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Old May 10, 2009, 7:23 AM   #1
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Default 510/70 300 first impressions

I spent a little over a year with my 560 and tcon taking shots and learning how to use the controls and finally decided to see if a dslr was for me or not. I have a zoom obsession which is probably necessary if you're into birds or wildlife and didn't have the funds to jump right to the bigma so with limited choices I picked up a 510/70 300.
I really like the feel of it, it's obviously much larger than a superzoom setup but still more than capable of being a carry around outfit. The lens needs light, it thrives on it, and when it gets it it performs very well. As I say I'm a newcomer to dslrs but I'm very pleased that after months of reading reviews and posts I chose this combination. Had it less than a month, here's a couple shots I've taken. The mallard was in very low light, high ISO, and noisy. I have a pretty big learning curve but this is a great setup.
Eric
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Old May 10, 2009, 8:22 AM   #2
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you wrote:
"I have a pretty big learning curve but this is a great setup"
_____________

......practice, practice, practice and yes the 510 w/70-300 Zuiko is a really nice combination and I like the shots you've shared.

Several of us who write in this forum have the Zuiko 70-300 lens working with most all the E series bodies.

If you've not seen but are interested in what other forum members have posted try doing an advanced forum search (see the Search pulldown tab above) for 'TITLE' with the search argument 70-300.

..........thanks for sharing and 'Do Have Fun', let us see more.
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boBBrennan

..........this is my 70-300 mounted on the E-300
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Old May 10, 2009, 9:05 AM   #3
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Congratulations on your getting the E-510/70-300mm system. I've had a lot of fun using that combination over the last couple of years.

And you're right, the lens certainly needs a lot of light. But don't be shy about using higher ISO settings. I regularly shot at 800ISO and found that the noise could be cleaned up quite nicely in PP.

BTW, NeatImage is a good plug-in noise reduction software package that can be used with Photoshop. You can also use it as a stand alone. The stand alone version is a free download. So you can try it without it costing you anything.

Another benefit of the 70-300mm lens is it's ability to do some really nice macro work. It makes the lens quite versatile.

Good first efforts and hope you have a chance to post some more.

Zig
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Old May 10, 2009, 4:51 PM   #4
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Hey Eric

Those are some pretty fine pics to me... the first due to the way the image just blurrs away, no. 2 .. nice detail and it looks pretty sharp and the final is just fab of a BIF, which unlike mine is in focus and you can see the wee birdy!

For the $$$ the 70-300 is a pretty special lens....esp for the IQ that it brings to the table.

Cheers

Harj

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Old May 11, 2009, 9:07 AM   #5
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Thanks guys for the welcome.
A couple questions about the ISO. I haven't gone above 400 yet but my understanding from posts I've read on several forums is that the lens performs best in the F7 to F8 range. Evening light even at 800ISO makes doing BIFs tough, they are pretty dark. I can adjust in CS2 for shadow but that creates a little noise and effects IQ. So am I better off dropping the aperature to 5.6 or so ? How would that effect IQ?
And secondly what type of settings do you guys use normally as well as what modes you find the best. I used manual all the time on the 560 so I could adjust aperature and shutter on the fly but not as easy with the 510 and I find setting the aperature and then using A mode seems to work pretty well as it finds the correct shutter speed.
Eric
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Old May 11, 2009, 12:19 PM   #6
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I'm no expert on shooting birds in flight but I've been working on it for the last 6months. Here is what I've found works for me. I use manual mode, center weighted metering, and with birds in flight, I'll try to use manual focusing with the 70-300mm. Reason being, that it tends to hunt too long to get a bird into focus. I typically focus the lens at infinity or an object that's close to the bird I want to shoot. This allows me to only have to fine tune the lens which can be done rather quickly when the subject comes into an area that I can take a shot. It takes practice to do this and isn't the easiest thing to get the hang of at first. As for ISO, I start at 400 and go up from there with 1600 my ceiling. Ideally, you won't go over 800 but I'd rather have some noise that I can reduce in PP, then not be able to take the shot.

Arpeture mode instead of manual mode is fine. I just feel more comfortable with manual mode because I can control everything.

As for what arpeture to use, and will 5.6 give acceptable results, absolutely. I'd experiment with the lens wide open and work from there.
You're right, f7.1 seems to give the sharpest results but I'd adjust given how much light I have to work with.

Also, shooting birds in flight is one of the hardest things (IMHO) to tackle with a camera. You're somewhat limited, in that, the 70-300mm lens isn't the fastest lens which means you have to push up the ISO as high as is possible-and yes, noise will then become something to contend with. Also, since it has quite a long focal reach from 70mm to 300mm, I've found it's just faster to focus manually. That's not to say you can't take great photos of birds with it. You just have to get comfortable with it's capabilities.

After trying to shoot birds with the 70-300mm, I quickly determined that if I was going to continue to do that I needed to get a faster lens. I bought a used 50-200mm f2.8 ED (older version) and have never looked back. My next purchase is to get the EC-14 TCON which will effectively give me 540mm (35mm equiv).

The 50-200mm is much sharper, faster to AF, and overall, a superior lens.

One last suggestion, a good way to learn the best arpeture settings, shutter speed and ISO, is to run a search for birds on any of the photo sharing websites out there. I happen to use PBase.com so I'm familiar with that Take a look at the galleries and examine, in particular, the EXIF data which will tell you the settings used by the photographer to get the shot.

Here is one that I heartily recommend; it's a gallery posted by Laura Pipkin. She uses an E-510 both with the 70-300mm lens as well as the 50-200mm lens.
http://www.pbase.com/pipkin/great_blue_heron

I'll close by saying that expect to take lots of shots with very few good results.My keeper rate is generally 5 keepers for every 100 shots I take.
I do shoot in continuous burst mode so that increases my shot rate. However, just realize that you'll go through a lot of shots before getting some good ones.

Good luck and most of all ,have fun
Zig
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Old May 11, 2009, 5:04 PM   #7
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Thanks Zig,
I understand most of what you say but I really have no idea how to set it to infinity. I guess I need to read a little.
I bought the 70 300 because it was in my price range since I just bought the 510 also and the 560 and tcon a year ago : ) What I really wanted and I know it's huge is the bigma. Besides birds I like to shoot wildlife and that is the lens that will reach out and touch them. What I'm more than likely going to end up with in the fall is the EC 14 as my add on. Unfortunately with the 70 300 that is really going to limit the aperature settings. I know the 50 200 is very fast and sharp and seems to be the lens of choice for most oly folks but I want as much zoom as possible so either the EC 14 or start saving for the 50 500.
Thanks for the information.
Eric
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Old May 11, 2009, 5:46 PM   #8
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What is not generally known, is that the Olympus Zuiko ED 70-300mm F4-5.6 is actually a Sigma APO 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro(not the non APO 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO) underneath!!!! The general performance of the Sigma APO lens on 35mm cameras and also APS-C DSLRs is sharp in the center, but not very good at all around the edges, up towards 300mm.
However, I think that Olympus realized this, and that the 2x crop of the 4/3 sensor eliminated most of the problems by cropping them out!!! So this lens is used very much in its "sweet spot".

So if you are on a tight budget, you could use an older example of the Sigma APO 70-300mm, with the aperture ring(so that you can control the aperture from the lens). Probably the best would be one with a Nikon mount, paired with a Nikon to 4/3 adapter!!!!
(I guess a new Pentax mount one would have an aperture ring, but I find some Pentax mount lenses can damage the 4/3 cameras pins, so I tend to steer clear of these.)

Oh, and you will have to focus manually!!!!!

Last edited by dnas; May 11, 2009 at 9:26 PM.
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