Testing the Olympus 100-400mm with a teleconverter
The Olympus 100-400mm f/5.0-6.3 lens is a surprisingly good performer, especially considering its sub-$1500 price point. It’s not a lens that I’d even consider using with a teleconverter, because you lose quite a bit of light in that scenario. Nevertheless, I figured I’d try it out when I was in San Diego last week leading my birds in flight photo workshop.
I put the Olympus MC-14 1.4x teleconverter on the 100-400mm and happened to encounter a song sparrow at relatively close range. So I gave it a shot. At these extreme magnifications, the lack of a good optical image stabilizer was noticeable (IBIS gives better results with this lens), but I kept the shutter speed high, and hoped for the best. I surprisingly got a couple of keepers, but autofocus accuracy was reduced somewhat (not unexpected).
Song sparrow at 1122mm effective, f/9.0 ISO 20,000 (click for full-size image).
In the past, I might have tossed these images out… ISOs 20,000? But by using DXO Pure Raw 3 to de-noise the raw files and a little Topaz Photo AI sharpening, the results were quite usable!
Landscape and Nature Photography with Jason Odell & Matt Suess Aug. 8-15, 2024
Join me in the Faroe Islands August 8-15, 2024 for an incredible photography experience!
I’m extremely excited to announce that I’ll be traveling to the Faroe Islands in 2024 as a co-instructor with OM Digital Ambassador Matt Suess for a weeklong photo safari! The Faroe Islands is a legitimate bucket-list destination, as it was named the Faroe Islands the most authentic and unspoiled group of islands in the world by National Geographic.
The Faroe Islands are located 320 kilometres (200 mi) north-northwest of Scotland, and about halfway between Norway (580 kilometres (360 mi) away) and Iceland (430 kilometres (270 mi) away).
From rugged seascapes to fishing villages and puffin colonies, your time in the Faroe Islands will be unforgettable. And with the help of Matt and myself, your photographs will be unforgettable, too!
When it comes to going small and light, there are lots of excellent choices for Micro Four-Thirds shooters
The OM Systems OM-1 with 12-100mm f/4 PRO lens is an amazing single-lens travel kit!
If you enjoy traveling with your camera, you probably want a kit that offers a fairly wide range of focal lengths, but also something that is fairly lightweight and compact. Recently, I’ve been discussing with a colleague about the dreaded “what to pack” question. He’s going to be in Paris next month, and wants a flexible kit to use with his OM-1 body. The problem isn’t a lack of options; it’s literally quite the opposite. There are so many lenses available for Micro 4/3rds users that sometimes it can feel overwhelming when trying to decide what to pack for a trip!
The Micro 4/3rds system offers photographers a tremendous range of lens choices for travel, as most of the lenses for this system are fairly small and light to begin with. Options range from single all-purpose zoom lenses, two-lens zoom kits, a trio of tiny primes, or a mix of zooms and primes. Most of these lenses are quite good and make few optical compromises, and none of them will make you feel weighed down. In the end, the lenses you choose really depend on how much you’re willing to carry, and the type of subjects that interest you most.
This week, we took our annual overnight trip to Mt. Evans (made possible by our sponsors) and photographed wildlife and landscapes in the alpine tundra above 13,000′ elevation. Joining us this week on the show is Dr. Shalah Parker, who recently got back into photography and is using the OM Digital Solutions OM-5 micro four-thirds format camera, and was with us on the shoot. You can find some of Shalah’s work at her Facebook page, Side Quest Photography.
These small prime lenses for Micro 4/3rds format open up a wide range of creative possibilities
Three prime lenses for Micro 4/3rds mount: Panasonic/Leica 9mm f/1.7, Olympus 17mm f/1.8, Olympus 45mm f/1.8
Earlier this year, I purchased an OM Systems (formerly known as Olympus) OM-1 flagship mirrorless camera, along with a set of zoom lenses that are perfect for the majority of my photographic needs. One thing I hadn’t considered at the time was the prime lenses for Micro 4/3 format from Olympus and Panasonic.
Prime, or fixed focal length, lenses generally serve to either extend the range of your kit (ie, adding wide or telephoto prime to a zoom kit), or to provide a way of getting a different look to your images, usually because they are designed with a fast maximum aperture. You can also use primes for dedicated purposes; most portrait photographers will have at least one fast portrait lens (like an 85mm f/1.8 or faster) to deliver nice subject isolation.
A few years ago, before I switched to using a mirrorless system, I frequently put a 50mm f/1.8, a.k.a the “Nifty Fifty.” In my bag when traveling. But when I got my Nikon Z kit, I stopped using a 50mm prime, even though I’d purchased the outstanding Nikon 50mm f/1.8S Nikkor Z. Why? Because it was just too darned big to bring along as an extra lens, and using the F-mount version required a lens mount adapter, adding weight and bulk to my kit.