Prospective m4/3 Owner: Action Issues; Birding

Started Nov 23, 2012 | Discussions thread
Dennis Linden Junior Member • Posts: 33
Re: Prospective m4/3 Owner: Action Issues; Birding

Jim F wrote:

The basis for this inquiry is that the one m/4/3 issue that seems to resonate clearly (based on user posts and reviews, not mine because I don't know anything about it) is that m4/3 systems don't do well with action where continual focus in burst mode is needed (or desired). That puts me almost at m4/3's dead end and back to DSLR land. So I ask, have I been negatively influenced by those who claim m4/3 cannot focus on action and they don't really know what they're talking about?

Jim, I've migrated (pun intended) from a D90 to EM5, via EP3. First, the EM5 is a completely different beast than any previous models. I have no experience with Lumix bodies, but have a few of their lenses. I have birded, but am not an avid or expert, however I do think I have experience with exactly the question you are posing about Continuous Auto Focus.

I shoot figure skating, which like birds in flight, involves very rapid actions in sometime abruptly different directions. I had posed a series of questions to a few "experts" before making my move, and I am more or less glad I rejected their advice as trite. In figure skating, it's all about rapid shooting. The subject rotates jumps or spins and moves closer or father away. Do I use Single focus and fire at 10 fps, Continuous for 5 fps or risk "tracking" the subject. My personal experience with trying to capture birds and figure skaters is that short high speed bursts of Single AF yield me the best results. Tracking might work ok for video, but CAF is generally not as useful as one would expect it to be.

That does not mean you even need CAF however. I stopped using CAF when my D90 produced a disturbing number of out of focus shots. With my D90, the CAF would also constantly lose contact with the subject due to either a lack of contrast on an abundance. I suspect my friends D4 would do a much better job. So don't be mislead that the DSLR will do any better a job on the lower to middle end than the u43 models there.

As said before, with the scenario you describe to capture, MF might be the best mode for sure. You will be unable to select your subject from the flock with any system. One neat trick with the OMD is to trust the LCD and simple point and shoot from the LCD, that would allow you some better chance of hitting on the target bird. When trying to focus on one person in a flock, the point and shoot method with Single AF works remarkably well.  AF is extremely fast, often faster than my D90 in the real world. Also consider this, the 75mm f1.8 lens is the equivalent of 150mm f1.8. $900 vs 5000 ?? or some such. the Olympus 75-300 is a 600 mm equivalent lens and shooting in bright light would be a great lens.

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