M43 vs dSLR for birds, focusing

Started Jun 4, 2014 | Discussions thread
Jason1500 Regular Member • Posts: 267
Re: M43 vs dSLR for birds, focusing

richard stern wrote:


I shoot a lot of birds, including BIF. I have an Oly E-M5, and Panny 100-300 lens, and I love them for iq, light weight, ease of use etc., but they are lousy for birds isolated against a clear sky, particularly in flight, where in any AF mode there is so much hunting and focusing movement that the bird has generally gone, and the keeper rate is very low.

I've gotten into shooting birds with my GH3 and I've learned a few tricks, not sure if it's applicable to the E-M5 or not but here's what I do.

1. Turn off Quick AF you camera will "hunt" for focus as you move the camera around trying to frame your subject even if you don't have the shutter button half-pressed or focus button pressed, turn it off and you'll only focus if you have the shutter button half-pressed or...

2. Do "back button" autofocus and disable AF on half shutter press, set AFS/AFF mode to AFS and then you can toggle between AFS and AFC and see which one suites you best.  With AFS it won't refocus until your release the button and hit it again. AFC will continue to find focus as long as you hold the button down. Personally I'm not sure which one I like better still trying things out but I think AFS might have the edge as you can just rapidly AF with your thumb.

3. I haven't tried this yet, but supposedly setting the picture profile to VIVID gives faster AF. Now if the AF works based off of contrast and using a vivid profile which has more contrast makes it focus faster I wonder if putting the contast to +5 on top of that will improve things further as well? I'll have to try it....every little bit helps and of course shooting raw you don't really care about the jpeg settings.

4. Stop down the aperture to increase your depth of field as much as possible especially if the bird is relatively close like 150ft or less away, shoot f11 or f16 and keep the focal length to 280mm or less, the Panasonic gets pretty soft at 300mm but at 280mm it's pretty good.  If the bird is 200ft away or more you can open up the aperture .

 Jason1500's gear list:Jason1500's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Panasonic 12-35mm F2.8 Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm F2.8 OIS Rokinon 35mm F1.4 +1 more
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