Flash for bird photography

Discussion in 'Micro 4/3 News and Rumors' started by ninad, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. ninad

    ninad Mu-43 Regular

    58
    Apr 25, 2013
    Riverside, CA
    I will be travelling to India soon and hoping to capture some bird photos. When I was there last time, I ended up shooting in low light situations (overcast skies, under canopy). I would be grateful if you guys can suggest how I can achieve better lighting (without breaking the bank as I plan to do that when EM-1 Mk II is here :) ). I tend to walk around/hike and photograph the birds that I see and do not setup at a location.

    Some of my bird photos are at (Recent are ones with Oly 300mm+1.4x tele):
    Bird Photography by Ninad Thakoor
    ninadst

    This is how I did in India couple of years ago (with Oly 75-300):
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/ninadst/albums/72157645240454693
     
  2. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
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  3. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    The better beamer works amazingly well and I highly recommend it. Not sure if you saw but in the Olympus announcement they have a new weather sealed flash coming out that is really nice. Being new to the system I had not picked up a flash yet but was looking at the Metz flash but I will wait for this new Olympus one.
     
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  4. spdavies

    spdavies Mu-43 Top Veteran

    976
    Apr 9, 2013
    Hawaii
    Stephen
    Check out MagMod or the MagBeamer -
    on the web - folds up for travel . . .
     
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  5. ninad

    ninad Mu-43 Regular

    58
    Apr 25, 2013
    Riverside, CA
    Thanks guys for your ideas. Looks like I am going to get some sort of beamer to go with flash for sure. What about the flash itself? Any recommendations? @Phocal@Phocal not sure I can wait for the weather sealed one.
     
  6. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    If you are waiting to do this trip with the EM1mk2 then the flash should be out already. I suspect the flash will be out before the mk2, have not heard a release date on it. My suggestion is you get the flash with the greatest output so you have the most range. Right now the flash with the highest guide number is the Metz 64 (guide number 210') for $479. B&H has the new Olympus FL-900R (guide number 190') available for pre-order for $579. Honestly, if at all possible I would wait for the Olympus as it is designed to be used with focus bracketing and high speed shooting. If you can't then the Metz is the only other flash I would get, it is the only one that interested me when I started looking a few months back.
     
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  7. skellington

    skellington Mu-43 Regular

    173
    Mar 4, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Keith
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  8. datagov

    datagov Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2012
    New York
    TTL is a waste of money. just get a Yongnuo yn560 for $75 and you will find manual flash easy to use.
     
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  9. skellington

    skellington Mu-43 Regular

    173
    Mar 4, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Keith
    If you're snapping birds, at a distance, in a variety of lighting conditions while moving around and test flashes at the wrong power might scare them off..

    I think this is an application where TTL might be useful. (And FP/HSS might be as well.)
     
  10. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    767
    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    Which is why a flash that support Auto Mode would probably work well here. Match the camera settings with the flash settings and you should get fairly consistent results. As he goes along if he is finding all his shots are a bit over or under exposed, you can adjust the flash compensation as needed.

    While a TTL flash is nice, they also tend to be a expensive, especially if you get an Oly or Panny branded one. If his only need is to flash birds from far away where the flash is often going to be firing at near 100% power most of the time, a simple auto mode flash may be a good choice if the idea is to go low cost. On the other hand, if the flash is going to be used for a lot of other general shooting situations, then a TTL model may be worth the extra money.
     
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  11. MetilHed

    MetilHed Mu-43 Regular

    59
    Aug 30, 2015
    Jeff
    How does the bird know that it's at the wrong power ? Do they stay for correct exposures with just the right amount of fill light ?
     
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  12. BobbyTan

    BobbyTan Mu-43 Top Veteran

    560
    Dec 26, 2013
    Long Beach, CA
    Ninad, firstly, I'd like to compliment you on your BIF. Your American Avocets in flight are amazing! Mind sharing your settings? I've not had much luck with BIF with my E-M1. Locking focus on the bird is extremely difficult even with S-AF.

    I have the MagMod MagBeam flash extender but have not used it yet. Thinking about buying the Nissin i60A. I had the i40 which I thought was very good because (a) it's very small, and (b) it's extremely user-friendly compared to the current Olympus flash.
     
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  13. ninad

    ninad Mu-43 Regular

    58
    Apr 25, 2013
    Riverside, CA
    Thanks @BobbyTan@BobbyTan ! I recently acquired the EE-1 dot sight and have been experimenting with it. I setup the camera to focus using 9 center focus points and turned off the release priority. So I pretty much follow birds with the dot sight while pressing down the shutter and the camera takes the picture when it locks on focus. This has pretty good success rate when the background is far away. (Some more details are at Share Birds).
     
  14. ninad

    ninad Mu-43 Regular

    58
    Apr 25, 2013
    Riverside, CA
    Thanks everyone for your suggestions. A lot of factors to consider but I think now I at least have some handle on the problem.
     
  15. BobbyTan

    BobbyTan Mu-43 Top Veteran

    560
    Dec 26, 2013
    Long Beach, CA
    Thanks Ninad! I think I will just wait for the E-M1 Mk II.

     
  16. Olympian13

    Olympian13 Mu-43 Rookie

    15
    May 11, 2015
    Adelaide, Australia
    Chris
    I have used the better beamer myself with a manual Yonguo flash with some good results. It is a little cumbersome due to the size of flash and extender attached but in forest/cover it does a great job.
     
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  17. ninad

    ninad Mu-43 Regular

    58
    Apr 25, 2013
    Riverside, CA
    Can you share the models of the both flash and the beamer?
     
  18. jdthebigj

    jdthebigj Mu-43 Regular

    35
    Aug 28, 2012
    Fremont, CA
    JD
    Ninad, most places in India do not allow flash photography. I traveled to many National Parks and some bird sanctuaries in Kerala. Rangers are pretty strict about not using flash.

    -Jaideep
     
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  19. ninad

    ninad Mu-43 Regular

    58
    Apr 25, 2013
    Riverside, CA
    @jdthebigj@jdthebigj Thanks! Good thing I did not decide to spend a lot of money on the flash.
     
  20. Olympian13

    Olympian13 Mu-43 Rookie

    15
    May 11, 2015
    Adelaide, Australia
    Chris
    I will once I get home and get the exact model numbers. The better beamer comes in various models to fit different flash types. Watch this space. The attached photo was taken with my set up.
     

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