Micro 4/3 GH-2, Lumix 100-300 and bird photography

biglouis

Veteran
Aug 4, 2013
103
A photograph elsewhere on the site reminded me that I use a GH-2 a lot as a 'birding' camera with the 100-300. It allows me to get into bird photography without expending a lot of money. I am quite pleased with the results and I still keep the body and lens, despite having sold all my other m43rds lenses so I can continue with the hobby.

Here are some of the best results. All but the last were taken in and around my back garden which is about 1 mile from Kings Cross in London (which only goes to show how much wildlife there is, even in central London). The last one was taken in a cemetery in Whitechapel in the East End.

I was quite proud of this shot - the sparrow is now a protected bird in the UK because it has diminished so much. I wanted to get a shot of a 'house' sparrow and stalked this one for about 3 hours before getting what I wanted.


I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this woodpecker swoop into my garden and attack the 'coconut-treat' I put up. Fortunately my camera and lens were at hand...
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A very lucky shot. You can tell this is almost a full 100% crop. A testament to the fast AF and fps of the GH-2. The bird is actually taking off and not landing. They seem to jump in the air and then flap their wings.
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Wren's are such difficult birds to photograph. They are absolutely tiny and whizz about. I noticed this one was building a nest in a neighbours tree. Took me about a week of on and off stalking. They have such a loud 'voice' that as soon as I heard it I would run out my front door to try and capture it. This was the result.


Long-tailed tits are not that common where I live so this pair were interesting. I was lucky to get a frame where the lower bird was looking directly into the lens.
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This is actually going to be in a new book I am creating from a cemetery project I have been working on for about 3 years. A juvenile blackbird.
 

BillN

Hall of Famer
Aug 25, 2010
123
S W France
Bill
Really good shots - well done - I find bird photography very difficult and I am never happy with any image I get - and I also spend hours watching the things - just ask my wife!!!
 

biglouis

Veteran
Aug 4, 2013
103
I still regret selling my 100-300mm and if I ever get back into m43, it will be for the tele lens and 2x crop factor. For me, that is the sweet spot for where reach and IQ meet.
I know the feeling well. I keep thinking I can sell the GH-2 and the 100-300 and be well on the way to funding a 24-70 or 70-200 for my A7 which hands down is a better camera than the GH-2. The problem is I can't think of another solution that gives you a 600/f5.6 lens in such a small package.

And maybe its me but the bokeh of this lens at f5.6 is very dreamy.

LouisB
 

BillN

Hall of Famer
Aug 25, 2010
123
S W France
Bill
I know the feeling well. I keep thinking I can sell the GH-2 and the 100-300 and be well on the way to funding a 24-70 or 70-200 for my A7 which hands down is a better camera than the GH-2. The problem is I can't think of another solution that gives you a 600/f5.6 lens in such a small package.

And maybe its me but the bokeh of this lens at f5.6 is very dreamy.

LouisB
The latest Nikon DSLR's are smaller, (too small for me!!), than previous - they give you the DX sensor with 24mega px, (pixels aren't everything) coupled with the 70mm 300mm Nikon f4.5/f5.6 VR zoom you get 450mm and a bigger sensor to crop from
Not sure of the price but it must be near the GH-2 plus 100mm 300mm
 

biglouis

Veteran
Aug 4, 2013
103
The latest Nikon DSLR's are smaller, (too small for me!!), than previous - they give you the DX sensor with 24mega px, (pixels aren't everything) coupled with the 70mm 300mm Nikon f4.5/f5.6 VR zoom you get 450mm and a bigger sensor to crop from
Not sure of the price but it must be near the GH-2 plus 100mm 300mm
Good point. I would not advocate anyone going into m43rds any longer but that is another story. I must admit I did start looking at s/h Nikon D7000s for the same reason. With a fixed lens and a converter you are in the same territory. The main thing I have against the GH-2 is that shooting above iso800 the noise destroys fine detail. I could do with a camera which can happily shoot at iso1600 or even iso3200 on overcast days.

LouisB
 

Kin Lau

Regular
Oct 23, 2012
18
For bird photography m43 is good for reach and size, but a little short in the IQ dept. In the bird videography dept, it can't be beat.

The GH3 is a big jump up from the GH2 for photography, with faster AF, better handling. It's almost as fast as my 7D but the 100-300 doesn't quite match up with Canon L glass or even my old Sigma 50-500.

Birding is always a compromise. I'm keeping an eye on the Nikon V3 + 70-300, pricing is a major hurdle there but the AF speed, reach and size may make up for it.
 

nippa

Top Veteran
Aug 7, 2010
104
Cheshire UK
Dennis
The 100-300 will come out again in July at the Farnborough Airshow where its reach is fantastic but otherwise all my m4/3 kit lies dormant and outclassed.
I've got so used to the quality from larger sensors that m4/3 doesn't work for me anymore.
 
I still use m43 a lot for bird photography as well as just general vacation... The newer 16mp sensors are actually pretty good from both Panasonic and Olympus. I would say about a stop better in the noise department compared to your gh2. The sweet spot right now is apsc in terms of price and overall iq. The Nikon apsc suggestion is a pretty good one. I currently use an em5 myself and have though about a Nikon dslr or the Fuji xt1 but decided that right now the em5 is fine.

Right now I am not sure if there is a stabilization setup as good as the Olympus five axis one out there. For long tele work this is hard to beat. The predictive af on the other hand is another story. This is where the dslrs are still the winner as well as much faster af speed.

Love your bird shots..

Gary
 

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Jan 3, 2012
124
Troy, NY
The problem is I can't think of another solution that gives you a 600/f5.6 lens in such a small package.

LouisB
Louis,

Depending on what you want/need to do with the shots, the FZ200, with 24-600 equivalent serves pretty well. My contention is that I would rather have the camera with me to get the shot when it presents itself. I'm willing to carry 1.3 lbs virtually all the time.

Here are a couple of examples:

This is the wide shot:

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This is taken from the same spot, at full optical and digital zoom (granted it is on the verge of falling apart, but it was used on television):

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This is another wide shot:

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And here's the closeup that would not have been possible without lots of zoom:

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All four of those shots were taken with the FZ150. The FZ200 offers a constant f/2.8 aperture for the full range of the zoom. I own both and use them professionally.

Since I don't make large prints, the price/performance/convenience equation tilts toward the all-in-one lightweight package. Others, of course -- perhaps you -- may decide that the IQ sacrifices from a small sensor camera are too great.

Cheers, Jock
 

Kin Lau

Regular
Oct 23, 2012
18
I just picked up a FZ200 recently, even tho I already have the GH2 and GH3. It's a fine little package and very fast for a bridge cam. Doesn't hurt that it uses the same battery as the GH2. It's great for random birding.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

biglouis

Veteran
Aug 4, 2013
103
Jock

I totally agree - whatever serves your purpose is the way to go. The last shot is good evidence of the old adage that it is the camera that you have with you that gets the shot.

Well done.

Louis
 

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Jan 3, 2012
124
Troy, NY
Louis,

Thanks for the kind words. All of your shots above are sharp and have great "punch." I particularly like the shot of the two birds with the one looking straight at the camera. It begs for a clever caption.

Cheers, Jock
 

Luke

Super Moderator
Nov 11, 2011
214
Milwaukee, WI USA
Luke

LowTEC

Regular
Nov 21, 2014
33
HK / Raincouver
I love shooting birds with my 100-300, although it is pretty soft at 300mm wide open, I usually have to stop down to f8 to get any reasonable image

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