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Old Jan 25, 2014, 5:31 PM   #1
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Default A Bird Shooter I Am Not....

But I had to give it a go today and try out how well someone like myself with little experience could handle it.

E-M1 and 75-300 M. Zuiko, near the dam at White Rock Lake in North Dallas, I also had the 2x digital tele extender on and some of these birds were far enough away using 300mm with the 2x extension was the only way to get them. I also used the lower burst speed of 6.5 frames per second because the E-M1 will continue trying to focus and give you an image to follow at that rate.

I played around with the focus tracking but when used with birds flying against busy backgrounds the camera had a hard time staying locked on, so I wound up using the regular continuous AF and selected a group of 6 AF boxes which, with the 2x digital TC turned on covers much of the screen, which was perfect. After a few minutes it actually started getting fairly easy to follow and get several in-focus shots over short bursts. Tomorrow I'm going back with the 50-200 four-thirds Zuiko to see how it does.

Shot raw+jpeg to see how the two sets of files would compare. In processing the raw files, all I did was crop with no re-sizing like the camera does. The long side of an E-M1 file is 4608 pixels, so cropping to 2304 pixels gives you the equivalent of the 2x digital zoom. Not re-sizing like the camera did gave me files of around 1.7-2.3MB instead of the 6-8MB like the in-camera JPEG's, but using the raw files also gave me the leeway of frames the subject more to my liking than just having to settle for the jpeg, and with moving subjects for me, that can always be an issue.

In-camera JPEG..

raw file, with a small adjustment to the framing..

In-camera jpeg..

Raw file, without cropping all the way to 2x and adjusting the composition..

In-camera jpeg..

Raw file, with close to the same framing..

In-camera jpeg..

Raw file..

In-camera jpeg..

And the raw file..

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Old Jan 25, 2014, 6:20 PM   #2
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These are really good for a novice run, so much better than mine were when I had a go a couple weeks ago. I LOVE the mallard drakes, it is a very nice shot.

I was out for a bit today at Randol Mill looking for the albino squirrel family but did not find them. Instead I did find a Sharp Shinned Hawk high in a tree so with the 70-300 + X2-digi made a few shots, I am getting hooked at using the X2. It is amazing compared to the EC-20 which as everyone knows does not work on the 70-300 worth a bit.

I may go to Lake Arlington tomorrow at Bowman Springs where there are many mallards and mud hens plus 'gulls' so there is a lot of flying going on there when people show to feed them.
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Old Jan 25, 2014, 6:47 PM   #3
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Those are excellent Greg. Well done. Does not look like you need any more practice!

FYI: To save you from a lot of experimenting, some of the birders on other forums seem to like the 9 spot small box focus points on the M1.

Also for birds in flight tracking, there is advice that M1 tracking works better at:
".....Best captures are using contrast +2 and Vivid filter - the camera uses these settings to improve definition of the moving object, using format raw does not save +contrast or Vivid filter but jpeg does "

While I don't have the M1 to verify, I would think that is probably accurate, as I think that my E-3 does better at BIF tracking if the contrast is turned up.
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Old Jan 26, 2014, 1:43 AM   #4
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Those are really nice. Great stop action. I like the position of the wings on the pelican (?) and the water droplets. And the mallard shot is outstanding the way they pop in front of the trees. Almost 3D.
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Old Jan 26, 2014, 6:54 PM   #5
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These are really nice Greg, you did an excellent job! I would say that I prefer the RAW in all but the second pair. It seems like there is more detail in the RAW version in each case and I think especially the gulls in the air look really sharp.

I can't wait to see how you do with the 50-200!
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Old Jan 27, 2014, 10:56 AM   #6
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I agree with the others, very nice shots. I am surprised at the sharpness from an inexpensive lens like the 70-300.
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Old Jan 27, 2014, 1:22 PM   #7
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VERY nice shots Greg
I really like the Mallard fly bys
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Old Jan 27, 2014, 2:09 PM   #8
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G'day Greg

A most impressive set of image-pairs
Your camera work & compositional eye are very evident here as well

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Old Jan 31, 2014, 1:40 PM   #9
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Prefer the raw processed files but find the OOC of the mallards more to my liking. And the more I look at the two, the less difference I see -- but still prefer the jpeg.

Seriously Greg, if this is you saying you are not a bird shooter, then this is me saying I'll NEVER be a bird shooter -- can't even get a monstrous car in focus
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Old Jan 31, 2014, 2:59 PM   #10
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Those are really good shots Greg, looks sharp to me and DOF separation is very appealing.


The mallards in fly (RAW) is my favorite.
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