Saturday, August 2, 2014

Combining Systems - Micro 4/3 (Lumix GX7) and Nikkor Super Telephoto 500mm f4 AiP Lens

Just for fun, I decided to take out my enormously heavy Nikkor AiP 500mm f4 lens, and mount my Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 body to it, for some bird photography. That's right, the body mounts to the lens in my mind, as it's tiny in size compared to the big telephoto.
I put the combination on my even heavier Gitzo tripod with Manfrotto gimbal mount, and commenced to photographing wading birds at my local nature walk. I set the GX7's in-body image stabilizer to 500mm, but left it on. You would usually turn it off when using a tripod.
Here's an example shot of a great blue heron.
Portrait of a GBH, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, Nikkor AiP 500mm f4 Lens (Manual Focus)
iso 1600, f8, 1/1000 sec.
With an equivalent field of view to a 1000mm lens on full-frame 35mm, it's obviously a challenge to manually focus this big lens, and hold it steady enough to get a decent shot, even at 1/1000 second exposure. The manual focus magnifier and focus peaking helped immensely, especially the magnifier. The peaking seems to be a little too forgiving, overestimating the depth of field at this long focal length.
This bird actually was a little too close for me to get the shot I wanted, not your normal situation in bird photography.
Even at iso 1600, the noise levels are quite reasonable with the GX7.
So, rather than worry about carrying a tele-converter to get just a little more reach from my 500mm lens, I can just carry the GX7 body! It probably weighs less than a converter, and you don't lose an f-stop of light gathering. Pretty cool.
Now that I know it technically works okay, I need to go back and see if I can get some more interesting images with this combination.