Low Light Wildlife Photography - M43 vs FF

dirtdevil

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It's not an original answer but I suggest you rent the equipment (a camera and a telephoto lens) to see how it goes during a day. Reading spec sheets doesn't tell all the truth. And if you hike a lot, you would probably pay attention to the weight of the lens.

I own an old Nikkor 400mm 3.5. Amazing image quality but so heavy that I'm getting annoyed and less excited to bring the lens with me even in the backpack, you feel the weight after 30-45 minutes of bikeriding, hiking.
 
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Just don't use it in the rain and you will be good. If you use the weather sealing of your cameras it will get expensive shooting Sony.
I keep hearing the weather sealing is a weak point.

We are due for some rain this weekend so I’ll test them out. Failing that I’ll sit in the shower and do a test 😂
 
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Stanga

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Joe... I wish you luck on your endeavor. I took the journey last year, and I stayed with Olympus. I put my kit through rigorous testing regarding auto focus for birds in flight. I also doubted the low-light capabilities and how light impacted AF. My skills improved, and the image quality was acceptable. I was on the fence regarding what to do, and I was going over the comparison on B&H. To my surprise, all of my shots were taken at below the recommended operating temperature of Sony and Nikon. If you're ever out in the cold, you may want to add that variable. Since I just took a few thousand shots in an environment that the other kits were not recommended to operate in, mediocre low-light performance seemed better than an ice cube. Sure Sonys and Nikons can shoot below freezing temps, but Olys are designed for it.
Olympus made its name in 35mm with its OM-1 when Chris Bonnington took one up the Himalaya and came back with shots nobody had managed before. When it comes to keep operating in low temperatures I rate Olympus as the king of reliability.
 

Aristophanes

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Olympus made its name in 35mm with its OM-1 when Chris Bonnington took one up the Himalaya and came back with shots nobody had managed before. When it comes to keep operating in low temperatures I rate Olympus as the king of reliability.
I’ve used my Olympus in -60 Celsius.
I estimate the E-M1X would last about an hour before concern. Batteries definitely suffer.
 

ac12

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A question for you @Phocal - do you turn off IBIS when using fast shutter speeds?
I use IBIS all the time, even up at and beyond 1/1000 sec. When hand-holding.
A major reason is that IS helps me to hold the AF point on the subject. Without IS, the subject is bouncing around in the viewfinder. And the longer the lens the harder it is to hold the AF point on the subject, without IS.
This was an unexpected but very welcome benefit of IS.

BTW, primary shooting high school sports with the longer lenses: football, soccer, lacrosse, baseball, softball, tennis.
 

RS86

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@Phocal I wonder what is your maximum ISO? 1000 seems a bit low for current sensors.

I have read your print size requirement is 1 meter wide so interested. For such prints maybe it is 200-400?

This of course depends much on personal quality demands. And where the print will be put on display.

What about the noise reduction of choice?
 
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Yes, Sony feels dinky and not as weather sealed as Olympus but my A7R II, III and 16-35/24-105 survived at least 4 rainy/snowy shoots - I know that is not a high number. The A7R II and 16-35 are still chugging along. Not as confidence inspiring as Olympus EM1.2 but I think occasional rain splashes wouldn't be a problem.
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Phocal

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Interesting. Reason I ask is I have been reading/watching POVs about IBIS interfering and causing motion blur esq issues in bird photography.
I honestly have never seen any problems from using IBIS while panning or anything else, to include using a tripod. Now with my original EM1 I would take a hit on CAF performance due to not enough processing power, but I always felt it was worth it for the stabilized viewfinder. Pretty sure the X will not suffer from that problem.

I have also read and seen videos of people trying to say this is a problem but honestly I am not really a believer in it, not with modern IS/IBIS technology. There is also no real way to prove it was IBIS or poor technique or the focus coming off the subject. I put this right up there with people saying you have to turn off IS when using a tripod, which I haven't done in years and have never seen a problem in 1000's of long exposure images.
 

Phocal

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@Phocal I wonder what is your maximum ISO? 1000 seems a bit low for current sensors.

I have read your print size requirement is 1 meter wide so interested. For such prints maybe it is 200-400?

This of course depends much on personal quality demands. And where the print will be put on display.

What about the noise reduction of choice?
I almost always use auto ISO and have my limit set to ISO 3200, but that is really higher than what I would typically accept. If I am close and filling the frame with my subject I have been satisfied with ISO's up to around 2000, maybe a little higher. I prefer to stay at 1600 or lower and honestly have not really had any issues staying below that. Honestly, if I have to go higher the images are mostly just for record shots. I say that because you need light to create contrast in your subject and when it is dark enough to force ISO's higher than say 2400 there is no light to really create a compelling image. The one exception to that is when shooting in inclement weather and then it is more about the dramatic image and noise will not really be a factor. I really don't get people wanting this super high ISO ability for wildlife photography, just wait a few minutes for some light to create contrast in the subject and much more compelling image. Even when I shot full frame I rarely went into higher ISO"s, my shooting really didn't change coming to Olympus.

I only use Lightroom for editing and noise reduction and sharpening. I will dip into Photoshop for a few things now and than or when I want to use NIK for my black and white images.
 

Phocal

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Yes, Sony feels dinky and not as weather sealed as Olympus but my A7R II, III and 16-35/24-105 survived at least 4 rainy/snowy shoots - I know that is not a high number. The A7R II and 16-35 are still chugging along. Not as confidence inspiring as Olympus EM1.2 but I think occasional rain splashes wouldn't be a problem.
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You may want to read this - https://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2018/02/20/lensrentals-takes-apart-new-sony-a7r-iii

Personally I would not use the A7III in rain based on their testing. At least they finally put some real seals into the camera with the mk3 vs the tight tolerance approach they previously used that did not work.
 
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You may want to read this - https://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2018/02/20/lensrentals-takes-apart-new-sony-a7r-iii

Personally I would not use the A7III in rain based on their testing. At least they finally put some real seals into the camera with the mk3 vs the tight tolerance approach they previously used that did not work.
I remember reading that article a while ago. Excellent article as always by Roger. Like I said, it's clearly not as well sealed as say EM1.2 but occasional top down splash should be okay. Anything sever like near water sports or surfing it will probably die.
 
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So I received my EM1.3 today. I actually LOVE the new body and what they have done with the buttons. Such a basic thing to get excited about but the joystick is a game-changer, and I prefer the menu button being moved - means I don't accidentally press it when I'm trying to press the info button when looking through the viewfinder. I also realized, why have I never thought of programming the top right button to be ISO before? Its way better being there and means I can use the FUNC switch to go between SAF and CAF.

Anyways, I took it out tonight with the 300m F4 PRO. This is the first time I've had a fully working body to go with my 300 PRO in SIX MONTHS. So I was excited to see what it was like. And oh boy did it not disappoint.

Here are two shots straight out of the camera, converted to JPG in LR. The first at ISO 2500 and the second at ISO 1600. Not happy with the 2500 shot, that's not usable, but very happy at 1600. Nothing scientific here, just handheld in the field shots. Thinking ISO 2000 would be my absolute limit. I don't get the Sony till Friday so wont start to do side by side comparisons til then.

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