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Light challenges on water - Filter focus issues Lumix G3

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Old Wednesday 22nd August 2012, 22:58   #1
SeattleDan
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Light challenges on water - Filter focus issues Lumix G3

On a pond the other day, trying to photo a Green Heron, in late morning, I had trouble getting focus. I switched from the UV Filter to the CP I've never used, and the problem was even worse.

Also, I live on a river, so trying to shoot a Blue Heron yesterday, I got a milky haze and inability to get crisp focus. I was able to reproduce the effect without the UV filter.

Reading on a tech site or two, I see that with a digital camera, they say, if there is a lot of light contrast, (as in reflected light on water), there can be bleed over, so to speak, creating that milky haze.

I think this will always be a challenge shooting waterfowl and want a fix. The G3 will NOT focus with the CP I have now, and at longer telephoto, (100-300 lens), I think the UV creates a challenge too; but, as stated, I have the problem with or without.

I'm "challenged" alright.

thoughts on this, for someone five rungs under a "novice?"

PS... that Green Heron totally made my day. Bad photos but what a gorgeous bird... very exotic for my "neck of the woods."
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Old Thursday 23rd August 2012, 20:44   #2
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Sorry that you had problems. I have seen so many threads about the ill effects of filters on digital cameras that I have chosen to go without any on my setup (GH2 + 100-300). I think to some extent that your result can be improved in postprocessing by increasing contrast (in my experience best done by pulling the curve into a slight S shape). The other question I have is the second image, what were the settings? looks a bit like a low light, high iso image?

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Old Saturday 25th August 2012, 13:09   #3
iveljay
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When you shot the second shot was the sun just out of frame, i.e. in front of you, it looks somewhat like it could be extreme flare aggravated by muck on the lens or filter..
Do you use a lens hood?

As with Neils I ditched almost all my filters when I went mainstream with digital. Keeping them spotless was a ful time job, especialy the big square ones.

I have just cropped off the out of focus flower head (I'm assuming that wasn't caused by the lighting problem) and run the image through a photo editor, as Neils said it seems to be mainly a lack of contrast that can be corrected to improve the image considerably, this could well be flare related.

Always liked Herons - very photogenic and not easily scared, especially from a boat.

John

Last edited by iveljay : Saturday 25th August 2012 at 13:23. Reason: update
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Old Sunday 26th August 2012, 22:02   #4
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Thank you both very much for your input. I have a lot on my plate today, but will find these images and get the details. I'm hoping this week, I'll have a scope to improve my hopes of getting these more difficult shots. thanks again and I'll be back here.
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Old Thursday 30th August 2012, 16:20   #5
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Not that this will always solve your problem...but are you using a lens hood? With long lenses like that, especially when shooting partially into the sun, a lens hood can really help cut back on the flare/fade effect like you got in your second shot. Filters in general can often add extra flare, ghosting, haze, reflections, etc, so like others here I tend to usually shoot without a filter...however if and when you do, having a good, deep lens hood especially for a telephoto, will usually cut back significantly on those issues.

As for the occasional blooming/blowout from highlights on water, I find that underexposing a bit will reduce the hazing effect, and can also help get focus if you're using a CDAF based focus system...you have to find a pattern, or good highlight area to focus on, but underexposing the shot takes that milky haze away - either use your AE lock to lock in underexposure, or use EV to dial back -1 or -2 EV. Then in post processing, it's pretty simple to bring the brightness back up.
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Old Thursday 30th August 2012, 16:35   #6
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Thanks Zack

That helps me understand a little better and gives me some work around. Something I'm learning about this lumix 100-300mm, is that it's soft when fully extended, in better light, stopping it down helps some, it's not the solution. Close in, I get some fabulous shots (mostly because my camera is smarter than I am), but where I want to be for birds... they'd better be close.
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Old Thursday 30th August 2012, 19:44   #7
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You're welcome. I normally have been shooting birds with DSLRs for many years, usually with fairly long 300mm to 500mm lenses and teleconverters, but recently the past year or so I've been bringing along a mirrorless camera as a second body, with a 55-210mm lens and a 1.7x teleextender. The mirrorless camera has a CDAF focus system like your G3, and I did have to adjust some of my shooting parameters and settings from my DSLR in order to optimize results with the mirrorless camera. I've definitely figured out that contrast detect autofocus can be just as fast at acquiring in good light and always accurate, but can also be more easily thrown off by poor contrast, haze, flare, etc...so it just required understanding that and working around it through underexposing on occasion, and using spot focus rather than wide and directing it where I wanted it.
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Old Friday 7th September 2012, 17:12   #8
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Here's seconding Zackedawg's opinion on spot focusing ( (.) on your menu), which is the setting I use most often on my Lumix G1. I too am relatively new to bird photography, coupling the Lumix G1 + Novoflex adapter + a legacy 28mm Canon prime lens to a 17mm Baader Hyperion Eyepiece + a Pentax ED 80mm spotting scope. Needless to say, all I shoot is manual.

My first impression of your photos is that they were taken too far away - filters aside, you'll need to get much closer to your subject to to get the detail you're looking for. When the subject is too close, I take out a legacy Canon 300mm, and may even attach a 2'xs extender if need be. 15 to 30 meters max is what http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/digiscopingbirds/ suggests as being "a rule of thumb" for capturing detailed images.

My initial photographic attempts can be seen at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/madowl/...7631452234592/

Have fun!

MD

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Old Friday 7th September 2012, 18:54   #9
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@njlarsen - my computer crashed and I still don't know if I can extricate my files... so no details on the photo, but it is unlikely I had the iso up on the second photo. While it was in the shade across the river, the day was lightly overcast with diffuse light, not dark. Again, I suspect the lumix 100-300mm is just soft at full extension. I think I didn't have my grampa glasses and magnified focusing was not as accurate as I thought. I've recently taken to keeping a high magnification pair of glasses with the camera and it's helping. Also, at full extension like that, the camera's sensor does tend to permit bleed over, some how, evidently. So this isn't all on me, or the lens.

@ Mad Owl, those are fabulous photos. You must live in Florida. I sold my scooter a couple of weeks ago and bought a Stellarvue Nighthawk, that's been upgraded with the LOMO super-apo glass. I got a good deal on it, used and when I first looked through it, the clarity just knocked my socks off. I need a longer extension tube for it, but I have the adapter and I'm feeling my way around with it. In failing light, at 150 yards (I'm guessing), I got these duck photos night before last. The day before I got the adapter, I had tried to photo a Solitary Sandpiper in the same location and could barely make out the shape of it... it was so soft. At 75 yards, this Canadian filled a large portion of the frame. I had to crop and reduce to 75%. Yes, it is great fun. I could have picked a less expensive hobby, (fixed income and not much at that) but admiring these creatures brings delight to my life on a daily basis.
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Old Friday 7th September 2012, 19:15   #10
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I too have seen bleeding over, but mostly in jpgs directly from the camera, going from RAW on my GH2 produces better results in those very high contrast situations where bleeding can occur.

I have previously read that the lens is less sharp at full zoom than below, but I have not seen much to support that. What I have seen is that if I take ten shots, normally one is better than the others. Remember that at that kind of reach depth of field is razor thin, so you need to nail it. My photos are here in BF, the last couple of hundreds with GH2+100-300: http://www.birdforum.net/gallery/sho...r/7427/cat/500

Niels
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Old Friday 7th September 2012, 21:31   #11
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I've gotten great shots with the 100-300, especially closer than 40 yards... and actually, even fully extended if the subject is close. If I don't find a fast lens under 150mm that gives me the same reach I now use the 300mm for, then I will definitely keep it. I'm wanting to take photos under canopy and in light challenged situations, like your forest in Dominica. I studied Dominica for a few months one time online, thinking seriously of taking my little pension and relocating. It's just a paradise. We have light challenges here as well, in the Great Northwest, with our temperate Rainforest. Since getting this telescope, Ive been very excited about training myself more with the camera. You have an extensive group of photos there, all fabulous. I am a great admirer of this work, and could slide show people's portfolios for hours without boredom.
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