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04-27-2020, 04:17 AM   #1
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Best < $3,500 mirrorless FF autofocus for birding: Canon R

Here is a pretty long and thorough looking comparison of "action" BIF autofocus for mirrorless cameras:

The Best Mirrorless Cameras for Birds in Flight Ranked

Other than the usual hype and marketing clamor, the $1800 Canon R beats the Sonys and Nikons of similar price group.

What I'd like to highlight for the noobs repeating the same myths on the net over and over again: No, obviously mirrorless AF does NOT always focus perfectly by definition. The brandnew Sony A7R4 had only 63% perfect focus.

Code:
	PERFECT FOCUS	/ PERFECT FOCUS+ SLIGHTLY SOFT FOCUS
Sony A9 II 96% 99%
Sony A9 95% 98%
Sony A6400 80% 93%
Canon EOS R 79% 98%
Sony A7 III 77% 96%
Olympus OM-D E-M1X 74% 91%
Sony A6500 73% 97%
Nikon Z6 73% 88%
Fujifilm X-T3 72% 96%
Olympus OM-D E-M5 III 72% 93%
Olympus OM-D E-M1 II 66% 81%
Nikon Z7 65% 85%
Sony A7R III 64% 88%
Sony A7R IV 63% 90%
Fujifilm X-T2 63% 87%
Fujifilm X-H1 62% 83%
Panasonic G9 51% 69%


04-27-2020, 05:04 AM   #2
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It seems like the Sony A9 is in a class of its own. Thanks for sharing.
04-27-2020, 05:23 AM   #3
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There's the point of the R having a much lower burst speed, however. In these situations, one could argue that throwing more frames at the problem is more efficient than improving AF.

Still, it's a substantially more cost-effective camera, particularly once you move away from super fast action.
04-27-2020, 06:35 AM   #4
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All of these models are expensive consumer electronics toys. There aren't that many truly professional models.

04-27-2020, 08:17 AM   #5
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I would guess this might be of greater interest in the non-Pentax subforum, but what-the-hey. Thanks for the link.


Steve
04-27-2020, 09:37 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Well OK, but the preference that I've noticed was the Canon 1Dx, which I don't see mentioned. Just another poll pretending DSLRs are already dead. In the mirrorless world, apparently DSLRs aren't cameras.

They took on the mirrorless competition, but they didn't take on the ruling king. Hence the information is pretty much useless to birders, unless they have extreme prejudice in favour of mirrorless. What happened to just wanting the best tool for the job?
04-27-2020, 09:46 AM   #7
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Check the lens lineup and not just the camera rating.
04-27-2020, 10:09 AM - 1 Like   #8
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Another anecdote, a couple of really serious birders I've met is that the Nikon D850 has become the camera of choice. Thye've realized that the D850 AF, frame rate and resolution etc. is good enough to do the job. and in many circumstances the same image taken with a 20-24 MP sensor and a 42 MP sensor if you are going for the ultimate IQ the 42 MP of the D850 offers a distinct advantage.

I'm met people who have both moved up from D500s and down from D4 to get that extra IQ boost. With everyone using these super fast .24MP camera, if you want to stand out, the D850 is changing the game.

When I read these kinds of things, I expect the authors to be up on recent trends, and address them.

I won't be taking polls like this seriously until they include DSLRs. I don't want to know that the best Mirrorless BiF camera is, I want to know what the best BiF camera is period.


Last edited by normhead; 04-27-2020 at 10:18 AM.
04-27-2020, 10:53 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Another anecdote, a couple of really serious birders I've met is that the Nikon D850 has become the camera of choice. Thye've realized that the D850 AF, frame rate and resolution etc. is good enough to do the job. and in many circumstances the same image taken with a 20-24 MP sensor and a 42 MP sensor if you are going for the ultimate IQ the 42 MP of the D850 offers a distinct advantage.

I'm met people who have both moved up from D500s and down from D4 to get that extra IQ boost. With everyone using these super fast .24MP camera, if you want to stand out, the D850 is changing the game.

When I read these kinds of things, I expect the authors to be up on recent trends, and address them.

I won't be taking polls like this seriously until they include DSLRs. I don't want to know that the best Mirrorless BiF camera is, I want to know what the best BiF camera is period.

^^^^This exactly. If I'm that serious about sports/wildlife/bird photography that a few % in focus accuracy makes a difference, then I'd want to compare all the options. 1DX, D5, D500 and D850. Granted the 1DX and D5 are a whole other price point, but still.
04-27-2020, 12:46 PM   #10
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For what it's worth, the author mentions the D500 as having 85%/98% hit percentage, (so beating the snot out of literally everything else that isn't the A9/A9ii). He says it was the best option before, being better than the A9 until Sony released a bunch of FW updates.
04-28-2020, 01:27 AM - 1 Like   #11
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Best bird photos I have seen were taken with manual focus. They are competition grade photos.
04-28-2020, 02:49 AM   #12
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The A9 may be a nice camera, but it is somewhat at an advantage, having only 24 megapixels, while some of the others have significantly more. The APS-C and micro four thirds cameras are going to have higher pixel density too and that's going to make achieving sharpness a little more difficult.

"My smaller sensor makes all my lenses longer and it is easier to go birding."

"Yes, but it also makes it harder to achieve good sharpness on that bird..."
04-28-2020, 03:22 AM   #13
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With some cameras they took less than 200 images, with others more than 1000 images. With some cameras they used native lenses, with other cameras they used the slow Sigma 150-600mm lens. I'm a little surprised to see the Canon R so high in that tabel (given the fact that I use one), but it seems that with 140 images taken with EOS R, 290 images taken with a6400, 139 images taken with a6500, 340 images taken with Z6 and with less than 100% of sharp images taken into acount it's enough to have an article these days about performance. I wonder if the images taken when they tested different af settings were among the ones mentioned for each camera.

One thing it's more closer to what I would have bet also: the results with high mp sensors. I always said that I don't like this trend with higher and higher mp cameras because for wildlife for example (I'm talking about BIF) and for action in general the high mp cameras are not helpfull, on the contrary. Once you go big in the number of mp, you loose flexibility no matter how good is the af system.

Last edited by Dan Rentea; 04-28-2020 at 03:58 AM.
04-28-2020, 05:38 AM   #14
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Yet I've met three very good birders in the last few years that have switched to D850s, because when you're trying to produce the best images available, they've found that the everything else being equal, the 42MP sensor gives them a look something 20-24MP sensors can't achieve. I have no way of knowing if they are right, just saying , for some people its a thing.

I'm not sure about the less flexibility either... in terms of cropping, 42 MP means you can crop away a whole 20 MP image and still have the equivalence 20-24 MP camera images.

Of the guys I talked to recently, every accomplished birder who bought a new camera recently bought a D850.

---------- Post added 04-28-20 at 08:45 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
"My smaller sensor makes all my lenses longer and it is easier to go birding."

"Yes, but it also makes it harder to achieve good sharpness on that bird..."
Do you have some examples to share?
That would run counter to my experience. In my experience, I use the same preset for both the K-1 and K-3 for birding with the standard sharpening set to 2 out of 10. For the K-1 I reduce it to 1 out of 10. That's hardly something to fret about. Apart from that, I have to look at the exif to figure out which camera took the picture.

The other day I was trying to prove that the K-1 gave a softer more accurate portrayal of feather detail...the first three images I selected with the "softer more realistic " looking feather detail were all k-3 images. I gave up. ( There were many days where I had the K-1 and Tamron with TC for 510mm on the tripod, and the K-3 and DA 55-300 in my lap, and the only images good enough to post were taken with the K-3. $5k worth of gear and all the set up an messing around, only to get better images with a $1500 set up, it happens more often than not). The advantage of the K-1 is better 800 ISO noise. When you are always reducing the size of the image you also reduce the noise. The K-1 gives you a lot more reduction.

That is the opinion of a guy who often takes both a K-1 and a K-3 to his blind during the same session, swaps cameras back and forth during the shoot and processes the images side by side. I shoot the K-1 as long as I can, but usually sooner or later the 4 frames per second and 6 frame buffer and the missed opportunities that causes gets to you. Yet I still am trying to prove the extra MP of the K-1 gives me some kind of advantage. If you don't see a post with photos for examples you'll know I haven't been able to demonstrate it yet. At least not using real cameras. People can make up in their minds whatever they want. (Reminds me of the country western song. "If your phone doesn't ring, that will be me.") Mine will be "If you don't see a post proving K-1s are better for birding, that will be me.".

If I have my K-1 and the bird is moving, and they are rarely still, I get my choice of 6 frames 1.5 second to shoot the six frames and then a long wait while the buffer clears. In the first three seconds with the K-3 I'll have 24 frames. But the K-1 is nice for birds sitting in a tree having a little rest, and who don't mind you getting close.

Who the heck were you quoting?

P.S. Even more counter intuitive... there is so much "cooking" in my Lumix ZS100 (1 inch sensor) most of the images come out over sharpened. I have to set all PP sharpening values, both sharpening and edge sharpening to zero to avoid artifacts, even with the raws. I've shot birds with 4 different sensor sizes, my preference to date is APS-c for everything but low light, with the caveat being, I've never shot a 20-24 MP FF action camera.

Last edited by normhead; 04-28-2020 at 06:45 AM.
04-28-2020, 06:13 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Yet I've met three very good birders in the last few years that have switched to D850s, because when you're trying to produce the best images available, they've found that the everything else being equal, the 42MP sensor gives there look something smaller sensors can't achieve.

I'm not sure about the less flexibility either... in terms of cropping, 42 MP means ou can crop away a whole 20 MP image and still have the equivalence 20-24 MP camera images.

Of the guys I talked to recently, every accomplished birder who bought a new camera recently bought a D850.

---------- Post added 04-28-20 at 08:45 AM ----------



Do you have some examples to share?
That would run counter to my experience. In my experience, I use the same preset for both the K-1 and K-3 for birding with the standard sharpening set to 2 out of 10. For the K-1 I reduce it to 1 out of 10. That's hardly something to fret about. Apart from that, I have to look at the exif to figure out which camera took the picture.

The other day I was trying to prove that the K-1 gave a softer more accurate portrayal of feather detail...the first three images I selected with the "softer more realistic " looking feather detail were all k-3 images. I gave up. The advantage of the K-1 is better 800 ISO noise/ When you are always reducing the size of the image you also reduce the noise. The K-1 gives you a lot more reduction.

That is the opinion of a guy who often takes both a K-1 and aK-3 to his blind during the same session and processes the images side by side. I shoot the K-1 as long as I can, but usually sooner or later the 4 frames per second and the missed opportunities that causes gets to you. Yet I still am trying to prove the extra MP of the K-1 gives me some kind of advantage. If you don't see a post with photos for examples you'll now I haven't been able to demonstrate it yet. At least not using real cameras. People can make up in their minds whatever they want.

Who the heck were you quoting?
When I went from a K10 to a K5, I really felt as though it was harder for me to get the same sharpness and the same again when I went from a K5 II to a K3. Having higher pixel density gives you more "reach" but it is harder to take advantage of it without excellent technique.

But honestly, Norm, why don't you ignore me? My comments are really irritating you lately and that isn't my intention. It will probably be better for your blood pressure.
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