New to Forums and M4/3. Looking for information

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Monte, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. Monte

    Monte New to Mu-43

    Aug 9, 2017
    Just want to say hello and to say I am glad I found this forum, it looks like a tremendous resource. If this is in the wrong forum please accept my apologies and let me know so I can move it.

    I have been shooting Nikon for decades. I am primarily a bird and landscape photographer currently using the D500 and 500mm f/4 as my primary tools. I use a couple of different wide angle lenses and the 70-200 f/2.8. You can see how I typically shoot at

    I have just passed 60 years young and need to cut down in equipment weight. I do a lot of hiking and kayaking and the DSLR with heavy lenses just don't cut it for me any longer. I have come to the decision to move on to something like the Olympus E-M1 Mark II or similar. I have looked at the Fuji XT2 and Panasonic G7. Given that I will be using this system for birds and landscape is there a model and lenses that stand out to any of you?...I know, totally different gear needs but that's my thing :)

    I will continue reading here for more information but mainly want to ask what lenses would you suggest for these models? I think the Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400 looks like something that I will get a lot of use out of and the Lumix 7-14mm. Any other suggestions? A 70-200 equivalent? Lumix 35-100?

    Thanks in advance,
  2. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Welcome to the forum!

    Birds and landscapes are not my areas, so hopefully others will chime in, but for birds, if you are doing birds in flight (like some of the amazing photos you have), then you really need on-sensor Phase Detect auto focus. I am not sure if the G7 offers that (thinking it doesn't). The newest Olympus cameras are known to have good AF (like the OMD-EM1 mk ii). I would think the EM1 mk ii is a better comparison to the XT2, and likely bests the XT2 in terms of AF.

    Both would be trounced in auto focus by the Sony a9, which is Full Frame like the D500, but while smaller, it's still bigger than Oly or Fuji, and very expensive. If money is no object, though, you should at least consider the Sony.

    EM1 ii w/Oly 50-150 and teleconverter would work, or look at the Panasonic 100-400 lens on the Oly. You might find the background doesn't blur away quite as easily as on your Nikon FF, so you might need to be a little more particular about your background, but then again the reach you get from m43 is greater and that's with smaller lenses, so you might not have to get as close, which could be helpful.

    One word of caution on the Fuji -- Fuji uses the "X-Trans" sensor, which (in short) can give you headaches in landscape shooting. Google "Fuji x-trans watercolor" or "issues with Fuji X-trans" before diving in there.

    From, Sony a9 and Nikon D500, with their 70-200/2.8, Oly OMD1 with 40-150/2.8 (like an 80-300 on full frame), XT2 with 50-140/2.8 (like a 75-210 on full frame)

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    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
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  3. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    Welcome to the forum. As for gear suggestions, there are many great lenses that would work for landscape, and the E-M1 Mkii performs very well and has some great features. You won't be disappointed there.

    The E-M1 Mkii has many great and notable advantages for the type of photography you're talking about. However, I should warn you that for birding, the D500 is one of the best cameras available, and is going to be superior in continuously tracking birds in flight over the E-M1 Mkii. We hope that Olympus will soon have some firmware updates that improve its tracking algorithms. It is certainly capable, just not as good as your D500. If your targets are usually more stationary, of course there are no issues. As for lenses, the Oly 300mm f/4 Pro is the best native lens available at the moment, followed by the PL 100-400.
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  4. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    If you are into birds one thing I have seen mentioned is the new EM1 Mk2 has bigger focusing squares than the original, some people have indicated that it is hard to auto focus on a bird in a bush etc. Where the GH5 has pin point focusing so you can more easily focus on the bird.

    I am no bird shooter but from what I have seen the OLY 300 F4 pro give some of the best photos on this forum, the Panasonic 100-400 good also but not as fast but more flexible.
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  5. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Yes, good point on the GH5. That one should be in the mix instead of the G7. Didn't know that about the EM1 ii. Hopefully a FW update?
  6. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    One thing to check if you use quick release plates is the tripod mounting hole. They are in different places on both cameras with regard to how close they are to the battery door and how close they are to the front of the camera. EG on the EM1.2 the hole is very close to the front same as my G85 and I had to purchase a cheese plate from small Rig to get a mounting hole in the possition I wanted. Can post a photo of that tonight if required.
  7. Mountain

    Mountain Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 2, 2013
    Welcome on board! Great shots on your website. I did some climbing in the Valhalla Provincial Park a few years ago, and came away stunned with the scenery that BC offers, you're lucky to live out there.

    Regarding lenses, I have the two that you mentioned specifically (the 100-400 and 7-14) and both can handily outperform me.

    I haven't gotten on with the 7-14 as much as I expected, but I think that it's mostly for my preference for telephoto or WA vs UWA. I find myself using the wide end of the Olympus 12-40 much more frequently. It could also be that I only recently picked it up, and haven't been traveling much since. I intend to give it a good workout in the near future with some travel plans, and will hopefully be more excited (and knowledgeable) about it then. From a technical standpoint, the only real flaw I've heard of is the purple blog flare on Olympus bodies. I've only used Panasonic bodies, so it's a non-issue for me. I really like the Rokinon/Samyang/Bower fisheye, and I think it's a great value.

    The 100-400 has been a fun lens. I had the Mk1 version of the 100-300 for several years. I happened into a used copy of the Leica lens for a price that was too good to pass up, whilst looking for a new body. Interestingly enough, the gent that I bought it from had purchased the body and lens for the same reason as you, looking to downsize from DSLR. He sold them to me for a song when he realized that it didn't meet his requirements, specifically birds. I've only ever shot m4/3 or compacts, so I can't speak to the differences with DSLRs, but I imagine there will be some compromises. For me, the lightweight and compact nature makes it an easy choice, as I would likely never carry around a large camera kit. My needs are simple, though, I mostly just share pictures with family on the web, or make the occasional print for my office. If I had the funds, I would take a serious look at the Oly 300f4. Everything that I've seen puts it ahead of the Leica in IQ, at the loss of flexibility of the zoom (I would actually really like to have both, as I think that they would compliment each other well). I sold the 100-300 as I only packed it a couple of times instead of the Leica, for really long hikes, and it ended up staying in the bag anyway. I have to admit, if climbing gear is in my pack, the 100-400 is the first to get left behind, since it's "big".

    Anyway, there's an amateur's take on it, hopefully some more of the incredibly talented pros and enthusiasts on here will chime in as well. I found this website to be pretty helpful Home page | Natural Exposures, Inc. . Not sure if Daniel follows this site, but he has some great reviews on his own page.

    If you do go the m4/3s route, be sure to share some pictures on this site!
  8. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    I use Olympus lenses with the exception of the Samyang 7.5mm f3.5 fisheye. As you can see from my lens list in my sig, I've bought most of the type of lenses you're considering. The 7-14 Pro is a very handy lens for so much and is very sharp. I find myself using the EVF built-in level for shots with this lens.
    The 40-150 Pro and 1.4 teleconverter will get you the zoom range and almost the same reach as your 500mm f4 Nikkor (about 80mm short in FF terms). It will be much lighter and as sharp in reasonably good light. You can easily hand hold this combination or the 40-150 alone (as fast as your current zoom with 50% more reach) and again have very sharp results.
    The 300mm f4 Oly is an awesome lens that can focus to near-macro and has more reach than your 500mm before you slap on the 1.4 TC. The dual OIS/IBIS stabilization is unbelievable.
    The weak point is the sensor size. You won't be able to crank the ISO as high to freeze action with really high shutter speeds and the tracking isn't as good as your Nikon. That said, the professional series of optics from Olympus and Panasonic are extremely sharp and almost aberration-free, plus the stabilization becomes very important as you move into your senior years. In ideal conditions the m43 sensor and lenses produce sharper results than I was able to get from my 35mm and 645 film cameras.
  9. Gregory

    Gregory Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 4, 2017
    Keep your Nikon gear, then research m4/3 cameras and lenses. Pick the most promising lens/camera combo, then rent it at or some other gear rental business. Shoot both your candidate setup and Nikon gear in the same scenario. Most people who switch are pleased, but some are not. Comparison test and you won't be disappointed.
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  10. SpecFoto

    SpecFoto Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 28, 2012
    So Cal
    Hello Monte, welcome to the Mu-43 forum.

    Am a long time Nikon shooter myself, having a D500, D800 the 70-200VR and 300mm f/4 with the TC 1.4x and 1.7x, plus a bunch of wider primes. Never had the 500 f4 though. Four years ago I invested in the M4/3 system to save weight on overseas trips and am very glad I did.

    Some basic tips on lenses/bodies and if you want to match (closely) what you have. You should start with the Oly 300mm f/4 Pro to replace your 500mm f/4VR (it is about the same size/weight as the standard Nikon 300mm f/4 ED-IF, not the new PF model). It becomes a 600mm f/4 on the M4/3 bodies. To get even more reach add the Oly MC-14 tele-converter, it is excellent and will take the 300mm to 840mm, though at f5.6. The 2nd lens should be the 40-150mm f2.8 Pro and it works with the same MC-14. This lens is amazing and it is an 80-300mm fixed f2.8 equivalent, so 1/3 more reach at f2.8 than the Nikon 70-200 VR. Both of these lenses have very fast AF, are rugged construction metal build and weather resistant. You can shoot in the rain without problem. Both of these lenses mate up perfectly with the Olympus EM1 body, in my case the original EM1, but also with the new EM1 MKII.

    Olympus also has 2 wider angle Pro zooms, the 12-40 and the 7-14, again both metal construction, WR and fixed f2.8. My 7-14 is equivalent to the excellent Nikon 14-28 and is very sharp across the frame, but at ½ the weight. (And like the Nikon, it has no filter threads and needs a special adapter for filters). And I just love the 12-40 f2.8, a really great all around lens that is pretty small for a fixed 2.8 zoom. You mention Panasonic lenses and while I have a few, I am a believer in that if you buy Oly lenses you should mount them to an Oly body for the best results. There have been issues with Pany lenses on Oly bodies, specifically the Pany 7-14mm f4 with purple flaring issue, but also the AF is just a tad bit slower too. If you want to go the Pany lens route, you should definitely look at the GH5 too.

    One feature I think you will find very useful is the in camera IBIS, it makes every lens, even MF ones, have VR. My EM1 bodies are good for 3 stops and the newer MK II or GH5 is good for 4 or more stops. This can really help when the light is low, allowing you to shoot at 1/60 of a second hand held, or even slower, with the longer lenses so you don’t have to raise the ISO and thus increase noise. Of course for BIF or fast action shots this is too slow of a shutter speed, but for stationary subjects it is a great feature.

    OK, now the bad news, NO current M4/3 camera is going to have the BIF or action shot tracking ability of the D500. At best you will get ½ the amount of keepers you get now, but a first it may be only 20-30% until you learn the AF and AF tracking system. That is why I kept my old V1 Nikon 70-200 and use it with my D500, along with the 300mm ED-IF f/4. This combination is the best for BIF or fast action shots for me and apparently others too, here is a recent thread you might find interesting.

    Nikon D500 vs E-M1 II: My Thoughts for Motorsports.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
  11. Monte

    Monte New to Mu-43

    Aug 9, 2017
    Thanks to everyone for the invaluable info. It is always so good to get actual user input to compare to the various Youtube videos and advertisements.
    I realize I am not going to get the same performance for action as the D500, that camera is made for that and it does it very well. I have literally thousands of bird images and the BIF thing is getting a bit old with me and I just seem to be getting many repeats as the years go by. I will be keeping the Nikon and 500 f/4 for a bit before I sell it off, there will be a learning curve and I still don't really know what to expect as far as capturing action goes.

    Thanks again for the information and I have a much better idea of what I need.
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  12. Linden

    Linden Mu-43 Regular

    May 1, 2017
    Knox, TN
    I've never understood the rationale for recommending Sony FF for those wanting to save weight since it only saves a bit on the body with little to no savings on lenses... especially true for those using telephotos. Sony's 70-200 2.8 (1480g) weighs only 60g less than Nikon's and 10g less than Canon's. IMO FF mirrorless has some advantages vs DSLR's, but size/weight aren't among them.

    If weight is your primary concern, it's tough to beat the IQ/size balance of M43. My EM1.2 with closest equivalent lenses to my Canon 5D3/7D2 is right about half the weight. That camerasize comparison above doesn't really show it effectively, so I've listed the weight info from camerasize below, for the combos shown in the post above. Weight savings listed afterward.

    D500 plus lens = 2400g
    A9 plus lens = 2103g (-297g)
    XT2 plus lens. = 1502g (-898g)
    EM1.2 plus lens = 1334g (-1066g)

    The EM1.2+lens weighs less than just the Nikon 70-200 VR (1540g) alone by 206g. That's slightly more than the weight of a cue ball.
  13. Ross

    Ross Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 14, 2015
    Paul Ross
    I to migrated from a larger camera system (Canon 5Dmk2) to the m43 for the same reason you are doing it. Weight, size, and portability. I shoot wildlife and landscapes and you can see some of them at I take walking trails and I also ride a bike carrying my rig. I use the Panasonic GX8 and the Panasonic 100-400 mm lens and carry a Panasonic 12-35 f2.8 in the carry case as I ride my bike. When walking I use a Bushawk shoulder support to stabilize the camera and lens. BUT, you need to realize the limitations of the m43 format. IQ is not comparable to what I get with my Nikon d810, Cropping images is limited and image noise is problematic if your shooting above ISO 1600. Having said that, there really is no altunatitive to the m43 system for my purpose, wildlife. Much as I like the very fine Olympus 300 f4, IMHO, a fixed FL lens is just not suitable for my kind of shooting. I know you can zoom with your feet, but animals react quickly to your movement. As for the carping about Focusing on BIF, all I can say is I have successfully captured many using this system, or the earlier one (Olympus EM1mk1 and the excellent SWD 50-200+TC1.4). I am bit older than 60, and while I was at one time carrying a Canon 5dmk2 with the excellent 100-400 Canon L series lens, I found it too cumbersome and heavy to carry walking trails and riding a bicycle. Another recommendation is, if you go for the Panasonic 100-400 lens, get a LowPro TopLoader 75. In is I can easily carry the camera, Zoom lens, a Panasonic 12-35, set of filters two back up batteries, a battery charger an the very tiny Panasonic shoe flash (model??) And of course, consider one of the many shoulder mounts to help stabilize the camera and lens. Finally, IMHO, while I can use the M43 for landscape, I much prefer the Nikon D810 with the right lenses, but boy is that one beefy camera to lug around.
  14. Bytesmiths

    Bytesmiths Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I got into the OM System in the 1970s for size and weight concerns. Then, reluctantly stayed with the E-System, so I could use the excellent OM Zuikos I had collected, but was always unhappy at the size and weight of their 1st get interchangeble lens cameras.

    I recently got the EM1.2 and the love is back! I can carry SIX focal lengths in the same pack with less weight than I could carry THREE E-System lenses!

    Another thing you'll love about the OMD System is the incredible IBIS. My tripods are growing spiderwebs. I shoot the moon, hand-held and sharp, with a 1000mm mirror lens! I cannot adequately express how much IBIS will improve the shooting style of an avid birder!

    I suggest you go out and rent an EM1.2 and some lenses for a weekend. Then, you'll either decide to stick with your Canons, or you'll become an enthusiastic convert!
  15. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    The Bassman
    I turned 65 last year, and gave up on my Nikon kit 3 or four years ago in favor of m43.

    I returned yesterday from three weeks in Africa with my m43 kit:

    E-M1 and E-M1.2
    9-18, 12-35/2.8, 40-140/2.8 and 100-400

    You can see some of the pictures on Instagram at TheBassmanBlog, or at

    I was very happy with the set up. A few comments:

    1. Both tele zooms performed very well. The stabilization in the E-M1 bodies is amazing. I find the OIS in the 100-400 to be superior than IBIS. That being said, I experienced virtually no camera shake during the trip.

    2. I am not an experienced BIF shooter, but I find the tracking of even the E-M1.2 not up to snuff. The E-M1 is pretty useless.

    3. The image quality at ISO up to 3200 is pretty good, and 6400 is usable in some cases if properly exposed. I have pictures of dancers around a campfire that look good.

    4. There was a guy on an outing with me carrying his Canon 1DX, 24-70 and 70-200 in a bag about as big as the at for my kit above. I'll never go back to full frame given my use cases.
  16. BrentC

    BrentC Mu-43 Veteran

    May 31, 2017
    Brampton, Ontario
    About C-AF tracking ability with the EM1.2, although not up to the D500 standards, the EM1.2 has probably the most powerful processing of most cameras out there probably excluding the Sony A9. This means it has a lot of room for growth and improvement. Olympus always makes huge improvements and new features with FW updates. I think we can expect that we will see tracking improvements in the future.
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