M4/3 for birding

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
faunagraphy Contributing Member • Posts: 606
Re: M4/3 for birding

Ontarian wrote:

Want to increase my current reach for birding from 480mm (35mm equiv) to 600mm or 800mm without the kit getting any heavier than my 3.25 lb / 1475 gm Canon kit. That pretty well puts me into the bridge or M4/3 camps.

I was thinking of the Lumix G9 IV or the Olympus E-M1 II as good options and pairing them with either the 100-300 or 100-400 lenses.

Anyone have experience with either of these setups?

Not worried about video performance, but AF and IQ are important.

If you're serious about bird photography and want to stay under 1475 gm, your only option is the Panasonic 100-400. The 100-300 / 75-300 lenses won't be good enough at the long end, IMO.

The Panasonic 100-400 is a great lens, at least for subjects that aren't too far away (you lose detail at the long end for distant subjects).

If you're okay with going a tiny bit heavier, the Olympus 100-400 is a great lens, especially with a larger body like the E-M1 Mark ii (perhaps the best value camera in any system). It also takes the 1.4x TC well, taking you into the 1100+mm mark.

By far the best, no-compromise birding lens in m43 is the 300mm f4 Pro (within your weight range). It weighs a bit over 1200 gm, which would bring you to around 1700 gm with a body and possibly a teleconverter.

It pairs splendidly with the MC-20 2x teleconverter, and is the only teleprime I have ever liked with a 2x teleconverter. It offers "bare exotic prime" quality even at 1200mm equivalent, while staying eminently handholdable. Let me know if you need to see samples to convince you. I shot a rufous hummingbird yesterday with this setup.

Worth noting is the fact that a used 300mm f4 - one of the world's best lenses - is just a bit more expensive than an Olympus 100-400, which is a proconsumer-grade zoom.

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Formerly known as 'anupamkatkar'.

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