M1X, 300mm + TC14, handheld, truths and observations

comment23

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With the E-M1 Mark II that can be set in: Gears—>B Button/Dial/Lever—>Dial Function—>[playback icon]. I think the default is rear dial to zoom, front dial to change picture.

I expect the E-M1X is similar.
Also, I assign the magnify function to Fn2 to quickly go from full picture view to 1:1 and back (Gears—>D2—>[playback icon][magnifying glass]Default Setting = Equally Value)
 

Retief

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Try using shutter-button half-press focus.
I know back-button is supposed to be more "pro" and cooler,
but you are having to use both your thumb and shutter finger to take the picture,
instead of only the shutter finger.
With your thumb being used mostly to support the camera and
only occasional rear dial or button use,
you will have better control and it is much less tiring.
Just try it and see if it helps - I sure like it better. :cool:
We are in "agree to disagree" mode here :biggrin: The first time Back Button Focus was recommended to me was at a workshop back in, I think, 2004. My response was "What, are you kind of crazy fool idiot???? Dumbest thing I ever heard." What I find, however, is that it allows me to maintain focus when I want it, and not have it change when I hit the shutter button. I quite often do "focus/recompose", riding the shutter with half-press makes this much more difficult, although it can be done with moving the focus points around. The most interesting thing that I find is that for some folks, I am one of them, my thumb just naturally falls in the right place. My wife, on the other hand, pun intended, finds that she has to "reach" with her thumb.

So, while I appreciate your thoughts, it doesn't work well for the way I shoot. How do you deal with focus/recompose?
 

ddekadt

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840mm equivalent, under 5 pounds, who needs a tripod anymore, eh? Well, some things in photography, physics and old men are simply truths we cannot ignore ;)

This is one of the reasons I have made the switch from Nikon gear to Olympus, the ability to have this kind of reach in well under half the weight, is superb. That said, after my first real few hour go yesterday I have to say:

  1. Narrow field of view still sucks, you gotta find 'em in the viewfinder before you push the shutter button.
  2. Distant subjects have not suddenly gotten any closer, nor are they any sharper when you blow them up 50,000% from a mile away. For some strange reasons, the Olympus pixels don't seem to be any better than the Nikon ones. What the heck is wrong with Olympus anyway? We should REVOLT! ah, I feel much better now.
  3. Even at under 5 lbs holding the darn camera to my eye waiting for that stupid bald eagle to fly, which it didn't, ever, I think it was a disguised Parrot from a Monty Python sketch, will cause enough shake in my 69 yr. old arms that stabilization still can't fix.
  4. EVF vs. OVF. I still think the view through an OVF is more clear and stable. That said, it is nice to see a reasonable facsimile of what the picture is going to look like. I'll live with it.
  5. Getting old sucks, I should be able to hold this darned thing rock-steady for hours on end.
  6. Yup, I still DO need a tripod, and my trusty Jobu Pro gimbal. Although with this puny little combo mounted I won't look nearly as cool as my D500 with the 600mm f4.
  7. Then again, I won't be as danged worn out at the end of the day.
All in all the pluses already outweigh the minuses in this switch. The sharpness and detail captured are already making me very happy. Hopefully in a few weeks, months or years, I'll have something I am happy enough about to share with you all. Picture wise that is.
Very disappointed that your post did not properly address equivalence and how f4 is really f8 is really f14. 0/10 for this review.
 

masayoshi

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We are in "agree to disagree" mode here :biggrin: The first time Back Button Focus was recommended to me was at a workshop back in, I think, 2004. My response was "What, are you kind of crazy fool idiot???? Dumbest thing I ever heard." What I find, however, is that it allows me to maintain focus when I want it, and not have it change when I hit the shutter button. I quite often do "focus/recompose", riding the shutter with half-press makes this much more difficult, although it can be done with moving the focus points around. The most interesting thing that I find is that for some folks, I am one of them, my thumb just naturally falls in the right place. My wife, on the other hand, pun intended, finds that she has to "reach" with her thumb.

So, while I appreciate your thoughts, it doesn't work well for the way I shoot. How do you deal with focus/recompose?
Talking about the use of BBF and image stabilization, try Half Way Rls with IS option ON. This is Gear menu>C2.
What it does is, you control focusing by BBF, and control image stabilization with shutter half way press. When using supertele like 300mmF4 w/TC, you want stabilized view to lock the focus box on the perched bird (unless you have super stable hands/technique).
 
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Would a simple monopod be a reasonable initial compromise to give you something to rest on without needing a lot of carrying or setup?
Monopods are terrible for birding. When I tried adjusting my aim against birds higher up, I’d end up raising the entire rig off the ground. Tripods with gimbal heads are better, hand-held is best.

I used the EE-1 Red Dot on my EM5 MKII in the galapagos and got so frustrated with the blurry photos I nearly tossed the sight into the ocean. Maybe the EM5 autofocus is just not up to snuff or maybe there was a case of significant operator error. Definitely not a case of RTFM 'cause I did that more than once. :)

Any advice on how to make it a useful accessory with the EM5 MKII would be appreciated.
The EE-1 is not a substitute for a viewfinder. To use it effectively, only use it for target acquisition. Once the target is in the sights, switch your eye to either the EVF or LCD (your preference) to take the shot. It’s not an easy piece of kit to use effectively, but it can be done.
 

Retief

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Very disappointed that your post did not properly address equivalence and how f4 is really f8 is really f14. 0/10 for this review.
Thanks, I think, for your comment. Given this is by no means a "review" I am not sure I understand the 0/10, I can only guess that you felt compelled to note that. I don't do reviews because in general I am way too lazy to take the time to figure it all out myself :laugh1:, I most often however will post on findings and issues I run into.

Do you have a specific question on equivalence, or more to the point, a question as to why I do not choose to go into all the specifics surrounding equivalence and the relationship to DOF as well as Aperture, coupled with ISO?

I also did not specifically go into depth regarding the issues surrounding smaller sensor sizes and the issue of noise and high ISO. Seems that should be a knock on this "non-review" as well.

For reference, and plenty of reading on Equivalence this is one of many links that goes far into depth on the physics involved. Here is Another One that I have rather enjoyed over the years.

The reality is that regardless of physics, DXO Mark, various rants/raves on Photography forums, we each figure out what works and what is important. As I noted at the very top of this thread, weight issues were a major factor in my set of "truths". Equivalence is far down the list for me. Top of the the list would be AF and quality of image I can produce, generally up to 16x20. So far I have not seen a reason that my decision is "wrong", just lot's of new learning to do.

I'll take this opportunity to once again thank all the members of this forum who have provided additional insight. Even those who totally disagree with me, you always put me in a position where I further learn, and that is always a good thing indedd.
 

Retief

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Monopods are terrible for birding. When I tried adjusting my aim against birds higher up, I’d end up raising the entire rig off the ground. Tripods with gimbal heads are better, hand-held is best.
I certainly agree in general with your monopod comment. Getting the monopod to be high enough to catch them high up certainly is a pain. I have seen some folks use a small gimbal on top of the monopod which simply, for me at least, is way too cumbersome. Nice thing about the tripod is that I don't have to hold the entire weight for long periods. I did this over the weekend and found that I may be in the market for a lighter tripod and gimbal, I have a Gitzo 3-series with a Jobu Pro Gimbal that while it works, it also is a bit cumbersome simply because of the size difference. Tripod vs. Handheld, in many cases I agree handheld is best, especially for quicker acquisition and tracking. The place where I think the tripod wins is when you can somewhat predict where a subject will be, a nest site or perch for example, and it may be 20-60 minutes between appearances. The other thing I think the tripod is better for is using pro-capture in those same settings.

The EE-1 is not a substitute for a viewfinder. To use it effectively, only use it for target acquisition. Once the target is in the sights, switch your eye to either the EVF or LCD (your preference) to take the shot. It’s not an easy piece of kit to use effectively, but it can be done.
This is one of the concerns I have had, and why I never tried to use this method in the past. Heck, I have enough trouble remembering which buttons to push, adding in moving my eye back and forth I'm afraid I'd give myself neck strain along with carpal tunnel :rolleyes-38:

Thanks for reply and comment, very helpful.
 

ddekadt

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Thanks, I think, for your comment. Given this is by no means a "review" I am not sure I understand the 0/10, I can only guess that you felt compelled to note that. I don't do reviews because in general I am way too lazy to take the time to figure it all out myself :laugh1:, I most often however will post on findings and issues I run into.

Do you have a specific question on equivalence, or more to the point, a question as to why I do not choose to go into all the specifics surrounding equivalence and the relationship to DOF as well as Aperture, coupled with ISO?

I also did not specifically go into depth regarding the issues surrounding smaller sensor sizes and the issue of noise and high ISO. Seems that should be a knock on this "non-review" as well.

For reference, and plenty of reading on Equivalence this is one of many links that goes far into depth on the physics involved. Here is Another One that I have rather enjoyed over the years.

The reality is that regardless of physics, DXO Mark, various rants/raves on Photography forums, we each figure out what works and what is important. As I noted at the very top of this thread, weight issues were a major factor in my set of "truths". Equivalence is far down the list for me. Top of the the list would be AF and quality of image I can produce, generally up to 16x20. So far I have not seen a reason that my decision is "wrong", just lot's of new learning to do.

I'll take this opportunity to once again thank all the members of this forum who have provided additional insight. Even those who totally disagree with me, you always put me in a position where I further learn, and that is always a good thing indedd.
Oh man I think my tone totally failed here. I was just joking. I enjoyed your post because it was basically not a mindless contemplation of equivalence and the like. Was trying to add more levity by impersonating the equivalence-police from DPReview. Whoops! Peace!
 

Retief

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Oh man I think my tone totally failed here. I was just joking. I enjoyed your post because it was basically not a mindless contemplation of equivalence and the like. Was trying to add more levity by impersonating the equivalence-police from DPReview. Whoops! Peace!
I have no sense of humor. How dare you try to be flippant in such a serious forum setting. I am so offended that I don't know if I could be anymore offended but I am mostly offended that I was, at the moment, too dense to figure out that you were not trying to be offensive, even though it could have been taken that way, oh my, oh my, now I am embarrassed on top of being offended, whatever should I do????

( oh, shut the heck up Dewey and just say "OK, fair enough, works for me!" :rofl: )

Very well done, subtle, dry, I love it! Wish I had picked up on that in the first place. Not sure this place is going to be able stand the two of us, critical mass I fear.

On a more serious note, this is another of those universal truths. Nuance sometimes get lost along the way. I remember the "good old" DPR days ....

Got it, and you got the "newbie" here good, REAL good. I will end this by saying watch your back. You never know when, nor how, but I got a long memory .... :rolleyes-38:
 

spdavies

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So, while I appreciate your thoughts, it doesn't work well for the way I shoot. How do you deal with focus/recompose?
Not trying to get you to agree - just a suggestion.
I was thinking in terms of grip and fatigue.
But I don't understand what you're saying about focus and recompose.
That's the way I always shoot - very rarely do I move the focus point away from the middle.
I do a halfway press of the shutter while aimed at the point I want to be in focus.
That
stabilizes the image in the viewfinder and locks the focus -
I recompose and take the picture - very quick and simple.
I'm only dealing with one button and my thumb is supporting the camera the whole time.
If I also want to lock the exposure, I have the button on the function lever to lock that.
I just don't see how adding a second button to the focus and shoot procedure is a benefit.
But to each his own . . . :drinks:
 

Davidof_CR

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I started using BBF a month ago, before I did not dare to make the change.

It was masayoshi who made me think about this change.

Main advantage is that I have advantages of both CAF and SAF without having to switch between them. And for difficult scenarios (like a bird in branches) it is nice not to fear that the AF system re-focuses for the next picture (in fact, AF lock does cover this for Panasonic cameras).

Still it is necessary to move the focus point often, but for sport and wildlife photography the BBF suits me very well. But I agree, it is very individual.

I was surprised how quickly I got used to it, and even more - for Lumix cameras I still use normal focusing - and I do not have problem adjusting to it :) It must be something about the shape of EM1x that makes it natural to use BBF :)
 

Retief

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Not trying to get you to agree - just a suggestion.
I was thinking in terms of grip and fatigue.
But I don't understand what you're saying about focus and recompose.
That's the way I always shoot - very rarely do I move the focus point away from the middle.
I do a halfway press of the shutter while aimed at the point I want to be in focus.
That
stabilizes the image in the viewfinder and locks the focus -
I recompose and take the picture - very quick and simple.
I'm only dealing with one button and my thumb is supporting the camera the whole time.
If I also want to lock the exposure, I have the button on the function lever to lock that.
I just don't see how adding a second button to the focus and shoot procedure is a benefit.
But to each his own . . . :drinks:
Oh, come on now, you are just trying to tell me I am a doofus know nothing. It's OK, my wife tells me that as well ..

I have, on several occasions, had issues where I want to track a bird or animal, let's say from left to right, but want to keep more negative space on the right side. If I focus on the eye using the center focus point, by pointing directly at the subject (center point), then shift the viewfinder so the subject is on the left, the center point is no longer pointing at the subject. If I have focus decoupled from the shutter button, on the back button, when I push the shutter button no AF takes place. If, on the other hand, AF is controlled by the shutter button, then as soon as I touch the shutter button the camera will re-focus where the center point is pointed. Then when I am panning my focus point is not where I wanted it to be, no longer on the subject. Doesn't that happen when you engage the shutter, AF takes over and re-focuses? Or is there some mode I haven't found yet on the camera?

The real trick would be to find a way to use a third button for the left thumb, or maybe the left fingers. Add even more confusion and then you could forget about supporting the lens as well and look like a REAL newbie :rolleyes-38: I do agree with you that often "less is more". I have enough trouble remembering a few button presses as it is, the less I need the easier it is on my brain, and I can focus on actually taking pictures, duh.

As to the grip and fatigue, I guess it is just because my thumb naturally falls there that I don't find this to be an issue.

Thanks for the good responses, I love conversations like this, they always teach me something.
 
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This is one of the concerns I have had, and why I never tried to use this method in the past. Heck, I have enough trouble remembering which buttons to push, adding in moving my eye back and forth I'm afraid I'd give myself neck strain along with carpal tunnel.
The difficulty of target acquisition is my only "gripe" (not really) with the 300mm Pro. I prefer the convenience of a zoom, though a zoom wouldn't be as compact with as high IQ. Zooming out to find the bird, then zooming in to take the shot is much easier. The EE-1 dot site does help, but it requires sighting, it probably would have been much more effective had it electrical contacts with the camera, and it is a pain moving from the dot site to the EVF. That all said, it's all a matter of practice and skill. I just need more of both, and the 300 Pro without the dot site works just fine.
 

Holoholo55

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I would use the red dot like a finder scope on an astronomical telescope.
Use the red dot to get you close, then switch to the viewfinder for final alignment on the subject.
I have a DIY red dot sight (gun sight with 3D printed hotshoe adapter from my friend) and found that if I turn on the LCD display while looking through the red dot, I can sort of see if I'm on target as well as see if it's in focus. However, my druthers are to use my EVF if at all possible. I get more hits that way as long as I can get the bird in view.

I do as you say too. Use the dot sight to get close, then switch to EVF. It varies.
 
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Hi, sight at infinity and it'll never be off more than 2".
True in the lab, but in real life usage its not that simple. Because of very slight variances in how the sight is seated in the hot shoe, re-sighting is an exercise that has to be done every time I put it on. I can’t just sight it once and expect it to be the same every time I use it. It never is.

Once set, it can be accurate, and stays that way for the session. For quickly pointing the camera to the right area, it works like a charm. It is useful for that, as the others have said. But at that point I switch to the EVF to take the shot.

There are still issues that prevent it from being capable of replacing an EVF/LCD. Hologram sights may correct some for parallax, but the tech doesn’t seem to be reliably effective. I don’t really understand how that works. I do know that holding a camera with such perfectly consistent form that my eye is always looking through the sight’s single element at exactly the same angle every time is even harder than it is with a rifle. Aiming just with the sight usually will be acceptably close, but not always, and it won’t tell me if I clipped a part of the subject, or if the AF did it’s job.
 

ac12

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I think aiming a 300 just takes practice. OK, maybe a LOT of practice.
I think it is like shooting a shotgun.
  • I hold the camera+lens directly below my eye, and pointed the way I am looking.
    • As I turn my head/body, I turn the camera+lens at the same time to keep it aligned with where I am looking.
  • I look at the subject, then raise the camera up. Most of the time I am close to dead on.
  • I find it easier to do this when my left hand is BELOW the lens, supporting the lens from below, with my thumb and index finger in front. It is more difficult when I reverse my hand and have my thumb and index finger in back. But I need to use the thumb back position for zooms with stiff zoom rings, which unfortunately are MOST zooms.
I tried monopods and gave up on them. They do not work, for ME.
As mentioned, when I have to elevate, I have to lift everything off the ground, then you have the monopod acting like a lever.
And it flops when action comes close to me and I have to aim downward, uh no-can-do.

Panning for me is a mess. On a monnopod, I can pan horizontal maybe 15 degrees. Then I have to move my feet to rotate my body around the monopod, or pick up the monopod and camera and handhold pan. Both of these seriously affect my ability to follow the subject. Pure handheld (no monopod attached), I can easily do 100+ degree pan.

The only time a monopod works for me, is if I do not change the direction that I am aiming by much, and just use it as a partial weight support. If I rely too much on the monopod for support, I end up swaying L/R and F/B, or exactly what you would expect from a single point support, no horizontal stability.​
 

Retief

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The difficulty of target acquisition is my only "gripe" (not really) with the 300mm Pro. I prefer the convenience of a zoom, though a zoom wouldn't be as compact with as high IQ. Zooming out to find the bird, then zooming in to take the shot is much easier. The EE-1 dot site does help, but it requires sighting, it probably would have been much more effective had it electrical contacts with the camera, and it is a pain moving from the dot site to the EVF. That all said, it's all a matter of practice and skill. I just need more of both, and the 300 Pro without the dot site works just fine.
The narrow angle of view is always a pain to deal with, especially when you have subjects that are small and move erratically. Give me an Eagle or Great Blue Heron any day. Terns and Owls can be a real challenge, and when it comes to Songbirds, time to pray! You are correct, practice is the key.

As to the zoom vs. prime, remember that I come from the Nikon world where the lenses are much larger. I have used the 200-400 f4 and the 200-500 f5.6. Both of these were tough when trying to follow a fast moving target. Trying to manipulate the zoom ring at the same time as following was not something I found intuitive in practice.

I plan to try with the 40-150, and hope to with the new 150-400 when it shows up as well.
 

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