At this time, there are basically two lens options for wildlife and bird photographers for the micro four thirds line of cameras.
- Panasonic Lumix 100-300mm f/4.0-5.6 lens
- Olympus M.Zuiko 75-300mm II f4.8-6.7 lens
I purchased the Panasonic Lumix 100-300mm f4.0 – 5.6 lens due to its specifications, reviews and sample images posted online. My purpose for purchasing the lens was to be able to photograph wildlife and birds with my Olympus OM-D E-M5 especially while traveling.
This blog isn't an Olympus vs. Panasonic lens comparison blog. In this blog, I will describe my experience using the Panasonic 100-300mm lens for nature photography and the results I got using the lens.
Overall, I’d say the Panasonic 100-300mm lens delivered image quality similar to a 70-300mm non pro Canon or Nikon lens. The lens does not equal the results I’ve gotten using the Canon 300mm f4 even with a 1.4x teleconvter.
As expected, the lens performs better in brighter lighting conditions. In lower light, I needed to raise the ISO to 1000 or higher to get fast enough shutter speeds to freeze the subjects. This resulted in rather noisy images that affected the sharpness of the subject.
The Panasonic 100-300mm could benefit from the use of a tripod in lower lighting conditions and with focusing at long end of the focal length (600mm with the 2x crop factor of the Olympus OM-D). The lens does not come with a tripod collar. However, the lens is only 5 inches long when closed and 7 ¼ inches long when fully extended.
I was pleased with the results of the lens when photographing intimate (close up) landscapes. The photograph above this paragraph was taken hand held at 100mm, ISO 800, f4.5, 1/250 of a second.
I found the lens very convenient to carry along on nature hikes due to its small size and light weight (18.6 ounces). The lens fits well in a Bluecell Black Medium Lens Pouch. I did find that the zoom ring on the lens was a little sticky and didn’t zoom smoothly. The lens is reasonably priced at less than $500 on Amazon.
At the sub $500 price, this lens is a decent option until faster primes start to develop for the micro four thirds line of cameras. It is rumored that Panasonic is working on some faster long primes for micro four thirds cameras.