Andy Quinn Wants to Know about Lumix G9 Birds In Flight

Posted Nov. 17th, 2017 (4 weeks ago) by Daniel J. Cox

Hi Dan
Have you had a chance to take a Panasonic G9 out in the wild yet, preferably with a PL 100-400mm mounted?
I have the 100-400 and use it withe a GX8 body, mainly for wildlife – really interested to find out your thoughts on the G9 vs GX8 from an image quality point of view particularly.

I also find BIF hard with the GX8/100-400 as the body seems to initially acquire focus (AF-s single point)…then instead of holding that focus it tries to refocus and i always lose the subject then against the sky….really annoying as it acquires initial focus. This is the way I used to shoot on a Nikon D610 with Sigma 150-600 sport lens with far greater success. Any ideas?

I am mightily tempted by the G9 (I bet a GX9 is not far behind too).

Anyway thanks for sharing your work /process and thoughts with all, its appreciated, especially by amateurs such as myself.

Kind regards

Thanks for writing Andy. As much as I like the GX8, I really do not consider it a good choice for wildlife. Especially with a lens as powerful as the Leica 100-400mm. The 100-400mm, when extended out to it’s longest reach is effectively 800mm. That is extreme magnification and with that much power, it gets harder to find your subjects due to the narrow tunnel-like view you get when looking through the (EVF) viewfinder. Add to that, the GX8’s side mounted, rangefinder-like EVF, which creates a parallax issue due to the EVF not being directly over the lens barrel. This, along with the extreme magnification, makes it very difficult to quickly and easily line up your subject. Even though the GX8’s EVF is only an inch or so off center from the lens, that one inch is seriously increased when pointing the 800mm’s at a subject 100 yards or more out and trying to find that subject while looking through the EVF. Now take these two issues with the GX8 and add a relatively small subject, a bird or birds, that are flying quickly, and you have a recipe for lots of frustration getting great images. I personally think you would have far luck with either the G85 or GH5. The G9 will possibly due even better since it’s going to have the newest AF capabilities.

Hyacinth Macaw, mating pair exhibiting courtship behavior. Pantanal, Brazil. Lumix GH5 with Leica 100-400mm lens. ISO 500

The next thing you want to consider is which AF Pattern you’re using. For birds in flight, I typically use the 225 Area or the Custom Muti with AF set to AF-C. I’ve had reasonably good luck with these settings on Birds in Flight. That said, Panasonic is still playing catchup with the likes of Nikon and Canon when it comes to world class “Predictive AF” which is what we’re dealing with photographing subjects that move as fast as Birds in Flight. I recently ran some tests with the GH5 and the Nikon D500. The subjects were cars on a highway moving at 60-80mph straight at the camera. The GH5 did extremely well, actually better than the D500. But with more erratic subject matter, like flying birds, I’m finding it’s not producing the results I used to get with my Nikons. The GH5 is getting very close however and I’m confident firmware updates are going to bring the Lumix cameras within a few frames of what the Nikon can do. The G9 may already be in line to do this.

Snow geese lift off from a small pond at Bosque del Apache NWR. New Mexico. Lumix GX8 with 100-400mm zoom. ISO 320

Snow geese lift off from a small pond at Bosque del Apache NWR. New Mexico. Lumix GX8 with 100-400mm zoom. ISO 320

As you most likely can tell from my ramblings above, I’ve not shot the G9 yet. I had a chance to get a pre-production model Lumix USA wanted me to test and shoot sample images with. But I had to turn them down due to being out of the country for three months and there was no way to get it in time for a deadline they had. Oh’well, that’s lifSometimesmes you’re in the right spot, soetimes not, but I will be shooting one by early December. January 1, 2018 I’ll be starting the first of our three Photo Tours to Bosque del Apache where we’re going to have lots of flying geese and cranes. Stay tuned to the Blog for more details on Birds In Flight from Bosque del Apache. Better yet, come join us. We still have one spot left on the second Bosque del Apache tour. We could then put it through its paces together and you would see how it works first hand.

Thaks for the great question and adding your voice to the Corkboard/Blog community


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There is 1 comment on this post…
  1. AndyOn Nov. 17th, 2017 (4 weeks ago)

    Thanks for the reply Dan, I will have to be patient!
    Wow the Bosque del Apache tour looks awesome, maybe if I win the lottery I can come on that and buy a new G9….🤓

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