Eastern Spinebill

(7 images) – A series of bird photos taken with the “new” Olympus 75-300 f4.8-6.7 II lens mounted on the OM Digital Solutions OM-1. They have been edited using a trial version of DxO Photolab 5 which I’m currently testing for noise reduction and sharpness. After a few weeks playing, I’m impressed! These shots were taken with an ISO of 12800 to keep the shutter speed up around 1/800 at f6.7.

This is a Male Eastern Spinebill – Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris.

The Spinebill also featured in my last post in the snow and I’ve been watching it feed mainly on one particular bush. He keeps getting chased away by the larger New Holland Honeyeater below, who also likes feeding from these flowers. This time of year there’s not heaps of flowers around. I feel a bit sorry for the Thornbill being bullied, but he seems to get his fair share of nectar. The New Holland gets chased by the larger Brush Wattle Bird, there’s a real turf war going on in my garden!

Thanks for flying by 😀

24 thoughts on “Eastern Spinebill

    1. Thanks John, the rust coloured chest is lovely and can both stand out and blend in. The colours on the tops of the wings were brought out nicely by DxO. It does look a bit like a hummer now you mention it, though probably bigger and slower. It mostly fed sitting on branches hiding from me but patience paid off 😀

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      1. Great job, Tone! The bird is like twice the size of a hummer if I am gauging the size right. Las Vegas has hummers all year round, I saw one this morning in the backyard. Love them!

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      2. Thanks John, patience for once and also some luck. My bird guide says of Eastern Spinbill “several races differ in size …. 13-16cm”. I would think this one is on the smaller end. We don’t have Humming Birds in Australia, but there is a hummingbird Hawkmoth that gets mistaken for one on the mainland.


    1. Thanks Anneli, the Spinebill is a fairly new one for me, I haven’t seen them in this are before until recently but perhaps I’m more observant now than I was, I’ve always liked watching the birds but I’m trying hard lately to get up earlier and spend more time watching them.

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  1. Apart from the birds being beautiful, the shots are lovely and they really answer the question whether micro four-thirds is capable of good images at any ISO and at high ISO. This ‘new’ lens, is it the ED version that was introduced in 2013? Also, do you think you could have taken these shots with this image quality with any of the EM lineup? And, a follow-up question for a bonus ten points – how much difference did the DxO Photolab 5 processing make?

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    1. Thanks David, bonus question first: I’ve started work on a post about DxO which I will put up soon, but the more I use DxO the more I’m liking it. TheOM-1 in-camera noise reduction of jpegs is great, but only controllable is step settings – same with OM Workspace. The RAW files are pretty grainy and DxO gives you more control with 3 basic choices including “DeepPrime” and a slider so you can choose noise reduction vs detail loss – and also sharpen sliders and compare it to the camera’s jpeg. DxO is much faster at this than Wordspace but probably because it only gives a magnified small area preview of DeepPrime’s effect until you export it.
      For me there are other features which help push DxO over the line – colour handling and light . – More in the review 😉

      Lens – yes, the ED MSC I recently bought second-hand with an EM10ii. I sold the camera and ended up paying less than $100 AU for the lens!! It’s hopeless in low twilight and even heavy cloud days in the bush but with a of light it shines!

      EM quality – I haven’t compared RAW files, that would be in the telling given you can use DxO to edit them. The high ISO jpegs are better in the OM-1 but generally, image quality is very similar in most instances to the EM-1ii except low light. For astro the OM-1 shines! Much less sensor noise. If you only shoot for the web you generally wouldn’t notice most things after editing except astro shots. Personally I thought the EM5ii was better than the EM1ii at astro – less pixels but bigger I guess.

      Cheers and thanks for the questions.


    1. Mmm, my reply did not post! Thanks Anneli, great fun to watch them dance around having a feed! I’m trying to get up earlier so I have more AM time 🙂
      The new lens does a great job when there’s enough light.


  2. Great test results ! that amount of noise I have around 3200 or even less.
    Stunning shots of the birds!
    I am now fully testing my new E-M1 MKIII, and so far I like it very much. In the end, I’m glad I dared to make the switch from Fujifilm to Olympus.
    Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mark, funny, Fujifilm is the only other system still tempting me to try! I jumped over the EM1iii, there wasn’t enough for me to upgrade from the EM1ii. I still prefer the front and rear dials on top than the one’s buried in the body of the OM-1 but I am getting used to them, just not as naturally ergonomic. DxO is free to try for a month so you can easily make up your own mind about it 😀 So is Topaz AI Denoise and Sharpen, I haven’t tried them yet.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, the last image of the Spinebill I think is one of the best bird in flight photos I’ve ever taken. A bit of patience, some luck and finally some decent gear helped 😀


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