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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Camera upgrade advise needed (1 Viewer)

David_

Well-known member
Germany
Hi,

currently I'm using am a Panasonic GX80 I initially bought to have a lightweight camera on trekking trips for landscape photography (with the 12-60mm kit lens). Since my dad switched from a Panasonic G9 to a Sony full frame as his main camera and I got interested in birding last year I mostly used his Panasonic/Leica 100-400mm lens (H-RS100400) which I am really happy with.

But as much as I like the GX80 it's not really great for birds as the autofocus is quite slow and as a result taking photos of birds in flight is difficult. Oftentimes it takes seconds to focus on a raptor when slowly circling above my head.

So right now I'm thinking about upgrading my camera. The Panasonic G9 (tested my dad's old one and liked it) seems like a good option. Getting a G9 would have the benefit of being able to keep using my dad's Panaleica for the moment or maybe even buy his camera plus lens as he isn't really using them anymore. But I am not sure what else is out there and recommended for birds. So what other camera plus lens combination are worth considering in roughly the same price range?

Some other things to consider besides being good for bird photos :
  • I don't want a bridge camera (I am aware that there are some excellent options available but I want the option to get a lens with a larger aperture later on)
  • should be dust and splashproof and not too fragile (I am mainly traveling by bike and also doing some mountaineering). For me the missing weatherproof is the main drawback of my GX80 (besides the already mentioned slow autofocus)
  • weight and size is important (I want to haul as little heavy, bulky things around the mountains as possible)

Thanks!
David
 

MalR

Well-known member
Hi David,

An obvious first consideration, if you wsh to continue using the Panasonic 100-400, would be an Olympus model which would offer you the same size, micro four thirds sensor but better autofocus for moving subjects.

This site has an excellent and detailed comparison of various cameras/lenses, including Panasonic and Olympus, so it might be worth you having a look.


Good luck in your search.

Malcolm
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
I use the pana G85 which is a step up from the GX85. I would like to get the G9 myself - especially with the recent firmware update that should make the AF even better than when you tested your dad's. Having said that, I have also considered the Oly/OM cameras and especially the EM1-iii because I could continue to use my PL100-400 and gain the phase-detect component of the AF.

Obviously Sony, Canon and Nikon also make cameras and birding lenses. For a similar reach, I believe they more or less all will come in both more bulky and heavier, and if you want the latest and greatest, more expensive.

Niels
 

Jim M.

Choose Civility
  • weight and size is important (I want to haul as little heavy, bulky things around the mountains as possible)

Thanks!
David
The G9 is about 13% heavier than the Oly EM1-iii (658g v. 580g). That's one reason I'm a fan of using oly bodies with panny lenses--you get the lightest set up.
 

David_

Well-known member
Germany
Hi David,

An obvious first consideration, if you wsh to continue using the Panasonic 100-400, would be an Olympus model which would offer you the same size, micro four thirds sensor but better autofocus for moving subjects.

This site has an excellent and detailed comparison of various cameras/lenses, including Panasonic and Olympus, so it might be worth you having a look.


Good luck in your search.

Malcolm
Thanks. Looks like there are some good comparisons of actual use and not just specs.

Having said that, I have also considered the Oly/OM cameras and especially the EM1-iii because I could continue to use my PL100-400 and gain the phase-detect component of the AF.

After looking at other manufactures than Panasonic it looks like especially for birds in flight there might be better options than the G9. To be honest when testing the G9 I did not have the impression that I needed an even better AF than the G9. But as they say the best is the enemy of the good.

The G9 is about 13% heavier than the Oly EM1-iii (658g v. 580g)
Most people will probably say 78g doesn‘t matter. But all those little things add up to considerable weight when you are carrying gear to spend some days (and nights) in nature. So this definitely something I will keep in mind when deciding.
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
After looking at other manufactures than Panasonic it looks like especially for birds in flight there might be better options than the G9. To be honest when testing the G9 I did not have the impression that I needed an even better AF than the G9. But as they say the best is the enemy of the good.
Look at the video in the third post of this thread for what pana added to the G9 with the latest firmware: New firmware promised

Niels
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
Most people will probably say 78g doesn‘t matter. But all those little things add up to considerable weight when you are carrying gear to spend some days (and nights) in nature. So this definitely something I will keep in mind when deciding.
In regular use when carrying the camera around with the 100-400 I am not sure how significant it is. If carrying everything in a rucksack for several days outing, then it might be a different story.

Niels
 

Jim M.

Choose Civility
In regular use when carrying the camera around with the 100-400 I am not sure how significant it is. If carrying everything in a rucksack for several days outing, then it might be a different story.

Niels
The small difference between the oly 300mm f4 and the PL100-400 makes a difference for me--my shoulder gets fatigued from carrying the former earlier in the day. I think almost any amount of weight is going to make a marginal difference.
 

David_

Well-known member
Germany
Look at the video in the third post of this thread for what pana added to the G9 with the latest firmware: New firmware promised

Niels
The G9 I tested had the new firmware already installed. So no further improvement but still I was quite happy with it. But from the few comparisons I read it seemed like Sony, Nikon and also Oly had the better AF for birds in flight (while in other situations the G9 AF might be better) even though I am not sure how much this matters in real live as at some point improvements are marginal.



Regarding weight: For the usual day trip I wouldn't mind about a camera being a few grams heavier but I am regularly doing multiday trekking or bikepacking trips carrying tent, sleeping bag etc. I did a couple of those trips with just an iPhone to take pictures (which is shockingly good for landscape photography if you don't want to do large scale prints) but at some pointed I realized that those trips often yield the most impressive wildlife encounters so I started bringing the camera again as the phone can't capture those. And when carrying gear for multiple days all those a few grams here and there add up real quick, so I this is definitely a deciding factor for me.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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