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


Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Oct 1, 2010
Here's one at 400mm taken in the Masai Mara, Kenya a couple of years ago. Mom was nearby in a tree, finishing off an Impala that she and the cub had been snacking on for a couple of days. The cub ended up parking itself on a fairly low branch, essentially eye level to us in the game drive vehicle. I almost don't like the picture because with no context it could easily be mistaken for a shot made in a zoo.

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@DHart, I'd strongly advise shooting this long, heavy, lens off a monopod. There is an aftermarket foot that has the Arca-Swiss profile. This works well with my Acratech ball head and lever-type clamp. Take practice time to realize that the monopod can be at a significant angle relative to the camera and the camera will still be well stabilized.

Electronic stabilizaiton? I view it as a gift, not as an excuse for sloppy craftsmanship. There is no such thing as a camera that is too stable. Stabilize your camera to the maximum extent possible and take whatever extra the electronic gods give you. Including nothing.

Little Fish

Mu-43 Regular
Mar 9, 2021
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.

I cant speak for anyone else and their experience with the G9 and 100-400 Elmar, or combinations of other cameras and lenses I've never experienced. Nevertheless, what you seek is my current main set up for hybrid video birding. I've been using the G9 since June 2018. This set up with the new firmware 2.4 makes the video tracking as good or better than some phase detect AF mirrorless. And, I find myself using Animal Detect AF more often vs manual tracking video. And, the long range with more zoon options on the custom dial make this set up one fast wildlife action camera.

However..., there are some issues that should be noted. IME, the new firmware 2.4 using the AF tracking requires a faster UHS-II SD card that can clear the photo's buffer faster. I use a V60 UHS-2 150MB/s, and it sometimes lags when trying to switch exposure modes to 4K video or VFR 4K using the AF tracking vs manual/AF one area. This is only a concern if you plan to shoot burst photo with Animal Detect AF, burst over 10 pics, and switch to a Custom setting with 4K video using Animal Detect AF. I missed a few critical video shots because I rushed the filming process, by switching the dial without clearing the buffer, and initiated the 4K video. and had to wait over 10 seconds to clear the vide and photo buffers.

Nevertheless, IME both the Pana 100-300 and Elmar 100-400 struggles during twilight (as does any digital camera). If you plan to shoot before sunrise in the epic light at super telephoto ranges, nailing the exposure is a challenge. But, to my surprise the AF out performed my 2017 DSLRs with contrast AF at twilight. Thus, if you shoot a lot of birds in the shade during the morning light, the Elmart 50-200 which IME has faster and more accurate AF in the twilight hours F/2 to f/4. And with 2x digital zoom or Ex-Tc Conv (in camera digital converter) provides extra reach without exposure penalty. And, the shorter length makes it a perfect BIF lens with long range. I have some video's posted online in 4K and HD using the G9 and 50-200 Elmart, the Pana 100-300, and 100-400 Elmar.

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