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Old Friday 15th May 2015, 06:47   #1
Laughing Kookaburra
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Best Micro 4/3 Cam and Lenses for Wildlife Photography & Max Zooms for Micro 4/3?

I'm looking at both Micro 4/3 and Superzoom (Bridge Cameras) formats for a camera that's lighter and more compact than DSLR's. From what I've seen so far, it looks like:

1) You get larger image sensors, better image quality and the flexibility of interchangeable lenses and better video as well as other features on the micro 4/3 cameras

2) However the zoom lenses for Micro 4/3 cameras aren't anywhere near as long as those available for DSLR's, and of course less than the zoom ranges on super zoom cameras which reach 30-60X optical zooms. For example, a friend just purchased a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4, which is an excellent micro 4/3 camera with the best 4K video capability, and the largest zoom available only offers about 10X optical zoom. This is a problem when you can't get close to your bird and animal subjects.

I'm just starting to look into this, so please correct me if I'm wrong. I'm approaching this with no prior bias and sincerely appreciate your advice.

Which are the best Micro 4/3 camera and lens combinations for bird and wildlife photography?

What are the most powerful quality zoom lenses available for Micro 4/3 cameras? What's generally the upper optical zoom range for Micro 4/3? Are there any Micro 4/3 lenses that approach the 30-60X optical zooms on superzoom cameras?


At the value end, a friend just picked up the new Samsung NX500 Mirrorless, which is a great value considering it also handles 4K video: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...al_camera.html
With this pancake lens: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._Standard.html
This 50-200mm telephoto appears to be the max available for the NX500: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...geID/accessory

My friend who picked up the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4, picked up these lenses:
Telephoto: Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
And this pancake lens: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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Old Friday 15th May 2015, 07:58   #2
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there are many options for m4/3 bodies, i have used EPL1, EPL5, OM D10 all are great.

the first two don't have a view finder, EPL1 is old, EPL5 have a new version EPL7 with wifi connection, but both are very small and not comfortable to handle even for a person with very small hands like me.

OM D10 is an excellent choice as the other more professional OM bodies, currently i am using the top end OM DE1.

for lenses i have tried both the Lumix 100-300 mm, and the new Olympus Zuiko 75-300mm.

the only reason i stopped using the Lumix is that is stopped working. so i decided to get the Zuiko, and i wish i got another Lumix.

both can produce excellent IQ, and at 300 mm on a 4/3 sensor this means 600 mm equivalent in the full frame.also there is an in body digital digital teleconverter, which makes 300mm = 600 mm, that is 1200 mm on the full frame.

the Lumix has a fantastic OIS, worked well with me, and also one stop faster.

the Zuiko, don't have the IS, but the in body IS of the Olympus cameras is superb. this lens is better for videos, but i have liked the IQ i got form the Lumix. not much difference, and honestly both are good value for money, compact you can take them with the camera with you everywhere.

hope that helps. here are some results i got with the lumix

http://www.birdforum.net/gallery/sho...0/ppuser/71763

http://www.birdforum.net/gallery/sho...9/ppuser/71763

http://www.birdforum.net/gallery/sho...7/ppuser/71763

and some results form the Zuiko

http://www.birdforum.net/gallery/sho...0/ppuser/71763

http://www.birdforum.net/gallery/sho...4/ppuser/71763

http://www.birdforum.net/gallery/sho...6/ppuser/71763
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Old Friday 15th May 2015, 15:19   #3
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I am another person using the lumix 100-300. I use it with an older GH2. Notice that Panasonic is close to announcing a new G7, which should have the 4K video and the DFD focusing that until now have only been available on the GH4.

Olympus have announced development of a prime 300 mm lens that will work with the 1.4x TC that is out. However, the lens is postponed until sometime next year it seems.

As Ammadoux mentioned, the zooms currently out there would correspond in reach to the canon 100-400 on a canon crop body.

It is true that there are superzooms that give a longer reach out there, however, notice that real long distance shooting is hampered not only by the small sensor and possible flaws in the lens but also by atmospheric disturbances. That is one reason why getting closer is a better option for good photography.

There is a long thread about a relatively large sensor superzoom here: http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=285035 . Notice that many people were down on this concept initially for not having a long enough lens, but later in the thread it seemed that a lot of people got converted when they saw some excellent results from the camera. That is probably the camera I would go with if I were to go superzoom.

Finally, click my name above the image to the left and click your way forward to my images in the gallery here. Those from the last couple of years are with the GH2/100-300 combo. Do the same with Ammadoux for some different combos.

Niels
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Old Friday 15th May 2015, 17:33   #4
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Hi there, I own both a superzoom (Panasonic FZ150) and a m4/3 system (Panasonic DMC-G3 with 100-300mm). The difference in image quality is noticeable between the two and, if I can, I always use the m4/3rds system where possible.

The occasions where I choose the superzoom are those when I'm photographing small birds e.g. Pipits, which I know will be just out of range of the m4/3 system but just inside the scope of acceptable image quality with the superzoom. Or, if I'm photographing birds in flight. Weirdly, the superzoom does better than the m4/3 system with that.

If image quality is important to you i.e. you don't like noise, then the m4/3 system is a better option. Personally, I find at 300mm (i.e. 600mm equivalent), the Panasonic 100-300mm lens is soft. Maybe, if Olympus bring out a 300mm prime and a x1.4 converter, that will be the ideal solution, for me anyway.

Hope that helps a little.
Good luck with your choice
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P.S. Again, all images in my gallery were taken with a superzoom or the m4/3 system.
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Old Friday 15th May 2015, 18:11   #5
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you can get the caon EOS M MFT camera and use EOS lenses on it. though i think a canon 400mm L would look rather odd an the EOS M. in terms of sensor size , apart from one or two exceptions the mft sensors are very small so you get a fair loss of image quality and you have to consider the mulltiplier factor depending on sensor size too.
what may be 300 on a fullframe would be 480mm on an aps-c but on an MFT that can equate to 600mm as the sensors in mft are a 2.0 crop factor
you can see here the canon eos M with the adapter and a 100-400mm canon L lens attached! madness!!
http://creativepro.com/review-canon-eos-m/
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Old Friday 15th May 2015, 19:58   #6
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Originally Posted by Laughing Kookaburra View Post
2) However the zoom lenses for Micro 4/3 cameras aren't anywhere near as long as those available for DSLR's, and of course less than the zoom ranges on super zoom cameras which reach 30-60X optical zooms. For example, a friend just purchased a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4, which is an excellent micro 4/3 camera with the best 4K video capability, and the largest zoom available only offers about 10X optical zoom. This is a problem when you can't get close to your bird and animal subjects.
Hi,

FYI: You cannot use figures such as "60x" to compare magifications of lenses in different cameras. 60x wrt a superzoom means the highest magnification is 60 times more than the lowest magnification. All superzooms have lower magnifications that are less than the human eye, so 60x does not mean 60 times what your eye would see. With binoculars and other optics, 60x does mean 60 times what the eye sees, however. With micro 4/3 cameras, magnification is usually specified in terms of mm of focal length for a 35mm camera.

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Old Friday 15th May 2015, 20:08   #7
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Dean,
I think you have misunderstood something regarding mFT: all cameras worthy of that designation use the same size sensor.
I agree with you regarding the field of view for a given lens depending on the sensor size.

It is actually possible to use a canon lens on a mFT camera also, see here: http://www.43rumors.com/new-kipon-ef...tofocus-speed/ -- however, the reason for the original request was to lower the weight/bulk of the setup, and as your link displays, with those canon lenses, the majority of the bulk is in the lens not the camera.

Another option that is mirrorless and with an even smaller sensor is the Nikon 1 system -- disclaimer: I have absolutely no experience with that system. There is a zoom lens for that system going to 300 mm at the long end, which should give a longest reach corresponding to 810 mm (see link). I do not like that the nikon 1 system seems to only have detachable viewfinders (if I recall correctly).

Niels
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Old Friday 15th May 2015, 21:08   #8
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Quote:
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Dean,
I think you have misunderstood something regarding mFT: all cameras worthy of that designation use the same size sensor.
I agree with you regarding the field of view for a given lens depending on the sensor size.

It is actually possible to use a canon lens on a mFT camera also, see here: http://www.43rumors.com/new-kipon-ef...tofocus-speed/ -- however, the reason for the original request was to lower the weight/bulk of the setup, and as your link displays, with those canon lenses, the majority of the bulk is in the lens not the camera.

Another option that is mirrorless and with an even smaller sensor is the Nikon 1 system -- disclaimer: I have absolutely no experience with that system. There is a zoom lens for that system going to 300 mm at the long end, which should give a longest reach corresponding to 810 mm (see link). I do not like that the nikon 1 system seems to only have detachable viewfinders (if I recall correctly).

Niels
sorry its not so much misunderstood as my head was thinking in terms of Mirrorless compacts rather than MFT , as i immediatly assumed that was what the op was interested in as opposed to a fixed lens compact mft.
so to correct myself . in terms of MIRRORLESS compacts you can get varying sensor size from MFT, to APS-C to FF ( as well as 1/2.3 and 1" ) .
of couse the larger the sensor the wider the field of view so the focal distance will get shorter but the image quality will improve ( if that makes sense.
so what is better? a MFT with a 200mm lens ( focal equiv to 400mm ) or a mirrorless system with FF sensor and a 200m lens with the same 200mm focal equiv.
i would say the FF because you can crop the image to get the same equiv distance the MFT will give but with better quality.

saying all that my wife has a fuji HS30EXR with the 24-720 zoom lens. and sure it can get up close but with the 1/2" sensor image quality is very average at best .

other things to consider are viewfinders 9 or lack of ) on alot of mft cameras they either dont have one at all are have an EVF . which is fine for shooting anything static but trying to track a moving subject on an evf of lcd screen when zoomed in is a real headache.
i had the fuji XE-1 about a month before UK official release and used the camera for about 6 months before selling it and gong back to my canon DSLR, simply because for landscapes and cityscapes it was wonderful, but for moving subjects and wildlife and absolute headache to use ( plus very limited lenses at the time.

so i think there are alot of things to consider. image quality. focal rnage and availble lenses and there cost. and useability for the subject matter.
its finding something among the myriad of choice out there thats going to appeal in terms of cost over performance, size and ease of use
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Old Friday 15th May 2015, 22:12   #9
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just been chatting to a fellow photographer who has been shooting wildlife and animals as well as doing portrait work for many years and has several awards include photographer of the year . she actually uses 3 olympus mft cameras EM1, EM5 and EPL5 and combined with the 75-300 giving a 150-600 equiv reach its certainly an option depending on budget
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Old Saturday 16th May 2015, 01:24   #10
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Dean, good on you, mirrorless is what you meant then.

I love my mFT combo (and will look very carefully at what comes next in that ballpark) but for the OP, the FZ1000 still should be a very significant option.

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Old Saturday 16th May 2015, 11:27   #11
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having further chatted about this over on the photography forum im in the market for a 600mm lens for my canon ( was looking at the tamron 150-600. however for the smae money as the tamron i can get the olympus em5 and a zuiko 75-300 ( focal equiv of 150-600 the same as the tamron ).
so now im in a quandary. do i get a big "impressive looking" very heavy lens to drag around all day, or go for a complete new system that is small and lightweight and will give me the same focal range.
having seen what the om-d range is capable of its something i will have to seriously think about. cant afford the em-1 as that puts me over my budget but a second hand em-5 and new 75-300 will fit in around the 600 mark, the same i can get a secondhand tamron for.
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Old Saturday 16th May 2015, 16:04   #12
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having seen what the om-d range is capable of its something i will have to seriously think about. cant afford the em-1 as that puts me over my budget but a second hand em-5 and new 75-300 will fit in around the 600 mark, the same i can get a secondhand tamron for.

take it from me, if you don'y do lots of videos take the Lumix 100-300 mm not the 75-300mm, with any OM.
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Old Saturday 16th May 2015, 17:27   #13
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take it from me, if you don'y do lots of videos take the Lumix 100-300 mm not the 75-300mm, with any OM.
what would be the recommended camera to go with this?
not really familar with panasonic cameras or lenses
how does the Lumix DMC-G5 compare to the om-d em10 for instance as ive seen the lumix for 279 new and around 200 for a used one

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Old Saturday 16th May 2015, 19:59   #14
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The G5 is an older version (G7 is just being announced) and in sensor quality probably roughly corresponds to the model I have (I have the GH2 which is even older). Is that the model Jim has been using?

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Old Saturday 16th May 2015, 20:09   #15
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The G5 is an older version (G7 is just being announced) and in sensor quality probably roughly corresponds to the model I have (I have the GH2 which is even older). Is that the model Jim has been using?

Niels
just did another quick check and the g6 i found for 299 new with 14-42 lens. that would leave 300 to play with to get the Lumix 100-300 mm . more research needed i think
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Old Tuesday 19th May 2015, 00:21   #16
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I am sure the Lumix 100-300 is an excellent lens but personally I don't think the IQ of the Olympus 75-300 II is too shabby either. It doesn't have in-lens stabilization, though, so is probably not a good match for a Panasonic body.

Ron
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Old Wednesday 20th May 2015, 19:08   #17
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those are excellent image Ron, jaw dropping details. yes the Olympus 75-300mm II is an excellent choice specially if you do videos.
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Old Wednesday 20th May 2015, 19:12   #18
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what would be the recommended camera to go with this?
not really familar with panasonic cameras or lenses
how does the Lumix DMC-G5 compare to the om-d em10 for instance as ive seen the lumix for 279 new and around 200 for a used one

i am not also familiar with the lumix bodies, but i have used the Olympus OM D 10 and it is fabulous. if you can afford it, guess it will make a super combo with the Lumix.

you can turn off the OIS on the lens and use the in body IS, which is superb. or turn off the one on the camera and use the OIS of the lens and it is also superb.
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Old Wednesday 20th May 2015, 20:35   #19
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I know it is a little more expensive, but I am really waiting for some feedback on the new G7. Will the DFD focusing make the focusing that much faster with a lens like the 100-300 (said to be more effective at long focal lengths)...

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Old Friday 22nd May 2015, 02:27   #20
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I've used the canon SX50 for the past two and a half years and found it to be a fabulous piece of kit for the birdwatcher who also likes to take a few images. A couple of months ago I bought a s/h Olympus E-620 and a 70-300 lens, so have now used both and indeed love both but as a very general observation I find that if I can get really close then I would prefer to have the Olympus camera and lens, its also reasonably good for zooming in on bugs and butterflies which the SX50 has never been good at in my hands but for series birding with a camera then it has for me to be the SX50 just for those extra few yards it gives me! Second little shag shot was with the SX50 and the Olympus kit would not of given it me!
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Old Friday 22nd May 2015, 14:41   #21
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On current m4/3 cameras from panasonic, there is an option for using a smaller portion of the sensor for jpg only images. That acts a little like zooming in on the image in the viewfinder before taking the picture, and often results in better AF on distant birds.

Disclaimer: I usually forget about that option because I have my camera set at raw shooting.
disclaimer 2: I think but am not positive the Oly m4/3 cameras have something similar.

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Old Friday 22nd May 2015, 20:15   #22
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disclaimer 2: I think but am not positive the Oly m4/3 cameras have something similar.

Niels
it is called digital tele converter. no reduction in IQ and no change in the f. not sure if it is only for jepg or not as i only shoot jgep.
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Old Saturday 12th September 2015, 08:18   #23
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xMagnification

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Hi,

FYI: You cannot use figures such as "60x" to compare magifications of lenses in different cameras. 60x wrt a superzoom means the highest magnification is 60 times more than the lowest magnification. All superzooms have lower magnifications that are less than the human eye, so 60x does not mean 60 times what your eye would see. With binoculars and other optics, 60x does mean 60 times what the eye sees, however. With micro 4/3 cameras, magnification is usually specified in terms of mm of focal length for a 35mm camera.

Jim
I only just read up about this myself. First of all, what's obvious from the front of the lens and a little division, the "x" magnification rating of a camera lens is just the long angle focal length divided by the wide angle focal length. So on a bona fide 35mm camera, an 18-180mm lens would be 10x. Obviously though that's not ten times what's normal to the human eye, it's ten times normal to a fish eye, so to speak. 1x is what you see through a normal lens--one through which the moon takes up half a degree of your field of view through your SLR viewfinder, just like it does through your naked eye. People toss various numbers around between 40mm and 50mm, but call that lens a 45mm. If 45mm is normal, then at the highest mag of a hypothetical 18-180mm full-frame camera lens, the magnification is like what you see though a so-called 4x pair of binoculars (180mm/45mm = 4). For a 4/3 format camera, a normal lens is more like 24mm. So using a 12-240mm 4/3 lens is like looking through 10x binoculars, even though in superzoom marketing terms, on a non-ILC, that would be called a 20x lens.

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Old Saturday 12th September 2015, 19:56   #24
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Olibird, welcome to birdforum!


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Old Monday 15th February 2016, 16:07   #25
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I've been using for a year and-a-half now the OMD-EM10 in combo with an TLS-APO/SWA-ATX85 and have nothing but good words for it. Here you have a set of different situations, from a close by dragonfly to a heavy-cropped distant Spanish imperial eagle in a dive.. All were taken while birding (no photo hide)
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