Which camera for BIF

Falconhg

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i tried last week my EP-5 with a Panasonic 100-300 at a bird show and i had no keepers,
my settings where Speed priority, single point focus AFS,
with my old Canon 20d i had more keepers.
which camera should do better the olympus OM-D EM-1 or the Panasonic GH4 for this,
any experiences with both cameras for moving objects?
 

Growltiger

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Single most important question - what shutter speed were you setting it to?
I suggest no slower than 1/1000 gives you a reasonable possibility of some keepers.
No use having perfect focus if the shutter speed is too slow.
 

pasisti

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Stupid question but I guess you had a sturdy tripod? I recently saw a video on youtube where the reviewer said that he previously didn't get any good shots with it but then decided to use it as the 600mm lens it really is on a m4/3 body and managed then to get great photos with it.
 

tyrphoto

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My guess is you probably weren't using a tripod and the imbalance of long lens on the EP5 was too much for your camera holding technique whereas with the 20D with it's proper grip was easier to hand hold.

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Falconhg

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i see don_parrot has images from OM-D EM-1 and GH4, which one is better for tracking?
 
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Hello,

I am curious about this topic as well. If C-AF performance can vary by lens, and with the new firmware update for 4/3 lenses in the EM-1, as well as all of the settings people have discussed to improve this area, are there any lens/EM-1 combos that get usable C-AF performance for BIF, even if they don't match high-end DSLR levels? I'm particularly curious about the 300mm f2.8, and I am waiting hopefully for the 300mm f4.

If the answer is still no, then my next question is a speculative one: what do you think the outlook is for u4/3 to solve the C-AF issue, or is PDAF on a mirror less body too much of an obstacle to ever completely overcome? The answer will help me decide whether I should wait or buy a second system. While there are numerous pros and cons to all of my options, an important bit of missing data is whether buying expensive u4/3 or 4/3 glass for BIF will ever be a viable option.
 

Rasmus

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I've never had much success with BIF on the 100-300, regardless which body I've been using. This is more or less my only keeper ever with that lens. Always lots of focus hunting and the lens is slow which means always having to choose between blurry and noisy.

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I've actually had more success with manual focus lenses. I captured this swallow with a Canon FD 400/4.5

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With my Nikon 500mm f/4 with speed booster I caught this.

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This is my first and so far only BIF attempt with the ZD 150/2.0. I tried once, and got one keeper. Of course it could be luck, I have to try more times.
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Thanks for the feedback. I have been using the Oly 75-300 (the old one, not the MkII). For eagles in flight, I never get shots on par with the DSLR users next to me with their lens cannons and gimbal heads (though some of them are also very experienced and skilled). While I feel the limitations (which are more than just the focusing), I've never shot any other camera system for comparison. To compensate, I shoot S-AF+MF and only in bright conditions, and I have catalogued all of the many setting suggestions for improved C-AF and am still trying them. I'd be perfectly fine with an EM-1 set-up that performs well-enough so that I can develop/refine my technique to make up for the rest. But if that is impossible, I might as well do as the OP and look to buy a second system.
 

JudyM

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Some folks say they've had good luck with m43 and the 100-300mm, but I find it to be an exercise in frustration for birds and planes in flight. It hunts too much to be reliable, and that's true regardless of whether I use my GF1 or my E-M1. When it locks on, it's capable of great results, but it's maddening to miss shot after shot when it can't.

Compared to my 5D Mark II (sold) and EF 400mm, the Canon never failed to lock on and it was instantaneous. The 5D2 isn't known for having the best autofocus, but with the 400mm even it can lock onto something as small as a hummingbird trolling over the grass 60 feet away. I've had the 100-300mm fail to lock onto a stationary bird feeder at 20 feet. It's just my opinion, but if birds in flight are really your passion, I'd go with a DSLR. Spend some time on this forum looking over the birds in flight photos, go see what the DSLR people are getting over at POTN, and then pick what you think will work for you. Only you can judge what you'll be happy with. Good luck.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/77456368@N05/14168389537" title="IMG_0836 by j.murphy2, on Flickr">
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"1024" height="683" alt="IMG_0836"></a>
 
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You might also find some helpful answers / discussions here...

That said, I've found that m4/3 (or even 4/3) is not suitable (for me) for BIF or any other fast, unpredictable action. YMMV, of course, but I find that two things get in the way of a high keeper percentage: the first is AF -- it's just not fast enough to nail moving subjects reliably, especially against a busy background; but the other important deficiency I find is the EVF. For me, it's next to impossible to follow action when my electronic viewfinder blacks out because the camera is busy filling up the shot buffer or writing info to the card (and I use the fastest cards I can find). That's a problem you won't encounter with a DSLR's optical viewfinder.

Those are the two primary reasons I've switched to a used Nikon D300 for action and BIF shooting. It's a sad move, because I have a ton of great Oly glass that's gonna have to go down the road so I can upgrade to the kind of Nikon glass that will give me the quality I want. But, life goes on!

Please note that these are MY opinions, based on what I've found to work for me. Others will certainly disagree. I just wish I could join them so I wouldn't have to use two separate systems.
 

dougjgreen

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I'd probably pick a Nikon V2 or V3 with the new native (available next month) 70-300mm lens. Note that this is between a $1500 and $2300 investment, for a camera and very long lens that is not as good as the better Micro 4/3 gear for most OTHER subject matter.
 

bikerhiker

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While BIF is not my main shooting style, I have used the Nikon 1 V2 for very fast action tracking with super telephoto lenses with great success. At least better than my Olympus E-P5. The new 70-300CX VR is just short off amazing. Sharp, light and compact albeit a little on the slow side aperture wise. I use the V2 mainly as a convenient digital teleconverter to my Nikkor glasses and a companion to my Oly E-P5 kit when I need to shoot action and have more reach.
 

bikerhiker

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I'd probably pick a Nikon V2 or V3 with the new native (available next month) 70-300mm lens. Note that this is between a $1500 and $2300 investment, for a camera and very long lens that is not as good as the better Micro 4/3 gear for most OTHER subject matter.
It depends on what you define as not as good as the better MFT gear?!? And I have somewhat the best MFT, the E-P5 and great glasses already and still am impressed with the V2. Aside from the noise and dynamic range, it can produce exceptionally good image quality. In fact, composited V3 files into an image look brighter and more detailed than on a D800. Mark Alberhasky, who is a professional talented Nikon shooter and mentor did a review of the Nikon V3 and described the V3's potential usage.

http://imagema.com/blog/2014/05/nikon-v3-hands-on-review/

He uses the V3 more than the D800 for travel. If it's as bad as the MFT, why does a professional world acclaimed photographer embraces it?!? My experience mirrors his V3, though I have a V2. Played with the V3 already and was impressed with its faster AF speeds.
 

dougjgreen

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I am in both the Micro 4/3 and Nikon 1 systems. The image quality, particularly with respect to dynamic range, and high ISO noise, are superior in Micro 4/3. And Micro 4/3 cameras are FAR better for using legacy lenses for any mount other than Nikon mount. But the V2 is still an outstanding camera for shooting rapidly moving subject matter in good natural lighting. This is where Nikon 1 is at it's best.

Bottom line for me is this: If it's reasonably static subject matter, Micro 4/3 is superior. If it's very rapidly moving subject matter, Nikon 1 is better. For moving subject matter, but not rapid and unpredictably moving subject matter, they are both comparable - but the worse the lighting, the better Micro 4/3 fares relative to Nikon 1. I also see Micro 4/3 addressing it's weaknesses more than I see Nikon 1 doing so.
 

orfeo

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I have GX7 and GH4 on hand and did a direct shooting with legacy glass takumar 300mm and 200mm lenses... Result is GX7 has serious problem for shutter shake and I have so low sharp shots with extra long lenses (200mm and more).
On the GH4 I was surprised to have way way more keepers! This is using th BGGH3 vertical grip in conjunction with the GH4.:
GX7 keeper rate is 1:10
GH4 keeper rate is 10:1
This is non scientific test. But really I think your trouble comes from having a body that is too light without enough grip in your hands... like the GX7.
 
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