MC-20 Teleconverter with Flash

This article features some images captured at Bird Kingdom using the MC-20 teleconverter with flash. These photographs are from my archives.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter, 270 mm, efov 540 mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-200, Olympus FL-700 WR Flash used, subject distance 1.4 metres

When photographing captive birds in indoor settings we often face rather poor lighting conditions. If allowed by the facility, it can be an interesting experience to use a teleconverter along with flash.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter, 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-200, Olympus FL-700 WR Flash used, subject distance 1.6 metres

I have always enjoyed getting in tight to bird subjects so I can capture head and feather details . The short minimum focusing distance of the M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 coupled with the M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter is a great combination for this type of photography.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter, 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, Olympus FL-700 WR Flash used, subject distance 1.6 metres

I find birds very expressive, each with their own personality. When possible, I choose subjects that I can frame with an unobstructed, somewhat distant background. This helps to reduce distracting shadows caused by the flash.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter, 200 mm, efov 400 mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-200, Olympus FL-700 WR Flash used, subject distance 1.5 metres

Depending on the backgrounds chosen, dramatically different compositions can be created. This can be seen when comparing the image above with the one below.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter, 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/7.1, 1/250, ISO-200, Olympus FL-700 WR Flash used, subject distance 1.4 metres

I specifically look for birds that are up against very strong sunlight. This causes them to be back lit, with the subject bird often looking like a black, almost totally unexposed shape in my viewfinder. In these instances using the focus clutch on my M.Zuiko PRO  40-150 mm f/2.8 comes in handy. The result of combining the harsh back lighting with the use of a flash, results in photographs like the one above.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter, 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, Olympus FL-700 WR Flash used, subject distance 1.7 metres

The photograph above is another example of using this technique.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter, 270 mm, efov 540 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, Olympus FL-700 WR Flash used, subject distance 1.5 metres

Using the M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter with flash can help to capture interesting body positions when birds are in tricky lighting conditions. I noticed a couple of speckled mousebird (above) positioned against a darker background, with bright sunlight streaming in from both sides.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter, 180 mm, efov 360 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, Olympus FL-700 WR Flash used, subject distance 1.5 metres

This species can be fairly skittish. I was pleased that my M.Zuiko FL-700 WR recharged rapidly so I could quickly capture a range of photographs.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter, 230 mm, efov 460 mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-200, Olympus FL-700 WR Flash used, subject distance 1.7 metres

The speckled mousebird was moving from branch to branch. Using a zoom lens with a teleconverter allowed me to adjust my focal length so I could shoot between branches in the foreground.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter, 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-200, Olympus FL-700 WR Flash used, subject distance 1.8 metres

When opportunities present themselves, I love capturing portraiture style images of birds.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter, 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, Olympus FL-700 WR Flash used, subject distance 1.3 metres

Using the MC-20 teleconverter with a flash also allows for full body images of birds positioned in poor light, both in indoor and outdoor situations.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter, 220 mm, efov 440 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, Olympus FL-700 WR Flash used, subject distance 1.4 metres

It is important to test your camera gear configuration in advance to make sure that the lens/teleconverter combination used isn’t too long physically, as this can cast shadows from your flash hitting the end of your lens, onto subject birds.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter, 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, Olympus FL-700 WR Flash used, subject distance 3.7 metres

Before leaving Bird Kingdom, I spent some time in the main aviary, specifically looking for portraiture style image opportunities.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter, 240 mm, efov 480 mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-200, Olympus FL-700 WR Flash used, subject distance 2.2 metres

When photographing birds, especially when moving in fairly tight to them, I use Center Weighted Average metering.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter, 270 mm, efov 540 mm, f/5.6, 1/200, ISO-200, Olympus FL-700 WR Flash used, subject distance 1.6 metres

Using a lens that has a short minimum focusing distance is also helpful when trying to create these types of images.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter, 260 mm, efov 520 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, Olympus FL-700 WR Flash used, subject distance 2.3 metres

My favourite image during this particular visit to Bird Kingdom happened when a Laughing Kookaburra landed on a hand railing less than 3 metres away. I was able to slowly move in a bit closer, and positioned the head of the bird against an appropriate background. The result was the photograph above.

Technical Note

Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process.

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4 thoughts on “MC-20 Teleconverter with Flash”

  1. Beautiful photos. A question. If you were photographing birds in the wild would you still be using center weighted average focusing?

    Joel

    1. Hi Joel,

      I use Center Weighted Average metering the majority of the time. It really depends on the size and position of the bird in the composition and the quality of the light. If the bird is a part of a larger scene then I may use ESP. Spot metering is something that I sometimes use if a bird is in a high contrast situation.

      Tom

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