The Adventures of Bigma

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Phocal, Feb 22, 2017.

  1. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I don't want to clog up the Showcase thread with test shots, so decided to start a new thread.

    I got out to the local duck pond for a bit to do some testing and I found a cooperative goose that allowed me to run thru a few setups.

    1. I removed my micro focus adjust from the lens because I only did the telephoto end. I am really not sure how the camera uses that data to determine focus distance throughout the zoom range. For all I know if the wide end is 0 and the telephoto end is -2 that it will assign the focal lengths in between a value somewhere between the two. That is something that I have wondered about for a bit but have not had the days of testing it would take to actually figure it all out and my main lens is a prime and my 50-200 has given me no reason to question it's performance.
    2. I shot all photos from my skimmer pod just as I would normally. This means it was really lose aka if I let go the lens will fall over. I mostly use it as a comfort thing (better then trying to handhold while laying in goose poop) and to keep the distance to subject constant, but the lens will move side to side and such.
    3. I only used autofocus with no manual tweaking, wanted to see what the results are before I start messing with stuff. I was also worried my subject would move (had two do that before I could get thru my combos) before I was finished.
    4. For editing I used my standard preset that gives me my look. This was followed by hitting "auto" in LR with no further tweaks. I wanted the photos edited all identically based on the light available at time of shooting. This actually gave me a pretty consistent look between all the shots.
    5. For all shots I will state actually focal lengths, not effective focal lengths.
    6. Looking at all the shots (took close to 800) I have determined that the lens front focuses some in all combinations I tried. This has me seriously wondering about the focus adjustment I had been doing where it came out as back focusing. I will await my large ruler to really get into this, it will show what is going on a lot better.
    7. The subject was about 24 feet away, per exif. The distance I set up was determined by the use of the EC-20. If I was using the EC-14 I would have wanted to be closer and even closer if using no TC. I would have liked to match framing between the combos and hope to do that one day as well.
    8. All shots taken from the same location of a subject that didn't move.
    9. You can click thru to Flickr for full resolution samples if you are so inclined.
    First up we have just the good old Bigma at 500mm and two shots to look at.

    Bigma only at 500mm - ISO 320, 1/1000 @ f6.3 - Wide-Open
    32930267301_c4b3374471_h.
    Bigma f6.3 - 500mm
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    Bigma only at 500mm - ISO 500, 1/1000 @ f8.0
    33056825445_a3cf08aeba_h.
    Bigma f8.0 - 500mm
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    The wide-open shot has a DoF of 1.5 inches and the f8.0 is about 1.9 inches. The f8.0 shot is more then acceptable, even with the front focusing and the f6.3 shot is actually not that bad and I would probably use it but not over the f8 shot. I think with spot on focus, the f6.3 shot would be much better.

    Now we have a shot with the EC-14 at 500mm (well actually 514mm, just can't get it to stop right on 500mm) which was taken wide-open.

    Bigma w/ EC-14 at 514mm - ISO 640, 1/1000 @ f8.9
    33014973706_acb5d711d2_h.
    Bigma EC14 - 500mm
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    This was shot wide-open so lose a stop of light with the TC and it may actually be just a tad sharper then the Bigma only at 500mm wide-open. Then again it could be the extra DoF just picking up more of the eye in the sharper zone because the DoF is 2.1 inches (the largest of the 500mm shots). I am still better off going without the TC and stopping down 2/3 stop it looks like. But it is good to know that at 500mm with the EC-14 it is very acceptable and if stopped down (if I can afford to lose the light) would only get better since it is using the lenses focal length of around 350mm and the lens seems to be much better stopped down 2/3 of a stop.

    Next up is the EC-14 shot at 700mm (camera reads it as 708mm). Side note, I have noticed that all my lenses read a bit longer then what the math says when using the EC-14 but all read spot on with the EC-20.

    Bigma w/ EC-14 at 700mm - ISO 800, 1/1000 @ f8.9
    32674728900_8756a4f12c_h.
    Bigma EC14 - 700mm
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    Here the DoF is down to 1 inch (not any room for error really) and I find the shot just on the edge of being acceptable. Once I get the focus adjustment done, I think it will be perfectly acceptable..........especially if I stop down a stop.

    Now the one I know everyone has been waiting for.

    Bigma w/ EC-20 at 1000mm - ISO 500, 1/500 @ f13.0
    33056811345_f4a5250578_h.
    Bigma EC20 - 1000mm
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    This was the shocker of the day and I find this shot perfectly useable. If you are wondering the DoF in this shot is 0.7 inches, so really no room for error. With the small tweak I think it needs in focus adjustment, this could turn into a killer combo in the right situations.

    I wish I had shot the TC's stopped down a stop or even just 2/3 like I did without the TC's. But there is time for that another day.

    You can see some CA in the sun spots of the eyes. I did not correct it, but would be super easy to do in post........I left it as part of my showing how the lens performs. It is not nearly as bad as some internet people made me think. FYI, LensTip felt the CA was more then acceptable on the OS version (no test of the non-OS version). I was never concerned but felt I should mention it given a few comments about it elsewhere.

    All things considering, I am really happy with the lens so far. It seems to perform better then what internet rumor makes you think. It also seems to accept the Olympus TC's very well, but I expected that given the quality of these TC's. The biggest problem with the lens is the slow aperture and the need for ISO's over 200 in most shooting conditions. Ok, in most of my shooting conditions, which is mostly in the swamp where the light is not always that bright. For this reason it will mostly be used for non-action shots where I need a high shutter speed. It will work great for some frog and baby gator shots and I can't wait to get it to the rookery. Just from the shots I took today I am 100% confident that it will get my gator eye shot I am after with the EC-20 and that the IQ will be more then enough. I don't need fast shutter or fast aperture for that shot. Just a still gator in the right location where I can secure the lens well and use a slower shutter speed and stop down for max sharpness.

    I will update this thread as I work out more adjustments to this lens.

    FYI, sorry about the boring subject but I needed something that wouldn't move and that I could get close to and the local duck pond is the perfect place...............even if the birds are not all exciting.

    I appreciate any and all comments.........

    Ronnie
     
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  2. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    That's a duck.

    We look forward to seeing what you will manage with the lens once you are versed in it.
     
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  3. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    True, it is a duck.........it's also non-native but given the numbers in the Houston area you would think it was a native species.
     
  4. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    Yeah, muscovies and muscovy hybrids have taken over many places throughout the US.
     
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  5. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    There were a few Egyptian Geese (another non-native species) at the pond but they were moving around to much to be subjects.
     
  6. macro

    macro Mu-43 Veteran

    212
    Jan 22, 2012
    New Zealand
    Naked and F/8 Ron. Seems good at that and interesting exercise though for sure with that lens. Maybe slide back on the blue channel a little.

    All the best Ron, we need more though. We always do :)

    Danny.
     
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  7. panamike

    panamike Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jul 5, 2016
    Lincolnshire UK
    Your certainly making it work,i have had a couple of these for various reasons (not on m4/3) and found them to be better than they should be with that zoom range,used one a lot on my Nikon V2 giving a FOV = 1350mm.
     
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  8. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    That shot did come out really good. I still think once I get the front focus dialed in it will perform much better. Also wish I had done a few shots stopped down when using the TC's. I know it will make for some pretty small apertures stopping down which will either lower the shutter speed or push the ISO, but for the shot I want with the EC-20 I don't need fast shutter.

    I noticed the blue but just left it, was just doing a fast two click edit..........for anything I would seriously show they would have had more time on editing.
     
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  9. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    They are not the sharpest lenses out there and never claim to be. While I appreciate the technical testing sites do and I do look at them to get an idea about a lens, it is not the end all be all. Sure it is not sharp in the corners.........I am a wildlife photographer, I don't need super sharp corners. I also know from the test sites that the lens really does sharpen up when stopped down to f8.0, doesn't mean wide-open is not useable. If it turns out that I can't get sharp wide-open shots (my other 4/3 lenses have spoiled me on this), then I will just stop down to f8.0 and work with what I have (FYI I still think that it is possible). To me it looks as good as anything I have gotten from the 50-200 w/ EC-20 and is 100mm more of reach for only 1/3 stop slower.........I can live with that.

    This is also why in a lot of cases I prefer to find out on my own. If I had listened to and believe forum gospel I would never have tried the 50-200 w/ EC-20, which has turned out to be very sharp. The Bigma was cheap so well worth the investigation as to find out how good it is/not and I know I could sell it for what I paid...........but I will be keeping it.
     
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  10. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Forgot to add that Saturday I will be taking to try and get shots of a Burrowing Owl. I will just stop down to f8 and shoot away. If I add the TC's (which I will probably test) I will switch over and manually focus the lens since it is not adjusted yet.
     
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  11. alex g

    alex g Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    824
    Mar 30, 2016
    New York / Bath
    The 'Tele' and 'Wide' values are interpolated for intermediate focal lengths. So if, as in your case, you save a profile with only an value for the telephoto end, the camera will gradually fade it to zero as you zoom out.

    The Bigma + EC-20 looks better than I think I'd have expected. There's still some of that deep, structural contrast that four thirds lenses seem able to deliver.
     
  12. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    That is what I assume it does but have never really tested it. I mostly shoot the 150/2 so really never needed to and the adjustments on my 50-200 are dead on at all focal lengths so never questioned it. Was not until I was messing around with the Bigma and only checked the long end that I started thinking about it.

    I was really shocked how that turned out with no micro focus adjustment. If you pop over to Flickr (where the full resolution shot is) and look at the white feathers below the base of his beak and further down at the bottom of the photo you can see the fine detail in the feathers. The lens front focused maybe an inch, just enough to pull the eye out of critical focus. The DoF in that shot is 0.7 inches, so basically no room for a focus error.
     
  13. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I got out at lunch to play around with it again under some absolutely terrible lighting, it was bright with no clouds at 1pm. I went out because this would be a good chance to test the CA from the lens because rumor has it there is a problem. To what degree? I have heard everything from no problem to had to sell the lens it was so bad. Then again I have heard plenty of it was so soft pass xxx that I had to sell it and I see that was a false rumor. Well, I see no problem with CA and if it was going to show up it would have showed up on the white of this Great Blue Heron who by the way is in breeding plumage (it's not fully in but it is getting there). The photos are not cropped and I have done my normal processing on them. I have done no correction for CA either and as I stated earlier, I see no CA problem at all with this lens. You will also notice I believe two photos some crazy bokeh from trees fairly close to the heron. I took all photos at f8.0 and two photographs at focal lengths other then 500mm. All shots were taking on my fully collapsed MeFoto tripod with my Jobo Jr 3 gimbal. With the legs fully collapse and the gimbal it is the perfect height when sitting on the ground. I would have used my skimmer pod but the grass was to tall. I have had hard time adapting to the gimbal, for some reason I have hard time getting sharp shots with it. I have always used a ball head, I really prefer them even with a long lens, but there are advantages to the gimbal so I am trying to get use to it. The problem is I put my left hand on top of the lens (it's how I would control it on the ball head) and this tends to push the lens up while shooting which results in not sharp photos. I did good today, was concentrating on using the damn thing. All photographs taken from approximately 55 feet away according to exif.

    One of the first things I realized is that I will seldom get to shoot this lens at base ISO. For a static bird I could lower the shutter and get ISO to base, but any type of action shots (which is what I like to photograph when it comes to birds) it will be impossible I think. Now in the summer it can get brighter because our winter light is a bit softer, but it was really bright today. I need 1/1000 at a minimum to freeze a birds head when it strikes and today at that shutter speed and f8.0 (which is a sharp point for this lens) all but one shot was ISO 400 (the other was 320).

    EM1 w/ Bigma - 228mm, ISO 400, 1/1000 @ f8.0, Tripod
    32924051512_a547e19e25_h.
    Bigma 228mm
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr


    EM1 w/ Bigma - 363mm, ISO 400, 1/1000 @ f8.0, Tripod
    33038418656_2bbf8b8c36_h.
    Bigma 363mm
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    EM1 w/ Bigma - 500mm, ISO 320, 1/1000 @ f8.0, Tripod
    33038389656_e8aa00d282_h. Bigma 500mm 001 by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    EM1 w/ Bigma - 500mm, ISO 400, 1/1250 @ f8.0, Tripod
    33038393946_5f8cda5180_h.
    Bigma 500mm 002
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    EM1 w/ Bigma - 500mm, ISO 400, 1/1250 @ f8.0, Tripod
    32924056932_433f3df24a_h.
    Bigma 500mm 003
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    It's not Little Tuna sharp but I am very happy with the results. I am real interested in how much of difference a good focus adjustment is going to make this lens. I would love to be able to shoot wide-open, I know...............my 4/3 lenses have spoiled me when it comes to sharp wide-open. It is going to be a bit before I can get the large ruler, have taken to much money the last month from my printer fund.........so, I am going to do a good focus adjustment using the small ruler at 25x focal distance. That will put me about the same distance I was with this bird, which is about perfect actually. It's a lot farther away then I am use to being, felt strange filling the frame with the Great Blue Heron (one of the larger birds I photograph) from 50 feet away.
     
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  14. alex g

    alex g Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    824
    Mar 30, 2016
    New York / Bath
    Looking good. the only shot where to me the bokeh is what you might call distracting is the first one, where the tree looks almost like it is motion blurred... crazy. The bokeh in the last two is fairly interesting, but in quite a pleasing way, to my eye anyway. Evidently more of a special purpose lens than an all-rounder, but for those really long shots — it looks like it can deliver. :)
     
  15. macro

    macro Mu-43 Veteran

    212
    Jan 22, 2012
    New Zealand
    Thought I heard it today with a scream of resolution ;) Looking darn good Ron with nice details. Like all long lenses it needs good daylight and its doing pretty well, so is the guy behind it as well. Want more of course, keep them coming Ron.

    All the best up there and looking goooooooood ;) I would call that a bargain lens for what you got it for, its worth its weight so far.

    Danny.
     
  16. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Thanks. Honestly I think just about any lens would have some strange bokeh in those shots, I know the 50-200 would have had a fit with it.

    No, it is not an all-rounder lens for me personally, but it will serve the purpose I bought it for. Not sure it will hold up to the EC-20, but I am hoping it will perform well enough with the EC-14 and having some doubts about that as well...............but we will see.
     
  17. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    LOL..............

    Thanks and it was a great bargain and I have no complaints. Even if I it doesn't perform well enough with the TC's it still gives me 1,000mm of reach in a very easy to use package and one I can pack in with me as an incase I need the reach lens.
     
  18. Ctein

    Ctein Mu-43 Regular

    Dear Ronnie,

    Because I'm sure you need more stuff to occupy your free time… [Grin]…

    Have you considered trying focus stacking in Photoshop for your stationary subjects? Prefocus just a little bit in front of the subject, set the camera for slow continuous capture (three frames per second would probably be about right), hold down the shutter release, and slowly turn the focus ring until you are sure the focus is behind the subject. Probably you'll grab a dozen, 15 frames, most of which you'll discard after you pixel-peep them on your computer. Let Photoshop merge the rest.


    pax \ Cte
    in[ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    ======================================
    -- Ctein's Online Gallery Ctein's Online Gallery
    -- Digital Restorations Photos Restored Digitally by Ctein
    ======================================
     
  19. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    No I haven't but that is one of the main reasons I want the 300 Pro, so I can use the focus bracketing function of my EM1.

    I may have to try it with the Bigma to see how it turns out.
     
  20. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Went out today and forced myself to use the Bigma all day, even tho I had the Little Tuna in the bag. I hit up Smith Oaks Rookery where I messed with the TC's and various apertures as well as manual focusing. After that I headed over to a National Wildlife Refuge in search of the Burrowing Owl...........I am not sure how many shots I took because I filled 2 cards and ended up with 567 on a 3rd. All I have done is download the shots from the last card, going to take me a week to get thru all these shots. I have around 4,000, can't say for sure because I shot a bunch of video also......so...........lots of work.

    This series of shots made my day. I could not decide which I liked the best so going to post up 5 from this series. I watched this Great Blue Heron for at least 30 minutes before he caught this fish, almost missed it because I messing around on my phone. These birds are so beautiful when in their full breeding plumage.

    Oh, I was 35 feet away according to exif data.

    He was deep in the weeds and this is probably the best shot when it comes to the weeds being out of the way (the wind was really blowing today)

    EM1 w/ Bigma - 500mm, ISO 400, 1/2000 @ f8.0, Handheld
    33138260885_b387e152da_h.
    GBH Meal 01
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    I like the action of the fish, but those damn weeds.

    EM1 w/ Bigma - 500mm, ISO 400, 1/2000 @ f8.0, Handheld
    32322658313_3cff3f70d6_h.
    GBH Meal 02
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    This one makes me laugh because he squeezed the fish and made it pee. You can tell in the shots leading up to this that he squeezed down and fisherman will know that if you squeeze a fish it can make it pee.

    EM1 w/ Bigma - 500mm, ISO 400, 1/2000 @ f8.0, Handheld
    32755486510_8df1371b90_h.
    GBH Meal 03
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    I like the action of the fish and the pee still flying :crying:

    EM1 w/ Bigma - 500mm, ISO 400, 1/2000 @ f8.0, Handheld
    32755481900_86689f1fb9_h.
    GBH Meal 04
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr


    I will probably do a series of shots from this point on, you can watch the fish slide down his throat the next 10 frames after this one.

    EM1 w/ Bigma - 500mm, ISO 400, 1/2000 @ f8.0, Handheld
    32292820634_d948a401d6_h.
    GBH Meal 05
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    Overall I was very happy with the performance of the lens today and the IQ does not disappoint, especially when you are only 35 away.
     
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