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Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II The second Micro Four Thirds camera that offers phase detect focusing so you can use Four Thirds DSLR lenses normally as well a Micro Four Thirds lenses.

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Old 29th June 2017
Longimanus Longimanus is offline
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Bird in Flight Help

I have just returned form a trip to Skomer where I was trying to get some images of the Short Eared Owl's that are there and before this I have been watching a local Barn Owl.

I am really struggling to get a reasonable amount of images sharp enough to be happy with and need some help.

First off I should say that this is all new to me and Ive never tackled birds before with any camera, so this could be technique, camera setup or anything else!

Camera setup:

EM1 Mkii, 300Pro + 1.4tc, +2loose, CAF, 1/1000, F5.6

I will take this first image, it looks as if the auto focus has almost locked on, but the owl is really soft



Im not sure whats wrong, any help much appreciated
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Old 29th June 2017
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Re: Bird in Flight Help

Hi Longimanus,

Just with the info provided is difficult to give you a direct hit on the diagnostic. The stuff you have is quite good, and because there are a lot of good pictures of owls and other birds in this and other forums with the same lens, the problem should be somewhere else, normally in camera parameters.

Have you already implemented the recommended setup for BIF in the camera? There are some posts talking about it and this is the first measure to take.

I've experienced similar bad results at the beginning when using mutiple focus points in complex background. Single point and S-AF is the baseline, C-AF may work well in some cases.

Can you share the exif?
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Old 30th June 2017
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Re: Bird in Flight Help

AF is only continuous in low sub 10 fps, otherwise it sticks at the first frame unchanged.

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
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Old 30th June 2017
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Re: Bird in Flight Help

Many thanks for coming back to me, here is the data:

1/1000 sec
f5.6
ISO250 - (Auto ISO Set)
Pro Capture Low
C-AF
9 point focus points

Is that all you need?

Quote:
Originally Posted by c12402 View Post
Hi Longimanus,

Just with the info provided is difficult to give you a direct hit on the diagnostic. The stuff you have is quite good, and because there are a lot of good pictures of owls and other birds in this and other forums with the same lens, the problem should be somewhere else, normally in camera parameters.

Have you already implemented the recommended setup for BIF in the camera? There are some posts talking about it and this is the first measure to take.

I've experienced similar bad results at the beginning when using mutiple focus points in complex background. Single point and S-AF is the baseline, C-AF may work well in some cases.

Can you share the exif?
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Old 30th June 2017
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Re: Bird in Flight Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beagletorque View Post
AF is only continuous in low sub 10 fps, otherwise it sticks at the first frame unchanged.

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
Is this true? If it is I think this maybe be the answer, I had thought that any of the sequential low options were all continuous.

Are you saying that I need to select the Sequential Low option and not the silent or Pro Capture options?
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Old 30th June 2017
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Re: Bird in Flight Help

Hi I have the same combo, checkout your hit rate, review your images in camera in the thumbnail size, and see how many are off target. Remembering you are waving around an equivalent 800mm lens hand held? Then compare an image that is off target and one that is on target there is a small rectangle in this mode. Then you will see if it's the camera or the operator. This recently hit home to me when taking shots of a montague harrier which is a slightly larger bird. I have been doing BIF with canon and OLY for a few years now and it's very easy to get near misses which includes wing tips of the subject. Be patient. You state your new to BIF it's a learning curve.
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Old 30th June 2017
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Re: Bird in Flight Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Longimanus View Post
Many thanks for coming back to me, here is the data:

1/1000 sec
f5.6
ISO250 - (Auto ISO Set)
Pro Capture Low
C-AF
9 point focus points

Is that all you need?
Are you using too many focus points? With the heather/undergrowth background, I would think the camera is trying to focus on both bird and background.

My setting is a single focal point, which I try to h=keep on the subject..........

"I know nothing" I have to add
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Old 30th June 2017
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Re: Bird in Flight Help

I'm pretty sure Beagletorqe is correct as when at Duxford recently Jonathan Saull recommended 6fps for aircraft for the same reason. It worked well for me without using Pro capture.
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Old 30th June 2017
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Re: Bird in Flight Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Longimanus View Post
Is this true? If it is I think this maybe be the answer, I had thought that any of the sequential low options were all continuous.

Are you saying that I need to select the Sequential Low option and not the silent or Pro Capture options?
Page 46 in the manual.

Cog C1 allows you to set the frame rates for L and H and Pro.

Pro Capture is not what you need for BIF.

C-AF (tight -2), L (antishock 0) or Silent, 6 FPS, centre 9 focus points.
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Re: Bird in Flight Help

If you want to get really fancy you can set the camera to limited focus range (different to the lens limiter switch).

Cog A1 AF Limiter.

You can store 3 sets.

If you know the background is 30m away but the bird is only worth taking at 6m or less then you could set 0-7m as the focus range. The shutter will operate depending on the RLS priority setting.

I guarantee you will think your camera is broken when you forget and leave it switched on! On the plus side you'll only do it once.
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Old 30th June 2017
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Re: Bird in Flight Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beagletorque View Post
Page 46 in the manual.

Cog C1 allows you to set the frame rates for L and H and Pro.

Pro Capture is not what you need for BIF.

C-AF (tight -2), L (antishock 0) or Silent, 6 FPS, centre 9 focus points.
Do you really mean AF Lock -2? I generally end up using +1 or +2 but still don't really have any feel for what difference it makes. I'd be interested to know if you have had good results with -2 and why you think it is the best setting.
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Re: Bird in Flight Help

A lot of good info here, which goes against what I have read elsewhere, thank you for this!
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Re: Bird in Flight Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyR View Post
Do you really mean AF Lock -2? I generally end up using +1 or +2 but still don't really have any feel for what difference it makes. I'd be interested to know if you have had good results with -2 and why you think it is the best setting.
Obviously you can use what ever settings you find work for you, most of the time it's trial and error. You have to start somewhere!

As I understand it -2 means it is least likely to switch focus to a different target, eg if there is a busy background.

http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/m43/em1.2-sett.html#AFLOC Has some useful setting tips / info....

"A1.4. C-AF Lock
C-AF Lock [BF] [C]

This is a protection against the camera refocusing in the C-AF mode when something crosses the field of view (like people passing between the camera and the subject). It simply disables the focus adjustment if the change is large and sudden.
The setting is entered as a whole value from -2 to +2. Negative values are referred to as Tight, positive as Loose. At higher values switching to a new AF target happens more easily.
For most users, the default zero setting makes sense here."
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Old 30th June 2017
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Re: Bird in Flight Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Longimanus View Post
Many thanks for coming back to me, here is the data:

1/1000 sec
f5.6
ISO250 - (Auto ISO Set)
Pro Capture Low
C-AF
9 point focus points

Is that all you need?
Just to confirm....

PROCapture uses the first frame for focus lock, so that subsequent frames could well be out of focus on a moving target.

Sequential L allows C-AF to work throughout the sequence of photos
Sequential H uses the first frame to lock the focus (regardless of S-AF or C-AF setting)
As others have mentioned frame rates for the L and L silent are individually adjustable as they are for H and H silent.

Silent = electronic shutter = heart symbol

SO,

The set up I seem to be having most success with is:

Sequential L silent
C-AF
S-IS Auto
Shutter priority
1/1000s as a starting point (dependant on light and subject this gets adjusted downwards)
Aperture automatic
ISO - light dependant, auto for poor light 200 for good light

Dependant on background I use single focus point for complex stuff and 9 or all areas when shooting against a plain sky

Next step is LOTS of practice, I found I was getting 95% failure rate for the first day, which quickly changed to 95% success rate, it's mainly about choosing the subject carefully and not wasting time taking photos of dots on the horizon!

Once you have got on with that try setting the exposure to M rather than A or S, so you can set the shutter speed and aperture manually, and leave the camera to sort the exposure on auto iso!

I would also advise using a mono pod for a while, as this allows you to concentrate more on taking the photo than holding the camera still!
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Old 30th June 2017
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Re: Bird in Flight Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walti View Post
Just to confirm....

PROCapture uses the first frame for focus lock, so that subsequent frames could well be out of focus on a moving target.

...
I beg to disagree. All of the 'L' sequential shooting styles, including Pro Capture L, are acpable of doing C-AF continuously between shots.
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