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Olybirder Olybirder is offline
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Terns Fishing Over Sea

I attempted to photograph some Common Terns which were fishing close inshore over the sea at Lowestoft this morning. I took about 170 shots and ended up deleting about 90 percent of them. These are some of the better ones which survived the cull but they are still not very sharp. Below is a list of the settings which I was using. Can anyone suggest any changes which I should make to improve my results?

E-M1 II, 50-200 SWD and EC-14.
Shutter Priority. 1/2000 sec. F4.9. ISO Auto.
Seq Low Anti Shock. 6 fps.
C-AF Lock 0. AF Scanner Mode 2. Rls Priority C On. Reset Lens Off.
5 or 9 AF Points. Image stabilization Off. C/W Metering.

If there is anything else I have missed, please let me know.
















Ron
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Re: Terns Fishing Over Sea

Nice shots Ron but they do look a bit on the soft side. What iso was it using as you were on auto iso?
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Re: Terns Fishing Over Sea

I think the ISO was 200 or 250.

Ron
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Re: Terns Fishing Over Sea

They look like a large crop from the original.... is that the case?

The settings look right to me and the sea looks like the right depth of field is there.... looking at the EXIF the ISO is in the 200-320 range so no issues there....

Having been using the 7-14 over the last two days, the focussing is a lot slower than the micro 4/3 lenses, and release C ON means the camera can take a photo even if not in focus, I'd suggest trying it OFF to compensate for the potentially slower lens action...

Worth a try?
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Re: Terns Fishing Over Sea

Thanks for your input Walti. They are indeed large crops – about 25 percent of the original size. Perhaps I will have to accept that 283mm is simply not long enough for shots like these and just get back to photographing sparrows instead.

I am never sure about the release priority setting. With it On I thought the idea was that even if the first frame is OOF, the camera will continue to acquire focus for the subsequent frames. Mind you at 6 fps I was only getting about two frames before the bird entered the water, so it probably wouldn't have time to focus.

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Re: Terns Fishing Over Sea

Hi Ron

Some nice captures there. To answer your questions :

The settings look OK except Rls Priority which I would set to Off. Page 114 in the manual.

I would be hesitant to crop as much as you have done. Half sensor would be the limit for me, 2500 pixels wide.

Best is of course to get closer to the subject, if possible. The more I use the 300 for photographing Terns, the more I believe it should be used without the TC. 420mm is quite often too much increasing risk of clipping or bad framing.

I have not yet tried the 50-200 SWD + EC14 with the Mark 2 but could do it and compare with the 300 F4 from AF acquisition and tracking point of view and update you.

283 mm is close enough to 300 for fair comparison of details.
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Re: Terns Fishing Over Sea

Thanks Tord. I will try changing the Rls Priority to Off and see if it helps. Unfortunately, in this case, I couldn't get any closer to the terns as I was standing on the beach with the sea lapping up to my toes. The terns were perching on the groynes and flying about and catching food to bring back to the juveniles. Hopefully I will have a closer encounter another time.

Ron
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Re: Terns Fishing Over Sea

Hi Ron,

I had some spare time and tested how the E-M1 Mark 2 performs in CAF when coupled to the 50-200SWD + EC14.

Conditions were quite horrible at first with a torrential shower catching me by surprise and preventing from any meaningful photography. Eventually I was able to bring out the camera but unfortunately not so much action was taking place as I was hoping for.

I took some 200 photos. None had perfect focus, about 15-20 had what I would define as acceptable focus. The AF acquisition is faster than I would have expected. No hunting what I can remember. Focus tracking and recovery felt OK as well. Still, too few keepers/in focus for my liking.

Here is a sample:
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Re: Terns Fishing Over Sea

Thanks Tord. That is very interesting. The shot you have posted is sharper than anything I have achieved so far and I am impressed by the detail in the fish.

I have changed Rls Priority to Off now and reduced the shutter speed to 1/1600 sec, to lower the ISO but I haven't had the opportunity to try the new settings yet. Hopefully I can try it during the week to see if it makes any difference. Unfortunately I can't afford a PL 100-400 or Oly 300 F4, so I will have to persevere with the 50-200.

Ron
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Re: Terns Fishing Over Sea

Ron,

The difference between 1/1600 and 1/2000 is not significant, with both you should be able to freeze the action. Release Prio off is quite important.

Here is another sample, this one has is almost correctly focused.

Both are at F/4.9, Auto-ISO and shutter speed limit 1/1600, all AF points and C-AF lock loosest.


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Re: Terns Fishing Over Sea

Thanks again Tord. I must admit I haven't tried adjusting the C-AF Lock and have it set to the default 0. I suppose if the birds are flying against the sea, the loosest setting makes sense. Is loosest +2 or –2? (I have just had a quick look at the handbook and couldn't find it mentioned.) Finally, are your shots cropped much, if at all?

Ron
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Re: Terns Fishing Over Sea

Hi Ron

I would use all AF points and loosest when action and subjects less predictable, increases the chances of freezing something of interest taking place in the forgeound however some luck factor needs to tip the scale in your favor. If subject is more predictable then I will use central 9 or 5 points and lock on tightest.

After the session I checked the AF calibration and it seems it is front focusing on the tele end, - 3 or - 4. Time permitting I will give it one more go but we are coming close to the end of the season and many Terns have already left the breeding areas.

What I forgot to mention is the frame rate is significantly lower compared to using micro four third lenses. 3 FPS maybe? The good thing is fewer photos to review and delete
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Re: Terns Fishing Over Sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tordan58 View Post
Hi Ron

I would use all AF points and loosest when action and subjects less predictable, increases the chances of freezing something of interest taking place in the forgeound however some luck factor needs to tip the scale in your favor. If subject is more predictable then I will use central 9 or 5 points and lock on tightest.
Good to hear that: it's what I'd sort of worked out by trial and error myself.

I've got a waterfowl experience day tomorrow with Tesni Ward (and Walti, I think!) so it'll be interesting to see what she suggests.

I've just packed some more microfibre towels, since it's looking to be pretty damp both in and out of the water...
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Re: Terns Fishing Over Sea

Hi Ron,

After checking and adjusting the AF calibration on my copy of the 50-200SWD + EC14 (it was front focusing and required -4 on the telephoto end, which is quite a lot) I gave it a new try and it seemed to improve the results with respect to AF accuracy.
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