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Need advice on Olympus OM-D and extreme telephoto

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by mount_evans, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. mount_evans

    mount_evans New to Mu-43

    Feb 25, 2013
    I was running some tests with my OM-D and a Tamron 500mm mirror lens, with and without the Tamron 140F teleconverter (700mm), and I ran into a problem that I think is the fault of the OM-D. For some reason I am getting a sharper image on the rear screen of the camera during manual focusing than in the captured photographs. The distortion seems to take the form of a double image "ghost" in addition to some ordinary blurriness, making me wonder if motion is involved, but I am using the cable release and have anti-shock set to 4 seconds (later increased to 15s, didn't help). The tripod is rock solid (it was designed for astronomy) and I have it sitting on some vibration absorbing pads. I am using a telescope clamp to grab the mirror lens, as I figured that made more sense than dangling the adapter, lens, and teleconverter off of the front of the camera. I have turned image stabilization off (turning it back on didn't help). I am using ISO 200, shutter speeds of 50 and 100, and manual focus. My test target was some fine print text illuminated with an LED flashlight, but I ultimately want to use this setup for moonshots and extreme telephoto wildlife photography. What might I be doing wrong? On a hunch, I tried shooting video with the digital 2x teleconverter, and the paused video is sharper than my captured stills. So, the OM-D can capture a sharp image with this lens, but it won't during still photography. This leads me to suspect motion of some sort, but I don't know what to do about it. Has anyone managed to take pictures using the OM-D at focal lengths greater than 400mm?
  2. denniscloutier

    denniscloutier Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 24, 2011
    North Saanich, B.C.
    I took this one

    I posted this image in another thread. This was shot with a tripod, a 400mm lens and a 1.4 TC. I was getting a fair bit of vibration, so I found I got better results with IS on. Manually setting the focal length for the IS made a big difference. I think this image is fairly sharp and when I pixel peep it I don't see a double image so I don't think camera shake affected it too much.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
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  3. kevwilfoto

    kevwilfoto Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 23, 2011
    I Haven't shot with my OM-D and > 400mm lens (I have a 400/5.6) but what does strike me about your post is 1/50th - 1/100th shutter speeds. I am probably wrong, but if it were me I'd be using 1/800th, minimum. IBIS on the OM-D is great, but perhaps not enough for this use case.
  4. edmsnap

    edmsnap Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 20, 2011
    Edmonton, Alberta
    That's my question too... what FL did you set the IS to?
  5. mount_evans

    mount_evans New to Mu-43

    Feb 25, 2013
    IBIS and tripods don't mix (allegedly)

    The manual and the experts say to turn IBIS off when the camera is mounted on a tripod; in any case, I tried it both ways and it didn't seem to make a difference. As for shutter speed, the Tamron mirror lens is rather "slow"--f/8 nominally, f/11 with the teleconverter, and it exposes a little darker than that because the aperture is partly obscured. I'll be forced to use speeds like that if (for example) I want to photograph the moon at first quarter.
  6. RichDesmond

    RichDesmond Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 18, 2011
    United States
    I'd bump up the ISO to 800 and use a higher shutter speed.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    I'm guessing you are getting shutter induced motion blur. Setting anti-shock on only removes one shutter motion from the equation (closing the live-view shutter) and you still have the shutter motion opening on exposure. It sounds like you've got a pretty secure camera mount, but you are also doing extreme telephoto. I'd try using a flash and see if that produces a sharp image - if it does you know you've got motion blur and the only thing moving is the shutter. I know it sounds extreme for such a small setup, but it isn't unusual to use two tripods - one for camera and one for lens - in extreme telephoto. Would seem silly with the compact Tamron though!

    Good luck!

  8. mount_evans

    mount_evans New to Mu-43

    Feb 25, 2013
    I would settle for some method of grabbing both the camera and the lens at the same time. Something like this, but with different dimensions:

    Manfrotto 293 Telephoto Lens Support with Quick Release 293 B&H

    (Yeah, I checked the numbers--this jig can't get short enough for my setup, and if it could, the tilt would become kind of extreme. If I could find one used, I might buy it to see if I could turn the sliding part around, or modify it in some way.)
  9. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    I've shot with a 500mm f/8 mirror lens handheld with no issues, with IS both on and off.
  10. brettmaxwell

    brettmaxwell Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 8, 2012
    Try ISO 1600 and 1/800 just to see if motion is the problem or if you're barking up the wrong tree.
  11. mount_evans

    mount_evans New to Mu-43

    Feb 25, 2013
    A partial solution, at least

    Well, exposure times of 1/200 or less seem to clear up the problem, but an ISO of 640 looked rather grainy. :-( I should repeat the experiment a few more times, but it looks like I will be able to use my new teleconverter for taking pictures of the full moon, but I may run into trouble for first or last quarter (what normal people would call a "half moon"). This is when the contrast is best, because the sun is illuminating the moon from the side, but the moon's surface is about one fifth as bright as far as photography is concerned.

    I am also fairly confident that the teleconverter does not remove any detail from the image, which I have heard many people claim. I can't say for sure that it ads additional detail. I intend to run a similar set of tests with the Zuiko 50-200mm and the matching high grade 1.4x teleconverter; I suspect that in this case I will be able to verify that the teleconverter really does provide additional detail.
  12. LowTEC

    LowTEC Mu-43 Regular

    I would love to see your result, I have been wanting a longer reach/ brighter/ more contrast setup than my 100-300 lens for a reasonable price, for both wildlife and moon shots.
    Here is the best result I got from my Panny 300.
    I know most if not all OMD users would turn off IBIS on tripod as the manual instructs, but I see zero difference leaving it on from my over 700+ moon shots experience
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    The Moon Shot by DENNIS CHAU | FOTOGRAPHY, on Flickr
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