. But since you explicitly mentioned birds in flight, it seemed worth to mention the Nikon1 which is known as a highly capable BIF tool, due to its low weight, fast AF and 15-60 fps using the silent electronic shutter.

My advice would be to wait for reviews of this new MFT that actually shows good BIF pictures. Even better would be a detailed BIF comparison test for these two set-ups.

nikonmike Friday 11th November 2016 05:50

1 Attachment(s)
I use electronic shutter on my GX8,the rolling shutter effect with a panned shot containing a vertical can look awful,its called rolling shutter effect,its not just a few cameras its a down side to the electronic shutter,it only happens when panning,here is a reject i kept to show the effect,some one will come along and say it doesn't happen to them,well research it if in doubt.

nikonmike Friday 11th November 2016 06:23

1 Attachment(s)
Just found another example of why you should avoid cameras that use electronic shutters (taken on my GX8),look at the small posts in the background,yes i could PP this one but imagine it was a tree.
I do share HermitIbis love of the Nikon V2,although i am selling mine as i no longer need a small camera since going to m4/3.

njlarsen Friday 11th November 2016 13:09

Quote:

Originally Posted by nikonmike (Post 3482029)
I use electronic shutter on my GX8,the rolling shutter effect with a panned shot containing a vertical can look awful,its called rolling shutter effect,its not just a few cameras its a down side to the electronic shutter,it only happens when panning,here is a reject i kept to show the effect,some one will come along and say it doesn't happen to them,well research it if in doubt.

In the Robin Wong review of the Oly 1-ii, he describes why there is much less rolling shutter in that camera than in mk-1: the read out of the sensor happens about 5x faster, so the situations where the rolling shutter is visible are much fewer.

Niels

Jim M. Friday 11th November 2016 13:58

Quote:

Originally Posted by nikonmike (Post 3482032)
Just found another example of why you should avoid cameras that use electronic shutters (taken on my GX8),

Hi Mike. Just wanted to clarify something for the newer folks who maybe reading this thread. AFAIK, all m4/3 cameras have the option of using a mechanical or an electronic shutter. There would be any reason to avoid a camera simply because it has an option.

Moreover, in addition to Niels point about reduced rolling shutter effect in the EM-1 mk ii, reviews of the Panasonic G80/G85 indicate the shutter shock issue with its mechanical shutter has been virtually eliminated (think the same is true with the new Olympus), which eliminates one of the main reasons for resort to an electronic shutter.

dalat Friday 11th November 2016 14:22

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim M. (Post 3482200)
shutter shock issue with its mechanical shutter

What's that?


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