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M43 vs a 'good bird camera'
  
 
stan2
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · M43 vs a 'good bird camera'


I've been shooting birds, including BIF, using a Canon 7D, which is getting pretty dated although it still is good at tracking. That was always one of that camera's strong points. Combined with the 1.6 crop factor, a lot of people liked it for birds (or sports, etc). I see great bird pix taken with M43 gear, but I'm looking for some context from someone who's switched out. For those of you who have gone from using a good bird DSLR rig to M43, how has that worked out for you? What camera/lens are you using? My only experience with M43 has been my trusty little EPL5, which I like for street photos, travel, etc, but not for birds or sports.


Jun 05, 2017 at 04:22 PM
bobbytan
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · M43 vs a 'good bird camera'


This link might help to some degree:

http://mirrorlessplanet.com



Jun 05, 2017 at 04:36 PM
stan2
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · M43 vs a 'good bird camera'


thanks for the link. Some pretty good info there. I don't see the case being made that M43 can replace a decent DSLR rig with even a mid-range lens like a 70-200L for birds. Not selling my Canon gear yet!


Jun 10, 2017 at 05:30 PM
bobbytan
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · M43 vs a 'good bird camera'


m43 is still not there yet for BIF. They have the lenses but not the AF. Sony A9 have the AF but not the native lenses. The next iteration of the E-M1 or flagship camera from Olympus should be good.

stan2 wrote:
thanks for the link. Some pretty good info there. I don't see the case being made that M43 can replace a decent DSLR rig with even a mid-range lens like a 70-200L for birds. Not selling my Canon gear yet!




Jun 10, 2017 at 06:30 PM
newphoto
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · M43 vs a 'good bird camera'


I switched from a 7D II and a 100-400 II Canon to 300 F4 Olympus on a E-M1 body. There was no comparison to the Canon gear for birds in flight. Really slow and inaccurate. I went back to the Canon gear. Now I am contemplating getting an Olympus E-M II and a Panasonic 100-400. Maybe that will be better and a lot lighter!


Jun 11, 2017 at 01:50 PM
bobbytan
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · M43 vs a 'good bird camera'


The E-M1.2 is significantly better than the E-M1 but it's still no match for the 7D II as far as BIF is concerned.

newphoto wrote:
I switched from a 7D II and a 100-400 II Canon to 300 F4 Olympus on a E-M1 body. There was no comparison to the Canon gear for birds in flight. Really slow and inaccurate. I went back to the Canon gear. Now I am contemplating getting an Olympus E-M II and a Panasonic 100-400. Maybe that will be better and a lot lighter!




Jun 11, 2017 at 02:31 PM
Mikehit
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · M43 vs a 'good bird camera'


I have Olympus E-M5 and Panasonic Gx7, with the 100-300 Panaleica and other (shorter) lenses. It is perfectly possible to get good BIF shots if you go old school by which I mean pre-focus and a bit of luck. From what I have seen, the E-M1.2 is much better especially with the 300mm f2.8 or the 100-400 Panaleica. But a lot depends on what you do with the shots. If you mainly share online then they are probably enough.
Also, it is a good idea to look at your library and analyse the metadata - how many BIF shots do you actually take? I haven't yet seen a MFT shot that matches the quality of the 7D2+100-400mkii, but having said that, that is when all the stars align - I am pretty sure I will be the limiting factor more often than the gear!!
And what are your personal standards? DO you want a quality shot of a bird you have seen or do you want the sharpest shot that will make people say WOW!

Also, don't forget, some of the best BIF shots are with the bird flying almost parallel showing an element of both wings and the head slightly turned towards you, and under those conditions the AF system is hardly under stress. If you want to track a hawk in flight as it changes direction that is a different matter....

I am staying with DSLR for now because I want to wring every last bit out of the image, for those rare moments I do get it all right. But that's me...



Jun 12, 2017 at 03:43 PM
bobbytan
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · M43 vs a 'good bird camera'


It's not impossible to do BIF with the E-M1.2 of course .... just that your keeper rate will be significantly lower than a DSLR. Some BIF images with the E-M1.2 + 300/4 lens on Flickr:

https://www.flickr.com/search/?text=BIF%20with%20E-M1%20II&view_all=1

https://www.flickr.com/photos/14869355@N07/


Edited on Jun 13, 2017 at 12:22 AM · View previous versions



Jun 12, 2017 at 04:03 PM
mitesh
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · M43 vs a 'good bird camera'


@arbitrage (Geoff) would be a good person to ask about this topic. He has used almost every Canon body made since the 5D2, and he also has a lot of experience with the Nikon D500. He used my E-M1.2 last month in FL and has posted some BIF images. As a proven shooter, he'd be able to tell you about his brief experience with the E-M1.2 and how it compares to some of the latest DSLRs. Im pretty sure he'd agree that image quality from the E-M1.2 is excellent, but C-AF is definitely a notch below today's Canon and Nikon systems.


Jun 12, 2017 at 09:58 PM
gary0319
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · M43 vs a 'good bird camera'


I moved from a Canon 7d/100-400L combo to now the E-M1 II/ PanLeica 100-400 and couldn't be happier. I was never able to do very well with the 7D, maybe I just wasn't good at it, but my confidence in this Olympus combo as gone way up

I don't use the tracking, but C-AF (single point or 9fp box) with 18 frames per second can get a lot of keepers in a very short period of time.

















Jun 12, 2017 at 10:18 PM
 

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birdied
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · M43 vs a 'good bird camera'


Nicely done Gary!

Birdie



Jun 12, 2017 at 11:23 PM
gary0319
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · M43 vs a 'good bird camera'


birdied wrote:
Nicely done Gary!

Birdie


Thanks Birdie.....

I thought I'd add a couple more since the Ospreys and Eagles are kind of slow movers. The shore birds are faster, but the E-M1/ PL100-400 does a pretty good job


















Jun 13, 2017 at 12:36 AM
stan2
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · M43 vs a 'good bird camera'


those are very nice, Gary. Thanks for the info. I live by a river with a lot of different kinds of birds so I get plenty of chances to shoot them. For now, my 7D is the clear winner over my mirrorless Oly, but it's not a fair contest since the Oly is an EPL5 w/o a viewfinder; just the LCD. But your shots show that the right mirrorless can get the shots. Why have you not been using the tracking? I always liked the way the 7D tracked birds.


Jun 14, 2017 at 04:05 PM
gary0319
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · M43 vs a 'good bird camera'


stan2 wrote:
those are very nice, Gary. Thanks for the info. I live by a river with a lot of different kinds of birds so I get plenty of chances to shoot them. For now, my 7D is the clear winner over my mirrorless Oly, but it's not a fair contest since the Oly is an EPL5 w/o a viewfinder; just the LCD. But your shots show that the right mirrorless can get the shots. Why have you not been using the tracking? I always liked the way the 7D tracked birds.


Well, my problem is not so much the tracking, as is my ability to keep the bird in the frame at longer focal lengths. I just find it better for me to try to "track" by hand.




Jun 14, 2017 at 06:29 PM
bobbytan
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · M43 vs a 'good bird camera'


On the E-M1.2 C-AF works reasonably well ... but C-AF-TR (tracking) does a lousy job.

stan2 wrote:
those are very nice, Gary. Thanks for the info. I live by a river with a lot of different kinds of birds so I get plenty of chances to shoot them. For now, my 7D is the clear winner over my mirrorless Oly, but it's not a fair contest since the Oly is an EPL5 w/o a viewfinder; just the LCD. But your shots show that the right mirrorless can get the shots. Why have you not been using the tracking? I always liked the way the 7D tracked birds.





Jun 14, 2017 at 07:44 PM
gary0319
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · M43 vs a 'good bird camera'


bobbytan wrote:
On the E-M1.2 C-AF works reasonably well ... but C-AF-TR (tracking) does a lousy job.



I agree, the C-AF works pretty well and I have no reason to mess with the tracking for what I shoot



Jun 14, 2017 at 07:50 PM
arbitrage
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · M43 vs a 'good bird camera'


mitesh wrote:
@arbitrage@ (Geoff) would be a good person to ask about this topic. He has used almost every Canon body made since the 5D2, and he also has a lot of experience with the Nikon D500. He used my E-M1.2 last month in FL and has posted some BIF images. As a proven shooter, he'd be able to tell you about his brief experience with the E-M1.2 and how it compares to some of the latest DSLRs. Im pretty sure he'd agree that image quality from the E-M1.2 is excellent, but C-AF is definitely a notch below today's Canon and Nikon
...Show more

Well I can give a few thoughts and I have used all the top Canon bodies and the D500. However, my time with the E-M1.2 was very limited and that doesn't give me a true feel of how it can perform. The limited BIF shooting I did with it was in tough conditions....low/rainy light and quick pick up and react type of shooting...ie I didn't have time to track the bird as it came in from some distance....it came from a short distance so quick acquisition and quick panning was what I had to do. Birds were Cattle Egret and Great egrets against dark cluttered background. (for those that have been this was at Gatorland in FL tracking around the rookery).

I have some good shots from my time with the Olympus....I found the IQ to be excellent on the RAW files but I only shot up to ISO 800 so didn't get an appreciation of when it would be unacceptable to me. I have some hits on the flight shots mostly on the great egrets which were big birds, white birds against black background. I had two sequences of a Cattle Egret taking off almost towards me and success was very low....only one or two just as it took off were in focus....it didn't track (or maybe I didn't track) it well as it flew.

For me I still much prefer the OVF for tracking BIF so that in itself is a reason I haven't laid down cash for a compact Olympus system at this point. But for perched, floating birds the EVF is good and the IQ is great and the camera has lots of good features. But it would not be my choice for BIF.

The D500 and 200-500 or 300PF lenses are where its at for the money for BIF. My 1DX2 is better with Canon prime lenses but that gets very expensive and probably not a consideration.

BUT I now call upon Mitesh to actually give his opinion as he has also owned all the Canon bodies and the D500 (all be it only for a week maybe) BUT he has a lot of experience with the Olympus and I know he spent an entire day shooting BIF with it in Florida (because I was standing beside him).



Jun 17, 2017 at 02:55 PM
k-h.a.w
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · M43 vs a 'good bird camera'


Mitesh where are you? .

K-H.



Jun 17, 2017 at 03:40 PM
MedicineMan404
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · M43 vs a 'good bird camera'


Well I could hand Poof (the better-half) a 1DXii + 500ISii (and I have) or a 7Dii + 400DOii (and I have) but makes no difference; she's not going to touch them. She simply doesn't like the weight and thinks if we put a man on the Moon in 1969 then modern cameras capable of BIF shouldn't have to weight a ton.
She'd also tell you she's quite pleased with her OMD M1ii + 300/4 and really doesn't feel anything else is necessary. Should would also hasten to mention that good light is necessary. Here's a couple of her shots-

Landing by Poofadora, on Flickr

Blue Dive by Poofadora, on Flickr

Dressed up by Poofadora, on Flickr

Osprey by Poofadora, on Flickr

Snail Kite 12 by Poofadora, on Flickr

Osprey 14 by Poofadora, on Flickr

I think Poof would tell you the M1ii + 300/4 is a great birding camera.



Jun 19, 2017 at 03:44 AM
k-h.a.w
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · M43 vs a 'good bird camera'


Fabulous. Thanks for sharing, K-H.


Jun 19, 2017 at 05:17 AM
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