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M4/3 for nature and wildlife

Discussion in 'Camera Reviews Forum' started by mikew, Sep 19, 2016.

  1. mikew

    mikew Always on Premium Member

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    I have been staying in the background for a while,if ime honest i have been struggling to get all round use out of this system.
    It was not a free choice it was the only way i could go and retain some of the facility's i wanted,its been a fairly steep learning curve after DX and FX and i have a long way to go still,the biggest drawback for me in the UK is the poor high ISO results,with the D750 i could go out anytime and take pictures,you can use up to ISO 3200 but only occasionally will it turn out the results at that ISO.

    I will try to keep this thread updated with my progress good or bad;) fortunately i am fairly settled in my mind i am just a image recorder and will never set the web on fire with my results.

    First examples all with the Panasonic GX8 and 100-400.

    P1080146.jpg

    P1090152.jpg

    P1090172.jpg

    P1090208.jpg

    A 2000 ISO result,it can do better at this ISO.

    P1090133.jpg
     
  2. tenchy

    tenchy Rain maker Administrator

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    none of these are bad for me, far from it.
     
  3. MikeB

    MikeB Always on Premium Member

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    Great set. Last one is my favorite.
     
  4. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Old Hand

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    The cormorant landing is my favorite, with the young gull coming second.
    All are highly respectable shots.

    I'm surprised the GX8 has issues at ISO3200, my G5 (significantly older as a 2012 design) is usually fine at 1600.
     
  5. Snips

    Snips Always on

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    These have all turned out well. I like the headshot of the gull.
     
  6. mikew

    mikew Always on Premium Member

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    Thanks guys,i am getting better results than i started with but still not there yet,i love to use auto ISO on manual with exposure compensation when needed but you cant do it with the GX8,have started trialing Shutter priority and auto iso as it will take a exposure compensation at that.

    Still shooting anything for practice,especially in flight.

    P1090215.jpg


    P1090243.jpg
     
  7. MikeB

    MikeB Always on Premium Member

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    How well does the camera work?
    Are the functions useful? Easy too access?
    The 20 Mp is pretty high resolution for a 4/3 (equivalent to an 80Mp full frame), does this cause issues with camera shake? What's the ISO range?
    How do you like the EVF compared to the viewfinder you were used to?

    This is after all the Camera Reviews Forum. I would like to hear more about your experience with the camera and the impressive 100-400mm lens.
     
  8. mikew

    mikew Always on Premium Member

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    You are correct and i am working on that now ;)
     
  9. mikew

    mikew Always on Premium Member

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    As the thread title indicates we are talking m4/3 for wildlife photography and I guess my thoughts will be directed mainly towards the Panasonic GX8.



    M4/3 sounds like a great compromise over equipment and sensor size and in some ways it is but it does have advantages and disadvantages.

    There are advances being made all the time in what m4/3 (mirrorless in general) can do so my comments will be aimed towards cameras that are in circulation now.



    We start with the fact all m4/3 cameras are mirrorless,the main advantage is they are lighter and smaller,the main disadvantage as far as I can see is your using a EVF (electric view finder) as opposed to the optical viewfinder found in DSLR cameras.

    If your interest is mainly static flowers,insects and birds ect then you should find the m4/3 cameras a joy to use,its moving subjects that need a lot of thought as to which model you choose.



    I chose the GX8 due to it having the best EVF for viewing and refresh rate at the time,this means with the right frame rate set and AFC it can track and focus on moving targets better than most.

    The GX8 has a 20mp sensor while most have 16mp,the m4/3 sensor is half the size of full frame (see MikeBs post bellow for an explanation),i have not used 16mp but don’t think the 20mp displays the extra noise you often associate with smaller denser packed pixels,many testers say though the 20mp does not show any vast improvement in resolution over the 16mp.

    The sensor being half the size of full frame gives the lenses half the FOV (field of view) they would have on a full frame so my 100-400 has a FOV matching a 200-800 on full frame,this is only FOV though the image on the sensor will be no larger than 400mm on full frame, it should contain more pixels than a 20mp full frame so more detail for cropping.



    The GX8 is very generous with external controls,which is good for me as I need reading glasses if ime going to delve into the menu,with out using the menu’s you have your basic controls to hand three focus mode settings to choose from,exposure compensation,three custom settings (more if you use the menu)plus your normal M,A,S type options,just about everything else can be changed from the rear screen but this is only a temporary change if you switch off and on it will revert back to your menu settings.



    The higher ISO performance is difficult to put a label to,every one has different ideas as to what’s acceptable and why,50% of the time I can get results I keep from ISO 3200 but not all the time,i wouldn’t presume to tell any one the highest usable ISO its a case of looking online at images and deciding for yourself, I dont have too much of a problem with a little noise.



    ISO 3200 sample with noise reduction brushed on the water only.

    P1040288.jpg


    Its my intention to add a lot more to this thread but i do find this sort of thing difficult so please be understanding :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2016
  10. MikeB

    MikeB Always on Premium Member

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    Thanks, @mikew good review. The GX-8 looks like a lot of camera packed into a small package.

    Size and area are different. To determine the equivalent number of pixels on a full frame it is the pixel number x crop factor squared or in this case 21.15 x 2 x 2 - 84.6MP, The GX8 has a higher resolution (greater pixel density) than Canon's 5DS (50,6MP)- impressive. It has a pixel density of 9.02 MP/cm² compared to the 5DS' 5.86 MP/cm² (www.digicamdb.com/). I would expect a more limited ISO range with pixels that small but Panasonic appears to have done a great job in maintaining signal over noise. My 5DSR maxes out at ISO 6400 but the specifications for the GX8 shows it going all the way to 25600 or 2 stops more than the 5DS.
     
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  11. mikew

    mikew Always on Premium Member

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    No talking dirty :D all this pixel density is confusing me,i will correct my post,thanks
     
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  12. mikew

    mikew Always on Premium Member

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    I decided at this point to drop some information in about what lenses you can use,obviously there is a wide choice from Panasonic,there is also a full range from Olympus although the Olympus lenses are fully compatible as far as auto focus and exposure are concerned the majority of the Olympus lenses do not have stabilizing built in and early Panasonic bodies don’t have it either.



    If you go for Panasonic lenses most have image stabilizing built in, then if you use them on something like the GX8 which has in body stabilizing, a large percentage can be used in dual stabilizing mode, utilizing the body and lens stabilizing together giving great assistance with hand holding.



    One area where m4/3 and in fact most mirrorless systems are really great is there ability to use nearly any lens from any manufacturer,you just need an adapter these are available at prices ranging from a few pounds to several hundred pounds depending on what they will do.

    If the chosen lens is manual focus or the auto focus is not adaptable to your camera then a cheap ebay adapter is all you need(these have no glass in them so cant detract from image quality) and use manual focus in aperture priority.





    Just to give an idea this was taken on the GX8 using a old Sigma 105 macro in Nikon fit,its the pre AFS/G model so was manual focus,the adapter I used cost £9 from ebay.



    27667493862_ba251f1e2e_o.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2016
  13. mikew

    mikew Always on Premium Member

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    These are my GX8 settings foe action shots (BIF) but would i guess be similar for most mirrorless as a starting point.
    I like to shoot BIF on manual with auto ISO,this isn’t feasible with Panasonic as they don’t allow exposure compensation in manual with auto ISO.

    So for BIF I have C1 set as follows

    Shutter priority 1/2000th

    Auto ISO up to 3200,my thinking a correctly exposed 3200 is better than a under exposed 1600.

    +1 exposure compensation,i know sometimes you need more but in the situation I shoot in a bird could start in my frame with clear sky behind it and fly past trees ect,so I find +1 is best for me.

    E shutter,i know about the problems with vertical objects when panning but I think I may be getting shutter shock at certain settings with the 100-400,i could be wrong but ime working on that idea at the moment,i will update if I come to any conclusions.( I have updated the firmware)

    AFC focus mode 2 or 6 frames a second depending on situation and target.

    49 area focus points,i was surprised I settled on this,with Nikon I only used single point,the GX8 though seems to know my intended target when panning,i guess its because the bird is the only stationery object in the viewfinder.

    Multi metering

    Image review off

    Raw.

    All stabilizing off,my theory being it takes too long for the stabilizing to settle before the focusing can lock on,with Nikon I never took it off.

    I think thats it but I have arrived at these settings bit by bit so I may have missed something.

    A few additional thoughts,mirrorless blackout is not there with these settings,the main problem is the slight lag and I do mean slight between a DSLR image and a EVF image,this can be over come by not getting too greedy with image size in the viewfinder,example bellow of what happens when you ignore this.:D

    P1100085.jpg

    A little smaller in the frame is easier

    P1100111.jpg
     
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  14. mikew

    mikew Always on Premium Member

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    Not an ISO i would want to use with this gear but a ISO6400 sample from m4/3

    P1100254.jpg
     
  15. hooferinsane

    hooferinsane EXIF Seeker Super Moderator

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    Good earlier write up of the kit, and the shots are looking good. I have a Fuji XPro2, and 100-400. Haven't tried many moving shots yet, but Fuji released a firmware update for the XPro2 this week which is meant to vastly improve autofocus, so really should get out and have another go
     
  16. mikew

    mikew Always on Premium Member

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    Thanks the main thing for you to do will be to sort some settings out that let it run as fast as possible.
     
  17. mikew

    mikew Always on Premium Member

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    You learn as you go along,just added a OMD EM-10MK11 to my gear,this is like a lot of other mirrorless cameras in the fact its AFC is not the best,i decided to try AFS on birds in flight,when i used a DSLR i would watch for the bird being in focus,with M4/3 cameras this can be too late due to the lag in image update,well i solved this and i dont see why it shouldn't work for most mirrorless cameras.
    Make sure you have focus priority set as the release mode,take the picture when the bird is in the right place but not quiet in focus,by the time it happens you have covered the delay.

    PB080068.jpg
     
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  18. Lumixman

    Lumixman Well-Known Member

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    Great shots. I too like the gull head shot. I am envious of your lens, but I have the Lumix G 7-14 and 14-140 lenses plus my old Rollei lens via the cheap but good ebay QBM adapter. I can therefore get up to 270mm in 35mm equivalent using my Rollei prime telephoto.
    I use back button focus to avoid delays in focussing. Have you tried any of the 4k photo modes with the 100-400mm lens?
     
  19. mikew

    mikew Always on Premium Member

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    Thanks the 4k is on my list to try this year,did do a couple of hand held focus stacking with it.
     
  20. mikew

    mikew Always on Premium Member

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    I have made a camera change ;) still m4/3 but have changed from the GX8 to the G80 as i felt it would solve the main problem i had with the GX8 which was unintentional button pressing while doing other things.

    My initial thoughts on the G80 over the GX8.



    Its early days yet but for me the G80 handles better,600 shots and I didnt catch a button on the back and change a setting once (I think this happens to me because of the way I have to hold the GX8 while zooming the 100-400).T he buttons on the back are not as prominent this could help me though some may find it a fiddle to press them.



    After all the years with DSLRs the G80 does feel more natural with the EVF in the middle and more usable in fast moving situations.



    The EVF is not as large a view as the GX8 but I bet I will forget this unless I use a GX8 again,it doesn't tilt this I will miss.



    EVF refresh rate is as far as I can see the same but have not tried them side by side.



    Image IQ is in my opinion better on the G80 but you do lose pixels for cropping,and I guess I could have had some SS situations with the GX8 the G80 shutter is very quiet



    AFC looks to be better on the G80,i know it shouldn't be but I can only say it as I see it,there is a setting for adjusting how fast the camera decides to refocus in AFC, 0 is standard and you have -2 and +2 I have set it on +2 for faster.



    I like the separate card slot,a small thing but as you get older and lose some dexterity its just easier in a separate slot.



    Thats the basics of my thoughts but in conclusion,if I had not had the button changing situation I would not have changed,the GX8 is a great camera,the G80 just fits the bill better for me.
     
  21. mikew

    mikew Always on Premium Member

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    My first settings for BIF with the G80 they could change though.

    Shutter priority with a aperture set at F7.1 on the 100-400,but that could be different with other lenses.



    Auto ISO capped at 3200,on my GX8 I had 6400 but as far as I can see I cant do that on the G80.



    Image review off



    AFC with the refocus speed set at +2



    Shutter set for focus priority release



    6 fps (medium setting)but that is too high for me too many images the same,i would like about 4fps but I think I will have to go to low which is 2.



    Centre focus point cant remember what its called but its not the smallest one,i will set a custom mode two with the smallest focus point for working through tree branches.



    Sorry if I have forgotten anything ime not good at setting these things up and worse at explaining.


    A few samples from my first proper outing.

    P1020538.jpg

    P1020477.jpg

    P1020570.jpg

    P1020397.jpg
     
  22. mikew

    mikew Always on Premium Member

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    Don't look at this post and the next one if noise upsets you ;),todays light was poor again so no chance of decent shots. I decided to do some CAF tests and it impressed me when you consider the lack of light to the point where most were taken at ISO 6400,still not top DSLR ability but that's part of the trade off to save weight, if these had been taken when i had my D750 it would have been different.

    P1040469.jpg P1040470.jpg P1040471.jpg P1040472.jpg P1040473.jpg P1040474.jpg
     
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  23. mikew

    mikew Always on Premium Member

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  24. Billabong

    Billabong Member Premium Member

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    Hi @mikew This is a fascinating thread for me as I'm looking at exactly the same combination you have! How are you getting on with it now?
     
  25. mikew

    mikew Always on Premium Member

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    Thanks ime still happy,just had a problem with my lens and waiting for a replacement,had a loan D7100 and 70-300afs and its not as quick or accurate.
     

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