Birding With An M6

Jun 30, 2013
118
9
#1
No, probably not the first body with which you would choose to go birding, but it's not impossible. I had 3-4 hours by myself on a family trip to try to capture some local birdlife. My tripod and FD 300mm f/4 with FD 1.4x extender were a waste of time and unnecessary weight. Birds don't tend to wait around while you mess around with tripods and manual focus. All shots taken with the EF 400mm f/5.6L. Touch AF worked satisfactorily most of the time, but changing to 'AF method: 1-point and AF Frame Size: Small' was better. No tripod or monopod used, but found somewhere on which to rest the lens for stability. The foot on the EF 400mm f/5.6L tripod ring works well for this. Hopeless trying to get BIF using the rear LCD on the M6. I don't know how well the M5 EVF works for BIF.

Location: Thale Noi wetlands, Phattalung province, southern Thailand.

I also photographed some purple swamphens, terns, egrets, but nothing worth posting here. Quite a few OOF shots. Cormorants and other birds are extremely skittish and they disappear as soon as you start to get in range. Although the EF 400mm f/5.6L can be used for other subjects, I only ever use it for birding ... at which it excels. I had terrible focusing and IQ problems with the EF 300mm f/4L IS, sold it and bought the EF 400mm f/5.6L. I've not had a single issue with the 400mm and despite having no IS it has returned many images that I am very satisfied with. It's a great value lens and has stood the test of time, even though an update is long overdue.

The perched stork-like bird, I believe, is an Asian Openbill. The bird having a late breakfast, I believe, is a Chinese Pond Heron. Lots of these herons around and they allow you to get quite close without flying off. My bird ID'ing isn't great, so corrections welcome.

http://phil.uk.net/photography/canon-ef-400mm-f5p6-l-usm.html
 

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AlanF

EOS 5DS R
Aug 16, 2012
4,135
335
#2
The M5 is much, much better because you can hold the camera against your cheek and stabilize it when using the Evf. It’s ok for single shots of slow nonerratically flying BIF.
 

Act444

EOS Rebel T7i
May 4, 2011
924
55
#4
Wow sometimes I totally forget that the 400mm f5.6 exists.

I’ve used the M6 on occasion for still birds on the ground (or perched in a tree) with the EF-M 55-200 and it’s not bad. No worse than my old 7D, at least IQ-wise. Only issue is lack of reach on occasion, 300 or 400mm would be nice.

I wonder if anyone has tried it on aircraft (say, air shows).
 
Feb 11, 2014
73
3
#5
I recently bought an M6+EVF+55-200 at a great price. Coming from an eos M1, the ergonomic improvement is dramatic.
The 55-200 is my very first long lense, so I tried to shoot some birds of prey not far from home.
As a total newbie, the results were… bad. Well, the 200mm was real short for the distance, so heavy crop doesn't help.
I got many OOF shots. What is the right speed to frezze this type of subject? Or maybe i must follow the target more carefully, even if I'm at 1/640s?
Here are the best shot I could get (both 100% crop to give a real idea of the files).
IMG_1606.jpg IMG_1234.jpg
 

AlanF

EOS 5DS R
Aug 16, 2012
4,135
335
#6
The faster the speed, the better. With a 200mm on an APS-C, a 1/1000s for a slow moving bird like the redkite in your second shot should be adequate, and it looks to be so. Unfortunately, you are limited by your gear. The EF-M 55-200mm is simply too soft for the large cropping you have to do for birds in flight. It's OK for bird portraits that occupy much of the frame and you don't have to crop. You would do better with an adapter and the EF-S 55-250mm STM, which is very sharp and a bit longer and wider. Here is a shot I posted on the BIF thread a week or so ago of a redkite flying near Halle which I took with the Sony RX10 IV at a true focal length of 220mm. I used 1/2000s but at iso800, which is too high for my liking with a 1" sensor. It's better to have a noisy version of a sharp image than a motion-blurred one at low iso. (I would normally use 400-560mm on a 5DSR or 560-800mm on a 5DIV, but the Sony is my travel gear when on business - it's much better for birds than my M5).
DSC05344-DxO_redkiteLS0_00.jpg
 
Feb 11, 2014
73
3
#7
Thank for your reply Alan. I saw that the softness was an issue. I know what I can get from the M6 sensor when I crop from the 22mm at F/8. But I found some samples on the web where the 55-200 is sharper. Maybe I have a rather bad copy. On those cheaper lenses, copy to copy variations can be high.
 

AlanF

EOS 5DS R
Aug 16, 2012
4,135
335
#8
Thank for your reply Alan. I saw that the softness was an issue. I know what I can get from the M6 sensor when I crop from the 22mm at F/8. But I found some samples on the web where the 55-200 is sharper. Maybe I have a rather bad copy. On those cheaper lenses, copy to copy variations can be high.
True about copy variation. Neuro wrote a nice review of the lens for TDP and shows some sharp images, but the charts there (measured by Byan Carnathan) have it inferior at 200mm to the 55-250mm at 250mm on the 7DII https://www.the-digital-picture.com...meraComp=963&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=5&APIComp=1 but you can't take just one comparison seriously. However, photozone didn't have a good copy either http://www.opticallimits.com/canon-eos/878-canon_55250_456isstm On the other hand, PC mag has it better https://uk.pcmag.com/lenses/72751/canon-ef-m-55-200mm-f45-63-is-stm