The new mirrorless cameras give us so many options. I’m using the Canon R5 but the following will apply to Nikon, Sony, Olympus, and Fuji. The key is to experiment and learn from your mistakes and triumphs.
I used 1-point AF on my DSLR cameras most of the time. I’d move that one point around the screen with lightening speed — a skill I developed over many years of practice.
After working with the R5 for four months, I’ve found that the 1-point AF has its place.
Eye tracking is amazing. We’ve had this technology on cheap point-and-shoot cameras for years and even on cellphone cameras. The engineers at Canon have really hit a homerun with Animal Eye tracking. I hear Olympus has done well in this arena, too.
Use your Menu setting to tell the camera to look for human eyes or animals eyes, by the way. Canon puts this in the pink menus.
Large Zone AF: Horizontal has been great for flying birds.
I’ve worked with Canon R5 for several months under a variety of different situations. I’m changing Focus Methods now depending on the circumstances. My old skill at moving one focus point around on my DSLR has now morphed into changing my Focus Method.
Approaching a bird with a defined eye in clutter — switch to Animal Eye AF
Approaching a duck that’s about to take off — switch to Large Zone AF
Trying to photograph a small bird in the brush — switch to 1-point AF
Flying hawk overhead — switch to a small cluster
These focus options give us lots more tools in the toolbox. Take some time to practice and develop your skills.
Questions? Feel free to post below. Thanks for reading.
A full-frame sensor camera has a sensor that is 35mm on the longest side. A cropped sensor camera (APS-C) has a sensor that is smaller. A four-thirds sensor is even smaller at 17.5mm on the longest side.
Those smaller sensors give us what is called a crop factor. An image on a full-frame camera looks the same as if the image was taken with a film camera. Take the same photo with a APS-C camera and the image would appear to be cropped. Take the same photos with a four-thirds sensor and the image would appear more cropped.
That cropping is 1.5x on a Nikon and 1.6x on a Canon camera. The cropping is 2x on an Olympus or other four-thirds sensor camera.
Using that 2x magnification, a 300mm lens is now a 600mm lens. Add a teleconverter on that 300mm lens and you have a 420mm lens. Put that lens on a four-thirds camera and it is now equal to 840mm on a full-frame sensor camera.
Below are three different cameras all with a 300mm lens with 1.4x extender for 420mm from the same location.
The full frame is photographed with 420mm. The cropped is photographed with the same lens but because the sensor is smaller the lens is equal to a 672mm lens. The four-thirds sensor is magnified even more for a lens equal to an 840mm lens. (As was pointed out in an earlier post, all the camera set-ups weigh roughly 4.9 pounds but the view with the four-thirds is equal to a much heavier camera with lens.)
So the advantage of a four-thirds sensor camera is our subject appears bigger when using a telephoto lens with a lighter camera.
I was curious if the quality would be acceptable since the sensor was smaller.
“Expert” opinion has been that the smaller the sensor the worse the quality. I think the fine engineering put into APS-C cameras like the Canon 7D Mark II and Nikon 500 really put an end to that thinking. My brief tests with the Olympus OM-D EM1 Mark ii shows this four-thirds sensor can stand up with the best.
As usual, give me your thoughts. It’s always fun to read your experiences. Thanks again to Hunt’s Photo and Video and the folks at Olympus for making this test possible.
It’s a great time to be a photographer! Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Olympus, Fuji, and Sony are pushing the engineering envelope. Each company gives us something new to keep ahead of their competition. We benefit, as photographers, with great new gadgets and features.
Problem is, though, there is no camera with every amazing feature. We have to settle on the features that are important to our shooting. My important features are not going to be the same as your important features. We each have to find the machine that works for us.
I’m testing the Olympus OM-D E-M1 ii and OM-D M1X for a month.
Each of these camera bodies has interesting features that I might use in regular shooting.
Here’s my opinion and some test results:
Focus stacking – This is nice! I’ve done focus stacking with software and love the results. Focus stacking in the camera, though, is something I’ve wanted to try for a long time.
Both the OM-D E-M1 ii and OM-D M1X gave amazing results.
Below are the individual pieces of the stacked morning glory.
Below are the individual pieces of the stacked dayflower shown above.
Lessons learned when working with both cameras. (1) Be sure to click OK to each option in the set-up process. There are several steps. (2) Confirm you’re in Focus Stacking by looking for the BRKT icon at the top of the view finder. (3) Turn off RAW/Jpg since this causes the camera to work extra and takes longer to process the finished picture. (4) The finished picture is a large Jpg. (5) In-camera focus stacking is lens dependent. Doesn’t work with every lens.
Below is a photo of a gemstone loaned to me by a friend.
The individual photos that made up the above image are show below.
There’s a bit to learn with Olympus focus stacking but it’s pretty easy. The camera settings include how many photos to take and focus differential. A large subject like the ruby needs a wider differential.
Silent shooting – This is a nice feature and on the Olympus it’s really silent. I’ve used this at two weddings during the vow exchange. There’s no sound from the camera. Beware though — This is a great way to fire off 50 shots without knowing it. Heck of a time deleting those buggers.
HDR – The cameras do this. In-camera HDR has become standard these days.
Handheld High Res – use f/2.8 to f/8 and fire off 16 shots. Gives tons of DOF. I tried in the office and worked well. I’ll post more results once I get out in a grand landscape. Stay tuned!
Keystone Composition – like using a tilt-shift lens. Adjust the foreground or background to move forward or backward. Straighten the sides from left to right. Worked well in the office but I need to test on a grand landscape. Watch this space.
Thank for reading and subscribe so you’ll see my next post. Feel free to ask questions or make comments below.
A lady in class mentioned that she was taking eight camera batteries on her next vacation. Eight batteries! That’s unheard of. I own two batteries for my Canon 5D Mark IV and one for my Canon 1DX. Why would this lady need eight for one camera?!
I’ve been testing the Olympus OM-D E-Mii and the OM-D E-M1X. Thanks to my testing I understood her statement wasn’t so crazy.
The battery life on these cameras is not great. A battery gets 2-3 hours of life. That’s turning the camera off and on, looking at photos on the back, taking a group of photos, putting the camera down, picking it back up, taking some more photos, setting it down, turning it off, turning it on, taking some photos, reviewing photos, etc. Two or three hours of this type of activity and the battery warning light is flashing.
For comparison, I can use a Canon 5D Mark IV battery all day without worrying. The Canon 1DX battery will last three or four days even with heavy shooting.
The E-Mii uses one battery. The more powerful E-M1X has a battery holder that uses two batteries. Luckily, both cameras use the same battery. That’s a great move, Olympus!
Each battery charges in a little over an hour. That’s not unusual for a camera battery. I charged three Olympus batteries in an evening with no problem but I was watching the charger and switching the batteries.
In real life, though, I’m dragging in at 10:00pm after a hard day of shooting and everything needs to be charged and ready to go by 5:00am. I’d find it hard to charge three batteries while sleeping.
Luckily, the batteries for these cameras are reasonably priced. A battery is $54 so it’s possible to buy some extras. The battery recharger is $59 so a photographer could have one or two more. There’s an after-market charger that claims to charge two batteries at a time. (I’ll let someone else test that item.)
Yes, there is a power grip for the OM-D E-Mii. That add weight and bulk — a reason many are using for switching to mirrorless.
Thanks to the folks at Olympus, I get to test the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and OM-D E-M1X.
Both are called “micro four-third” sensor cameras. That means the sensor is 17.4 mm on the long side by 13.0 mm on the short side. Contrast this with a “full sensor camera” that has a sensor that is 35mm on the long side by 24mm on the short side. (Notice the sensor is the same size as a 35mm piece of film.)
The advantage of a “micro four-thirds” sensor is things appear closer.
The Canon Rebel T6i has a “cropped” sensor, or 22.3 mm by 14.9 mm, so the same object appears farther away.
The Canon 5D Mark IV is a “full frame” camera with a sensor 35mm x 24mm. Objects appear much farther away.
I took each photo above from the same place. Each camera had a 300mm lens with a 1.4x tele-extender. That means I was using a 420mm lens for each photo but the subject was more or less magnified based on the sensor size.
The Olympus “four-thirds” sensor would mean a bird would be larger in my photo. The “four-thirds” sensor would mean I might not have to crop as much since the subject would already be bigger in the photo.
It’s inevitable that a mirrorless camera is in my future. I shot with Nikon film cameras for 15 years. Then I moved to Canon for digital SLRs and have been happy for 16 years. Will I make a brand shift when I go to mirrorless?
The nice folks at Olympus were kind enough to send me an OM-D E-M1 Mark II to test. (Thanks to Gary Farber at Hunt’s Camera & Video for your help!) This camera retails at $1,699 with a 20.4 megapixel sensor and 15 frames per second shooting. Check, check, and check on price, file size, and shooting speed.
There were some other features that were intriguing. The camera can shoot 60 frames per second is silent mode which would be amazing for birds. It has in-camera focus stacking and in-camera time lapse. Both of these are important to me.
I’ve used the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II for a week and here are my initial impressions. (Check back tomorrow for more.)
Weight — Let’s get that out of the way first. I thought there would be more difference.
4.9 lbs OM-D E-M1 Mark II with 300mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter
4.9 lbs Canon 5D Mark IV with 300mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter
6-inches wide by 3-inches deep on the Canon 5D Mark IV
5-inches wide by 3.25-inches deep on the Canon Rebel T6i
Set-up — I wasn’t looking forward to this step. I’ve taught photography for 25-years and know Canon and Nikon cameras well. The Canon R was intuitive right out of the box. Sony, Olympus, and Fuji tend to put things in different places and call them by different names.
The OM-D E-M1 forced me to go to the user’s manual. I was able to get the camera set to my liking with the help of the manual. Dials and Fn buttons have to do double duty since the camera body is smaller.
Once I got the camera set-up to my liking, the features I needed were easy to reach and adjust. ISO, exposure adjustment, focus points were at my finger tips and I could shoot.
But — What about the picture quality? So far, I’m impressed.
Check back tomorrow for more about this camera and the OM-D M1X. Once again, thanks to Gary Farber at Hunt’s Photo & Video for your help with this loaner.