Can you tell the difference . . .

Started 10 months ago | Discussions thread
Messier Object
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The ANSWERS . . .
In reply to Messier Object, 10 months ago

Thanks to all who commented.

First up, I'm not surprised that nobody could work out what was what - without looking at the originals I can't either - except for one where I know the AF was off.

As bird shooters will know, our subjects don't usually sit around waiting for us to get our gear set right, or to take 1/2 dozen chimp shots. And soft feathers in flat light don't make for ideal AF performance. So in this 'test' I literally laid out the camera lens combinations on the ground, picked one up and stepped up to a mark and fired off 2 or 3 shots. Not very scientific I know, but not unlike how real bird shooting happens out in the field.

I used single point (small) S-AF for all of the shots, and getting the AF point on the bird's head and the camera finding good focus is probably the biggest factor affecting the quality of all of the shots.

To that end I've got to say that Optically Stabilised lenses have it all over IBIS when it comes to long telephoto work. Having the image just freeze in the viewfinder lets you place the AF point exactly where you want it. If the EM-1s EVF works like that with IBIS then that's a definite advantage of EVF over OVF .

The lenses:

The 50-200mmSWD on the E-30 gave me the greatest trouble getting focus. Possibly affected by the EC-14, but not helped by the smaller viewfinder on the E-30 making it harder to get the AF point exactly where I wanted it.

The weight of the ZD300mm works against it's superb sharpness when trying to put the AF point on-target. 1 of the 3 shots with that lens was way off, but 1 shot was the best of the whole set

The Optically Stabilsed Bigma is a marvellous lens. Super-light compared to the big lenses and very sharp in the centre where most bird action is anyway. But on a FF camera 500mm is not long always enough, and being slower one needs to push up the ISO. For this test however in good light and comfortable range it was great. I just needed to crop in closer

The Canon 300mm/2.8 II is stunning all-round performer, and while it looses some AF speed with the 2x converter sharpness is hardly affected within the practical limits of hand-held shooting.
It also has some nice tech features like power focus (very handy in video shoots), and focus preset which lets me instantly push the focus out to a preset range where I think the birds will be, making AF acquisition of the target even faster. Being 1Kg lighter than the ZD300 and having excellent OS meant that I got the AF point on the bird and every shot was in focus. The images from the 5D3 suffered somewhat from the downsizing though

The ZD150mm with the EC-20 is lightweight and very sharp, just a tad slow in the AF department, especially on the E-30. My favourite for hand-held shooting on a long walk, or taking on a flight.

The answers . . .

1. Canon 300mm x 2 on the 5D3
2. Bigma on the 5D3
3. ZD300 on the E-5
4. ZD150 x2 on the E-30  (Collin got this one right)
5. ZD50-200mm x1.4 on (different) E-30

Conclusions . . .

I guess the only thing to say is that in good light and a static subject all of the camera/lens combos can make an excellent image forĀ on-screen viewing

Each of the shots was cropped to give approximately equal sized birds. The crops were around 10-12% of the originals. With the E-5 and E-30 the re-size to 1600p wide had very little affect, but for the 5D shots it was indeed a significant hit to the IQ

For those who would have liked to see the untainted raw files, yes it would have made it easier to ID the gear. Had I shot in lower light at ISO1600, the difference would have been even more stark.

Now I'm going to try to find some time and do some AF fine tuning.

Thanks for your interest.

 Messier Object's gear list:Messier Object's gear list
Olympus E-5 Olympus E-300 Olympus E-330 Olympus E-30 Canon EOS 5D Mark III +1 more
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