Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Nov 7, 2007, 7:35 AM   #21
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

peripatetic wrote:
Quote:

I'm not convinced how useful AI Servo is with (small) birds myself (from my vast range of inexperience).
For small birds I agree - but when most people talk "Birds in Flight" they generally mean birds flying free in flight which USUALLY means larger birds - herons, hawks, eagles, gulls etc. Birds that are moving through various focal planes. That's why BIF is VERY different than shooting static birds. Your shot is a perfect illustration of the type of shot where servo would have NO benefit. I think we can both agree neither of us are birders. Now, NHL has stated AI-Servo isn't really useful. But, I know Ericuses it and considers it very important. Not sure where the other birders fall. My point is - my opinion, your opinion and TCAV's opinion don't hold a whole lot of water here - WE DONT SHOOT BIF. And NHL has never used (to my knowledge) an Oly camera and bigma. So I question how he could know it does a good job?

But comments like this:

Quote:
If he wants tophotograph birds in flight, the Olympus is definately the way to go
are, IMO very inappropriate. TCAV admitedly doesn't shoot BIF and doesn't use Oly. The argument posted was this was the "way to go" because it was the lightest solution. But light doesn't necessarily mean quality. NHL would argue that it's the best because it has the smallest sensor. But that doesn't necessarily mean quality. Quality - especially in difficult shooting situations should be based upon actual photographic evidence and first hand experience. I'm trying to be consistent here - just like I advise sports shooters to get advice from people that actually shoot sports AND preferably first hand experience the same is true here.

And yes I've seen some very good results from the Bigma - but NEVER on an oly body. That's all I'm suggesting here. For example I have a sigma 70-200 2.8 and it works great on my canon. But I know a lot of Nikon shooters have had issues (not all but it seemed to be more prevalant in the Nikon mount).

The truth of the matter is - I have seen very few wildlife photos from Olys. So I have no idea how well their cameras do at BIF. I'm merely suggesting that based on posts so far - neither do TCAV nor NHL. Not a knock on them as photographers - just that I think the OP should seek out people that have used an Oly camera before assuming that just because it's lighter and has a smaller sensor it is therefore the best solution. My canon 20d is lighter and has a smaller sensor than my 1d but is it a better camera for BIF? No. My 1d is faster and more accurate. So based on my experience the heavier camera with larger sensor produces better results.

But that doesn't mean I can say "any camera that is heavier with a larger sensor is better". See how silly that argument sounds? To me the argument that Oly is better because it's smaller and has a smaller sensor is equally silly on it's face. The key is HOW IT PERFORMS IN THE GIVEN SITUATION. So given the fact there are tons of birders in the various forums and the Bigma is a pretty common birding lens it should be easy to see results from birders who use an Oly with the Bigma. If those people can't be found (along with their photos) to me it's a red flag - at best, the combination is unproven at worst it's been proven a bad combination. And if the OP does find them and is happy with the quality of the results others are getting as compared to other camera brands then at least they've made a decision based on empirical evidence and not supposition.
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 7, 2007, 7:58 AM   #22
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,544
Default

JohnG wrote:
Quote:
EXIF says that's a KM camera. I asked how the Oly worked.
You asked how the Oly's autofocus worked. I said it didn't matter.

Yes, I'm looking at the specs and saying the Oly might be a good choice, but the specs I referred to when mentioning the Oly are the size and weight, not the autofocus speed, whichI maintain is irrelevant.

JohnG wrote:
Quote:
... TCAV admitedly doesn't shoot BIF and doesn't use Oly....
Correct. But ...

ntubb wrote:
Quote:
...I think he will be okay with the weight of the big lens because his mode of operation will be to pick a spot, set up the camera on the tripod within the blind and shoot from that spot until he needs to move for lighting, etc. ...
I have tried to capture action shots from a tripod in a confined space, and often either miss the shot or trip over the tripod. So I think the size and weight of the Olympus offers an attractive alternative to the bigger, heavier options others have mentioned.

And autofocus speed doesn't matter if the OP's father simply pre-focuses, a technique recommended to me on multiple ocassions in these forums in order to capture action shots.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 7, 2007, 8:27 AM   #23
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

TCav wrote:
Quote:
Yes, I'm looking at the specs and saying the Oly might be a good choice, but the specs I referred to when mentioning the Oly are the size and weight, not the autofocus speed, whichI maintain is irrelivant.
You don't shoot BIF but you suggest autofocus ability is irrelevant. How exactly did you arrive at that conclusion?

By your logic, birders would all be using manual focus. Please show me a birder using a Canon or Nikon pro body elect to manually focus. I read a lot of birder's threads when I was looking into my 1d and funny I don't remember seeing one pro-body user suggest the AF speed of the 1d didn't matter because they used manual focus - or heck, I don't remember one suggesting AF speed was irrelevant for ANY reason.

A bird is a MUCH different subject than a plane. I would contend that MOST birders who use autofocus would argue that AF speed and accuracy is critical to success. The only personal relevant experience I can share is that when I DO shoot birds in flight, AF speed and accuracy plays a HUGE part.













But again I admit I have little birding experience. But the little I do have suggests to me AF performance is critical. Still, I don't shoot many birds and you don't shoot any so how valid is our advice?

So far, NHL is the only serious birder I've found that doesn't think SERVO focus is important.

But, I believe my advice to seek out first hand advice is still sound. If it isn't important the OP should still find plenty of actual real birders using a given kit and getting good results. That's why I contend your advice or my advice or peripatetic's advice on which birding kit to use isn't very relevant since none of us do that photography. I've done it enough to know it's difficult. And I've done it enough to know AF is absolutely CRITICAL to success. Shots are worthless if they're out of focus. And you often have a very limited time to capture your shot. So a kit that acquires and accurately locks focus quickly is absolutely going to aid in success. But again my opinion doesn't hold as much weight (little) compared to someone that is actually a birder.
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 7, 2007, 9:01 AM   #24
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

TCav wrote:
Quote:
Yes, I'm looking at the specs and saying the Oly might be a good choice, but the specs I referred to when mentioning the Oly are the size and weight, not the autofocus speed, whichI maintain is irrelevant.
I would disagree there, too (autofocus speed is irrevalant).

I've seen too many comments from users about how big of an improvement the A700 is over the A100 and KM DSLR models for birding Do you really think they're mistaken and they're comments are all wrong about how much easier it is to shoot birds in flight with the A700?

BTW, I checked the specs a little while ago. The Oly E-3 Body is larger and heavier compared to the Canon EOS-40D or Sony DSLR-A700. ;-)

But, you're really splitting hairs there. There is not a lot of difference in the size/weight of any of them (with the Sony coming in lightest).

In fact, the first thing I thought when I picked up my new A700 is that it felt *lighter* than my KM 5D. That's just because the body (and grip surface area) is larger, so the weight is spread out more. That's a good thing from my perspective.

The E-3 isn't even on dealer shelves yet, and I sure haven't seen an BIF images from one, either.

The Bigma is the same size and weight for any of these camera bodies. So, that makes the Oly the heavier solution with this lens.

OK -- yes, you can argue that something longer might be needed and the Oly's smaller sensor give you a narrower angle of view for the same focal length and number of pixels on your subject.

But, we're already talking getting the same angle of view as a 765mm to 800mm lens on Sony and Canon bodies respectively (with 1.53x and 1.6x crop factors), compared to the angle of view you'd get using a 500mm lens on a 35mm camera, even without a TC (and a Sigma TC would require manual focus with this lens according to Sigma).

Yes, the Oly would get you out to the same angle of view you'd get with a 1000mm lens on a 35mm camera with a Bigma. But, the OP is only interested in 8x10" prints, and wanted a "200mm or so" zoom. ;-) Yes, we're suggesting longer lenses for birding. But, let's not go overboard here, just because he's got a $5K budget. lol

I could crop a 10 or 12 Megapixel image enough to make up the difference between these bodies still get a usable 8x10. Don't tell me otherwise. I've done it a number of times. Heck, I often take a landscape framed image and crop out a portrait vertically and print an 8x10 from an image that started out at 6MP before cropping. I've made a number of 8x10" prints from 2 and 3 Megapixel images that held up just fine (although 3 Megapixels noticeably better).

We're now talking 10 and 12 Megapixel cameras for someone wanting 8x10" prints.

We also don't know how the IQ of the Oly is going to pan out.

Tests elsewhere have already shown the newer 10MP Oly models (E410, E510) to be lacking in Dynamic Range compared to their competition (see Phil Askey's reviews). They're also less sensitive than their rated ISO speed according to Phil's tests.

Will the E-3 be an improvement? I dunno. That's a lot of pixels in a tiny sensor, and I have not seen a thorough review of it yet from any major review site, much less more images in real world conditions with any kind of BIF images from one.

How about when light gets lower (i.e., early morning, late afternoon shots) when he may need to bump up the ISO speed to prevent motion blur. Then, what happens to noise and Dynamic Range? I don't know. Do you? Don't try to convince me you don't need to bump up ISO speeds in early morning or late afternoon, either. Heck, I was shooting at ISO 1250 last weekend just to get my shutter speeds up to 1/200 second at f/5.6 for a late afternoon wedding (just as a guest in the audience). That would probably be closer to the ISO 1600 setting on an E-410 or E-510. E-3? I don't know.

Also, just because Oly claims it's got the world's fastest Autofocus with their new 12-60mm lens (and they're claims are *only* when using that body/lens combo), doesn't mean it's going to work as well with a Bigma either. That remains to be seen.

That Crop factor thing can also work the other way.

I take a lot of outdoor type images (just not wildlife) and having a wider angle of view (starting out at the same angle of view you'd get with a 75 or 80mm lens on a 35mm camera using a Bigma on a body with an APS-C size sensor) would give you more flexibility on the wide end of a lens like a Sigma 50-500mm compared to the Olympus (where you'd have the same angle of view as a 100mm lens on a 35mm camera on the Bigma's wide end).

So, for closer subjects, or when you may want a wider angle of view, that could be a downside to using a Bigma on the Oly (you may need to swap to a wider lens more often compared to the other models).

Again, I don't do birding. But, I can tell you that the new Sony's AF is very fast. It can acquire, lock and shoot almost instaneously in low light. I'm *very* impressed with it, and I've taken around 3500 shots with it so far. The biggest complement I can pay to this focus system, is that it's not something you even need to think about it's so good, once you master any need to select a focus point with the right focus mode for the type of subjects you're shooting.

You see the same type of comments from the users of it that are doing birding (comments like "incredibly easy" and more).

Look at the types of birds the user of the A700/Bigma was shooting in the second thread I posted a link to above, along with comments on time of day taken (and they weren't birds perched on a tree limb either, as he had examples shooting fast moving smaller birds, panning shots in low light at 500mm and more, all hand held shooting jpeg).

This is not the only birder I've seen praise the A700 either. I've seen some pretty incredible shots using a 70-200mm f/2.8G SSM with a 2x TC on one. But, that's a more expensive solution and it would not reach out as far. I've also seen a very experienced shooter praise it using longer primes for birding (i.e., a Minolta 600mm f/4G APO HS user).

If I had not seen comments from birders praising the A700, along with a very thorough analysis of how well it worked for birding with a Bigma, I probably would not have jumped into this thread suggesting the A700/Bigma combo, even though I can tell from the A700's AF systems' responsiveness that it should work fine for that purpose.

Now, the Oly may turn out to be the best thing since sliced bread for birders. Or, it may not. We'll have to wait and see how this camera works.

The last I heard, some camera shops in the U.S. think the camera is going to be shipping around November 12th. So, we should start getting some real world shots from one soon *if* that's accurate, and I'd expect some of the major review sites to get loaners in order to complete reviews with a production camera.

JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 7, 2007, 9:04 AM   #25
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,544
Default

JohnG wrote:
Quote:
The truth of the matter is - I have seen very few wildlife photos from Olys. So I have no idea how well their cameras do at BIF.
Try http://myfourthirds.com/category.php?id=10

That's their Wildlife category. Many of the shots are birds, and some are shots of birds in flight.

Here's one from an Olympus E-300 with an Olympus ED 50-200mm f2.8/3.5.



Here's one from an Olympus E-1 with an Olympus 300mm f2.8.



Here's one from an Olympus E-1 with an Olympus ED 50-200mm f2.8/3.5.



(Not a bird in flight, but I thought I'd include it anyway.)
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 7, 2007, 9:07 AM   #26
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

so tcav - which of those people claimed AF wasn't important?

by the way - static shots of captive birds are really irrelevant to the topic. I have a shot of an eagle but so what? That's shooting fish in a barreland hardly indicative of what a kit can do in the wild. Life is easy when your subject is 20 feet away and can't move :G



but at least you posted a link where the OP can see some actual results and see some discussions.
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 7, 2007, 9:15 AM   #27
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,544
Default

JohnG wrote:
Quote:
so tcav - which of those people claimed AF wasn't important?
Whether it was or it wasn't, they got the shots.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 7, 2007, 9:20 AM   #28
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

You could probably get some nice bird shots with almost any camera in the right conditions.

But, the effort and skill required, and the percentage of keepers, may be *very* different between body/lens combos.

JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 7, 2007, 10:59 AM   #29
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,544
Default

So, if we concede that Olympus dSLRs can do bird shots, perched as well as in flight,is Olympus a viable option for the OP?

And if we concede that, even if the OP picks the heaviest of Olympus' dSLRs, by virtue of it's smaller image sensor, lenses for Olympus dSLRs are smaller and lighter, for equivalent magnification and angle of view, than lenses for other dSLRs, might the Olumpus have at least one advantageover the others?

I'm not saying an Olympus dSLR would be the best choice. I'm just saying that it has an advantage over the others that makes it worthy ofserious consideration, though I concede that it probably has some disadvantages too.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 7, 2007, 11:09 AM   #30
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

I'll concede that almost any camera can take bird shots. The quality of those shots is another issue.

To be frank, the examples you posted don't exactly promote this camera system from my perspective (blown highlights in the first one, *horrible* bokeh from the 300mm f/2.8 in the next (looks like the "doughnut" type out of focus highlights you'd get from a mirror lens versus a premium lens).

I was very surprised at how bad it did for that shot (especially for a lens that B&H is now selling for $5,699.95 (outside of the OP's budget). I would have expected better results. Hopefully, that shot is not indicative of what that lens is capable of and is just a "fluke" because of the type of background.

JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 3:21 AM.