Which lens next...for birds?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
Svein Eriksen Senior Member • Posts: 1,973
Re: Which lens next...for birds?

tomhongkong wrote:

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I have not cropped these so that you can see the distances I have to cope with.

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I guess anyone interested in bird photo find your problems familiar - you'll always want more tele reach. You dont have many options with MFT-lenses though. Going to 400 with the Panasonic 100-400, will give some extra reach, but as someone already commented - not enough to solve your problems.

The only option now is the 300 with 2x TC. Any TC result in lower IQ, but since the Olympus 300mm start out as excellent it'll probably work fine. You still loose 2 stops though and high ISO (or the harder NR) reduce very fine detail like in bird feathers and diffraction effects will also start to be visible with a F8 lens. Diffraction wont be bad at F8, but if you want to stop down a bit it'll influence IQ.

The other option is the 150-400 F4 with TC when it's available later this year. It'll probably be the favorite wildlife lens for anyone who can afford it, but most wont. I've no idea about price, but expect it to be extremely high. There are also some rumors about a Olympus 100-400, but i doubt it will improve matters compared to the Panasonic one.

For most people interested in birds and with limited budgets the most realistic option is to get closer. I use the 100-400 which helps a bit, but no that much compared to a 100-300 or 75-300. I'm happy with that lens, but it adds quite a bit of weight (and size) compared to the zooms that go to 300mm.

I've considered digiscoping and it seemed tempting. But it's MF only and my scope is kind of low to mid range and it just didn't seem worth the effort. IMO digiscoping makes most sense if you already own a Swarovski or other high end scope and want to document what you see. Maybe even get pretty good results with stationary birds, but still not a very flexible solution.

I'm a bit surprised that you need to use electronic shutter, that would indicate a problem with vibrations from the shutter. Thought that was a problem with only older MFT-cameras. Personally I used the antishock which should not cause vibrations until the shutter close again (except possibly with subsequent shots using the serial function).

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