Shootout Sony A9 (FF) vs Olympus EM1 Mark III (M43) - Wildlife Photography shootout

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I’m curious how the E-M1X will do after the bird AI tracking is added. I consider its AF already good enough that I don’t worry about it much. Improved tracking might be all it needs for that slight tweak to get those 91% slightly soft shots tack sharp. I also don’t think it needs to have the best AF to be competitive.

I‘m also curious how the EOS R5 will do in real life tests.
What you need to remember from that list up there, that was before the firmware update to the EM1x. So it's more than likely it's improved from that already. That was version 1. The Sony's really are freaks at it though.

Danny.
 
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Something I'm not sure what the posters "normal" experience is, but someone fluent with either camera probably makes both sing and exceptionally well.
Give one a camera they're not familiar with and the results maybe excellent but not upto what is expected from a familiar user.
It took me a while to come to terms with my Panasonic 100-400 but my results now exceed my initial ones.
There's too many exceptionally stunning photos from gifted Olympus users to deny they're right up there with the best.
So why aren't everyone's the same?
 

SpecFoto

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For BIF's from an expert on BIF's
https://mirrorlesscomparison.com/best/mirrorless-cameras-for-birds-in-flight
Results ......

If BIF's was all I was taking and if I wanted AF, I would get an A9 with the 200-600 with internal zoom.
Danny.
I will hopefully in the future find a less than $2,000 near new A9, as paired with my Sony 100-400 GM f4.5-5.6 and 1.4X tc, and possible a 2.0 tc, it would be an awesome kit for what I would shoot with it, mostly airshows, BIF, wildlife and surfers. I looked at the 200-600, but want the compactness for traveling of the 100-400. In the meantime I use my trusty D500 and Nikon 15+ year old 70-200 f2.8 V1 and 300 f4 AFS lenses along with a 1.4 and 1.7 Nikon tc, they just work. While not listed in the above lists that was mirrorless only, here are Matheiu's results he put in the comments when asked how the D500 stacked up against the A9 a year ago. It would be the 2nd best behind the A9's.

Mathieu Mod ranton5 months ago said:
D500-85% / 98% using the 3D-Tracking AF mode, level 1 and Erratic for the "Focus tracking with lock-on" setting.

Though I have only shot BIF once with my new EM1.3, I can see it is so much better at this than my old EM1's and a step or 2 above my G9, even with the FW 2.0. But the "best" lens I have is the 40-150 f2.8 Pro with the MC-14. Since Olympus did not make a Pro long tele zoom, but instead a 300mm fixed, last Dec I bought the Sony 100-400 GM to pair with my A73, which cost just about the same as the 300 pro. For what I want to shoot with this type of setup a zoom just works better for me, and it is awesome, zero complaints. It's just too bad that Olympus delayed its 150-400 F4.5 Pro zoom for almost 2 years, it could have been the "do all" lens for this type of shooting with Olympus users, assuming it is reasonably priced of course.
 
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Gillymaru

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For BIF's from an expert on BIF's

https://mirrorlesscomparison.com/best/mirrorless-cameras-for-birds-in-flight

Results ......

View attachment 834688

If BIF's was all I was taking and if I wanted AF, I would get an A9 with the 200-600 with internal zoom.

Danny.
When I can purchase an a6400 and 200-600mm on special here in Australia for not much more than just the 300mm f4 it makes me give the option serious consideration. I shoot surfing off a monopod so weight is a non issue also mostly shoot in good light. Having 24mp and 900mm eq with better autofocus seems to tick lots of boxes for me.
 
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When I can purchase an a6400 and 200-600mm on special here in Australia for not much more than just the 300mm f4 it makes me give the option serious consideration. I shoot surfing off a monopod so weight is a non issue also mostly shoot in good light. Having 24mp and 900mm eq with better autofocus seems to tick lots of boxes for me.
Agree it's hard choice to ignore.
I considered the D500 and also A6400 and suited zoom lens, but then continued into the Olympus way. EM1.2 and Panasonic 100-400. I'm not ruing the decision.
 

SpecFoto

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Agree it's hard choice to ignore.
I considered the D500 and also A6400 and suited zoom lens, but then continued into the Olympus way. EM1.2 and Panasonic 100-400. I'm not ruing the decision.
The Panasonic 100-400 would be on my radar if the price for the Olympus 150-400 is out of reach, it would be a great complement to my 40-150 f2.8 Pro. How has the 100-400 worked out for you overall, has it worked OK with the EM1.2 and AF? I only ask as while my Nocticron 42.5 f1.2 has worked fine with my EM1 and now EM1.3, minus of course the OIS, I had bad luck with my G9 and the 40-150 f2.8 when the MC-14 tc was added to the mix. Alone the 40-150 worked OK, but when the tc was added the G9 AF ceased to function properly and my hit ratio dropped to less than 10%. I am a bit hesitant as a result of mixing the 2 brands again, as I plan on selling the G9 and the 100-400 would be mounted to the EM1.3.
 
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Lcrunyon

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What you need to remember from that list up there, that was before the firmware update to the EM1x. So it's more than likely it's improved from that already. That was version 1. The Sony's really are freaks at it though.

Danny.
That’s a good point. I don’t get many AF misses with my X at all, which always makes me scratch my head with posts like these. I’m sure Sony is better, but if I get one shot out of a dozen slightly off, I’m not going to sweat it.

Also, in terms of the IQ comparison, I was actually surprised to see how negligible the differences were. It was nothing a little post processing wouldn‘t fix. Also, as other have pointed out, I’d have used different techniques with the X, anyways, which would have mitigated the differences even more.
 

retiredfromlife

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Alone the 40-150 worked OK, but when the tc was added the G9 AF ceased to function properly and my hit ratio dropped to less than 10%. I am a bit hesitant as a result of mixing the 2 brands again, as I plan on selling the G9 and the 100-400 would be mounted to the EM1.3.
I found the same when I tried to use my 40-150 with the TC on my G85. Now I have bodies and lenses from both camps and having a few problems I try not to mix and match.
The Mu-43 coalition did not work out as well as I had hoped for my use, but most seem to be very happy so I am in the minority, and I just use zooms not primes. [except the oly 60mm macro] so that may be a factor ?
 

retiredfromlife

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Something I'm not sure what the posters "normal" experience is, but someone fluent with either camera probably makes both sing and exceptionally well.
Give one a camera they're not familiar with and the results maybe excellent but not upto what is expected from a familiar user.
It took me a while to come to terms with my Panasonic 100-400 but my results now exceed my initial ones.
There's too many exceptionally stunning photos from gifted Olympus users to deny they're right up there with the best.
So why aren't everyone's the same?
Possibly lens copy variation, seems to be a problem with Mu-43 lenses, and of course user skill / usage.

I did a Panasonic sponsored bird walk with the G9 and the 100-400 a loved the combo, but have not tried the 100-400 on any Oly body.
 

Lcrunyon

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I did a Panasonic sponsored bird walk with the G9 and the 100-400 a loved the combo, but have not tried the 100-400 on any Oly body.
I used the PL 100-400 with the E-M1 MKII on a bird photography expedition in Lapland. It was certainly sharp enough, lightweight, and the zoom range was very nice; but the lack of compatibility with advanced Olympus features really bothered me. I’d miss that compatibility even more with the X. My wife was also using it on the original E-M1, which doesn’t have those features, and it was perfectly fine. I’ll probably sell it when the new Oly super telephoto zooms come out.
 
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The Panasonic 100-400 would be on my radar if the price for the Olympus 150-400 is out of reach, it would be a great complement to my 40-150 f2.8 Pro. How has the 100-400 worked out for you overall, has it worked OK with the EM1.2 and AF? I only ask as while my Nocticron 42.5 f1.2 has worked fine with my EM1 and now EM1.3, minus of course the OIS, I had bad luck with my G9 and the 40-150 f2.8 when the MC-14 tc was added to the mix. Alone the 40-150 worked OK, but when the tc was added the G9 AF ceased to function properly and my hit ratio dropped to less than 10%. I am a bit hesitant as a result of mixing the 2 brands again, as I plan on selling the G9 and the 100-400 would be mounted to the EM1.3.
I'm perfectly happy (well could always ask for more ☺) with the combination.
I've handheld to 1/13th second with it. I am amazed at how well just the Panasonic image stability is. See cat below. I've other bird photos at slow shutter
Archie
Archie.jpeg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

I've had 2 100-400 lenses. First one just fell off one day and wrecked itself.
Had other about 3 weeks. Can't notice any difference.
Autofocus is excellent majority of time but poor light tests it.

I have it permanently fixed to the EM1 2 and never swap lenses so any issues re flakes of metal one hears about doesn't happen.

I also have the 40-150 2.8 and the MC14. That IS A LENS!
It's smooth to focus and zoom. The 100-400 is stiff and not as sweet.

The 100-400 does fall away at longer distances. Even 50 metres leaves me longing at times for more.
My main use is birds and tiny ones so one has to temper that size versus distance.
My little birds and 20 metres is the limit

Hope that helps. I would expect the G9 and 100-400 would be better matched but looking at others photos and respective combinations I'm sure either would be able to match quality in the right hands.
 
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Cederic

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I'm sorry, but I can't see material differences between the photos at the sizes included here. Sometimes I prefer the top one of the two, sometimes the second, but never to the extent that I'd reject either (except for under-exposed gorilla).

Perhaps at full screen on a 40" 4k monitor there are glaring differences but really I don't see the IQ being a differentiator here.

If you're getting many more 'keepers' with the Sony then that alone may justify the cost, weight and size, but based on this analysis I'd be comfortable shooting the Oly too.
 

SpecFoto

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That does help, thank you! But you left a big question about the 100-400 lens falling off :eek: Was this due to the lens mount being loose, or maybe too tight, and it could not fit properly on the EM1.2?


I'm perfectly happy (well could always ask for more ☺) with the combination.
I've handheld to 1/13th second with it. I am amazed at how well just the Panasonic image stability is.....

I've had 2 100-400 lenses. First one just fell off one day and wrecked itself.
Had other about 3 weeks. Can't notice any difference.
Autofocus is excellent majority of time but poor light tests it.......

Hope that helps. I would expect the G9 and 100-400 would be better matched but looking at others photos and respective combinations I'm sure either would be able to match quality in the right hands.
 

PakkyT

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I'm sorry, but I can't see material differences between the photos at the sizes included here. Sometimes I prefer the top one of the two, sometimes the second, but never to the extent that I'd reject either (except for under-exposed gorilla).
I thought the same thing when I first saw them and in fact thought the Oly photos were maybe ever so slightly sharper when looking at fur and such. But to your point, if you mixed all the photos up and asked me to pick which camera too which photo, it would be a totally random guess as the way they appear on this web site at this size, there is really nothing different between them when looking at each pair and certainly what little tiny differences might be picked out could be due to many other random (non camera) related factors such as photographer moving, animal moving, slight change in lighting between shots, focus point ever so slightly different on one from the other, etc.
 
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That does help, thank you! But you left a big question about the 100-400 lens falling off :eek: Was this due to the lens mount being loose, or maybe too tight, and it could not fit properly on the EM1.2?
Oops. Sorry, should have said
Concious of derailing this thread. My amendment has given me added security.
Definitely not a loose fit nor as tight as some people seem to experience.
I wouldn't be put off by my calamity
See here https://www.mu-43.com/threads/telephoto-or-long-lens-for-em1-2.108413/page-2
 

MichailK

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how much more expensive would a similar new Canon R5 rig cost? just had my jaw collected from the floor with the BIF eye tracking abilities in the youtube videos... will the X get there with the fw update? just talking, I am nowhere near BIFing
 

hoggdoc

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What is interesting though is that at a quick peek there is not that much difference in the photos (excl. the last pair). I wouldn't pay the $$$s or tolerate the size difference to get there.
Exactly the point I wanted to make and you beat me too it.
 
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