Big and little critters, and other stuff with the 100-300 mm

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GeorgianBay1939
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Big and little critters, and other stuff with the 100-300 mm
4 months ago

I spent a nice couple of days riding around in the truck with the 100-300 mounted on the GH2.  All  hand-held, some propping.  Here are results and observations.

1  This gal was watching some ducks cruising out in the Inlet.

2   Pair of Ring Necked Ducks

3   Followed by a female Northern Shoveler, with no male shoveler in sight.

4   Castor canadensis comes by checking on the action ...

5  Departure

6  Sandhill Cranes close to my farm.  Heavily cropped, 220 meters away.

7   visiting Mallards.  230+ meters

8   Pileated woodpecker mom checks out the action.  10m

9  Meanwhile, back at the Sandhill Field another fellow shows up for the social gathering ...

10   O sole mio!  Duet of "rattling" Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Crane "rattling": http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/sandhill_crane/sounds

11  Unknown hawk at 450 meters.

I need some practice (and information) on how to capture these birds in flight.  I am using SAF,  getting a focus zone and try to lock it.  But I lose lock whenever birds are in front of high contrast trees.

I usually select small square for focus, but should probably learn to use Pattern Focus with BIF??  I dunno.

I have a few others that might be of interest to long lens shooters (including some very small stuff that I used the extension tubes on).  I'll add other images to this thread as (or if) it develops.

Good challenges with these guys!   Advice?

Tom

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GeorgianBay1939
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More 100-300, including a few using ext. tubes ...
In reply to GeorgianBay1939, 4 months ago

Some more critters with the 100-300 ... (below are a few with 10 +16 mm extension tubes).

1   rare occasion when Sandhills are out in the open.

2   Unknown.  There were two of these, in tight to the shore.  (VERY) early brood?

3     Female flower and male catkin of our wild hazelnut   (100-300 with tubes)

wild hazelnuts  are tasty but you must harvest before the jays, squirrels and others get them.

http://honest-food.net/2013/08/29/harvesting-wild-hazelnuts/

4    with tubes.

5   tag alder.  Male is the lower catkin which carries pollen to wind-pollenate upper female catkins.   Used tubes here.

6   delicate birch bark

7   Male Bufflehead leaves the surface for the female.

8  Unknown birdie

9  Solo wing-tagged Trumpeter Swan is heading back north.  Long shot, late afternoon.

10 It would've been nice to have the long lens mounted on the GX7 instead of the GH2 ... so that I could've used pin-point focus.

I really miss the pin point focus of the GX7 compared to the smallest area focus of the GH2.  See Ontario Gone's  post here: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/53545148

But it IS possible to dig in for hidden birds using the smallest area focus of the GH2, just more difficult ...

Another unknown birdie...

I find the 100-300 mm on the GH2 (with ext tubes in my pocket) to be very handy.  I keep it and the 14-140 mm on the GX7 in the truck all of the time.   I also use the 7-14 mm on the GX7 outdoors.  Probably shoot 90% of my outdoor stuff with those three lenses.

I also use the Panny 20 mm f/1.7 a lot when in failing light or with people.  If I avoid huge changes in FL its AF is quick enough for virtually all of my needs.

A lot of the above have been heavily cropped so I don't have enough file size for big prints.  But most seem ok from a sharpness POV.  Since I don't a photographer's judgement I'd appreciate feedback on this len's performance.  My performance, too!   

Many thanks,

Tom

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R V C
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Re: More 100-300, including a few using ext. tubes ...
In reply to GeorgianBay1939, 4 months ago

Nice birds you have in your neigbourhood!

Dose your camera have digital zoom? I think the EM1 dose, if yes what is your experience with it?

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Trevor Carpenter
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Re: Big and little critters, and other stuff with the 100-300 mm
In reply to GeorgianBay1939, 4 months ago

Quality shots

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Alan_W1
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Re: More 100-300, including a few using ext. tubes ...
In reply to GeorgianBay1939, 4 months ago

Just my honest opinion {feel free to ignore}, but with regards to the bird images, i think you are asking far too much from both camera and lens at those sorts of shooting distances {in those conditions}....the result being a noticeable lack of contrast/detail/saturation, and the resulting crops producing little more than record shots.

I don't mean to be harsh

My suggestion would be to spend plenty of time observing, prior to photographing {maybe 90%/10%}, and methodically plan your best options to capture your subjects, whilst striving to use the full potential of the gear you own.

just my opinion though

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tinpusher
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Re: More 100-300, including a few using ext. tubes ...
In reply to Alan_W1, 4 months ago

Shooting birds in flight is just about as tough as it comes for m4/3 equipment. I find it easier to shoot fast jets where the subject is larger and movement is predictable.

Personally I don't like the IQ from the Lumix lens above about 250mm and I tend to raise the ISO to 400 or so to stop down a little.

Surprisingly the iS built into the Lumix lens is better than that of my Olypus M10 but it's worth trying with the iS off and going back to the old days of smooth panning.

Focusing can always be problematic but I've got used to single AF and squeezing the shutter continuously. Worth trying various combinations depending on your camera.

You've great subject matter there.

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GeorgianBay1939
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Re: More 100-300, including a few using ext. tubes ...
In reply to R V C, 4 months ago

R V C wrote:

Nice birds you have in your neigbourhood!

Dose your camera have digital zoom? I think the EM1 dose, if yes what is your experience with it?

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Thanks.   I  think that I am paying a lot more attention to them now that I am taking their pictures!  I guess that is one of the greatest benefits of photography.   It helps one to enjoy his surroundings a bit more.

I have never tried the digital zoom function of the camera.   It is called Extra Tele Conversion but I don't know how to use it.  I don't think that it is available when shooting RAW, in any event.

Tom

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GeorgianBay1939
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Re: More 100-300, including a few using ext. tubes ...
In reply to Alan_W1, 4 months ago

Alan_W1 wrote:

Just my honest opinion {feel free to ignore}, but with regards to the bird images, i think you are asking far too much from both camera and lens at those sorts of shooting distances {in those conditions}....the result being a noticeable lack of contrast/detail/saturation, and the resulting crops producing little more than record shots.

I assume that you mean the Sandhill Crane shots.  contrast/detail/saturation were not cranked in RAW.  Those Cranes are amazingly camouflaged.  Very few of the local folks even know that they are here in our fields now as they are distant and camouflaged.   Smart birds.  They are given away by their calls more than their visual presence.

I don't mean to be harsh

Not too harsh at all.  I appreciate your candid opinion.

My suggestion would be to spend plenty of time observing, prior to photographing {maybe 90%/10%}, and methodically plan your best options to capture your subjects, whilst striving to use the full potential of the gear you own.

That is good general advice.  What do you use as a general rule of thumb for the limit of "long shots" for this sort of equipment?  I have no idea what the practical limit is.   I DO know that the closer the better, though!  

just my opinion though

It all helps.  Thank you.

Tom

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Michael J Davis
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Re: Big and little critters, and other stuff with the 100-300 mm
In reply to GeorgianBay1939, 4 months ago

GeorgianBay1939 wrote:

I spent a nice couple of days riding around in the truck with the 100-300 mounted on the GH2. All hand-held, some propping. Here are results and observations.

I need some practice (and information) on how to capture these birds in flight. I am using SAF, getting a focus zone and try to lock it. But I lose lock whenever birds are in front of high contrast trees.

I usually select small square for focus, but should probably learn to use Pattern Focus with BIF?? I dunno.

I have a few others that might be of interest to long lens shooters (including some very small stuff that I used the extension tubes on). I'll add other images to this thread as (or if) it develops.

Good challenges with these guys! Advice?

Hi Tom! Nice shots.

I just wonder why you didn't use 1/500 at f5.6 for the more extreme shots. I think you are losing more in slight shake than in lens crispness. Why are the sandhill crane shots slightly pink?

I'm still trying to justify the purchase of a 300mm, but am getting nice shots with the 200mm + heavy cropping...

Mike

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GeorgianBay1939
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Re: More 100-300, including a few using ext. tubes ...
In reply to tinpusher, 4 months ago

tinpusher wrote:

Shooting birds in flight is just about as tough as it comes for m4/3 equipment. I find it easier to shoot fast jets where the subject is larger and movement is predictable.

Yes!  These guys are very unpredictable and they generally fly within the tree line.

Personally I don't like the IQ from the Lumix lens above about 250mm and I tend to raise the ISO to 400 or so to stop down a little.

You are both stopping down and reducing FL.  I will try that.   What AF settings do you use?

Surprisingly the iS built into the Lumix lens is better than that of my Olypus M10 but it's worth trying with the iS off and going back to the old days of smooth panning.

Another option to try!  I've always been shooting with IS "on".

Focusing can always be problematic but I've got used to single AF and squeezing the shutter continuously. Worth trying various combinations depending on your camera.

Yes,  I will be experimenting with all of the options.  Probably run up a few blind alleys.

You've great subject matter there.

I think so too.  The trick is to capture some of it!!!!  Rain is forecast for today.   I expect that the Sandhills will be in the fields again today.  They are  only about 1/2 mile from my house so I can easily check on them.

I have noticed that they tend to congregate out in the middle of the fields a couple times each day  reaching a flock of about  a dozen.  Most of the time they are in pairs.   I have never been able to spook them into flight.  They seem to prefer to run away ... at a pretty good speed as they have a  long gait.

If I have enough light today, I'll try upping the ISO, stopping down a bit and shortening the FL a bit.  The other BIG thing is to prop against the truck frame.  The truck has to be shut down to prevent vibration.  I COULD get the big manfrotto out but I prefer to LEARN how to shoot hand-held.

Thanks for your help.

Tom

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Solomente
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Re: More 100-300, including a few using ext. tubes ...
In reply to GeorgianBay1939, 4 months ago

Number 2 is a grebe. 8 looks like a phoebe and the last one is a white throated sparrow

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GeorgianBay1939
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Re: Big and little critters, and other stuff with the 100-300 mm
In reply to Trevor Carpenter, 4 months ago

Trevor Carpenter wrote:

Quality shots

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Coming from the BIF Master, that is very encouraging.  Thank you!

I need a lot of practice.  And I might make a bit of a rig to stabilize the camera when shooting out of the truck's window.

Yesterday afternoon as I approached the field where the Sandhills occasionally socialize I heard their tell-tale "rattle" and looked up through the windshield (your windscreen) to see them crossing overhead.  I stopped the truck, grabbed the camera, pulled the lens out to 300 mm, stuck it out the window at arms length and shot vertically, blindly hoping to get a bird or two in the frame.   Result:

Blind shot.  Proves that it is possible to get these guys!!!!  Just have to learn to frame!!!!

I am starting to realize that  it is important to shoot A LOT and to depend a bit on serendipity for the odd good result!!!

But I WILL work on technique, settings etc to improve my overall quality.

Thanks for your encouragement.

Tom

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GeorgianBay1939
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Re: Big and little critters, and other stuff with the 100-300 mm
In reply to Michael J Davis, 4 months ago

Michael J Davis wrote:

GeorgianBay1939 wrote:

I spent a nice couple of days riding around in the truck with the 100-300 mounted on the GH2. All hand-held, some propping. Here are results and observations.

I need some practice (and information) on how to capture these birds in flight. I am using SAF, getting a focus zone and try to lock it. But I lose lock whenever birds are in front of high contrast trees.

I usually select small square for focus, but should probably learn to use Pattern Focus with BIF?? I dunno.

I have a few others that might be of interest to long lens shooters (including some very small stuff that I used the extension tubes on). I'll add other images to this thread as (or if) it develops.

Good challenges with these guys! Advice?

Hi Tom! Nice shots.

I just wonder why you didn't use 1/500 at f5.6 for the more extreme shots. I think you are losing more in slight shake than in lens crispness. Why are the sandhill crane shots slightly pink?

I'm still trying to justify the purchase of a 300mm, but am getting nice shots with the 200mm + heavy cropping...

Mike

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Thanks Mike.  I think that you're referring to the shots at 1/320th.  I was experimenting with trying to get a group of birds in focus.   I think that you are right, though, and am losing lots in camera shake.

I don't know why those shots are pink.  I think that I am having some WB issues.  And I wasn't using my spectacles when processing.  Working too late at night, maybe.

FWIW, I really like the 100-300 lens.  Very versatile for narrow AOV imaging, especially when using those tubes.

I am hoping to see those birds again today, but it will be quite dim with some rain forecast.

Tom

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Alan_W1
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Re: More 100-300, including a few using ext. tubes ...
In reply to GeorgianBay1939, 4 months ago

GeorgianBay1939 wrote:

Alan_W1 wrote:

Just my honest opinion {feel free to ignore}, but with regards to the bird images, i think you are asking far too much from both camera and lens at those sorts of shooting distances {in those conditions}....the result being a noticeable lack of contrast/detail/saturation, and the resulting crops producing little more than record shots.

I assume that you mean the Sandhill Crane shots. contrast/detail/saturation were not cranked in RAW. Those Cranes are amazingly camouflaged. Very few of the local folks even know that they are here in our fields now as they are distant and camouflaged. Smart birds. They are given away by their calls more than their visual presence.

I don't mean to be harsh

Not too harsh at all. I appreciate your candid opinion.

My suggestion would be to spend plenty of time observing, prior to photographing {maybe 90%/10%}, and methodically plan your best options to capture your subjects, whilst striving to use the full potential of the gear you own.

That is good general advice. What do you use as a general rule of thumb for the limit of "long shots" for this sort of equipment? I have no idea what the practical limit is. I DO know that the closer the better, though!

I think a general rule would tend to depend on the format size the user has come from.

Myself {coming from 645>135>DX & m43}, I start from the premise/mind-set that the smaller sensors are already "pre-cropped" , and concentrate on finding ways to fill the m43 {or DX format} frame.

Not easy to do with birds though {and often not possible}, but time in the field, and acquiring some fieldcraft knowledge all helps.

Its a time consuming subject, and the reality is that its too varied a subject to put in a nutshell.

One thing is for sure....it can be a frustrating area of photography.

just my opinion though

It all helps. Thank you.

Tom

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Ron Evers
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Re: More 100-300, including a few using ext. tubes ...
In reply to GeorgianBay1939, 4 months ago

But it IS possible to dig in for hidden birds using the smallest area focus of the GH2, just more difficult ...

Another unknown birdie...

I do not know if you have it on your camera but I use S-AF + MF & that helps a lot when encountering AF not getting the target as in your shot above.  When the AF is confused by branches or other, I can just turn the focus ring to lock onto the subject as seen below.

Click View Original Size.

Bunny in the brush.

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The wood is clear between the knots.

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GeorgianBay1939
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Re: More 100-300, including a few using ext. tubes ...
In reply to Solomente, 4 months ago

Solomente wrote:

Number 2 is a grebe. 8 looks like a phoebe and the last one is a white throated sparrow

Thank you!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pied-billed_Grebe  is totally new to me.

I hear these around my barn quite often, they also tilt back and forth on a power line:

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/eastern_phoebe/lifehistory

YES, I hear these all of the time in the White spruces next to the house.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sL_YJC1SjHE

What a great resource this site is!   Lots of help.

Many thanks.

Tom

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GeorgianBay1939
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Re: More 100-300, including a few using ext. tubes ...
In reply to Alan_W1, 4 months ago

Alan_W1 wrote:

GeorgianBay1939 wrote:

Alan_W1 wrote:

Just my honest opinion {feel free to ignore}, but with regards to the bird images, i think you are asking far too much from both camera and lens at those sorts of shooting distances {in those conditions}....the result being a noticeable lack of contrast/detail/saturation, and the resulting crops producing little more than record shots.

I assume that you mean the Sandhill Crane shots. contrast/detail/saturation were not cranked in RAW. Those Cranes are amazingly camouflaged. Very few of the local folks even know that they are here in our fields now as they are distant and camouflaged. Smart birds. They are given away by their calls more than their visual presence.

I don't mean to be harsh

Not too harsh at all. I appreciate your candid opinion.

My suggestion would be to spend plenty of time observing, prior to photographing {maybe 90%/10%}, and methodically plan your best options to capture your subjects, whilst striving to use the full potential of the gear you own.

That is good general advice. What do you use as a general rule of thumb for the limit of "long shots" for this sort of equipment? I have no idea what the practical limit is. I DO know that the closer the better, though!

I think a general rule would tend to depend on the format size the user has come from.

Myself {coming from 645>135>DX & m43}, I start from the premise/mind-set that the smaller sensors are already "pre-cropped" , and concentrate on finding ways to fill the m43 {or DX format} frame.

Good thought!   Fill that frame, (by getting closer)!!!

Thanks.

Not easy to do with birds though {and often not possible}, but time in the field, and acquiring some fieldcraft knowledge all helps.

Its a time consuming subject, and the reality is that its too varied a subject to put in a nutshell.

One thing is for sure....it can be a frustrating area of photography.

Yeah, but it is a lot of fun!  Probably because it is so unpredictable.

Thank you,

Tom

just my opinion though

It all helps. Thank you.

Tom

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GeorgianBay1939
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Re: More 100-300, including a few using ext. tubes ...
In reply to Ron Evers, 4 months ago

Ron Evers wrote:

But it IS possible to dig in for hidden birds using the smallest area focus of the GH2, just more difficult ...

Another unknown birdie...

I do not know if you have it on your camera but I use S-AF + MF & that helps a lot when encountering AF not getting the target as in your shot above. When the AF is confused by branches or other, I can just turn the focus ring to lock onto the subject as seen below.

EXCELLENT ADVICE.  I could've easily done that above and also with the Trumpeter Swan.

Click View Original Size.

Bunny in the brush.

-- hide signature --

The wood is clear between the knots.

I like those kind of shots, much more interesting than the typical "zoo" shots that almost look posed!

I think that I'll be using that technique a lot.  It is much more accurate than trying to find an open spot the same distance as the target.   Good stuff.

Tom

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sb123
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Re: More 100-300, including a few using ext. tubes ...
In reply to GeorgianBay1939, 4 months ago

You live in an area rich with wildlife possibilities.  I like the Pileated since I see them oh so rarely here.

The GX7 will be much, much better for BIF than the GH2.  Set it on AFC, and use short taps and short bursts. With the newest Panny cameras, like GX7 and GM1, AFC gives considerably more accurate focus than bursts of AFS.  You can use ISO 800 or 1600 freely with the GX7 for BIF.  You want a high shutter speed such as 1/2000.  If there is enough light go to f7.1 or f8, but high shutter speed is more important than stopping down.  For BIF use the wide pattern AF.  For stationary birds the small central focus box will be best.  Again the GX7 will be better with its pinpoint focus option.

As for the color, why are you using RAW if that's what you get?  AWB and JPEG will be much better.

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GeorgianBay1939
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Re: More 100-300, including a few using ext. tubes ...
In reply to sb123, 4 months ago

sb123 wrote:

You live in an area rich with wildlife possibilities. I like the Pileated since I see them oh so rarely here.

Yes, the Pileated are not common here either.  I had a place on the Bay when I retired here 18 years ago and had a family of Pileated rearing their young every year, withing 20m, of my cottage.  I've moved to a farm since and now have to drive about two miles to another nest.

The GX7 will be much, much better for BIF than the GH2. Set it on AFC, and use short taps and short bursts. With the newest Panny cameras, like GX7 and GM1, AFC gives considerably more accurate focus than bursts of AFS. You can use ISO 800 or 1600 freely with the GX7 for BIF. You want a high shutter speed such as 1/2000. If there is enough light go to f7.1 or f8, but high shutter speed is more important than stopping down. For BIF use the wide pattern AF. For stationary birds the small central focus box will be best. Again the GX7 will be better with its pinpoint focus option.

I will try that with my GX7.   It sounds like you are shooting from the LCD instead of the EVF. I looked at your wonderful work with the FZ-70, GM1 and the GX7.   I'll try to get at least a few like those!  Very motivational work at http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/5328603444

It looks like I'll  have to reverse the use of the two cameras.  Up til now I've put the long lens on the GH2 and the 14-140 on the GX7 for general shooting from the truck when I am on my travels.   I am going to try the long lens on the GX7 for a day or so and see how it works.  OR  I might generate a good reason to get a GH4  ....  for balance of the long lens of course!!!

As for the color, why are you using RAW if that's what you get? AWB and JPEG will be much better.

I think that  that pink output was sloppy work in LR5.3.  I will monitor my outputs a bit better.

I shot a few more in the rain earlier today and will post something a further in this thread.

Thanks a lot for your help.

Tom

 GeorgianBay1939's gear list:GeorgianBay1939's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm F2.8 ASPH OIS +6 more
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