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SugarBubble

Bird shooting with the CL..help?

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I am missing a lot of wildlife photo opportunities because I only have the TL primes and I need more reach to get close to the birds.  So I would like your thoughts on some options.   Thinking of grabbing the Leica 280 zoom but that thing Is a beast and is only f4 on the long end... on the CL that’s the equivalent of an f5.6.  So I am leaning towards the Panasonic 200 2.8 zoom.  Giving me a full stop at 200mm over the Leça lens (I think).  Shorter though, but I’ve shot birds at 300mm on my old Nikon and it was satisfactory.      Now here is the monkey wrench... would I be better off with a M4/3 and one of the excellent long lenses as a dedicated bird setup for the lighter weight lenses... giving up some light gathering but with some advantages in price and weight.   Anyone thought this through for themselves?  Appreciate all comments.  Thanks. 

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???
An f  4.0 lens remains an f 4.0 lens, whatever body you mount it on. No magic can change the aperture. Crop factor is not the same as an optical extender. The only difference is in the DOF, which is completely irrelevant at such focal lengths. 

To my mind any decent bird photography starts at 400 mm equivalent and needs to go up to 800 mm equ. That means, unless you are very accomplished and able to handle the really heavy rigs, that the best choice for you would be a Panasonic MFT camera and the excellent DG Vario-Elmar 100-400. (200-800 equivalent) Why Panasonic? Because power-I.S. works better than it does with an Olympus body. Why a tele-zoom? Because bird photography is often from a hide or vehicle, which means that you cannot control the framing with a prime lens. Why doesn't the lens speed matter in this case? Because DOF is razor-thin anyway and you can handhold down to amazingly slow shutterspeeds due to the 5-stop, 5-axis IS.

I use the Vario-Elmar 105-280 R  (+ APO-extenders) on the CL for wildlife and the Panasonic GX8 with the DG Vario-Elmar for birds. (and some wildlife when I want the reach without the hassle) The Panasonic 200 is far too short for anything but animal-in-a-landscape photography or captive wildlife. Or Elephants - you can use a 28 mm for those :lol:

 

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Bird photography is a expensive hobby....
If you wanna do it seriously you ned to fork over a real big amount of $$$ as birding lenses start above 600mm and should have not more than f/4.xx

I bought a 2x teleconverter for my AF-S NIKKOR  70-200 F2.8 FL ED VR and it still was ways to short so the converter is almosed unused in the rack.
jaapv naild it for the rest.
If i would go into birding than i probably would shop around for a Canon/Nikon with a 400+mm lens for animal photography.
A "cheaper" solution would be the Sigma 60-600 Sports Lens for canon/Nikon, but don't expect Leica optical quality.
Also the by jaapv mentioned Panasonic would be a nice combination, adding a high quality TC would help for very distant birds

Chris
 

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Chris, the Panasonic combo goes to 800 mm equivalent,  can easily be handheld down to @ 1/125 @ 800 mm and produces more than adequate image quality. Adding a TC -If it exists for MFT-  would make the lens f 12.6 at the long end. Even with the fantastic IS, that would be too slow.

The stuff big stuff you allude to, like the Nikon and Canon 600 mm gear etc, can, in real life, only be used on heavy tripods and/or by trained professional level specialist photographers,   making it very hard to use for fast-moving subjects like birds.

Years ago I tended to use the Apo-Telyt 280/4.0 with stacked 1.4x and 2x Apo-extenders. The quality was surprisingly good, on the occasional decent shot I used to get, but it was really not worth it and I gave up. The Panasonic got me back on track a few years ago.

This was taken with the Panasonic combo:

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find a whole series here, all were taken hand-held.

 

 

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Thanks guys.  I was feeling that m4/3 would likely be the most practical route.   As far as f stops I should have used the expression of effective f stop.  Of course the maximum aperture is a fixed part of the lens design.  But when comparing full frame lenses to lenses designed for a cropped sensor, you obviously lose a lot of light from the full frame lens.  Shooting with a 2.8 FF on a cl compared to a native 2.8 TL lens yields either higher ISO or slower shutter speed for the full frame lens compared to the native lens.  My bad using short cut terminology.  
 

looks like a g9 and the 100-400 zoom is coming my way. Thanks again.  Stay safe!

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I was going the same way, since I have bought 3 cameras over the last year and a half. I decided to go with a 400 f5.6 Telyt and my CL, bit of a monster but does a good job, probably better on a cropped sensor than full frame where it has mixed reviews. It is not too heavy as some other 400s I have tried. Have been using it on a tripod but I feel in the right light I could hand hold at 1/500th maybe 1/250th. I bought a Visoflex to go with it but it has enough focus travel that the Viso is unnecessary, closest focus 20 ft without Viso 10ft with. with the Visoflex

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I get decent shots with the R 80-200 + 2x APO extender, and the Leica tabletop tripod as a chest tripod (giving me at least an extra stop). But I'm waiting/hoping for the CL2 to have the same ability as the SL2 to use Canon teles via the Sigma adaptor. 

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I'm not much of a bird shooter, but I've done some nice bird and general long-lens work with the Olympus E-M1 fitted with Olympus ZD 50-200mm f/2.5-3.5 and EC-14 Teleconverter. That nets a fairly handily sized 70-280mm zoom lens (FF equivalent 140-560mm FoVs) with reasonably quick AF (if you need that), very good IS, and excellent imaging qualities. And it's fairly inexpensive, particularly since you can get all these things at incredible prices on the second hand market.

Add the battery grip (SHLD-7, I think) for best balance with such a long tele hand-held setup. Obviously, the Mark II version of the body nets an improvement as does the Mark III, but I'm perfectly happy with the original E-M1 performance.

On the other hand, you don't always need ultra-tele FoV for bird work, unless your need is large prints... 


Olympus E-M1 + 14mm f/2.5 + Sony .75x Wide Converter

:D

G

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vor einer Stunde schrieb bags27:

I get decent shots with the R 80-200 + 2x APO extender, and the Leica tabletop tripod as a chest tripod (giving me at least an extra stop). But I'm waiting/hoping for the CL2 to have the same ability as the SL2 to use Canon teles via the Sigma adaptor. 

Thanks for reminding me about using the tabletop tripod as a chest pod, works well with the 400. My televit didn't come with a shoulder brace. 

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5 hours ago, SugarBubble said:

Thanks guys.  I was feeling that m4/3 would likely be the most practical route.   As far as f stops I should have used the expression of effective f stop.  Of course the maximum aperture is a fixed part of the lens design.  But when comparing full frame lenses to lenses designed for a cropped sensor, you obviously lose a lot of light from the full frame lens.  Shooting with a 2.8 FF on a cl compared to a native 2.8 TL lens yields either higher ISO or slower shutter speed for the full frame lens compared to the native lens.  My bad using short cut terminology.  
 

looks like a g9 and the 100-400 zoom is coming my way. Thanks again.  Stay safe!

You don't "lose light"  That is a weird Internet myth based on twisted thinking. The amount of light per square mm of sensor is exactly the same regardless of sensor size,  the number of photons hitting the pixels will remain the same and the EV value won't change at all.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, SugarBubble said:

Thanks guys.  I was feeling that m4/3 would likely be the most practical route.   As far as f stops I should have used the expression of effective f stop.  Of course the maximum aperture is a fixed part of the lens design.  But when comparing full frame lenses to lenses designed for a cropped sensor, you obviously lose a lot of light from the full frame lens.  Shooting with a 2.8 FF on a cl compared to a native 2.8 TL lens yields either higher ISO or slower shutter speed for the full frame lens compared to the native lens.  My bad using short cut terminology.  
 

looks like a g9 and the 100-400 zoom is coming my way. Thanks again.  Stay safe!

You don't lose any "light" at all. What happens is that you GAIN depth of field, on the smaller format, when looking at lenses that achieve the same field of view and are set to the same f/stop. For instance the standard normal lens on FF is 50mm, the standard normal lens on APS-C is 35mm. If you set either at f/4, you'll get the same field of view and the same exposure, but the effect of that aperture with the 35mm lens on APS-C is to net an additional bit of depth of field. Some people express this as saying that the lens is 1.5 stops slower on APS-C, but that's a misstatement: the lens is permitting exactly the same amount of light through to the sensor, but the smaller focal length means that the physical aperture size at that f/number setting is smaller, which nets more depth of field. 

If it didn't work this way, you wouldn't be able to use a light meter to set exposure with ISO values, f/stops, and shutter times for, oh, say a 4x5 view camera and a 35mm camera without having to recalibrate the meter for the different camera format.. 

Edited by ramarren

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It’s been a long time, say 42 years, since I studied optics as a physics major, so maybe I am remembering this incorrectly, but a lens is designed to gather light and transmit it to a specific focal plane.   The size of the sensor that the lens is intended for determines the size of the circle it throws.  The circle thrown by a FF lens is much bigger than The circle thrown by a lens designed for the small sensor, thus the total volume of light reaching a cropped sensor is less than it would be for a full frame sensor, from a full frame lens.  I refer to this reduction as a smaller effective F stop as a way to shorthand this whole discussion.   You can easily verify this effect if you equip a full frame lens and a crop lens with the same maximum aperture on a crop sensor camera. The crop lens will shine more light on the sensor than the full frame. This is why they make speed boosters for m4/3 systems... so you don’t waste so much light because the circle thrown by the FF lens is so much bigger than the small sensor.  I admit I could be wrong as I have not done the math, but this is what my physical intuition is telling me.  Any lens designers please weigh in.  Thanks. 

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You are missing that it is not about the total amount of light transmitted through the lens (which is indeed of importance designing a lens for a given sensor format) but about the amount of light per surface unit, which determines the exposure parameters. 

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It all depends if you want to be static, shooting sitting birds  or if you want to be roaming around and/or potentially tracking birds in flights.

For the former, any good quality, manual focus long lens mounted with an adapter on a sturdy tripod would work. Magnifying the focus point on an EVF makes it a lot easier to get a sharp picture.

For the latter, things get more complicated. I used to try "serious" bird photography with Nikon D3/D4/D5 with 600mm f/4 then 800mm f/5.6... also with D500 with 200-500mm. All this was very expensive, very heavy. And no equivalent in the Leica world.

Here is a list of features I found very important for me:
 - Accurate and fast autofocus with tracking
 - High ISO. I used to set my camera in manual mode, 1/2000s, maximum aperture and just let the ISO go as crazy as needed... all hand-held. Great for birds in flights.
 - Good image stabilization. Does not help for moving birds, but helps a lot when hand holding a long lens.
- Well balanced lens. I found it was more important than weight. For example, I could never really walk around with the 600mm f/4. It was a lot easier to do and shoot handheld with the 800 f/5.6... 

If I had to do it again (which I may at some point), I would seriously consider m43. the weight/size benefits are just wonderful for walking around. The right lenses are there (Panasonic 100-400mm, Olympus 300mm + tc). The only thing that would hold me back is the high ISO. Being able to shoot ISO 10,000 and above and not worry about it was a major plus... Can't really do that on m43 today.

As a side note: CL + 90-280mm would be 420mm equivalent. It is a start, but not really long enough for most cases.

Alain.

 

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2 hours ago, ramarren said:

You don't lose any "light" at all. What happens is that you GAIN depth of field, on the smaller format, when looking at lenses that achieve the same field of view and are set to the same f/stop. For instance the standard normal lens on FF is 50mm, the standard normal lens on APS-C is 35mm. If you set either at f/4, you'll get the same field of view and the same exposure, but the effect of that aperture with the 35mm lens on APS-C is to net an additional bit of depth of field. Some people express this as saying that the lens is 1.5 stops slower on APS-C, but that's a misstatement: the lens is permitting exactly the same amount of light through to the sensor, but the smaller focal length means that the physical aperture size at that f/number setting is smaller, which nets more depth of field. 

If it didn't work this way, you wouldn't be able to use a light meter to set exposure with ISO values, f/stops, and shutter times for, oh, say a 4x5 view camera and a 35mm camera without having to recalibrate the meter for the different camera format.. 

This is so because you compare 35mm and 50mm, right? If both systems used, say, a 50mm lens, DOF would be similar?

 

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2 hours ago, Ivar B said:

This is so because you compare 35mm and 50mm, right? If both systems used, say, a 50mm lens, DOF would be similar?

Actually, a 50mm lens used on APS-C sensor nets a higher total magnification (relative to the reference print size from which DoF is calculated) so actual DoF is less when you use a 50mm lens on APS-C vs using the same lens on FF. It's a little counter-intuitive, but you can see this by playing with the DOF Master online calculator. :)

G 

 

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Posted (edited)

I'm with Jaap on the Panasonic/Leica DG Vario-Elmar. I love my CL but that's the combination I turn to for wildlife work.

 

 

 

Edited by Jonathan Hanson

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, SugarBubble said:

It’s been a long time, say 42 years, since I studied optics as a physics major, so maybe I am remembering this incorrectly, but a lens is designed to gather light and transmit it to a specific focal plane.   The size of the sensor that the lens is intended for determines the size of the circle it throws.  The circle thrown by a FF lens is much bigger than The circle thrown by a lens designed for the small sensor, thus the total volume of light reaching a cropped sensor is less than it would be for a full frame sensor, from a full frame lens.  I refer to this reduction as a smaller effective F stop as a way to shorthand this whole discussion.   You can easily verify this effect if you equip a full frame lens and a crop lens with the same maximum aperture on a crop sensor camera. The crop lens will shine more light on the sensor than the full frame. This is why they make speed boosters for m4/3 systems... so you don’t waste so much light because the circle thrown by the FF lens is so much bigger than the small sensor.  I admit I could be wrong as I have not done the math, but this is what my physical intuition is telling me.  Any lens designers please weigh in.  Thanks. 

 

3 hours ago, jaapv said:

You are missing that it is not about the total amount of light transmitted through the lens (which is indeed of importance designing a lens for a given sensor format) but about the amount of light per surface unit, which determines the exposure parameters. 

As jaapv says, it is not the total light transmitted by a lens that is important but the amount of light per unit area that hits the sensor that is important. An APS-C sensor is approximately 43% of then area of a FF sensor so naturally the total amount of light area striking its surface given constant illumination will be that same percentage of the total, but each square mm of the surface will net the same amount of light energy striking it. The f/number system for aperture takes this into account, by normalizing the iris opening to the lens focal length by division ... That's what the "F" "divided by" notation means. 

A speed booster operates by concentrating the light exiting a lens assembly into a smaller area and thus reducing the focal length, thereby increasing the amount of light energy per unit area striking the recording medium. They make speed boosters so that people can make use of existing lenses with larger than needed image circles on smaller format sensors with something approaching their original design FoV, and the 'speed boost" is a side effect of that. They came about because users were trying to find a solution to getting shorter focal lengths than were available for the smaller format sensors in order to obtain wider field of view imaging. 

Edited by ramarren

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Just to echo what has been said regarding kit.

I would suggest that you need a min of 400 but 6 or 800 is the ideal.

I live in a coastal area so most bird photographers I see are toting around 6 or 800 primes on Canon or Nikon pro bodies .

The other thing which drives the extreme kit requirement is the modern trend for bird portraiture rather than the more traditional shot of birds in their habitat.

Most birders ,including myself, prefer the later .

The trouble with the 600 /800 stuff is it`s not very versatile . It`s a bit of a one trick pony .

An alternative is to set up a hide and a feeding station (you can disguise that) which will enable you to drop down to more modest F/L say the 180 to 200  range .

Some of my birding friends employ this method and ,depending on the species ,have very nice shots with F/L of 135.

They even take along their own branches and other "props" to set the scene .

Maybe not to everyone`s taste but you`d never know from looking at the shots and it obviates the need for big expensive lenses.

I`ve always been a birder rather than a bird photographer .

I`ve had a dabble at bird photography but found , at least for me , it spoils the birding.

 

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