Birding - upgrade path suggestions

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WookieLala New Member • Posts: 19
Birding - upgrade path suggestions

Hi All,

First of all thanks to the MFT community. I love this forum. The combination of fantastic pictures and very helpful information from contributors had me posting my thoughts here.

Quite recently I got a very cheap mint used Olympus OM 300mm F4.5 to start experimenting long tele shooting with my EM5.2, in particular for birds. The lens itself is beautiful, high-quality metal, not too heavy with a buttery smooth focus ring. The results I got from it are mixed (some of which are due to my technique btw) and I do not have a lot of keepers (prob 10%). While good, the results are not super sharp (the mft reduced field of view probably puts a lot of pressure on this lens which was designed for 24x36 format). Also in certain conditions there is a blueish hue on the picture (it seems to happen when the subject is surrounded by water). Finally images often have CAs and / or purple fringes (sorry can't distinguish between the two). This is when viewing on a 13" screen (I am not a pixel peeper).

Don't get me wrong, shooting with it is a blast. The image on the EVF could do with more contrast, but what I love is how the camera can operate with it: I have shortcuts for focus peaking / magnifying, set IBIS to the focal length and use shutter priority mode with auto-ISO - this way I can set the shutter with front-dial to keep it high enough, exposure compensation on back dial, aperture on the lens, camera adjusts ISO. Pure shooting pleasure. Just wished my results were better...

I am thinking to "upgrade". The natural path would be to get the native 300mm F4 but I would like to keep the budget at a max $700 for now. For that price (or a bit less) I can get the FT 50-200 (non-swd) + EC20 + MMF-3. This bazooka will give me a 100-400 F5.6-7 (fairly close to the Lumix 100-400 on the long-end but a lot cheaper). And I can use (slow) AF + benefit from extra reach while keeping the budget reasonable. I do not own any FT lens so I am not sure buying into that system is worth considering. However, I am thinking I can add an EM-1 down the road for quite cheap (mid-500's today) if I want to improve AF performance.

Is that combo worth considering given either the Oly 75-300 or Pany 100-300 can be purchased used for less? Any other suggestion that gives good birding results for around that price? (I would be happy with another manual lens that has similar mechanical quality than the OM).

Sorry for the long-winded post. If interested I can add pictures when I have access to my library (but please be indulgent ).

Thanks in advance

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