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Looking for improvement This is the e-group critique board. If you post a picture here it will be assumed that you are looking for comprehensive technical feedback - both good and bad, but always respectful. Only post pictures here if you can deal with potentially negative constructive criticism. Anyone is qualified to comment and post feedback, and everyone is encouraged to do so. NB: "Looking for Improvement" is the place to post any pictures you would like advice on improving, no matter how bad you might think they are.

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Old 12th November 2013
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White BIF

A short while ago using David's tips to me in Annie's Red Kite thread, a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo
suddenly took flight from my backyard but I hadn't compensated for a white bird ... I was expecting pigeons!


Processed from RAW, uncropped, lots of sharpening, and EV -2.0 compensation - this is the best I could make of it. EXIF intact.
The target is off centre in both images, but was the lack of sharpness due to focusing or shutter speed?
Centre-Weighted instead of All-Points focusing may be the reason. I will try again this afternoon.

Lens: SWD 50-200mm
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Old 12th November 2013
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Re: White BIF

This afternoon's effort was even worse, 50-200 failed to lock on to target regardless of focus mode.

Since buying the E-3 as a birding camera soon after its launch, I have never been able to reliably capture BIFS with it. Olyympus' claimed that an E-3 + an SWD lens was the "fastest focusing lens on Earth" was imho clearly delusional. From a number of comments made here on OMD models one is left wondering why Olympus have not as yet produced a camera that can. Yet in 2006 a Nikon D70s and a cheap P&S Canon S5 zoom never missed. Unfortunately both lacked Oly's superior colour.

Unless I can discover an E-3 BIF technique very soon, I will be restricted to focusing solely on perched birds during a forthcoming visit to the Furneaux Group islands. "Oh for the perfect camera".

Forgive the ramble!
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Old 13th November 2013
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Re: White BIF

My recomandations:

1. close the aperture to F/7.1 or more if you have light (if you use F/3.5 as you had used in your first picture, the DOF is too small and the bird will move out of it);

2. disable IS;
If you forget IS active, it will blur your pics.

3. For start use S-AF
(single AF);

4. In some situations (80%) is much better to activate all focus points, in other situations (20%) the single point from center is better. In both cases, you have to try to keep the subject in the central area.

5. Performance will be improved if you zoom out to 150mm, because the AF will be even faster and the DOF larger. But normally you do not need this because 50-200 SWD is fast enough.

If you insist to use C-AF (continous autofocus), disable "Release priority C", otherwise your picture might be not properly focused.

Ok, shortly, try this : S-AF, F/7.1, ISO-800, IS disabled. I can bet it will work good for you.

E-3 + 50-200 SWD it is a very nice setup for BIFs.
I used a lot E-5 + 50-200 non-SWD. It is also a very nice set-up. I could shoot any fast bird in flight like this:


Common House Martin / Lastunul de casa by Fraton, on Flickr
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Old 13th November 2013
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Re: White BIF

excellent summary, and you have some stunning image captures.

I would add to the above that the primary reason you can switch IS off is that you would be aiming for a shutter speed of around 1/800th for larger birds and half that for small ones ie if you need IS because of shutter speeds you are already on to a looser. Yes you can look for an artistic look with blurred wings but that another matter entirely!

With the 3/30/5 I would use the diamond pattern AF set up unless looking to focus on a specific part of the bird ie big bird quite close.
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Old 13th November 2013
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Re: White BIF

I agree, most of my best shots with the E30/5 were using centre diamond and a shutter speed of at least 1/1000th with ISO 400 so I had to use shutter priority and let the aperture sort itself out, or use manual. The problem with manual is the difficulty of using exposure compensation for birds against a brighter sky, in this case I would use settings obtained from incident light readings with a separate exposure meter (Weston Master V in my case). I still occasionally use incident light readings when I know I'm going to do lots of sky shots, at the coast for instance.

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Old 13th November 2013
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Re: White BIF

Thank you Katran, Photo Owl, and David for your advice.
And a very nice shot of a Welcome Swallow if I'm not mistaken, Katran.

I have taken all on board and will have another try tomorrow.
Today I shot 57 frames at 5fps in 1 second bursts on a flight of pidgeons
that obligingly circled overhead for 15 minutes at 100ft or so.

I was so disgusted with the 80% blurred result and under exposures that I deleted them
from the card but not these two which I salvaged from the recycle bin. The darker image is as shot.

Clearly, EV -0.7 was a blunder, EV + 0.7 would have been nearer the mark.



This image was 2 stops underexposed and RAW edited to try and make something of it
but it and as you can see, the image can only get tackier from this point on.

I'm afraid it's many a long year since I owned a Weston Master used with a Praktica SLR in the 70's.
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Old 13th November 2013
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Re: White BIF

These look well focused especially for a random group. I tend to overexpose by 1.3 -1.7 stops for birds against a bright sky. A good Weston Master with invercone can be had for a reasonable price on Ebay.

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Old 13th November 2013
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Re: White BIF

IS was switched off according to David's advice earlier this year.

EV -0.7 is an E-3 default setting that I use under normal light, my mistake.

ISO 100 was chosen for what I thought would render the best IQ. ISO 800 gets noisy on E-3.

Focus Mode was all points Single AF as you recommend, Katran and many shots were lost through hunting, but f/7.1 for deeper DOF may fix it.
I can see the reasoning behind the smaller f/stop, which had never occurred to me before.

Another problem with the 50-200 is that once the lens is OOF it seems I have to switch the camera off and on to awaken the AF and then pre-focus on a distant point. Very frustrating.
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Old 13th November 2013
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Re: White BIF

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Morison View Post
These look well focused especially for a random group. I tend to overexpose by 1.3 -1.7 stops for birds against a bright sky. A good Weston Master with invercone can be had for a reasonable price on Ebay. David
Thanks David - Didn't see you there while composing the above. And yes indeed, + 1.3 - 1.7 stops is needed against that sort of sky. I won't make that mistake again.

Edit: Oh yes, as for the focus it was fine on these two images, but the other 50 weren't!
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Re: White BIF

Quote:
Originally Posted by pandora View Post
I
Another problem with the 50-200 is that once the lens is OOF it seems I have to switch the camera off and on to awaken the AF and then pre-focus on a distant point. Very frustrating.
I sugest TO zoom out completely (50mm focal length) and try to re-focus on an object. When you get the focus confirmation, then you can zoom in again and use normally your lens.
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Re: White BIF

Thanks again Katran.
I f the pidheons fly today I will try that.
A circling flight of Pidgeons at a hundred feet is great for practice.
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Old 13th November 2013
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Re: White BIF

Quote:
Originally Posted by katran View Post
If you insist to use C-AF (continous autofocus), disable "Release priority C", otherwise your picture might be not properly focused.

Ok, shortly, try this : S-AF, F/7.1, ISO-800, IS disabled. I can bet it will work good for you.

E-3 + 50-200 SWD it is a very nice setup for BIFs.
I used a lot E-5 + 50-200 non-SWD. It is also a very nice set-up. I could shoot any fast bird in flight like this:
Katran - Could not find any option to "Release priority C", but will probably avoid C-AF
How do these settings look?
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Old 14th November 2013
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Re: White BIF

Quote:
Originally Posted by pandora View Post
Katran - Could not find any option to "Release priority C", but will probably avoid C-AF
How do these settings look?
You need to dive into the menu for that in Spanner C & if I have it correct, the C-AF Lock probably needs to be OFF, maybe? That's in Spanner A, but the other's with the experience need to confirm that.
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Old 14th November 2013
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Re: White BIF

Thanks Ross. Found and disabled but I don't yet understand the reasoning behind this function, and as yet I'm not too clear as to whether shooting BIF in C-AF mode is the way to go?

And btw, living in your bushland aviary with a constant stream of feathered friends dropping in for brunch and high tea, aren't you ideally situated to be shooting BIF with that M5 of yours?
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Old 14th November 2013
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Re: White BIF

@ Pandora

The exact name of that option is "RLS PRIORITY C".
You have to press the menu button of your camera.
Then have a look on this picture so that you know to wich part of menu to go:
http://www.olympusamerica.com/files/...PL1_SCP_04.jpg

Then you have to acces menu : "C. Release".
In this menu you will find to options : "RLS PRIORITY C" and "RLS PRIORITY S".
Both have to be disabled.

By default "RLS PRIORITY S" is disabled, but "RLS PRIORITY C" is enabled.
When "RLS PRIORITY C" is enabled, fps have the priority over focus accuracy.
This means, camera has to do 5 shots per second even if the images are not properly focused.

I prefer to get a lower number of fps, but properly focused.

Because of this setting, many people think C-AF is uselless on Olympus camera.
But it just a matter of settings and skill. It is not easy to use C-AF, that's why I sugested you to use S-AF for the moment.
And E-5 + 50-200 is one of the fastest focus system in the day light.
I could shoot anything I wanted to.

-
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