Author Topic: Long range video experiment, modern video camera/lens with image stabilization  (Read 511 times)

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Offline Joe L

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I had to see if any of that long range pistol and rifle shooting would help me with hand held video, which is another of my hobbies, which is a challenge from a physical positioning and steadiness  standpoint. 

So, I have an Olympus E-M1ii camera body and a 300 f4 lens and 1.4x teleconvertor.  The Olympus camera is a micro4/3 sensor so the crop factor is about 2.0.  So the equivalent field of view for a full frame or 35mm camera would be 2x300x1.4 or 840 mm.  Hand holding this rig is a challenge even taking single photographs, but video is really a challenge. 

There are two modern technologies included in this camera/lens combination that make shooting this setup even a possibility.  One is in-body-image-stabilization and the second is in-lens-image-stabilization.  Olympus has included firmware in the camera to work the lens and body stabilization together to provide a pretty steady image, even with this long lens. 

Here is a video clip showing 30 seconds with the stabilization systems turned off, followed by 30 seconds of both systems functioning and working together. 



It isn't perfect, but portions of the second clip are very usable.  This hardwarae is phenomenal. 

To me, this image stabilization for video shooters is analogous to red dot sights for pistol shooters at 100-200 yards.  The red dot makes it possible for ordinary people to try shots that they would have thought were impossible.  The latest image stabilization technology makes it possible to shoot at least a few seconds to a minute of video of wildlife, for example, before taking the time to set up a proper tripod or other support.  But, one has to practice each discipline before consistently good results can be expected.  Neither is natural and neither is easy. 

Don't even ask about following a large bird in flight hand held with this setup, that IS impossible to do well hand held.  I actually have a red dot on my camera to experiment with this weekend, however.    It is very difficult to find your subject in the viewfinder when the subject is moving.  Sound familiar? 

Joe
CZ-75B 9mm and Kadet, 97B"E", two P-09's, P-07, P-10C, P-10F

Offline Joe L

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Since December, I have experimented some with this lens and camera body and have come up with two excellent additions.  The first is a red dot sight mounted in the flash mount on the camera and the second is a gimbal on a tripod.  So, with the gimbal and red dot, it is possible to smoothly follow a bird in flight with the long lens. 

The problem is having enough time to set this up before the bird takes off.  One has to zero the red dot--lock the camera/lens down on the gimbal and tripod, adjust the sight to place the cursor at the same point as the focus target in the viewfinder.  Then you can start the video recording and track the bird if he takes off.  This works quite well. 

With no time to set a tripod, hand held works pretty well with he red dot, if it is at least zeroed before you try to shoot.  Video. 

So, there is crossover between the red dot pistol shooting discipline and the long lens video shooting discipline, which is a pleasant surprise to me.  Even the red dot sight looks somewhat similar.  More later.

Joe
CZ-75B 9mm and Kadet, 97B"E", two P-09's, P-07, P-10C, P-10F

Offline BarkingAnt

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Thanks for the post, I wasn’t aware this could be done with camera equipment available now. I don’t shoot video so I don’t know anything about doing it despite having equipment that will.

I've shot landscape stills for print a long time and try to carry a tripod wherever I go but sometimes it’s hard to trek a mile to a waterfall with a lot of equipment. I’m getting old. I too have image stabilization lenses but haven’t seen much improvement in my shots off tripod in low light. Have to keep shutter speed up so it’ll work but most of the time ambient light is what you get, good or bad.

Anyway, this is interesting. Especially shooting wildlife, animals and birds aren’t very cooperative photography subjects.
Thanks

Offline Joe L

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Thanks for the comment.  Here are two short clips taken Sunday morning.  The camera was on a gimbal for the ducks, but hand held for the egret in flight.  With a full frame equivalent lens angle of view of 840mm.   This was shot at 1080p, not 4k, then slowed down to 40% of real time speed.

Late equipment is fantastic for video.
Joe
CZ-75B 9mm and Kadet, 97B"E", two P-09's, P-07, P-10C, P-10F

Offline BarkingAnt

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Great work... Don't know about video but I do know with still photography long focal lengths aren't forgiving of camera jiggle.

The only way I found out anything in many cases was to experiment, back with film it could get expensive. Enjoyed the video.

Offline dwhite

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Really great examples. Olympus has some of the best stabilization of any camera out there. I've got the original E-M1 which is almost as good as your newer model; but I don't shoot long that often. I'd REALLY like to get the Olympus 12-100 f/4 Pro lens which has lens IS; but that is a LOT of coin!

Regardless, shots at that focal length are tough even with the best equipment, and it still comes down to steady hands and good technique -- both of which you demonstrate well!

Well done sir!

Offline Joe L

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DWhite--I still have an E-M1.  But I also have two E-3's and one E-5 and some 4/3 lenses.  I started with Olympus film cameras about 44 years ago, then switched to digital with a C5050, then the 4/3 bodies, then the micro4/3 bodies and pro lenses.   

If you ever want to replace your E-M1, think about an E-M1ii.  The version 3.1 software update has been fantastic with that body, especially for video.  I have an E-M1X that is technically excellent, but it is large and heavy.  I got it primarily for video, before the 1ii 3.1 firmware update.  If the firmware update had been released before the 1X, I might have skipped the 1X.  The 12-100 lens is fantastic, especially for video without a gimbal, on the 1X or the 1ii.  But I had to sell two Corvettes to buy this stuff.   

I'm learning wildlife videography.  The Olympus gear is perfect for this due to the relatively small size and light weight of the camera+lens, plus the excellent weather sealing and overall durability of the gear.  The skill development and thought processes for shooting video are surprisingly parallel to shooting firearms, at least in my mind.  Fortunately, at 71, I am still able to walk/hike for hours and have very steady hand and trigger/shutter button fingers. 

This is a shot through a bus window at Yellowstone from 2 years ago.  My goal on that trip was to get to observe and hopefully get to photograph some wolves.  This photo is not sharp but it is my favorite from the trip anyway.  The only reason I got the shot was because I was ready when the wolf appeared and before he trotted away.  None of the Nikon and Canon people were ready and they were whacking each other with tripods and 3 foot lenses while I was shooting. 



Joe
CZ-75B 9mm and Kadet, 97B"E", two P-09's, P-07, P-10C, P-10F

 

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