Waterfowl Images at 1600 MM

This short article shares a selection of handheld waterfowl images captured at 1600 mm (efov). All photographs were taken with an E-M1X using its Bird Detection AI subject tracking mode, in conjunction with an M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS zoom, and an M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 800 mm, efov 1600 mm, f/13, 1/2000, ISO-3200, subject distance 19.2 metres, cropped to 2970 pixels on the height

The first thing that you may notice with the camera settings noted in the EXIF data for these handheld waterfowl images, is that I used fairly fast shutter speeds. During this photo session my primary objective was to photograph waterfowl in flight. I did not change my camera settings for these quick ‘grab shots’ featured in this posting. My shutter speeds varied between 1/1600 and 1/2500.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 800 mm, efov 1600 mm, f/14, 1/2000, ISO-5000, subject distance 24.5 metres, cropped to 3282 pixels on the width

As I waited for ducks in flight, I would quickly capture occasional handheld waterfowl images as my spirit moved me.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 800 mm, efov 1600 mm, f/14, 1/2000, ISO-2500, subject distance 19.4 metres, cropped to 4723 pixels on the width

Using an equivalent field-of-view of 1600 mm takes some patience. Small undulations of the water’s surface, or slight hand, arm or body movements by a photographer can cause noticeable shifts in what is visible through a camera’s viewfinder.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 800 mm, efov 1600 mm, f/14, 1/2000, ISO-4000, subject distance 40.8 metres, cropped to 2646 pixels on the height

The E-M1X’s Bird Detection AI subject tracking was very helpful keeping the heads/eyes of various subject birds in focus while they bobbed about on the surface of the water.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 800 mm, efov 1600 mm, f/14, 1/2500, ISO-4000, subject distance 31.9 metres, cropped to 3992 pixels on the width

Even when the surface of the water looks quite calm, the apparent smoothness can be deceiving when shooting at an efov of 1600 mm.  Small undulations can cause quite noticeable vertical travel with subject birds.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 800 mm, efov 1600 mm, f/13, 1/1600, ISO-2000, subject distance 34.1 metres, cropped to 4967 pixels on the width

Using the M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter has some challenges in terms of losing 2 stops of light and pushing ISO values higher. On the positive side the longer equivalent field-of-field allows a photographer to choose subjects that are a bit more distant.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 800 mm, efov 1600 mm, f/14, 1/2000, ISO-5000, subject distance 24.9 metres, cropped to 3189 pixels on the width

When shooting from an elevated position vis-a-vis subject birds (e.g. the waterfowl images in this article), this longer efov can help to flatten out the obtuse shooting angle used by a photographer. This creates a more pleasant viewing/shooting angle.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 800 mm, efov 1600 mm, f/14, 1/2000, ISO-4000, subject distance 19.1 metres, cropped to 2490 pixels on the height

As you can see from these waterfowl images, using teleconverters like the M.Zuiko MC-20 and MC-14 significantly extends the functionality of the M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 zoom lens.  There’s no doubt that I will be using these teleconverters with this zoom lens on a very regular basis.

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. 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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