After posting yesterday’s entry, thoughts of bird photography options kept my mind busy. As I entered a local park this morning, there was a notable quietness.
“If there are no birds anyway,” I queried myself, “then why do I need a long lens or a new birding setup?” Before the question settled well in my conscious mind, a familiar sound caught my attention. It was one of my Red-Whiskered Bulbul friends. A few steps further, and his yellow-vented cousins announced their presence. Five minutes later, one of my friends there, a Stork-Billed Kingfisher, showed up in a familiar spot with his staccato greeting.
I get it, I thought. Many critters later, just as I had decided to head for home, the distinctive call of a Plaintive Cuckoo pierced the air. As I’d not seen one in this particular park in some years, I took it as a sort of omen.
Good as the Lumix 70-300mm may be when the setup nails autofocus, it’s not long enough in most instances, something that got proven several times today. But after poring over numerous retreads and MF options, the only weather-sealed L-mount lens that’s long enough is, IIRC, about 2570 grams deployed. Forget that!
Too bad Canon chose to configure its spectacular RF 100-400mm as an almost disposable lens. No more than regular, careful use of my last copy had it showing signs of wear prior to its departure. Without going back to R lenses again (NO!), it looks as though M43 is the only format that offers options to satisfy the weight and sealing criteria.
But even there, what? The Panleica 100-400mm is a spectacular lens, but with a frighteningly thin mount flange that has an unreliable reputation. And I’d rather have the PDAF of Oly anyway if I go that route. Fuji is a brand with which I have no experience other than with the dreadful X-E1, and whose long glass wasn’t getting the best reviews last time I looked.
Sure, the simplest solution of all would be the excellent optics of the Sigma 100-400mm paired with a TC-1411 as needed. But focus-by-wire sucks on the lens, and the setup’s AF can miss a fair amount. And no weather sealing past the mount. Still, I have the feeling that if I venture off L-mount, it’ll be the start of yet another journey down a rabbit hole.
Whatever the case, my critter friends were a welcome sight today. Even with a too-short lens.