Thinking about G9 and Pana/Leica 100-400 lens for birding/wildlife

DHart

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I'm quite content with my GX8 and quite a variety of lenses for general purpose photography. Superb camera, age notwithstanding!

For birding and wildlife, however, I yearn for an even better viewfinder... and more reach than my 100-300 Pany lens.

So here I am, contemplating a G9 for the better viewfinder and the Pana/Leica 100-400 lens for longer reach and higher quality.

What say you guys who enjoy birding with m4/3. Is this pretty much the ultimate combination for m4/3 birding and what are your thoughts?

Further, is a Lumix G10 not far around the corner? Retailers are giving $300 discounts on G9s these days.
 
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Can't talk G9 but can assure you the Panasonic 100-400 lens delivers quality output.
Like much in life, it won't guarantee excellent results 100% of the time.

It takes a while to get to know it and where it's sweet points are, suitable weather conditions etc.

With all Panasonic it won't give better images than the Olympus mix but it does talk directly to the camera.

I'm very happy with my EM1 2 & and Panasonic 100-400 and use it mainly for birds, static, not in flight

I think you'll find enough images online to satisfy your curiosity.
 

retiredfromlife

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I tried the G9 and 100-400 on a Panasonic sponsored birding day and found the combination very easy to use.

I now own the Oly EM1.3 and 100-400 and that combination is a lot harder to use.

On another note I found the front button to zoom in with AF was a real asset on the G9 and made it a lot easier to check focus on say backlit photos where it tended to miss. The copy I tried was stiffer than the Oly version to zoom but not a problem for me. But there probably is copy to copy variation that seems to haunt the system as a whole.

I think both the Oly and Panasonic combinations are good, depends on which camp you are mainly in.

There seems to be a question regarding getting the Panasonic lens repaired after warranty depending on where you live, may be worth checking out if that concerns you.

But overall I think the Panasonic combination is a good choice if you are in that camp.
 

RAH

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What say you guys who enjoy birding with m4/3. Is this pretty much the ultimate combination for m4/3 birding and what are your thoughts?

Further, is a Lumix G10 not far around the corner? Retailers are giving $300 discounts on G9s these days.
For me, an E-M5.3 and the 75-300 is the "ultimate combination for m4/3 birding," if by that you mean walking around. There's really no way I could walk around with the Oly 100-400 (regardless of camera) - too heavy! - and even though the Pany 100-400 is somewhat lighter in weight, the G9 blows that advantage out of the water (even compared to an E-M1.2 or 3).

If you want to set yourself up with a tripod to take bird shots, then any of these combos is fine, I think, but not for walking, at least for me. If you've got the muscles for it, that's great.
 

turbodieselvw

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I have both the Panny and Oly 100-400 lens, however, I shoot with the EM1.3 and x. I don't know much about the G9 but I would think the Panny 100-400 would go well with it. The Panny can be really sharp in the shorter focal lengths but softer at the long end. The Oly 100-400 is sharper all the way through and works with Procap L on Olympus bodies; this it the main reason why I bought it to replace my Panny 100-400. I would assume that the Panny 100-400 would mate better than the Oly 100-400 with the G9 as it would be compatible with the whatever Panasonic specific functions on their bodies. You can't go wrong with either lens other than the pairing of specific branded items to be fully compatible with the particular functions on the bodies.
 

D7k1

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Talk a look in the Share Birds here. BTW I've never found the Pany to be "soft"......

You have to know that BIF's take a while to learn how to image them. A G9/PL100-400 is a very fine kit, just don't think of it as a "Point and Shoot" solution. Something like a Black Rapid sling means you can carry the combination all day and for miles without it hurting IMHO.
 
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Darmok N Jalad

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I shoot the combo all the time (see "Share Birds" thread). Once you get the PL100-400, your problem is going to start becoming talking yourself into taking it off the camera. While it is on the heavy side for M43 it doesn't even compare to the weight on other formats. I don't use a monopod and have carried this combo around all day. I even like that it collapses down and fits in a small camera bag when I do swap it out.
 

grcolts

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For me, an E-M5.3 and the 75-300 is the "ultimate combination for m4/3 birding," if by that you mean walking around. There's really no way I could walk around with the Oly 100-400 (regardless of camera) - too heavy! - and even though the Pany 100-400 is somewhat lighter in weight, the G9 blows that advantage out of the water (even compared to an E-M1.2 or 3).

If you want to set yourself up with a tripod to take bird shots, then any of these combos is fine, I think, but not for walking, at least for me. If you've got the muscles for it, that's great.
I have a similar set-up but use the G9 with the Panasonic 100-300ii lens. I looked at the 100-400 but decided against it as it made for a heavier walk-around combination. I have been very pleased with my current set-up.
GQR
 

RAH

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I have a similar set-up but use the G9 with the Panasonic 100-300ii lens. I looked at the 100-400 but decided against it as it made for a heavier walk-around combination. I have been very pleased with my current set-up.
GQR
Yes, I agree. I could probably carry around my E-M1.3 with the 75-300, which would be somewhat similar. It's mainly the 100-400 lenses that I find too heavy. :)
 

ralf-11

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Oly's big zoom is a bit higher IQ than Panny's but is heavier.

Neither is a substitute for a $20,000 Nikon/Canon setup.

I have the Panny and am fine with it.
 

John M Flores

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A friend of mine tried the G9 + 100-400 but on the advice of bird photogs that he knew, he eventually went to a Nikon APS-C + Sigma 150-600mm. He says the Nikon combo give him a higher hit rate.
 

ac12

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Going from 300 to 400, you are NOT going to get a significant increase in "reach."
That is only a 33% increase in focal length. Easily within cropping range.
 

Brownie

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Going from 300 to 400, you are NOT going to get a significant increase in "reach."
That is only a 33% increase in focal length. Easily within cropping range.
True, but it can also be said that you can crop the 400 for more yet, and since it's a higher quality lens, it can still bear more. For my money optics are going to beat digital every time. If you can get there optically instead of by cropping you'll be further ahead.

The G9 and PL100-400 is an outstanding combination. You will need to get used to the longer FL, but then everyone does.

The only downside is the autofocus on BIF. I've never met anyone who says it's top-notch and in fact most seem to struggle with hit rate if you read through the threads. @John M Flores comment is dead on because a DSLR has superior focusing for that kind of photography.

But for wildlife, birds on perch, and in frame tracking, it'd be tough to beat in this format without jumping to one of the expensive primes.
 

Darmok N Jalad

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Going from 300 to 400, you are NOT going to get a significant increase in "reach."
That is only a 33% increase in focal length. Easily within cropping range.
It's not just reach, but sharpness and detail are decidedly better for me than either the 75-300ii or 100-300ii could offer. The extra 100mm is great, but that's not all you get.
 

oldracer

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Going from 300 to 400, you are NOT going to get a significant increase in "reach."
That is only a 33% increase in focal length. Easily within cropping range.
So what? If you are at 400 you can crop, too. With wildlife no focal length is always enough. Get what you can with the glass, then judiciously crop if necessary.
 

DHart

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Thanks everyone for your comments. My use would be almost entirely at home, photographing static birds on my property, not much BIF. So, I wouldn't be walking around with the kit.

And, my use of the lens would probably be at full zoom (400mm) pretty much all the time. If the Oly 100-400 would be sharper at 400mm than the Pany at 400mm, I could use that - paired with my Pen-F, I guess.

I get some decent results with the Pany 100-300i, but my thinking is that with better quality glass and an extra 100mm to 400, my images would likely be better.
 

Brownie

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Thanks everyone for your comments. My use would be almost entirely at home, photographing static birds on my property, not much BIF. So, I wouldn't be walking around with the kit.

And, my use of the lens would probably be at full zoom (400mm) pretty much all the time. If the Oly 100-400 would be sharper at 400mm than the Pany at 400mm, I could use that - paired with my Pen-F, I guess.

I get some decent results with the Pany 100-300i, but my thinking is that with better quality glass and an extra 100mm to 400, my images would likely be better.
I would stroll through the lens showcase for both lenses first. I have found the 100-400 to be more than sharp enough fully extended. If it looks soft it's probably me and the long FL.

I've posted this in threads before in defense of the lens at full extension. This is the exact combination you're contemplating. Click through and zoom on Flickr.

400mm/6.3 1/125 ISO 200.

50272519196_bfa579e516_b.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
P1049504 by telecast, on Flickr
 

D7k1

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My is sharp when I do my job (compares with my friends Nikkor 500mm f5.6, the 500 is still sharper but that is what one expects from a prime and larger sensor (D500)). Don't cripple the G9 by putting a non-dual IS lens on it.
 

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