XF 55-200, Not Really a Birding Lens...

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Andy Wilson
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XF 55-200, Not Really a Birding Lens...
4 months ago

…unless you have cooperative models.

White Tailed Blue Robin and breakfast

Up in Hsitou Forest, Central Taiwan, with the family yesterday.  Included the 55-200 in the bag in case the weather gave some opportunity for compression landscapes, though that didn't come off.  I wouldn't really consider the 55-200 as a serious birding lens.  The focal lengths is generally too short and in forest conditions the low light focussing too erratic (at least on my X-E2, the X-T1 may be better) to be anything other than frustrating if wildlife is your major thing.  But sometimes the birds are so engrossed and you can get closer to them.  And if they are not flitting and there's a little bit of light breaking through the OIS and the excellent optics can get nice images.  Came across this male with a MacWorm and was able to get fairly close.  I have one or two from a little closer but the depth of field was such that the head feathers were not quite sharp enough for my taste.  Had I stopped down then my shutter speed would have probably dropped to borderline (I was at 1/40th of a second).  SOOC jpeg with watermark added in Photoshop.  I'll probably crop this a little for the final output.

(Probably) White-tailed Blue Robin Juvenile (Identification confidence not 100%)

Later on we came across what I think (but am not certain, as I can't find any really good examples either on line or in the books available to me) is a Juvenile of the same species.  This one was totally fearless and happy to pose.  In fact other folk were almost feeding their iPhones to it.  I was able to get 1/45th of a second for this one. There is a slight Levels adjustment on this plus the watermark but otherwise as shot.  In this case I was able to get down nicely without spooking the bird to separate from the background.

Latter on and further in to the forest the camera lens combo broke down with other birds that were flitting far too much for the AF to lock on.  Hopefully putting back the proposed long zoom until the end of next year will allow the engineers to develop a snappier AF performance and there may even be an X-T2 by then.

The XF55-200 is a great lens and though not really aimed at birding certainly has a good enough optical performance if subject is still and you are able to get close enough.

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