Birder's Guide

NOV 2018

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

Issue link: http://bg.aba.org/i/1052444

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■ Oilbirds roost in dark caves and rocky crags. Using a high ISO and a very slow shutter speed, without a tripod, I was amazed at the final image the Olympus helped me create! Photo © Kevin Loughlin / Wildside Nature Tours ■ ABOVE: Using the FL-900R electronic flash brought out more color in the feathers of this Chestnut-breasted Coronet, a species found at higher elevations in the dark cloudforests of the Andes. ■ LEFT: A lot of practice after figuring out the correct camera settings allowed me to capture this Galápagos endemic Lava Gull in flight. Photo © Kevin Loughlin / Wildside Nature Tours 26 Birder's Guide to Gear | November 2018 Camera Review • Olympus to your eye, so the electronic viewfinder is already active when the camera is in position. I used the 300mm f4.0 IS PRO lens the most, often with the MC-14 1.4x tele- converter attached, giving me an effective 840mm f5.6 lens. Great for birds! In the Galápagos, many of the birds were often very close, so 840mm was too much at times. But in the sandy conditions I did not want to change lenses often. I missed my 100-400mm that I usually use here. Olympus's top competitor, Panasonic, has a Leica 100-400mm zoom (equal- ling a 200-800mm) that will also fit the Olympus bodies and function well, but the image stabilization in the Panasonic lens is not compatible with the Olympus and will not function. Fortunately, the Olympus body has a 5-axis stabilizer built in, so you still get great stabilization with the non-Olympus lens. I was told in a whisper that Olympus designers "know they need to build a 100-400mm zoom lens", but that has not come to pass as yet. Using the Olympus 300mm in low light, with the lens stabilization work- ing in tandem with the camera's stabi- lizer, I was able to hand-hold the setup at 1/25th of a second using an unbelievably high ISO of 12800 to get an image of an Oilbird in a dark gorge. Once Olympus builds a 100-400mm zoom lens, this sys- tem will be tough to beat for birds in the rainforest and in the Galápagos. So the question I am sure is on every- one's mind: Will the Olympus replace my current professional cameras and lenses? The answer: Not yet, but I may reconsid- er in a couple years, especially if Olympus introduces a 100-400mm lens. However, for most photographers I meet on a bird- ing tour, the OM-D E-M1 Mark II with the 300mm f4.0 IS PRO lens could be their "nearly perfect" setup. For those who join me on my photo workshops, where we photograph more than birds, the array of lenses Olympus offers will surely fit the needs and desires of most, while giving fantastic high-quality im- ages and more features and control than anyone requires—all in a lightweight and manageable size.

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