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Wildlife, long lenses, and sensor format


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#41 jaapv

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 07:39

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Well, argue all you will, but I found the image quality of the new 20 MP sensor far more than adequate and the GX8 with the Vario Elmar has allowed me to get dozens of shots I would never have gotten with any Leica and in quite a few cases the Canikons around me failed too Proof to follow on the Photoforums in a few weeks.
Nothing wrong with the DG Summiluxes either.
BTW the Leica lenses do not have full functionality on Olympus bodies.

And proof is there, more coming...

 

http://www.l-camera-...ature-wildlife/


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#42 jmahto

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 16:12

And proof is there, more coming...

 

http://www.l-camera-...ature-wildlife/

I guess you wanted the link to go to "Portrait of a cat" page (it goes to high level page). Impressive pic. More questions on pic page.

(edit: well, I found other posts too).


Edited by jmahto, 26 April 2017 - 16:13.

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#43 Steve Spencer

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 19:08

And proof is there, more coming...

 

http://www.l-camera-...ature-wildlife/

 

The portrait of a cat photo is quite nice. Excellent composition. Nice exposure. I like the colors. Good dynamic range. That said, I think the shot could be better with less depth of field (DOF). I know this is a matter of taste, but the background is busy and close. It is also not that interesting, IMO.  So personally, I would prefer less DOF? Perhaps despite all the strengths of M4/3rds, here we might see one of its limitations. Note I am not criticizing jaapv's shooting here, just noting a possible limitation of the gear despite its strengths.



#44 jmahto

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 23:41

The portrait of a cat photo is quite nice. Excellent composition. Nice exposure. I like the colors. Good dynamic range. That said, I think the shot could be better with less depth of field (DOF). I know this is a matter of taste, but the background is busy and close. It is also not that interesting, IMO.  So personally, I would prefer less DOF? Perhaps despite all the strengths of M4/3rds, here we might see one of its limitations. Note I am not criticizing jaapv's shooting here, just noting a possible limitation of the gear despite its strengths.

A FF equivalent lens (800mm) will be enormous if you want f/5.6 aperture (since you want less DOF). Not to mention cost. Even in non-Leica world.

 

I think MFT is sweet spot for amateur wild life shooters. Of course you can also buy COOLPIX B700 for 900mm range at much cheaper price with a little more DOF and slight drop in picture quality. :) 


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#45 jaapv

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 23:56

OOF blur is a complicated subject, in which sensor size plays an important role (but so does the size of your monitor or print) Much the same argument can be made about FF versus MF, etc.

One thing to note is that the DG Leica lenses all are modern asph designs, which will define blur more sharply than classic lenses.

Whether that is a good or bad thing is entirely dependent on the subject.

 

Actually this post by Daniel Cox in  The Outdoor Photographer makes some interesting points.

 

https://www.outdoorp...ro-four-thirds/

 

(reload the page if you get a subscription request)

 

And here is a discussion about age, and downsizing camera gear:

 

https://photographyl...ir-camera-gear/


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#46 Steve Spencer

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 04:02

A FF equivalent lens (800mm) will be enormous if you want f/5.6 aperture (since you want less DOF). Not to mention cost. Even in non-Leica world.

 

I think MFT is sweet spot for amateur wild life shooters. Of course you can also buy COOLPIX B700 for 900mm range at much cheaper price with a little more DOF and slight drop in picture quality. :)

 

Actually the Panny Leica 100-400 has an f/6.3 widest aperture `at 400mm (35mm full frame (FF) 800 equivalent more or less), but that means its depth of field is about the same as an 800 f/12 or so lens on a 35mm FF camera. So comparing it to an 800 f/5.6 35mm FF lens of course means the FF lens is much much larger. A 400mm f/2.8 m4/3rds lens,which would have the same shallow depth of field capabilities as an 800mm f/5.6 35mm FF lens, would also be huge and very expensive. At these long focal length you pay a lot in size, weight, and money for shallower depth of field capabilities.

If you compared the Panny/Leica to a 400mm f/5.6 with a 2X extender (on 35mm FF)  it would be much more similar in size and still have a bit shallower depth of field. It would also rival it in cost. The trouble is that up to this point a full frame 400 f/5.6 can't take a 2X extender and still focus, but that is a side effect of the mirror in Canon and Nikon systems. This is starting to change and likely will change shortly.

 

Personally, if I was into wildlife photography (which I am not in any serious way) I would want a 400 f/4 with a good 2X extender and pay for that with some more weight and money, but I would want the F/8 equivalent for shots like the one's jaapv posted, but that would just be my preference. Of course others have different preferences. For now I am happy with my Leica R 180 f/3.4 APO with my 2X APO extender. It does what I need and it is light and very capable.

 

My larger point, however, is that there isn't a free ride and each system has its draw backs. Right now Canon and Nikon currently only make very large lenses with shallow depth of field capabilities and they have the drawback of price and weight, but offer some real advantages. M 4/3rds currently only makes lenses that are smaller and cheaper but with much more limited shallow depth of field capabilities. This has really nothing to do with the size of the sensor, however. Leica may very well make something like a 100-400 with an f/5.6 largest aperture that takes an excellent 2X extender for the SL. Sony just in the last few weeks came out with a 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 for their E mount that is only a little bigger than the Panny Leica and they could well make a 2X extender for that camera (it might even work with their current 2X extender nobody seems to know yet) and it would likely focus well with their new A9 camera. So, yes m4/3rds is an interesting option, but we shouldn't think it has any particular corner on the market and we should understand both the strengths and the limitations of any system.


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#47 jaapv

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 05:57

A  FF 400 mm 5.6 with a 2x extender would be a f11 800 mm lens and due to weight and size only usable on a heavy tripod.

Actually I do own that combo from Leica. (400 5.6 Telyt lens head on Televit R rapid focus mount) Haven't used it for years due to weight and size. With the 2x Apoextender it could only be used at 1/2000th and faster, which was extremely limiting @ f11. On a bean bag maybe down to 1/500th, with luck. Actually the Telyt 400/6.3 and Noflexar-T 400-5.6 (another heavy beast)  were a lot better. Forget about tripods on Safari.

 

As it is, MFT is the only system that has developed IS to the extent that makes it possible to shoot long lenses handheld at slow shutterspeeds, which makes quite a difference to wildlife photography. It is the GX8 +DG VarioElmar that offers 5 axis 5 stop IS. Do the maths ;)

Actually, I met quite a few photographers on the way who used Canon the 100-400 L  (which has a modest IS) and as soon as the light was not optimal they had to stop shooting whilst I was still pulling in good shots.

 

I used the Vario-Elmar 80-200 R + 2xAPOextender a couple of years ago, which gives good results, and is quite  comparable to the APO 180 R 3.4 + extender,( which I owned before that) with the added advantage of zoom, but I was unimpressed by the handling, I preferred the 105-280 with 1.4x extender. However, both combos lack the capability of "getting the shot" that I find in the Panasonic combo. And I would not be up to 800 mm...

 

In general, though, a shallow DOF is not a desirable thing in wildlife photography. You need to get the eye in focus, obviously, but you lose sharpness in other essential components of your shot, be it the beak of a bird, the horn of an Antelope  or the nose of a predator. Wide apertures are needed for exposure on long lenses and only rarely for thin DOF.

A FF 800-5.6 would have had the near ear of this Lion out of focus.


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#48 jaapv

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 06:45

To save clicking back and forth, here is the Lion image we are discussing:

 

Attached File  post-2976-0-77339400-1493133150.jpg   727.68KB   7 downloads


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#49 jaapv

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 06:46

And here is an image illustrating the DOF of the MTF combo:

 

Attached File  post-2976-0-11484700-1493130186.jpg   935.51KB   5 downloads

 

 


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#50 jaapv

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 06:59

BTW, I just checked EXIF, the Lion was shot @ f8.0, not 6.3 (wich I mistakenly thought :(), so that might explain part of the argument. However, it is a valid argument anyway.


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#51 jaapv

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 07:41

Attached File  dog.jpg   856.22KB   10 downloads

 

 

This shot shows all the reasons why this system is gets shots I would never get otherwise. A cloudy day, windy, so the vehicle was not stable, 7.30 in the morning, useless light. 500 mm equ. f 5.4, 1/100th handheld and ISO 3200 ( no NR.) Never in life on any FF camera. And the two Canons (5D and 6D, both 100-400L) on the vehicle  got sad results... About DOF, I already had to apply creative sharpening to the nose.

 

My favourite animal BTW :)


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#52 jaapv

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 09:08

You DO realise, though, that we are totally behind times in this discussion... :lol: ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Attached File  IMG_20170418_0609.jpg   485.55KB   5 downloads


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#53 Steve Spencer

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 11:38

A  FF 400 mm 5.6 with a 2x extender would be a f11 800 mm lens and due to weight and size only usable on a heavy tripod.

Actually I do own that combo from Leica. (400 5.6 Telyt lens head on Televit R rapid focus mount) Haven't used it for years due to weight and size. With the 2x Apoextender it could only be used at 1/2000th and faster, which was extremely limiting @ f11. On a bean bag maybe down to 1/500th, with luck. Actually the Telyt 400/6.3 and Noflexar-T 400-5.6 (another heavy beast)  were a lot better. Forget about tripods on Safari.

 

As it is, MFT is the only system that has developed IS to the extent that makes it possible to shoot long lenses handheld at slow shutterspeeds, which makes quite a difference to wildlife photography. It is the GX8 +DG VarioElmar that offers 5 axis 5 stop IS. Do the maths ;)

Actually, I met quite a few photographers on the way who used Canon the 100-400 L  (which has a modest IS) and as soon as the light was not optimal they had to stop shooting whilst I was still pulling in good shots.

 

I used the Vario-Elmar 80-200 R + 2xAPOextender a couple of years ago, which gives good results, and is quite  comparable to the APO 180 R 3.4 + extender,( which I owned before that) with the added advantage of zoom, but I was unimpressed by the handling, I preferred the 105-280 with 1.4x extender. However, both combos lack the capability of "getting the shot" that I find in the Panasonic combo. And I would not be up to 800 mm...

 

In general, though, a shallow DOF is not a desirable thing in wildlife photography. You need to get the eye in focus, obviously, but you lose sharpness in other essential components of your shot, be it the beak of a bird, the horn of an Antelope  or the nose of a predator. Wide apertures are needed for exposure on long lenses and only rarely for thin DOF.

A FF 800-5.6 would have had the near ear of this Lion out of focus.

 

A 35mm FF 400mm f/5.6 does not need to be big at all. I have a Minolta MC 400 f/5.6 APO that is all metal and weighs just 1470g and with modern materials could weigh a lot less. The Canon 400 f/5.6 for example weighs, 1250g, and it was made in 1993 and could certainly be updated to weigh even less.  To say such a lens with a 2X teleconverter would be so heavy to need a tripod seems to me a bit of exaggeration. I do agree, however, that the Leica R 400 f/5.6 is very heavy and one could say it needs a tripod, but that lens is part of a system that swaps out mostly longer and wider aperture lenses that were designed before image stabilization and did assume tripod would often if not typically be used. My basic point here, however, is that M4/3rds has no corner on lenses this small. They could be made for other systems and with these long telephotos size and weigh are mostly a function of shallow depth of field capabilities and materials used and not the sensor for which they are made.

 

It is true that m4/3rds has excellent image stabilization and using the sensor to stabilize the image it is easier with a small sensor, but others are starting to catch up quickly. Fuji has done a nice job recently with their image stabilization and Sony has been able to coordinate their sensor based image stabilization with lens based image stabilization and that system holds considerable promise. Just the last couple of weeks Sony has released their 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 lens for E-mount and they claim that with the sensor image stabilization of their E-mount cameras it will have 5 axis and it claims 5 stops of stabilization. I am always dubious of such claims, but it will be interesting to see how this new lens compares to M4/3rds. The Sony system holds promise as combining lens and sensor based image stabilization is certainly an advantage. Leica also seems to be getting excellent IS for the SL system as well. Canon and Nikon certainly have excellent lens based stabilization that allows shooting at slow speeds even with long lenses, but often the lenses are so big for these systems that you still need some sort of support anyway. My point is that although m4/3rds has very good image stabilization they by no means have a corner on this capability. By the way, I also believe that the Canon 100-400 L II has much better image stabilization that the Mk I version, so even those photographers you mentioned can gain by simply upgrading their lens to the new model.

 

Finally as to whether a shallow depth of field is a desirable thing for wildlife photography, that of course depends on the shot. In your lion shot, I think it would have been better at about f/8 on full frame or about f/4 on M4/3rds. I think that would have kept the lion within the depth of field and blurred the background more, which in this case is busy and not very interesting so blurring it is advantageous in my view. If there had been a more interesting background, then even greater depth of field might have been desirable.  We can and likely will have differences about the use of depth of field for individual shots and that is fine. What I don't think is debatable, however, is that having more capabilities for a wider range of depth of field choices is a good thing. In that shot it would have been good to have the capability of making a choice between f/8 on full frame (or f/4 on M4/3rds and f/16 on full frame (or f/8 on M4/3rds). Choice is good all other things considered. Of course as we have been discussing when those other things are considered there are always trade offs. That choice comes at the price of size, weight, and money, but we shouldn't start arguing that the choice itself isn't a good thing just because it has trade offs.


Edited by Steve Spencer, 27 April 2017 - 12:13.


#54 Steve Spencer

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 12:08

attachicon.gifdog.jpg

 

 

This shot shows all the reasons why this system is gets shots I would never get otherwise. A cloudy day, windy, so the vehicle was not stable, 7.30 in the morning, useless light. 500 mm equ. f 5.4, 1/100th handheld and ISO 3200 ( no NR.) Never in life on any FF camera. And the two Canons (5D and 6D, both 100-400L) on the vehicle  got sad results... About DOF, I already had to apply creative sharpening to the nose.

 

My favourite animal BTW :)

Very nice shot. Nice composition and nice exposure. I do think the shot could have been made with other system, however. The Canon 5D and 6D are not quite up to snuff in low noice capabilities, and the 5D MkIV is much better. That camera and the new 100-400L MKII seems likely to have gotten the shot. With Nikon the 200-500 f/5.6, which was made to be handhold able, with something like the D750, would also have gotten the shot. Has Leica made a 1.4X teleconverter for the SL yet? If they did/do, then I would even think the SL 80-200 and the 2X TC would be able to get this shot. Fuji and their new 100-400, again with 5 stop claimed IS, would likely have gotten the shoot too, and I think it is quite likely that Sony with their new A9 camera and their new 100-400 lens (and perhaps their 1.4X teleconverter) would likely have made the shot. I don't see anything here that is unique to M4/3rds. If you are comparing new and newish M4/3rds to old Canon gear, then of course the M4/3rds has an advantage and only recently has Canon got its act together with sensors, but I think this shot could have been made with pretty much any system that is out there. it is a great example of what M4/3rds can do, but I do not find it a compelling example of the unique capabilities of M4/3rds at all.


Edited by Steve Spencer, 27 April 2017 - 12:10.


#55 jaapv

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 12:57

Well, it is indeed all about tradeoffs, but in reality we do see some professional wildlife photographers switching to MTF for the same reasons i did.

I have to disagree about your comment about the Lion shot. Any less DOF would have had the ear out of focus, to the detriment of the image. I repeat, in wildlife photography one has to fight for enough DOF. Animals are far more three-dimensional than humans. We have lost our muzzles and are vertical beings..

Wide apertures are fine, but only for light-gathering purposes in the vast majority of cases.


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#56 Nowhereman

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 14:38

The cult of DOF for subject separation seems to be at play here: my own experience with wildlife photography is that 400mm+ (EFOV) lenses need to be stopped down for the reasons Jaap states here. That was difficult with film, and still an issue with full frame digital. In this context, to be able to handhold an 800mm EFOV lens at 1/60 sec is a revelation. 

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#57 Steve Spencer

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 14:54

The cult of DOF for subject separation seems to be at play here: my own experience with wildlife photography is that 400mm+ (EFOV) lenses need to be stopped down for the reasons Jaap states here. That was difficult with film, and still an issue with full frame digital. In this context, to be able to handhold an 800mm EFOV lens at 1/60 sec is a revelation. 

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Well, I see that as a dismissive and unfair comment. I don't belong to any such cult. There are times I appreciate shallower DOF and times I prefer deeper DOF. It is a tool simple as that and it is all in how you use it and there is no point in glorifying the tool. My point here is that having the tool can be nice, but it comes with tradeoffs. I don't think we disagree about that it comes with tradeoffs, but people who do not have the tool seem here to be quick to dismiss that it is even valuable to have it. The modest argument that I am making is simply that having the ability to have shallower depth of field is a good thing. I not quite sure why that makes me a cult member. I don't even disagree that you often want more depth of field with wildlife photography, but I do disagree with the apparent argument here that you never would want shallower depth of field.  I also fully agree that an 800mm 35mm FF equivalent at 1/60 is very nice optical stabilization. I just disagree that it is unique to M4/3rds. 



#58 Steve Spencer

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 15:08

Well, it is indeed all about tradeoffs, but in reality we do see some professional wildlife photographers switching to MTF for the same reasons i did.

I have to disagree about your comment about the Lion shot. Any less DOF would have had the ear out of focus, to the detriment of the image. I repeat, in wildlife photography one has to fight for enough DOF. Animals are far more three-dimensional than humans. We have lost our muzzles and are vertical beings..

Wide apertures are fine, but only for light-gathering purposes in the vast majority of cases.

I am not surprised you disagree about the Lion shot. You of course took the shot and you picked the depth of field that you wanted. You weren't even limited by your set up here as you could have shot another half stop wider aperture. Differences of opinion on such issues are par for the course and I meant it in no way as a criticism just a difference in preference. I would have let the front ear blur a bit to blur the background more, but your decision is totally justifiable and many would make it. Just a difference (and a small one at that) in artistic vision for the shot. There are no right or wrong answers to such things just differences in preference. I do think, however, that we can and probably do agree that having the ability to make such decisions is a good thing and although getting that ability may not be worth the cost to you and others we should not argue that the ability for shallower depth of field is not a good thing. Not just for light gathering, but also for artistic purposes too, if it is used well.



#59 jaapv

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 15:59

I would consider a FF solution - if it would fit into a Billingham for Leica bag, weigh in @ 3kg approx, offer focal lengths from 28-800 with a 50 mm 1.4 and an 800 faster than, say, 5.6, of high quality. As long as this is utopia, I would say the MFT road is the way to go, as the only real tradeoff is DOF at the long end, which has little to no significance for my photography.


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#60 Steve Spencer

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 17:34

I would consider a FF solution - if it would fit into a Billingham for Leica bag, weigh in @ 3kg approx, offer focal lengths from 28-800 with a 50 mm 1.4 and an 800 faster than, say, 5.6, of high quality. As long as this is utopia, I would say the MFT road is the way to go, as the only real tradeoff is DOF at the long end, which has little to no significance for my photography.

 

I don't think you are really acknowledging the tradeoff for M4/3rds. I like the M4/3rds system, but there are tradeoffs. For example, the Panny Leica 15 f/1.7 is a nifty little lens with very nice IQ, but it only has the depth of field capabilities of a 28mm f/3.1 35mm FF lens (if you crop to 4 by 3 or squarer; it has even less DOF if you crop in more of a rectangle). It is a reach to say you aren't giving up DOF capabilities with that lens. That may not matter to you, but there is still a tradeoff there. Similarly, the Panny Leica 25 f/1.4, which is a lens for which I really like the rendering, only has the DOF capabilities of a 46mm f/2.6 35mm FF lens (again if you crop to 4 by 3 or squarer), and even the absolutely stunning Panny Leica 42.5 f/1.2 has the DOF capabilities of a 79 f/2.2 35mm FF lens (again cropped to 4 X 3 or squarer). So, I think it is pretty disingenuous to claim you aren't giving up DOF capabilities on the wide end as well. Certainly for Leica M a 28 cron, 50 cron, and 90 cron AA would match the quality and give you noticeably more depth of field capabilities. I think it is quite reasonable to choose the Panny Leica set over the Leica M set (for auto focus, use with one's preferred camera, and price), but I don't think it is reasonable to argue that one is not giving up depth of field capabilities. There is also the matter of giving up high ISO capabilities (about a stop and a third there--although in some situations that can be recovered and more by image stabilization). So, I have no issue at all with M4/3rds. I think it is a very interesting system, but the dismissal of the tradeoff one makes in choosing the system I don't find very helpful.




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