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Birds in Flight OVF vs EVF

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Old Wednesday 29th April 2015, 01:24   #1
Paul Tavares
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Canada
Posts: 299
Birds in Flight OVF vs EVF

I recently changed from a camera with an Electronic Viewfinder to one with an Optical Viewfinder and thought I would share my experience with respect to photographing birds in flight. Whenever I've read a post as to the performance of a mirrorless camera vs a DSLR for photographing birds in flight the discussion quickly goes to the merits and speed of the auto focus system of the cameras.

I've found no perceptible difference in auto focus speed between my previous camera, Panasonic GH3 and the new one a Nikon D5500 when photographing birds on a branch or other objects.

What did surprise me was the quickness of the OVF in finding the bird in the viewfinder. This has nothing to do with the speed of the autofocus but is an inherent characteristic of the always on quality of the OVF. The bird in flight may be a mere fuzzy blob in the viewfinder but it serves the purpose of locating it in the viewfinder. The AF does the rest. With the EVF there is very little in the viewfinder until the AF finds the bird at which time you can get the final shot. In my case this was always a little late or the bird ended up being a small part of the total frame.

I've gotten a few a acceptable birds in flight with the EVF but my hit rate is a lot better with the new camera and this is without any serious practice.

I'm not promoting either or, in fact it would be nice if you could get a camera with both an EVF and an OVF as there is no technical reason why this cannot be done. But my own view is that the time to frame the target needs to be considered in the total time need to frame, AF and shoot. The initial acquisition happens faster with an OVF, at least for me anyway.

The attached is a gull in flight which I would not have been able to capture with my previous camera. The original image is 6000x4000 and I cropped it to a square format 4000x4000.

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Last edited by Paul Tavares : Wednesday 29th April 2015 at 01:26. Reason: typo
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