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Old Oct 17, 2011, 6:28 PM   #1
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Default 5 months in the life of our Swan cygnets (7 imgs)

Hi All,

Haven't shot much this past season, but have had the pleasure of watching the mated pair of Mute Swans raise their 3 babies from recent hatchlings to near adulthood.

May -- the babies had recently hatched, and the proud parents were busy showing them where to find the food they would need to grow.






June -- Only about a month later, and the babies had grown significantly, mostly their feet, bodies and necks, but they still had the baby down and tiny wings. This was their clumsy stage, and they were much better off in the water than on land.





Now, they almost look like the adults, except their bills are a muted pink instead of bright orange, and the hump at the top of their bills is not as pronounced as in their parents. Two of the three are now larger than the mom, so I'm assuming that they're males, but it's only been recently that I've noticed the difference in sizes.

The first is what I assume to be the female, and the second is a silent confrontation between one of the presumed males and the dad.





Oh yeah -- The above two were shot with the Q, the first with the standard prime, and the second with the standard 02 zoom at 14.9mm (83mm EQ) + an Oly Tcon 17 (an add-on 1.7x TC). The second was shot at f6.3, so the rumors that the Q's IQ would be destroyed by diffraction over f 2 is just BS. . . as are many of the negative assumptions that have been posted about the Q, IMO. . . just venting a little. . .

I had to get really close to the female for the first, and though she really didn't seem to mind, the dad did, and he chased me away fiercely after I'd taken only a few shots. I was genuinely concerned -- these are really big birds, and I've heard reports of humans being seriously injured by swans protecting their young.

This last is late in the day with the setting sun providing the light, but with the K-5 and FA* 300/4.5. All shots were cropped, PP'd to taste with a bit of levels, low level NR, and sharpening.



As far as the Q goes, I'm still getting acquainted with the little camera. After over 5 years of shooting DSLRs exclusively, it's really a challenge for me to get used to the totally different techniques needed to shoot it well. I've been holding off posting my observations until I can shoot the little guy more effectively more consistently.

I'm also not very used to shooting at such short FL EQs, and haven't been anything close to good at finding interesting things to shoot from this perspective for many years. For shooting my normal genres, I'll really need a K to Q adapter, and we'll see if the Q lives up to the potential advantages I hope to get from it when I can get one. . .

I'll be posting some early impressions and samples pretty soon in the Q forum here, and I'll post here on this forum to point to it for those interested.

Scott
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 9:44 PM   #2
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A lovely series. Cygnets are so cute! I love the "awkward" stage - such a funny look to them. The Q pictures are interesting - there's quite a bit of detail in the feathers in both of them. I'll be interested to see what it will do with your K lenses. I think you are lucky to be able to watch these relatively tame birds bring up their young.
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 11:31 PM   #3
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Beautiful birds...also that little Q seems to be working out very nicely. There is a very interesting link about a fashion photographer using the Q in the Q forum.
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Old Oct 18, 2011, 11:13 AM   #4
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Lovely story Scott.

As far as the Q goes I can see the advantages for you However unless it is my imagination there is a definite (even at web levels) difference in IQ from teh Q shots to the K5 shots - both the detail & DR seem to be lacking in comparison (to be expected naturally).
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Old Oct 18, 2011, 6:13 PM   #5
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Hi Harriet, Les, and Kevin,

Harriet -- Thanks! It's been interesting watching the swans grow. Unfortunately, this has been about the only thing that I've really been able to actually carry through on this summer.

The Q is a challenging camera for me to shoot. The Q mount lenses are nice, but they don't do enough for me, and I am anxious to see what the sensor will do with a variety of my K lenses -- that's really what I bought it for.

Les -- Thanks! I've seen the Adorama fashion stress test series. It'll be interesting to see if the Q catches on with the fashion photographers. It would be a nice coup, but probably not very consequential to overall sales.

Kevin -- There is definitely a difference in IQ, but with these subjects, I never expected it to deliver even close to the level of my DLSRs, especially with the limitations in lenses (from a FL standpoint) for me at this time. Even with birds this big, 135mm EQ is shorter than I would have chosen, and this is the max I can get with the Q at this point, and that's with essentially a consumer zoom plus a less than optimal add-on TC. I'm far from disappointed. I've shot the swans with my DA 55-300, and the shortest FL I ever used to shoot them was for whole family group shots when the cygnets were tiny was @ 160mm IIRC.

The Q -- for me -- should work nicely as a 3.6x TC that doesn't lose any light for long tele work with my K mount lenses. I'm willing to make sacrifices in IQ and convenience (full manual operation with no OVF) to get otherwise impossible FOV EQ/Max aperture combinations.

I bought the Q as a super long tele and super macro accessory for my DSLR system when I can get a K>Q adapter. As a bonus, it's also a more than competent compact camera with interchangeable lenses. So far, I've only been able to use it as the latter, and the IQ is surprisingly good. With some setting tweaks, I can shoot up to ISO 3200 jpegs that need little or no NR at web sizes.

Here's a snap at 3200, 1/50, f1.9 with the standard prime, shot in jpeg, only color corrected a bit and downsized for the web. No other PP. The light source was a single 60 W EQ compact fluorescent to my left.



. . .and a 100% crop near the center, only color corrected, no other PP



pretty remarkable for a compact with a 1/2.3" sensor IMO.

Scott

Last edited by snostorm; Oct 18, 2011 at 6:19 PM.
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Old Oct 18, 2011, 6:58 PM   #6
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Scott - Wonderful series of swan "family portraits!" Also fascinating information about the Q. Sure hope it continues to work well for you, and that you are able to get out for more of your amazing photography!
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Old Oct 18, 2011, 10:00 PM   #7
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That's pretty remarkable for a small sensor - to think I couldn't get that decent a picture with the K10 at ISO 1600!
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