This article shares some photographs of ducks performing water landings at 1600 mm efov. These images were captured handheld using an E-M1X (in Bird Detection AI mode) fitted with an M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS zoom and the M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
During the past couple of days I’ve been able to get out for a little while with my M.Zuiko 100-400 mm to do some additional field testing. One of the things that I really wanted to assess more thoroughly was using this lens with the M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter.
Shooting with an equivalent field-of-view of 1600 mm is a daunting proposition at first. In two earlier articles I shared my initial impressions shooting handheld at this efov (M.Zuiko 100-400 with MC-20, and M.Zuiko 100-400 Three Strike Test).
In retrospect, I realized that I hadn’t pushed myself and my camera gear hard enough shooting at an efov of 1600 mm with those initial photography sessions. As a result I was unable to properly assess the potential of using this combination of camera gear.
So, I went out to the pier by the Burlington Bay Lift Bridge and gave myself some test parameters. These included only using the combination of the M.Zuiko 100-400 mm and MC-20 teleconverter fully extended to 800 mm (efov 1600 mm). Shooting with E-M1X’s Bird Detection AI engaged, and using a frame rate of 18 frames-per-second.
After I reviewed all of my images from my initial two articles it became apparent to me that I had not missed a high enough proportion of shots. For me, that is always a telltale sign that I did not push myself and my camera gear hard enough. When I go out to really test my camera gear one of my primary goals is to push hard enough to have a high failure rate using it. At least during the first half of my test period.
I moved around the pier trying to find a good shooting angle. After some experimentation I decided on a location about 40-50 metres from the end of the pier. I had never shot from this position before. It gave me a good view of distant ducks in flight that were approaching the pier and channel. Finding distant birds in the viewfinder of my E-M1X when shooting with an efov of 1600 mm was quite difficult. I kept practising my eye/hand coordination and after an hour or so, I began to feel more comfortable.
As my comfort level increased I made sure to lower my camera gear to mid-chest height after each image burst. Once I visually located my next incoming duck, I’d raise my camera to my eye and try to locate it as quickly as possible in my viewfinder. Once my camera was raised to my eye, I committed myself to doing at least a short burst image run.
While this article features photographs of ducks doing water landings, I also captured images of ducks in flight and some that were swimming on the surface of the water. These other photographs will likely appear in future articles.
I’m pleased to report that I missed a ton of photographs during the first 75 minutes or so of this recent field test. 🙂 My eye/hand coordination steadily improved, and by the end of my test session I was getting reasonably comfortable shooting with an efov of 1600 mm. I need to buckle down and practice my Bird Detection AI technique as it is still quite rough.
After this intensive field test session I discovered that I had significantly underestimated the potential of using the M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter with the M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS zoom.
It is a really powerful combination, and worth the effort to practice using it, as it dramatically increases photographic potential. It allowed me to capture usable images that other photographers in the area didn’t even bother trying to get.
One does need to be comfortable working with higher ISO files in post. And, good light is needed to make the most of the combination.
Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. Crops are noted where applicable. The DxO PhotoLab 4 lens module for the M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS zoom was used for these photographs.
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