M4/3 for birding

Started 4 months ago | Discussions
OP Ontarian Senior Member • Posts: 2,118
Re: Panasonic GX85 w/PL 100-400

Nice capture!  Thanks for sharing.

Don

 Ontarian's gear list:Ontarian's gear list
Sony RX10 IV
OP Ontarian Senior Member • Posts: 2,118
Re: M4/3 for birding

Thanks for the advice Stephano.

Don

 Ontarian's gear list:Ontarian's gear list
Sony RX10 IV
OP Ontarian Senior Member • Posts: 2,118
Re: M4/3 for birding

Boss of Sony wrote:

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.

Please check my gallery. GX85 + Olympus 70-300 (weight: 800g) is fine for non-flying birds. For flying birds, you will need a setup with better AF, or you will need to be lucky/skilled. Panasonic 100-400 + G9 or E-M1 II would be ideal, in my opinion. If you get a Panasonic camera, make sure you get a body with the improved shutter mechanism (GX85 or later bodies). You will get a lot of soft images at 600mm if you use earlier models.

Lots of great shots there Boss.  Thanks for the advice.  Now I have the GX85 as another permutation to add to my growing list.

Don

 Ontarian's gear list:Ontarian's gear list
Sony RX10 IV
PhotonBeam
PhotonBeam Regular Member • Posts: 232
Re: M4/3 for birding
1

I have the Olympus 300mm f4 and the 1.4 and 2.0 teleconveters, and find it simply fantastic. When paired with an EM1 style body, I think the weight will be ~0.75 pounds over your goal, though. I have never tried the 100-400mm zooms, but have seen some nice results. The Panasonic 100-400 is tiny, which made it a compelling option, but I wanted the Olympus sync image stabilization.

I not sure how you carry your camera, but I tend to use either a messenger bag or a sling backpack and only take the camera out when actively shooting. I am not sure if a similar strategy would help you balance the weight a bit better or not.

-- hide signature --
 PhotonBeam's gear list:PhotonBeam's gear list
Olympus E-M5 II
OP Ontarian Senior Member • Posts: 2,118
Re: M4/3 for birding

PhotonBeam wrote:

I have the Olympus 300mm f4 and the 1.4 and 2.0 teleconveters, and find it simply fantastic. When paired with an EM1 style body, I think the weight will be ~0.75 pounds over your goal, though. I have never tried the 100-400mm zooms, but have seen some nice results. The Panasonic 100-400 is tiny, which made it a compelling option, but I wanted the Olympus sync image stabilization.

I not sure how you carry your camera, but I tend to use either a messenger bag or a sling backpack and only take the camera out when actively shooting. I am not sure if a similar strategy would help you balance the weight a bit better or not.

Thanks for input.

Will use a sling pack, but the carry weight isn't really an issue.  Holding the camera steady with a heavy extended zoom is the issue.  I do take a monopod on hikes sometimes, as it does help steadying a shot and is strong enough to serve as a hiking pole.

Don

 Ontarian's gear list:Ontarian's gear list
Sony RX10 IV
JaredL
JaredL New Member • Posts: 5
Re: M4/3 for birding
3

I just switched back to micro 4/3rds from a Canon DSLR for the same reason. I went with the Panasonic 100-300mm II as it was significantly lighter paired with my EM5 mk III. The Olympus and Panasonic 100-400mm lenses aren't really any lighter than the SIgma 100-400mm that I had been using on my Canon. The image quality from the lens is fine for what I want from it and I have not had any focusing issues with it.

DLBlack Forum Pro • Posts: 15,227
Re: M4/3 for birding
1

If you are really serious about bird photography the best choices are the Panasonic G9 with the PL100-400/4.0-5.6, or the E-M1 MkIII or E-M1X with any of the following lenses: 100-400/5.0-6.3, 300/4.0 with the MC14, or the 150-400/4.5.

For the birding I do I find that 300mm doesn't provide enough reach.

The AF in the E-M1 MkIII is improved enough that it is worth the extra cost over the E-M1 MkII.

 DLBlack's gear list:DLBlack's gear list
Pentax K-5 Pentax K-7 Olympus E-M5 II Olympus PEN-F Olympus E-M1 III +43 more
OP Ontarian Senior Member • Posts: 2,118
Re: M4/3 for birding

Greats shots Jared.  Thanks for the advice and sharing your experience.

Don

 Ontarian's gear list:Ontarian's gear list
Sony RX10 IV
OP Ontarian Senior Member • Posts: 2,118
Re: M4/3 for birding

Thanks for the info and advice.

Don

 Ontarian's gear list:Ontarian's gear list
Sony RX10 IV
OP Ontarian Senior Member • Posts: 2,118
UPDATE: 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.

Thanks everyone for your comments, advice and suggestions.  Still have not had the opportunity to handle or test any of the products mentioned, but here is a quick summary of where I stand.  This is an extract from a much larger and comprehensive spreadsheet, but does focus on the three most quantifiable variables of Price, Reach and Weight.  Of course IQ and comfort in use are also critical, but much harder to quantify.

Prices are the best prices I could find in Canada for new on-line items.  Open box and used would reduce costs somewhat, but low supply has raised some of those to above new prices.

Please feel free to comment or make suggestions.

Thanks, Don

 Ontarian's gear list:Ontarian's gear list
Sony RX10 IV
400trix
400trix Senior Member • Posts: 1,050
Re: UPDATE: M4/3 for birding

Ontarian wrote:

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.

Thanks everyone for your comments, advice and suggestions. Still have not had the opportunity to handle or test any of the products mentioned, but here is a quick summary of where I stand. This is an extract from a much larger and comprehensive spreadsheet, but does focus on the three most quantifiable variables of Price, Reach and Weight. Of course IQ and comfort in use are also critical, but much harder to quantify.

Prices are the best prices I could find in Canada for new on-line items. Open box and used would reduce costs somewhat, but low supply has raised some of those to above new prices.

Please feel free to comment or make suggestions.

Thanks, Don

The weight of the E-M5.3 + 75-300 is 837g.

-- hide signature --

Archer in Boulder
God loves the noise just as much as the signal.

 400trix's gear list:400trix's gear list
Olympus E-M1 III Olympus 12-45mm F4 Pro Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm F2.8 Macro Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko 300mm F4 IS Pro +1 more
AshleyMC Senior Member • Posts: 1,395
Re: M4/3 for birding
1

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.

Hi Don,

I have been using a Panasonic G9 + Panasonic Leica 100-400mm (200-800mm equivalent) combo for a few years.

That was what I bought. That combo was the killer reason for my embracing MFT big time. In my consideration, it is the smallest and lightest in its class — I have used Canon and Nikon. Any other lenses I occasionally use with my G9 are secondary.

The firmware updates, including the recent one, make the G9 an awesome camera, even more so at its current price.

Highly recommended.

faunagraphy
faunagraphy Contributing Member • Posts: 662
Re: UPDATE: M4/3 for birding

Ontarian wrote:

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.

Thanks everyone for your comments, advice and suggestions. Still have not had the opportunity to handle or test any of the products mentioned, but here is a quick summary of where I stand. This is an extract from a much larger and comprehensive spreadsheet, but does focus on the three most quantifiable variables of Price, Reach and Weight. Of course IQ and comfort in use are also critical, but much harder to quantify.

Prices are the best prices I could find in Canada for new on-line items. Open box and used would reduce costs somewhat, but low supply has raised some of those to above new prices.

Please feel free to comment or make suggestions.

Thanks, Don

Regarding the Panasonic 100-400, I would advise that you either purchase new, or buy used from a seller who offers returns, like KEH, MPB or UsedPhotoPro. There is some copy variation in this lens, with some lenses significantly sharper at 400mm than others (but only relative to the weaker ones - none are tack-sharp at the long end).

This lens also had problems with a stiff zoom but my copy never did. I sold mine because it was very weak for distant subjects. The stiff zoom and some other problems seem to have been resolved in the newer lens copies.

Lastly, for the person who said that 300mm is too short for birds ... I disagree, because the Pro pairs extremely well with TCs, so it's like having 3 primes in one. And for challenging birds in flight, which you might want to shoot without a TC, 300mm can be enough in many cases because the birds get closer quickly.

-- hide signature --

Formerly known as 'anupamkatkar'.

 faunagraphy's gear list:faunagraphy's gear list
Olympus E-M1 II Olympus OM-D E-M5 Nikon D500 Olympus PEN E-PL6 Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50-200mm 1:2.8-3.5 SWD +23 more
Bassam Guy Veteran Member • Posts: 3,115
Olympus for M43 Birds in Flight (BIF)
2

Unfortunately, for moving subjects, Panasonics Depth from Defocusing (DfD), is not yet up to the level of nearly all other systems Phase Detect Auto Focus (PDAF).

Please see this: https://mirrorlesscomparison.com/best/mirrorless-cameras-for-birds-in-flight/

Olympus models with PDAF are the only MFT cameras in the top 10 (7-10) for BIF.

I've seen great results from Panasonic cameras but if you want the best hit rate for BIF, look at Olympus E-M1 II, E-M1X (probably too big), E-M5 III, and E-M-1 III.

Of course, if your birds are stationary or stuffed then your choices broaden.

-> -> ->
Please peruse the several billion other posts in this forum addressing the exact same question.
<- <- <-

 Bassam Guy's gear list:Bassam Guy's gear list
Olympus E-M5 II Olympus E-M5 III Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm 1:2 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm F1.8 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm F1.8 +6 more
OP Ontarian Senior Member • Posts: 2,118
Re: UPDATE: M4/3 for birding

Thanks for noticing my error.  I had it correct in the main spreadsheet but made a copy & paste error into the one I posted.

Here is the corrected one, where the E-M5 III has  the highest weight reduction from my current kit.

 Ontarian's gear list:Ontarian's gear list
Sony RX10 IV
OP Ontarian Senior Member • Posts: 2,118
Re: UPDATE: M4/3 for birding

faunagraphy wrote:

Regarding the Panasonic 100-400, I would advise that you either purchase new, or buy used from a seller who offers returns, like KEH, MPB or UsedPhotoPro. There is some copy variation in this lens, with some lenses significantly sharper at 400mm than others (but only relative to the weaker ones - none are tack-sharp at the long end).

Definitely would only purchase from a reliable camera shop with a good return policy.

This lens also had problems with a stiff zoom but my copy never did. I sold mine because it was very weak for distant subjects. The stiff zoom and some other problems seem to have been resolved in the newer lens copies.

Won't purchase anything that I haven't held and at least tried in the store.

Lastly, for the person who said that 300mm is too short for birds ... I disagree, because the Pro pairs extremely well with TCs, so it's like having 3 primes in one. And for challenging birds in flight, which you might want to shoot without a TC, 300mm can be enough in many cases because the birds get closer quickly.

Unfortunately the 300 Pro would break my bank account and my wrists.  Need to compromise, and BIF 's take the hit.

 Ontarian's gear list:Ontarian's gear list
Sony RX10 IV
OP Ontarian Senior Member • Posts: 2,118
Re: M4/3 for birding

Thanks Ashley.  I also like the LED on the top of the body that shows you what the key settings are.

Don

 Ontarian's gear list:Ontarian's gear list
Sony RX10 IV
OP Ontarian Senior Member • Posts: 2,118
Re: Olympus for M43 Birds in Flight (BIF)

Bassam Guy wrote:

Unfortunately, for moving subjects, Panasonics Depth from Defocusing (DfD), is not yet up to the level of nearly all other systems Phase Detect Auto Focus (PDAF).

Please see this: https://mirrorlesscomparison.com/best/mirrorless-cameras-for-birds-in-flight/

Olympus models with PDAF are the only MFT cameras in the top 10 (7-10) for BIF.

Thanks for the link !  Certainly good insight there.

I do have those two of those Olympus cameras on my short list.

Don

 Ontarian's gear list:Ontarian's gear list
Sony RX10 IV
AshleyMC Senior Member • Posts: 1,395
Re: M4/3 for birding
1

Ontarian wrote:

Thanks Ashley. I also like the LED on the top of the body that shows you what the key settings are.

I like the G9’s design, build, size, ergonomics, operations and performance.

Dual IS is very helpful. The EVF is superb. The joystick is indispensible. The button layout in the back allows for one-thumb operation while the left hand continues to cradle the lens.

Oh and the latest G9 firmware can recognize birds.

trvlfool Junior Member • Posts: 39
Re: M4/3 for birding
2

I am in violation of most opinions by having an undersized OM-D M5iii paired with the 100-400 and 1.4 converter. I decided to upgrade my glass now with the option to upgrade the camera later.  The weight of the lens absolutely overwhelms the camera, but the total weight is somewhat less than if I had an M1 attached. This photo was at 1120mm, handheld, in JPEG. Granted, it's only from about 25 feet away.

 trvlfool's gear list:trvlfool's gear list
Olympus E-M5 III Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm F1.8 Olympus 12-100mm F4.0 Olympus 100-400mm F5.0-6.3 IS
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads