After thinking through the m43 issues, the next lightest option started to look better. Recalling claims from some owners that the flange of the Panleica lens was attached by screws to a plastic base, deemed unrepairable by Panasonic, any such eventuality would not be replaceable, either.
The next alternative was Sony, an a6400 paired with a 100-400mm GM, a combo I previously owned and liked about three years ago. Like many good pieces, it was ditched in favor of “one more try” with Leica, something not likely to happen again.
Pre-covid and during the salad days of mirrorless, at least twenty stores within an hour of where I am would have had ready stock. Today it took some pavement-pounding to find just one. No birds in a short afternoon walk, but it’s obvious I have the high quality optic I wanted, and a competent camera that—at the very least—can acquire focus accurately and reasonably quickly.
Having to scrounge for Sony gear in a place where the brand is the holy grail of consumer electronics was a wake-up call to the fact that I need to start making more choices I can stick with over time.
A quick stop in the morning afforded a chance to shoot the Lumix S 70-300mm against some known targets. Using AF-S this time, I got some incredibly sharp results, leading me to think that might be a better default focus option when critter chasing—especially since most of the birds I’ve gotten with this setup so far have been perched.
Fact is, though, when these tiny critters start flitting and fidgeting, not even the mighty R5 can do better than 80% with critical accuracy. The main fault with the CL and Lumix lens isn’t focus speed; it’s accuracy on low contrast subject matter or in low light. Where PDAF can refine to the last millimeter in those instances, contrast detect can’t.
With the CL’s IQ, though, it’s always worth a few extra clicks to get it right . . .