Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark ll Leica 100-400mm

Posted Jan. 19th, 2017 by Daniel J. Cox

Ever since the announcement of the new Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark ll I’ve received a great deal of questions about how this camera will work with the Panasonic Leica 100-400mm zoom. Thankfully, I finally received the new Olympus, and this last week I spent time at Bosque del Apache NWR shooting the combination. Overall, the combination seems quite positive though there is one known issue we’ll discuss.

Dan shooting the Lumix G85 with the Leica 100-400mm as well as having the new Olympus OM-D EM-1 with 30mm F/4 hanging off his shoulder.

Dan shooting the Lumix G85 with the Leica 100-400mm as well as having the new Olympus OM-D EM-1 with 300mm F/4 hanging off his shoulder. Photo courtesy of my Mylio.com buddy JP Duplessis

This is not an extensive review on the new Olympus camera or the Leica 100-400mm zoom. It’s quite simply a short report on what I experienced during a shoot that contained subject matter I would most typically want to use this combination of camera and lens on, flying birds and general wildlife.

AF Settings For Birds In Flight

Since this was the first time using this new body I decided to keep the AF settings simple. Like all options on the pro version Olympus cameras, there are a myriad of ways to setup the AF. I choose settings,  AF-C with the FPS set to Sequential High, that are virtually identical to what I used to set on my Nikons. I did not use AF Tracking though I hope to give that a try in the future.

A pair of sandhill cranes lift off from the small lake and head out to feed. Photo shot with the Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark ll and the Leica 100-400mm zoom.

A pair of sandhill cranes lift off from the small lake and head out to feed. Photo shot with the Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark ll and the Leica 100-400mm zoom at 400mm (800mm equivalent)

None of the examples I will be sharing are what I would consider perfect for showing how this camera can track a moving subject coming straight at the camera. We’ll have to wait for the Speeding Pooch Test for that kind of information. That I hope to do within the next 30 days.

A pair of sandhill cranes in flight heading out to feed. Photo shot with the Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark ll with Leica 100400mm zoom.

A pair of sandhill cranes in flight heading out to feed. Photo shot with the Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark ll with Leica 100400mm zoom at 400mm (800mm equivalent)

However, I do think the samples I’m sharing will show this camera and lens combination performs relatively well in a situation—bird’s flight—that is typically about as difficult as many will ever try to shoot. Think of this as being the worse case scenario and everything else should be mostly a piece of cake.

AF Pattern Selection

On this particular shoot I used a group of nine spots, all placed in the center of the frame for the AF target. On the new Olympus you an select 1, 5, 9 or the entire screen. There may be more options but these are the ones that came up and were offered when I pushed the AF Selection Fn1 button on the upper right corner of the rear of the camera.

AF pattern on rear LCD

AF pattern on rear LCD

Known Issue With AF Limiter

A known issue that is being discussed across the Internet relates to a problem with the 100-400mm AF Limiter being set to anything other than FULL. There are only two positions on the 100-400mm AF Limiter, one is FULL and the other is 5M-Infinity. If the lens is set to 5m-Infinity, the lens locks up and the IS does some strange vibrations. Not sure what is going on but most likely this will be fixed with a firmware update to either the camera or the lens or possibly both.

AF Limiter switch has been known to be an issue when it's set to 5m-Infinity.

AF Limiter switch has been known to be an issue when it’s set to 5m-Infinity.

Something Strange I Haven’t Figured Out Yet

Everything seemed be working well with the new camera and lens until I tried shooting a couple of static subjects where the lens focused properly, but the image looks like image stabilization was blurring the image. I’m wondering if either the camera in-body IS needs to be shut off or the lens IS needs to be shut off. As far as I know they do not work together like the Dual IS we have when using the Lumix bodies. I didn’t shut either off and now that I’m reviewing these images, I think that must have been the reason for the horrible quality. Would love to hear from anyone seeing the same problems with both IS devices turned on or even better, which one should we turn off. I’ll be doing more tests and adding them to the blog.

Doves in a tree are extremely soft and look like possibly in camera IS and lens IS were fighting each other. Image shot at 1/320th. of a second so camera shake was not an issue.

Doves in a tree are extremely soft and look like possibly in-camera IS and lens IS were fighting each other. Image shot at 1/320th of a second so camera shake was not an issue.

For those who really want to see a sequence of images that were shot in a burst and have the ability to download for your own personal reference—viewing only, no reproductions of any kind—here is a link where you can get the collection of images in the slideshow below in full size JPEGs. I’ve done no sharpening or editing to them of any kind. Please note I added a huge watermark to these since I’m allowing them to be downloaded. The slide show below is not meant to be a showcase. It’s only meant to give you an idea of what the images look like.


I just shot a series of tests with the following settings. The images below are 100% crops of each image and to my eyes frame from Series #3 looks the best. Series #1 Camera IS to Auto, Lens IS on

Series 1 Camera IS to Auto, Lens IS on

Series 1
Camera IS to Auto, Lens IS on

Series #2 Camera IS to Auto, Lens IS off

Series 2 Camera IS to Auto, Lens IS off

Series 2
Camera IS to Auto, Lens IS off

Series #3 Camera IS off, Lens IS on

Series 3 Camera IS off, Lens IS on.

Series 3
Camera IS off, Lens IS on

What’s strange about these tests is that as far as I can recall, all of the birds in flight were shot with both in-camera IS and lens IS turned on as were the doves in the tree. Why the moving images are fine and the static is not, I don’t have any clue. However, based on these latest tests, I would suggest shutting off in-camera IS and leaving the lens IS on. So that’s it for now. Will be giving this lens and camera combination lots more tests. For any of you out there that have used these two together I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Stay tuned.

Add Your Voice!
There are 90 comments on this post…
  1. Alan DunnOn Apr. 3rd, 2023 (11 months ago)

    I’ve owned an Olympus OM-D E-M1 MK II and Panasonic Leica 100-400mm for around two years and have taken around 200k images with the combination.

    The OIS works up to around 1/800 shutter speeds. Faster than that the result is better if you just use the IBIS IS-1 setting.

    The IBIS IS-1 works up to around 1/2000 shutter speeds. Faster than that it negatively impacts the images and should be turned off.

    BIF photos are a lottery at best – you can have the green square over the bird’s eye and still get photos that are soft and out of focus.
    Best results for BIF require all IBIS and OIS turned off and a shutter speed of at least 1/3200 or better and a focal length of 300mm or less.
    There’s no noticeable difference between mechanical and electronic shutter for BIF – They are equally poor.

    For perched birds you will get best results using either S-AF or MF. C-AF is a lottery regardless of settings. The single small or large square are the best option in most cases.

    Where this combination excels is at slower shutter speeds as the focus system and OIS seem to work much better.

    Another thing to mention is Camera firmware. My best pictures were using Camera firmware 3.0 and Lens firmware 1.4.
    I’m currently on Camera Firmware 3.7 – and the image quality is terrible – I’m not sure why. Olympus / OM System don’t believe me.

    Overall, I’m pretty much finished with this combo as it’s just too difficult to get good results from consistently.


  2. R. L. HenneOn Jun. 16th, 2020

    I had a conversation with an Olympus tech today about the Lens I/S Priority setting and body vs. lens I/S (responding to a question I had submitted). He explained that the Olympus body’s “Lens I/S Priority” setting is ONLY useful with older Panasonic OIS lenses that DO NOT have an OIS ON/OFF switch on the lens. (I didn’t know these existed, as I only have the 100-400!). For any Olympus or Panasonic lens that DOES have a lens switch, this setting does absolutely nothing (as the manual says)!

    For an Olympus body with an Olympus lens that DOES have a switch (e.g 12-100), turning the lens switch ON or OFF turns all stabilization (both lens and body) completely ON or OFF. Stabilization is cooperative with the body and lens, and there is NO WAY to use JUST the in-body or JUST the in-lens stabilization system!

    For an Olympus body with a Panasonic lens that DOES have a switch (e.g. 100-400), the lens switch turns the LENS OIS ON or OFF, and the camera body’s settings must be used to turn the in-body stabilization ON or OFF. The two systems DO NOT cooperate, so you MUST have one of the systems turned OFF!

    As many have said, for long telephotos, the lens OIS is most likely the better choice due to physics…Hope this helps.

  3. Richard BachrachOn May. 21st, 2020

    I’m wondering if you have updated the test results for the 100 to 400 like a lens on Olympus I am renting the lens for a week and I have the newest Olympus om-d e-m1 Mark 3 body.
    still feel best to turn off image stabilization in the body and leave it on in the lens?

  4. AndreasOn Sep. 2nd, 2019

    Do you still shoot with om d e1 mark2 with leica 100-400? Whar do you think now 2 yaers later? How does it work with birds in flight?

  5. Margaret LiddonOn Jan. 21st, 2019

    i have just got a Om E1-Mk11 and am presently researching the 100-400 lens you have been discussing in your blog. Appreciate the information and responses. Off topic, I have a EM5 MK11 and use a Pana 100-300 lens with this. On researching this lens before I purchased it I did read a report that you can have trouble focusing if the stabilizer in switched on both in the camera and also on the lens. The article I read suggested shutting the stabilizer off in the lens and using the one in the camera as it is better. Wondering if this would also work for the EM1 Mk!!

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 21st, 2019

      Margaret, thanks for the question. It’s true that the Panasonic 100-300mm is not compatible with both in camera and in lens IS on an Olympus body. When using this lens with the EM1 Markll you have to choose one or the other. I would also agree that the in-body IS in the camera would be better than the lens IS. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have other questions I appreciate you stopping by.

  6. Barry DillonOn Apr. 29th, 2018

    I notice in your rickshaw shots you are using the IS auto setting in camera. My research on this is that the auto setting is for the panning direction. As such the IBIS would not be active in all directions for a static shot. For static shots I use Ibis in all directions setting. This would explain your static rickshaw shots and moving objects results

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn May. 1st, 2018

      Hmmm….. Will take a look Barry. That’s good info. Thanks for your advise.

  7. Evan SpellmanOn Jan. 15th, 2018

    Dan,i follow your posts with great enthusiasum! very good work you do!
    ive said this before and will say it again, the lumix 100-400mm is optically super versatile and ive personally photographed many stunning images.birds in flight,hockey games etc with my omd em1 mk2 and this lens.
    im on my second copy which has the same zoom mechanism issue which everyone on the internet has ad nuseum discussed.
    I phoned Panasonic canada and the Camera store in Calgary AB and both were dismayed that my 2nd copy had the sticky zoom.
    it takes 50-60 ft/lbs of rotation force to break the zoom free after stopping in almost any spot between 100 and 400mm.
    I need that lens to use and not in the shop waiting for a replacement again!
    this is not a rant,simply talking about a super good tool which i incorporate in my photography,one that has a total bs limitation that ive learned to live with.
    all the best and great light and photo hunting for 2018!

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 24th, 2018

      Evan, I feel your pain on the less than silky zoom mechanism. Lets hope the huge success of this lens inspires Lumix to step up the quality in the next iteration of this wonderful zoom, whenever it may come.

  8. Peggy WangOn Oct. 30th, 2017


    Thanks for your reply but I’m using the OMD-Mark II, not the Panasonic GH5 and there isn’t a similar button on the Oly that I can find. I’ll dig through the manual again. I think I will need to customize a button to be able to switch quickly between single AF & C-AF so I don’t have to go into the menu function.

    I just read your blog post on your Alaska trip/Puffin & Otter shots & noted your comment about the Oly being better with C-AF on birds flying across the camera view than birds coming at the camera & I totally agree. I’m still considering a switch to the GH5 but after reading your post, I’m wondering if I would gain that much. Both amazing bodies but each with their own sets of strengths vs weaknesses.

    Thanks again,


    • Earl FleckOn Nov. 11th, 2017

      Hi Dan and Peggy and others,

      Just found your exchanges on using the Panasonic 100-400 or the Oly 300mm Pro with either the Panasonic GH5 or the Oly EM1.2. I found many of the comments in your exchanges very interesting.

      I currently own an Oly EM1.2 with 300 mm PRO, 40-150 Pro and 12-100 Pro lenses. For a year I have used continuous autofocus without tracking as the CF-Tracking mode, in my hands, gave me fewer keepers than simple CF mode. Recently the Olympus US website published an article by Scott Bourne entitled “Using OM-D E-M1 Mark II Autofocus for Bird Photography.” You can find this article by doing a Google search or go to the GetOlympus site. I used Bourne’s suggestions on using continuous autofocus plus tracking on my EM1.2 in Botswana three weeks ago. I was very impressed and got far more BIF keepers than I did four months ago in Costa Rica using CF (and no tracking.) Just a suggestion you might want to try.

      However, I continue to use S-AF MF mode on my EM1.2 for perched birds rather than any other mode. Almost every time I autofocus on a stationary bird (on the eye if possible) I need to adjust the focus some to make the eye and the fine feather structure around the eye distinct. If the animal is cooperative, I will use magnification and focus peaking as an assist to exact manual focusing. If I took a quick shot using AF only, the image was often somewhat soft. If the bird cooperated I took the time to shift to manual focus override of S-AF-MF and tweak–I would get demonstrably better fine detail.

      I find it curious that the AF focusing is somewhat different from really sharp MF focusing. Is that normal? I have read reviews and examined online illustrations of test patters where AF appears to give very sharp focusing (without the need to manual focus.) Harking back to my years with Nikons, I wondered if my PRO lenses were out of calibration—autofocus not focused perfectly on the focal point. To check this out I pulled from my closet the self-calibration system I used with my Nikon lenses—LensAlign system. I set up the target and my EM1.2 on tripods, adjusted them to be on the same optional line and took pics wide open. My 300 mm Pro appears to be right on in calibration with the narrow band in-focus centered on the 0 (focal point) mark. My 40-150 Pro appears to back focus a bit with the in-focus region set back a little. My 12-100 mm Pro appears to be properly calibrated. So, I am pretty sure that my lenses are close to accurate in auto focusing. Still I am confused about the difference between good AF focusing (maybe a tad soft) and what I can achieve if the bird is cooperative and allows me the time to magnify, apply peaking and manual focus.

      Another observation from my Botswana (and recent Costa Rica trip) is that two bodies are necessary if you are using the Oly 300mm Pro. I had only one body and switch my Oly 300 mm Pro and 40-150mm Pro lenses as needed. Just to give you an example of the problems with this setup. I was using the 300mm Pro to take some shots of African Wild Dogs that were at a distance. Suddenly, about 10 of the Wild Dog surrounded a Spotted Hyena only twenty feet away from our Land Rover. So, just in front of me, I had a vicious fight going on and my Oly 300mm Pro was too big to get the scene in the frame. I’ve decided that I ought to look at the Panasonic 100-400 for just these situations. It would have been very easy to zoom out to pick up the entire scene instead of switching lenses. Will test the 100-400mm at the local professional camera store next week.

      Some will tell me that instead of getting the Panasonic 100-400, I might want to purchase another EM1.2 body since they are on sale now for exactly the same price as the Panasonic 100-400. However, I am thinking about compactness and weight. We go to New Zealand in February and I would dearly love a kit with only two lenses: my fantastic Oly 12-100 Pro and a Panasonic 100-400. This would cover an immense range and not be too bulky or heavy.



    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Nov. 12th, 2017

      Thanks, Earl, great input. I appreciate you sharing this insight with the rest of our readers.

  9. Peggy WangOn Oct. 6th, 2017


    Thanks for your reply–no need to apologize for not getting back right away. My birding trip to Manaus, Brazil was spectacular (242 life birds!). Photography (& birding) conditions were extremely challenging: v hot/humid (95+/95%+ humidity). Oly EM1Mark2 & Pan/L 100-400 managed it but occ, there were some hiccups with autofocus that I wondered might be d/t the weather but luckily, they were fleeting. We were on boats, in the dark rain forest, or the birds were far so that cut into the number of great shots but I still got some winners. Frustrating to have to use high ASAs more often than I would have liked. Great not to have to worry about the camera/lens getting wet in rainstorms.

    I ran across your settings for your current Panasonic for BIF. I was wondering if you had similar suggestions for the Oly Mark2? I’m going to try to “port” them over but ones specific to the Oly would be great.

    As for my shooting in S-AF+manual & still getting some BIF shots: I started doing this with the old Panasonic 100-300mm b/c as you commented, the C-AF on that lens is awful. I found I could get some good BIF shots if I used a fast (at least 1/100th sec) shutter with the 100-300 lens wide open but I had to nail the bird in the VF. I would use either 9 focus points or the whole screen. Maybe I developed a keen ability to follow a bird in flight with my eyes/VF.

    Now that I have the Pan/L 100-400, I do use C-AF more often than S-AF for BIF but since I am a birder first, I am looking at/photographing perched birds more often so I prefer to leave the Oly set at S-AF+Man as I find C-AF for perched birds to be suboptimal; i.e., more shots not in focus (C-AF needs movement to focus? Any thoughts?) plus I often need the manual focus.

    Can you suggest a v fast way for me to be able to switch to C-AF from S-AF? I presume I will have to program a button? Ideally, I would like to keep the settings I’m using in S-AF+Man, just switch to C-AF. The only way I know how to do that is go into menu which I leave at A1 (AF setting) then tab over to C-AF. But of course, this means I often lose the shot. I tried programming C1 on the main dial but have to put in generic settings which aren’t always right for that particular shot so I lose the shot anyway b/c the exposure/ASA/etc isn’t optimal.

    Many thanks.


    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Oct. 6th, 2017

      Peggy, I’m having one heck of a time understanding why you go into the a Menu to switch from AFS to AFC. There must be some miscommunication here. But just in case you missed a very simple feature I’m going to include a screen shot of page 88 from the GH5 manual. It shows the AFS/AFF AFC and Manual Focus switch. When going from AFS to AFC I simply change the Switch setting with my thumb. Are you aware of this switch?

  10. Andy QuinnOn Sep. 24th, 2017

    Hi Daniel.
    Slightly off topic apologies….
    I have a GX80/85 body with 100-400mm lens….find it hard to use the EVF for BIF – it momentarily blacks out when trying to acquire focus and hunts., (compared to my old Nikond610 with Sigma 150-600mm sport which i exchanged to get smaller rig).

    Am i much better off with GX8 viewfinder wise? Does it maintain a view while trying to focus?

    Thank you for any reply.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Sep. 24th, 2017

      Andy, sorry to hear of your disappointment with action using the GX80. Although the GX80 is a nice camera I would never consider this camera as a tool for action. Unfortuenly, you traded a very good system in for one that is not meant to do what you want it to. I hate to share this news with you but it is a reality. None of the GX series cameras are made for shooting wildlife. They can do it but it’s not easy. First of all, the GX80 is a rangfinder style camera with the EVF off-center from the lens. Shooting a 100-400mm with the EVF off to one side is extremely difficult with a lens as powerful as the 100-400mm. Ideally, you want to shoot any kind of action, when using a long telephoto like the 100-400mm, with a camera that has the EVF directly over the lens. This helps to find the subject faster because you can line the lens up properly, eye to subject.

      As far as your settings go, to get your EVF to show little to no blackout you need to change the Custom Menu Setting “Auto Review” duration time to OFF. You will find this option under the Custom tab and it’s called simply Auto Review. When you push the menu button that on the right side of the camera to select this setting you will notice times with the bottom one being 2 seconds. What is hard to see or know is there are two more options below 2 seconds. You have to scroll down and you will find OFF. Turning the option completely off will help. However, I have no idea if there are other issues with the GX80 that I’m unaware of that could affect the ability to keep the viewfinder clear to see your subject.

      Finally, have you read my Blog Post titled Birds in Flight Settings for Lumix Cameras? Your camrea should have most if not all these options. Follow that list and let me know if the changes are helpful. One last thing. If you really want to get serious about Birds in Flight the most inexpensive and Lumix that can actually do a very good job with flying birds is the G85. One step above that is the GH5. You have a great street camera, small, light and unobtrusive, but for wildlife and especially BIF, it’s just not the answer. Sorry for this difficult news.

  11. Peggy WangOn Aug. 31st, 2017

    When I was using C-AF & C-AF w/tracking, I was standing on a concrete pier at a harbor/breakwater on Lake Erie (near Cleveland) photographing Canada Geese, Double-crested Cormorants, Mallards & various gulls (mostly Herring & Ring-billed). Good success rate w/some awesome shots. I just tried to keep the bird in the VF & let the camera & lens do the rest. It helped that it was a bright sunny day, I’m sure.

    Puffins would likely be harder given their small size & more erratic flight. I’ve also tried photographing an Osprey that visits the small pond at my apt complex. Less luck using C-AF with that. My rough take on BIF & this set-up is the less straight line the flight pattern, the harder it is to use C-AF.

    My default setting is S-AF+Manual & 9 focus points, a setting I used over 98% of the time with my old Pan 100-300 with many successful pix incl wildlife & BIF. I’m actually more used to shooting S-AF as I never liked the C-AF on the older Oly/Pan 100-300. It will be interesting to see which setting I end up using more w/the Oly II/PL 100-400.

    I don’t know how to attach samples to this blog; o/w, I’d send a couple C-AFs to you.


    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Sep. 14th, 2017

      Peggy, sorry for tardy response. This somehow slipped through the cracks. Regarding your shooting Birds in Flight (BIF) on S-AF. I have no idea why this works. S-AF sets the focus on one spot and is then locked in that spot. A bird feeing through the air would fly past that focused spot in the sky and all other images will be out of focus. AF-C on the other hand actually allows the camera focus system to follow the subject, BIF, so it can predict where the bird will be for sharp focus. My experience with the original first generation 100-300mm was complete failure for anything that moved faster than maybe 5 mph. The OLD 100-300m was an absolute dog for moving subjects. Would love to know more about your AF settings to try and decipher why you and I have such absolute opposite experiences with BIF.

  12. Malcolm BondOn Aug. 24th, 2017

    Think it should be noted when comparing the performance of the GH5 Vs GX8, that currently (certainly in UK) that the GH5 body is almost x3 price of GX8!

  13. Peggy WangOn Aug. 23rd, 2017

    Thanks for your latest reply. Yes, I mis-typed on the Panasonic body, I meant GH5. I found it interesting, when I was doing more research, that altho the GH5 & Oly Mark II are both ranked v high, more than one pro reviewer commented they thought the Oly Mark II had faster focusing (I realize they use different focus systems), although not by much. General consensus seemed to be that the GH5 was far better for video but if that wasn’t the priority, then the Oly Mark II often edged out the GH5 in still photography.

    Of note, when I finally had a chance to really try out the C-AF & C-AF w/tracking, Lens #1 did superbly. Seems only stills shot with S-AF +manual were somewhat inconsistent (would only use manual if lens would not lock on in AF).

    Yes, I’m using the Lens IS, not the camera’s.

    Glad you are not seeing problems with the Oly Mark II & the PL 100-400. I accept that there is likely some User Error here as I get used to a long zoom.

    I decided to try another copy of the PL 100-400 b/c the shipping box had sustained some damage & the lens was not packed well in that box so Adorama was agreeable to my returning it (& they picked up return shipping, apologizing for the poor packing). I wanted to eliminate the possibility of shipping damage to the internal mechanisms. So far, the replacement lens seems better but I will be testing it more tomorrow. Lens #1 had a smoother zoom but it’s not bad on #2 & I figure it will loosen some. Who knew that a relatively expensive lens (by my standards!) would suffer manufacturing variations?

    Thanks again!


    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Aug. 23rd, 2017

      Peggy, I would be interested to know what the subject matter was during your testing of C-AF and C-AF With Tracking. I’m having less than stellar results with a very difficult subject, puffins in flight. What were you photographing?

  14. Mihai ANDREIOn Aug. 19th, 2017

    Following Olympus & Leica 100-400 mm experiences, we found here very useful information for using Olympus at the airshow.
    Thank you!

  15. Peggy WangOn Aug. 19th, 2017

    Yes, to eliminate confounding factors, I’ve left the limiter on the PL 100-400mm to Full even though the firmware update, as you say, fixed this. I’ll think about trying the Panasonic GH8 body but for now, I’m going to talk with Adorama where I bought the lens & see if they will exchange this lens for another just to make sure it’s not this particular lens.

    I’m not getting a lot of soft shots and I recognize there is the chance of user error. Switching from my old Panasonic 100-300mm to the 100-400mm has been an adjustment.

    I do seem to get better results leaving the IS priority on the Olympus set to ON, then switching the PL lens IS to ON. If I understand you & other posts (& the manual), this is the recommended combo?

    Is it also accurate that if I should switch the PL lens IS to OFF, then the Oly IS takes over?

    Thanks again for all your help. If I hear anything from Panasonic on this issue, I will pass on that info to you & your blog.


    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Aug. 20th, 2017

      Peggy, did you mean to say GX8 as opposed to what you wrote, “GH8”? There is no GH8. There is a GX8 and a G85. I love the GX8 but not for a wildlife camera, especially using the 100-400mm. Find the GX8 to be a great travel/people camera but I’m not a huge fan of the GX8 for wildlife and nature due to the EVF being off center of the lens. It is cheaper than the GH5 however. If cost is a fatter and you want to save some money, I would suggest the G85 over the GX8. But if you want to really do it right, you would have to go with the GH5. The GH5, like the Olympus OM-D EM-1 Markll, is in a class of its own. But the G85 is a very close second.

      I ran some tests tonight with the Olympus body and the 100-400mm lens and I saw no issues that I had when I first tried this combination over a year ago with regard to soft focus. As far as I can tell, the soft focus issue has been solved. Additionally, we have one of our NE Explorers, Alan Coffey, who’s on the trip I’m currently on. Allan is also shooting the Olympus Markll and the 100-400m Leica. He confirms that he’s not seeing any issues regarding focus. Here’s a link to some of Allan’s work https://naturalexposures.com/explorers/profiles/profile/AllanCoffey/

      From what I’ve been told and based on the tests I ran, it’s best to shut off the Olympus in camera image stabilization. You want to leave the lens IS ON. If you do switch the lens IS off AND leave the camera IS on, then the camera IS takes over. However, with long telephoto lenses, Image Stabilization is more effective in the lens. This has to do with the lens elements being closer to the center of axis, thus the lens elements don’t have to move as far to correct IS as opposed to the IS in the body, all the way out at the rear end of the lens. In body IS requires more movement from the sensor to correct. That’s why Olympus has started putting IS in the lenses as well, as they have in the new 300mm F/4. Hope this makes sense. In short, in Lens IS is like a teeter totter, with the lens elements in the middle, as opposed to the far ends of the teeter totter board. Hope that helps. Let me know if I’m clear as mud?

  16. Peggy WangOn Aug. 18th, 2017


    Many thanks for your thoughts & suggestions. I have the latest firmware for both the Oly EM1 MII & the PL 100-400mm. Adorama provided me 90 days of email contact with a Panasonic “personal assistant” & she was told that the firmware updates were supposed to fix the static shot soft focus issues many of us have encountered w/this combo. She said she would go back to Panasonic to see if she could find any more info but I haven’t heard back from her yet.

    Sooo, with a birding trip to Brazil coming up fast in early Sept, I will likely have to stay w/this combo for now but I will definitely look at the Panasonic GH5 as the Oly menus & unmarked buttons do drive me crazy even though I shoot photos at least weekly. I’m outside my 30-day return on the Oly MII but likely can sell it for a decent price if I make the switch. Would be concerned about only having a couple weeks to learn the GH5.

    I saw a review of the PL 100-400 on the Adorama site by an Oly MII user where he said he switched to short burst mode & that improved the soft focus problems he was having. He thought his issues were from shutter shock but in one of your posts you commented you didn’t think that was the issue but I’ll give it a try. He commented that he just discards the first 1 or 2 that are s/t soft. Any thoughts on that?? Of course w/bird photography, that one soft shot could be the one I really wanted!!

    Thanks again for your suggestions.


    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Aug. 19th, 2017

      Peggy, sorry to hear about your ongoing issues with the Olympus body and the Leica 100-400mm. The Lumix firmware for the 100-400mm addressed AF issues when the lens Limiter switch was set to 5-Infinity. Just to be certain, is your Limiter switch set to 5-Infinity or do you have it on FULL. Either way, the firmware was supposed to fix this problem.

      AF Limiter switch set to FULL

      Unfortunately, we’re starting to see some of the limitations of the cooperative efforts of Olympus and Panasonic sharing the MFT mount. Based on the firmware update you should not be having this issue, however, so far, neither company has addressed the incompatibility of their respective Dual/Sync IS systems. In other words, if you really want the most optimum Image Stabilization, you have to go with the same brand lens and same brand camera. I personally think you could easily come up to speed on the Lumix GH5 before your trip if you give yourself a few hours before you leave. The GH5 is a fabulous camera, easy to use, extremely durable and works beautifully with lens and camera IS. Let me know if you go the GH5 route and feel free to come back and ask questions. I would be happy to help get you up and running.

  17. PeggyOn Aug. 4th, 2017


    Wow, thanks for the quick reply! Yes, you figured out what I meant about the lens IS setting–I have it ON as you highlighted and the IS switch turned ON on the 100-400. If I understand you and the manual correctly, this means I’m only using the PL lens IS and not the Oly stabilization? If I switch this menu item to OFF, then I’d be switching to the Oly’s IS only or do I also have to turn the IS switch on the lens to OFF also to do that? Sorry, I just want to make sure I try all the possible combos myself to see if I can fix this soft focus issue. Also, I’m not using the lens limiter for now.

    BTW, the zoom on my copy of the 100-400 is v smooth. Only the random soft focus is driving me crazy, a problem I never had with the Panasonic 100-300. But the IQ on the 100-400 when it’s on is amazing.

    I have a lot invested in the Oly Mark II but if I wanted to consider switching to a Panasonic body, which model do you recommend for me, a birder first who also enjoys getting great bird shots when I can? I did a lot of research before going with the Oly Mark II & it seemed to be considered the fastest focus of the MFT. It is certainly faster than the older EM1.

    Many thx.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Aug. 10th, 2017

      Peggy, I’m not 100% sure if you have to turn the lens IS off if the Olympus menu is set to in camera IS only. I may be able to check for you on my Olympus in the next few days, but… if it were me, I would just set the lens IS to off to be sure. Regarding the AF Limiter, have you downloaded the most up to date firmware for the Leica 100-400mm? It contains a fix for the AF Limiter issue.

      Great to hear your zoom mechanism is smooth. I recently updated to the most current production copy and I’m happy to say my zoom mechanism is much, much improved over the first version I had that was one of the first released.

      Your thought about replacing your Olympus with a Lumix body is a reasonable idea. One of the things I Love about the Micro Four Thirds cameras is that we do have choices between Olympus and Panasonic. However… without a doubt, it’s still best to stick with the manufacturer that is the same as your lenses. The main reason is the benefit of each companies Dual IS/Sync IS. Currently, Olympus and Panasonic do not support the others Dual IS/Sync IS capabilities so using the lens of the other is less than ideal.

      If you are serious about getting the best Lumix possible for action photography (Birds in Flight) the current best option is the Lumix GH5. Is the GH5 as good as the Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark ll? I’m not sure. I’m currently still doing tests with both to try and determine which is more capable at fast moving objects. Either way, I doubt you would be disappointed with either camera and yes, both cameras are considerably faster and more importantly, more accurate, than the older OM-D EM-1. Fast is not the only factor for moving subjects. The AF has to be accurate and that’s way more difficult than just being fast. The key to quality Birds in Flight is Predictive AF capabilities and both the GH5 and OM-D EM-1 do a very good job.

      One other caveat to keep in mind is how easy the camera is to use. In other words, how complicated is the camera to operate and REMEMBER how to operate? I’m impressed with the Olympus’ technology but I use both Lumix and Olympus and I find the Lumix cameras far easier to navigate quickly and remember what I did. For example, one of the things Olympus is very proud of is the fact almost none of their buttons and dials are marked and most have the ability to customized to do almost anything the camera is capable of.

      Like the GH3 and GH4 that came before the GH5, all of these cameras are the most logical and easy to use I’ve ever shot. All because of these three buttons shown above. These three buttons are something I use constantly and nobody places them in such an obvious and convenient place. Each can be used with the camera to your eye, during the shooting process. NOBODY does this better and this is an extremely important feature.

      On the other hand, the Lumix GH5 has several buttons, three of them  I feel are the most important buttons on the camera. They are WB, ISO and +/- EV Exposure Compensation. These three buttons are tools I use constantly and on the GH5 they are front and center, right behind the Shutter button, always marked and easy to recall. Olympus has none of the same buttons marked. If you use your Olympus camera virtually every day, you would most likely not have any issues with the Olympus not having them marked. However, if you’re like most folks, who shoot a few times a month, maybe as little as a few times a year, the Olympus is a very difficult to recall quickly when shooting situations change on the fly.

      Finally, even is the GH5 is a bit slower in Predictive AF, which I’m not saying it is, as I mentioned I’m still testing, it’s other tools are superb and AF is just one part of the overall puzzle for a quality camera. Sorry for the long winded answer but lots of things to consider when making your choice.


  18. PeggyOn Aug. 3rd, 2017

    Thanks for having a v informative blog. I joined the MFT camp awhile ago as I am a birder first & a bird photographer second and just could not see myself carrying a DSLR set-up for bird photography. That said, I come to digital photography from the film world with years of landscape photography with my old Pentax SLRs plus B&W darkroom work. Soooo, while I’m not a pixel-peeper, I do care about good resolution. My current camera is the Olympus EM1 Mark II which I finally moved to even though I was pretty happy with the older EM1. Definitely faster focusing & noticeable improvement in IQ; no regrets there. Now I’m trying out the Panasonic 100-400mm zoom after years with the Panasonic 100-300mm. I’ve gotten amazing shots with the Panny 100-300 even as I accepted the fact I would invariably miss some but what a convenient size/wt for birding & international travel.

    I, too, am noticing some odd soft-focus shots when I don’t expect them: sequential (not rapid fire) shots of a standing Great Blue Heron taken with a fast shutter speed. One shot will be tack-on sharp but the next frame will inexplicably be soft. Sort of like the problem you had with your shot of the doves in a tree. This a new lens (I tried a used lens from a responsible online dealer & this problem was much worse so I sent it back for a refund) and I do realize this zoom is going to take me awhile to get used to given it’s extra weight & length. Love the IQ when it gets it right but v frustrated when it doesn’t, particularly since I haven’t moved on to serious BIF shots with this lens yet so I feel like I’m not asking much of it at the moment.

    Currently, I’m using the lens body IS “on” which I understand means when I’m using the Panny 100-400, the Oly will not engage its stabilization but only the lens system will work. Is this correct? And does this setting also mean that if I want to try switching the Panny lens IS off, then the Oly camera stabilization takes over? I have the limiter turned off on the 100-400 & so far, have not felt that searching was an issue. I shoot S-AF-M, usually with the AF grid of 9 squares.

    I never had this problem with the Panasonic 100-300 on either Oly body so I’m trying to decide if I should exchange this lens for another (I have 30 days) or chalk it up to user error?? Any advice? I don’t think I would be happy with the Oly 300mm pro as I still frame shots & I think that having to frame with my feet after years with zooms would be frustrating. Plus it’s heavier & even more $$$.

    Many thanks!

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Aug. 3rd, 2017


      I’ve copied your part of your comment above since I’m a little confused. You write, “Currently, I’m using the lens body IS “on” which I understand means when I’m using the Panny 100-400, the Oly will not engage its stabilization but only the lens system will work. Is this correct? My confusion comes from the “I’m using the lens body IS”. Do I understand correctly that you wanted to say you are only using the “lens IS”. If so, yes, you are correct. When using a non-Olympus lens with IS built into the lens, what Lumix refers to as OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) Olympus recommends you turn the in camera IS off. Below is a screen shot from the Olympus OM-D EM-1 Markll manual, page 114 that shows the Olympus suggestion.

      Unfortunately, I’ve not had a chance to really give the 100-400mm and Olympus much more time together. I need to do that for two reasons. The test you’re seeing here was with a non-production 100-400mm lens. Since getting the production model, which I’ve shot for almost a year now, I’ve had much, much-improved results, with the Lumix camera, Leica lens combination. Additionally, I recently purchased another copy, the newest 100-400mm, which I feel has a considerably smoother zoom mechanism compared to the first 100-400mm I bought when it was initially released. So this new lens could give different results than what I saw almost two years ago with the prototype 100-400mm.

      In conclusion, I will tell you that although we technically have the ability to mix and match Olympus/Lumix lens with the each others camera, I find best results matching Olympus to Olympus and Lumix to Lumix/Leica. Also, I agree with you about wanting to carry a zoom as opposed to the Olympus 300mm F/4 fixed. I have that lens and it sits along side my 100-400mm in my camera case. The one I typically reach for is the 100-400mm. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any further questions.

  19. StevenOn Jul. 14th, 2017

    Has anybody noticed any extra purple fringing when using the Panasonic Leica lens on Olympus bodies?

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jul. 16th, 2017

      I’ve not seen any issues with purple fringing Steven. Will do some additional tests to recheck, however.

  20. Sue NorthOn Jun. 9th, 2017

    Hi Olympus have a firmware update that fixed this.


    Sue North

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jun. 10th, 2017

      Great to hear Sue but could you specify exactly what you are referring to when you say “this”?

  21. Jean SoucyOn Jun. 9th, 2017

    Hello Daniel !
    I think I have the same problem with my EM-1 Mark II. In single autofocus mode, at 400 mm my pictures are a little bit blurred and even with a speed greater than 1/1500 sec. , camera IS off, Lens IS on.
    Did you made more tests to made the light with that frustrating problem
    I contacted Olympus a month ago and no one was aware of the problem. They opened a file on the problem. Also on the site
    On the other hand in continuous and continuous auto focus mode with tracking I don’t have problems.

    I also have a Panasonic DMC-G85 camera and I have no problem at all with the 100-400.Panasonic lens.

    Is it a matter of settings, I do not know and I do not know what to do to fix the problem unless to buy the 300mm Olympus + 1.4x. But too expensive.

    Thank’s for your super job.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jun. 10th, 2017

      Jean, I haven’t retested this situation since this blog was posted. Will try and give it another try in July when I get back from Europe. Thaks for adding your voice to the conversation.

    • Jean SoucyOn Jun. 10th, 2017

      Thank you Daniel for taking my request into consideration
      Have a nice trip.

  22. SergeyFMOn Apr. 24th, 2017

    I’m using GX8 + pl100-400. Do you think oly markII would be a better body for kinda wildlife photography? My thought is that GX8 still the best (GH5?). I’m especially interested in auto-focus performance. Many thanks in advance.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Apr. 27th, 2017

      Sergey, I do like and use the GX8 but I feel there are much better cameras for wildlife. I’m not a fan of the Rangefinder style of the GX8 when using long telephoto lenses. I love it as a people/travel camera. More traditional cameras styles such as the G85 or GH5 give an advantage by placing your eye directly over and in line with the lens while looking through the EVF. This is a huge advantage as opposed to the Rangefinder that has your eye off to the left from the lens. With a long telephoto such as the 100-400mm, zoomed out to the farthest setting 400mm (800mm equivalent) makes it hard to find the subject when your eye is not directly over the lens. Just my two cents but something I’ve noticed a great deal having shot the GX89 with the 100-400mm for over a year.

  23. Claudia NixOn Apr. 15th, 2017

    This is the only blog I read with regularity. Thank you for going out and experimenting and then writing about your experiences so someone like me can learn! 🙂 I was waiting for the GH5 so I had bought the 100-400 mm lens in preparation but, in January, I bought the Olympus EM1.II. I have been too bogged down with my “real” job to have much time to play these past months but tomorrow, I’m heading out to do some birding. I knew your blog would have the information I needed. Thank you! Can’t wait to go explore and experiment in the morning!

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Apr. 15th, 2017

      Good luck Claudia getting photos of our beloved birds. Stop back and let us know how it went. Thaks for your support.

  24. D. JohansonOn Apr. 15th, 2017





    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Apr. 15th, 2017

      Thanks for your input D. Johnson

  25. Simon HartmannOn Mar. 25th, 2017

    Hey, thanks again for your insights. Im not completely sure, if anyone has pointed out yet, that ALL OMD Olympus cameras have an option to choose “Lens priority” for IBIS vs. The panasonic 100-400. That works really well, as you dont have to do anything when switching lenses and it just automatikally usese the Lens IS which is preferable for long telephoto! (Like you pointed out, you want it to JUST WORK! I would totally agree!). I did a quick test today though with only an omd em10 mkii and found out, that Dual IS 2.0 at 400mm with the G85 would yield 2 out of three sharp images at 1/13th. Without DUAL IS 2 and just the lens on the olympus i had 2/3 sharp images at 1/13th. With only IBIS i had 1/2 at 1/25th. So in my little flawed test (I was sitting resting the elbow on the left knee, so standing would be much worse) the DUAL IS2 System didnt make that big difference, but AT 400mm the Lens Stabilisation was the strongest. I have to point out though, that the DUAL IS2 delivered more consistent, perfectly sharp results at 1/100th and 1/200th at a second with basically 9/10. The Olympus with only Lens IS at the same Shutter speeds (1/100th and 1/200th) only ever had 7/10, so for perfect sharp shots, the Dual IS 2.0 actually makes a difference. (And who would shoot wildlife with 1/25th anyway…)

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Mar. 25th, 2017

      Great input. Thanks for adding your voice Simon.

  26. Calvin PhungOn Feb. 16th, 2017

    Hello Daniel,

    I am planing to buy a new 4/3 camera body. I am using Panasonic GX8 with 100-400.
    Should I but Panasonic GH5 or Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark ll. Thanks for your recommendation.


    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Feb. 16th, 2017

      Calvin, I’ve not had a chance to shoot the GH5 yet and don’t suspect I will for another month or so. That being the case I can’t say for sure which one I can recommend completely. There will be an advantage using the 100-400mm with the GH5 due to the Dual IS (In camera and lens IS). I’m guessing if it’s similar to the G85 yo will have about 1 stop better low shutter speed advantage. Will be testing the GH5 when I finally get one. Sorry I can’t be more help. Thanks for your voice on the Blog and stay tuned. I’ll give you an honest report when I’ve had a chance to put the new camera through it’s paces.

  27. Anthony D.On Feb. 10th, 2017

    Hi Daniel, thank you for doing what you do! I’m really appreciative of the information/insights that’s shared in your articles/comments section. I currently I have a 100-400 and an EM1.1, I will be traveling to Africa and Indonesia for a spot of wildlife photography and was wondering whether I should invest in a G85 to pair with the 100-400? Though I was getting excellent results from the EM1.1 with the 100-400 I’m thinking whether it is worth spending on a second body for the dual IS of the G85/100-400 pair. Your insights from using both bodies in terms of IS would be most appreciated!

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Feb. 10th, 2017

      Hi Anthony, I just posted a quick test comparing the new Oly and the G85 with the Leica 100-400mm lens in low light and long shutter speeds. You can check it out here. https://naturalexposures.com/leica-100-400mm-comparison-lumix-olympus/ Thanks for the question. It was you who inspired me to shoot this test early this morning.

  28. Alan HalfhillOn Feb. 1st, 2017

    When shooting with this lens I have the E-M1ii stabilization set to Lens I.S. Priority to On in the menus. Getting great shots.


  29. Alan HalfhillOn Feb. 1st, 2017

    I have to say the I too love this combination. Bought the PL 100-400 last summer and have loved the performance on the GH4 and the the E-M5ii. On the E-M1ii it is even better. I am getting consistently great shots. Wonderful when you consider the focal length. This is a great combination.

    I did have the same issues with the focus limiter. Acted very weird, Not a big issue. Using burst mode getting a lot of keepers.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Feb. 2nd, 2017

      Excellent Alan. Great to hear this combo is working well for you. I just finished a 10 day shoot in Kenya using the G85 and EM-1 Mark ll with the 100-400mm and all are producing great results.

  30. Zetton NaraOn Feb. 1st, 2017

    IS issue, my comment. from Tokyo, Japan.
    first, you don’t show SS other than blur shots, so I can’t compare good shots and static object bad shots. so this is my guess:

    SS = 1/320s is around the highest shutter shock speed for In-body IS in general. 
    Do you use anti-shock (♦ sign) shutter mode?
    If not, set it as 0 second delay. please try if it resolves the issue.
    Or try SS faster like 1/500s

    I hope it may help…

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Feb. 2nd, 2017

      Hello Zetton, I don’t think is was a Shutter Shock issue. It’s just too blurry for even terrible Shutter Shock. I’m not sure of all my settings when I shot those images. I was shooting from the hip so to speak and have since been doing more tests with in body IS on/off, just lens IS etc. I’ve just returned from Kenya and used the same combo with the camera IS turned off, just lens IS, and all looks fabulous. I was using the Leica 100-400mm withe the EM-1 Mark ll as well as the Lumix G85. The one very big advantage the Lumix G85 has over the Olympus bodies is we don’t have to think about what settings for IS we need to set. You just put the 100-400mm on the Lumix bodies, make sure the IS switch is turned on and you are good to go with Dual IS. It’s a bit more complicated with Olympus and Leica.

    • ZettonOn Feb. 8th, 2017

      oh, you are right.
      100-400mm firmware update comes..

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Feb. 9th, 2017

      I just downloaded the newest update for the G85 and the 100 to 400 lens. It’s working beautifully together.

  31. Brian WadieOn Jan. 31st, 2017

    I’ve been using the 100-400 on the EM-1 mk2 for some time and would advise that its either / or for the IS systems, never both. For static shots at long range I think the OIS just about wins but for any situation where panning may be needed I would strongly recommend that the IBIS system is switched on and OIS off. Trying to pan using the OIS can cause the stabilisation system to crash with all sorts of nasty image shake effects

    My most successful set-up for flight shots is CAF with low speed electronic sequential, with shutter speeds in excess of 1/1600th sec if possible. I either use single point or 5 /9 point unless its a totally open and bland background when I would use all points

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Feb. 3rd, 2017

      Great info Brian. I just got back from Kenya where I had more time with the new EM-1 ark ll and the Leica 100-400mm. I completely agree with you regarding turning off In Camera IS when using the Leica 100-400mm and relying exclusively on the lens IS. Thanks for adding your thoughts on this.

    • Simon HartmannOn Mar. 4th, 2017

      im not sure, if i understood this right: The initial post was claiming, that the OLYMPUS IBIS was the better allrounder but esp. for panning (BIF and so on). He then continued to say, that the Pana Lens IS is only superiour in slow, steady longest focal-length shooting. Dans Reply seemed contrary though, as he claimed, his exp. was that it was best to turn Olympus IBIS OFF and use ONLY Lens IS… confusing… what is actually better now? Or does it even make a considerable difference, given the crazy good OLYMPUS IBIS…

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Mar. 5th, 2017

      Simon, since the Leica 100-400mm does not connect to the Olympus with the Olympus version of Dual IS, I think they call it Sync IS, it’s best to turn the camera IS off. Especially with the longer lens. In lens OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) is more effective than in camera IS for longer lenses. That’s why Olympus decided to build the OIS into the 300mm F/4.

  32. Jon ROn Jan. 31st, 2017

    Glad to see this BIF discussion with the OMD M1 II. I have used the M1 I and M1 II Bodies with Olympus 300mm f/4 ( with and without the 1.4x) and the two bodies behave differently. For the Mark II, the AF-C is available only in Sequential Low and if you don’t exceed 10 fps mechanical and 15 (I think) electronic shutter. For the Mark I body, AF-C is available if you keep the shutter speed less than 10 fps. TRACKING AF-C vs simply AF-C settings: Olympus, unlike Nikon, doesn’t have a Dynamic Single Point AF-C algorithm that will set a single point focus and then follow a BIF across the focusing screen. Unless you use the Tracking AF-C on the Mark II, one must keep the BIF on the selected active focus area selected (1, 5, 9 or all). More is better with clear backgrounds, but the trick is getting and holding focus when the birds jumps from cover or off contrasty water!
    Olympus seems to have put effort in implementing a fast TRACKING algorithm. I very much want so see reports of the usefulness of TRACKING AF-C for BIF of course pumping the back button to very quickly reacquire focus when the tracking bracket turns red. There is a review that claims that this works, and I am starting to test the claim.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Feb. 3rd, 2017

      Great input Jon. Thanks for sharing.

  33. RobertOn Jan. 29th, 2017

    Haven’t visited your blog in a while, my bad! But came to see various viewpoints on the Oly M1ii. I too use the PL 100-400mm on this body and have to say I love it. My better-half uses an Oly 300/4 and I often get the shot because of the limited FOV she deals with in finding the critter while I can find wide and then zoom in 🙂

    On a recent trip to Florida I took not only the new Olympus body but also a 1DXii and a Sony a99ii. It was a grand shoot off of three ‘flagship cameras. We often would walk in various reserves up to four miles a day…no surprise that the mFT was the rig of choice for the long walks (in the heat and humidity of central Florida). Of course the Sony came next weight wise and the Canon rig last.

    In the end and after reviewing all images captured I can honestly say that mirrorless has arrived for BIF’ing with the new Olympus. Yes Sony did well with the a6300 and a6500 for AF-tracking but sadly they still offer no FL of greater than 300mm native. For bird work 300mm is never enough! The Olympus offers true AF-tracking and at a frame rate that is way way more than adequate and between the Oly 300/4 or the PL100-400mm we have the focal length need for this genre of photography.

    I could also brag on the Sony a99ii but won’t since this is an mFT blog; suffice it to say that those in the Sony a-mount world have been given a mighty gift……still as I age I realize that mFT is my future.

    I’ll share a couple of shots BIF’ing with the Oly M1ii + PL100-400mm, none perfect, I’d received the Oly only days before the flight

    Spoonful of pink sugar
    Viera Stork in flight series continued

    Bottom line, BIF’ing with mFT is easy now!

    Here are a couple of static shots with the M1ii + PL100-400

    Merganser Merritt Island
    Crawdad lunch
    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 29th, 2017

      Thanks for the great comments Robert and equally exciting images.

  34. Dean SwartzOn Jan. 24th, 2017

    Kudos to you for trying new gear and sharing your experience. The IBIS in the new E-M1 Mk2 is fantastic but only works optimally in conjunction with the two Olympus IS lenses (12-100mm and 300mm Pro); for all other lenses, including the Panasonic, that have IS, Olympus recommends only using the camera’s IS. Since I no longer have a PL 100-400mm lens (didn’t like the IQ and handling compared to either the Oly 40-150 or 300), I did some experimenting with the PL 42.5 f1.2 (perhaps the best MFT lens ever), and found that trying both the Olympus’ IBS and PL42.5 IS gave me very mixed results. Best images were with camera IS on, PL IS off. Second best camera IS off, lens IS on. Worst, IS turned on in both camera and lens.

    Sooooo, until Olympus and Lumix get it figured out, it is probably best to use your PL 100-400 on the Olympus E-M1 Mk2 (and, for that matter all OMD bodies) while using the IBIS in the camera and turning off the Lumix lens IS. By the way, there are some awesome posts on the Internet demonstrating how incredible the E-M1 Mk2 works with the Oly 300mm f4 plus 1.4x teleconverter for hand-held shots of birds in flight using the combined IS of camera and lens. Now, if Olympus will give us an updated 40-150mm that includes IS, we can celebrate. Oh, this morning’s post at 43rumors.com suggests that Olympus will be launching some new “long fast primes” in 2017! Life is good!

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 29th, 2017

      Thanks for the info Dean. Always appreciate hearing your thoughts. Have a great shoot in Kenya with both the 100-400mm Leica and Olympus 300mm F/4 on new Olympus body and Lumix G85. It’s all working amazingly well. Here’s a shot from yesterday morning.

  35. Portrait of Ray Hirsch

    Ray HirschOn Jan. 22nd, 2017

    Hi Dan,

    Given your issue with EM-1 and Lumix 100-400 I decided to try my EM-5 mk II to see if I could see the limiter problem or the static problem. Took several images with static and moving subjects and did not have either problem with EM-5ii. This is most likely a EM-1 ii firmware problem. After using the EM-5 ii with the Lumix 100-400, this is definitely the combination I will bring to Yellowstone along with GX8.

    All the best,

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 22nd, 2017

      Good to know, thanks for the input Ray. See you in Yellowstone.

  36. Peter BoenderOn Jan. 22nd, 2017

    Thanks Daniel, for your initial impressions.
    I’m wondering if you had a chance to use the ProCapture shooting mode? According to the manual, ProCapture will only work in conjunction with Olympus M.Zuiko lenses. As there shouldn’t be any technological restriction causing that, I wonder what the results are when using the Panny-Leica 100-400. Will or won’t ProCapture work?

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 29th, 2017

      Peter, sorry for the delay. I’m currently in Kenya and not online as much as I need to be. As far as your questions goes regarding your interest in Pro Capture with the new Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark ll and the Leica 100-400mm zoom. Unfortunately, the two

      of them don’t work together to give us Pro Capture capabilities. I had heard this but I just checked for myself and the Pro Capture H and Pro Capture L are grayed out of the options on the rear LCD. Maybe we can hope for a software/firmware update to give us this option. Only time will tell.

  37. Dan LeffelOn Jan. 21st, 2017

    Hi Dan –

    In going through the menus on the EM1 MK2 again today, I noticed in the gear menu C2 there is something called “Len I.S. Priority” which says: If (on) is selected, priority is given to the lens function operation when using a lens with an image stabilization function. The default for this is (off) I think. This might be something else to try with the 100-400.

    Dan Leffel

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 21st, 2017

      Dan, great find. That’s what so beneficial of sharing our experiences on the Blog. I’m no expert and frankly I find the Olympus menu system daunting. It’s nice when people offer help for us all to share. Will get this setup ASAP. Thanks so much for your wonderful insight.

  38. ErnOn Jan. 21st, 2017

    Thanks for the impressions.

    Just for info, the focus limiter plays nicely with the Lumix G85.

    And I do wish Panasonic and Olympus did more to ensure lens cross-platform compatibility. It’s supposed to be a system.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 21st, 2017

      Thanks for mentioning the 100-400mm limiter does work with the Lumix G85. I can attest to that myself. I’m actually working on a review about the G85 and hope to have that published in two to three weeks. I agree with your comment about wishing Olympus and Panasonic did more to make sure the MFT lens system was truly compatible in more ways than just the lens mount. It’s great you offered this suggestion on the Blog since it then becomes part of the record that Panasonic may use to make future decisions.

  39. Fred KurtzOn Jan. 20th, 2017

    I used the new Olympus EM1 Mark II with the Olympus 12-100, Olympus 300 and Panasonic 100-400 with the lens IS on and the results were very good. I did run into the same issue with the Panasonic 100-400 when the limiter was switched on. The issue was resolved when the limiter was turned off. However leaving the lens IS on was not an issue as Paul described. The cameras are so easy to use now days you don’t need to read the manuals anymore. Bosque was my first shoot with the Mark II and I did not read the manual and got fantastic images.

  40. Paul PavlinovichOn Jan. 20th, 2017

    It’s interesting to me that you go out and shoot without learning about the camera and then talk about your results. This really sums up how people seem to see complex devices as consumer and just expect them to work. Olympus say to turn off any lens IS except their 12-100 which is designed to work with the camera. I’ve used the camera with an old manual Canon FD 400mm and found the results quite pleasing, not a birding rig as the manual focus is very slow. To use continuous auto focus select c-af and the slower of the fast modes. It will work with or without tracking. If your bird is distinct from the background and at least 1/3 of the frame then the tracking will work well.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 20th, 2017

      Paul, unlike some, I don’t have the luxury (time) to sit around reading a manual, sipping coffee, digesting what I read, doing some yoga, rereading what I already covered, digesting some more then giving it a whirl. Nope, not the way I function. For me, I’ll remember better by making a few mistakes, which I’m happy to do on my own time, which is how I get myself in the game for really important jobs like those I’ve shot for National Geographic. Secondly, if shooting a new camera really was paying the bills, which it’s not, I would need to take more time to figure every minute, little detail out. Additionally, if it really was about using that gear to make a living, which writing this blog and testing new equipment doesn’t do–none of you want to pay for that–I once again would be doing more of my homework to make sure I never make mistakes. But… like everything in life, YOU, get what YOU pay for. I find it quite astonishing that I pay to go do a shoot, where I make a few mistakes, and you learn from my mistakes, for FREE, then YOU find it necessary to criticize.  At least you did offer a couple pearls of your WISDOM, at the end of your criticism, which is how this FREE Blog business model is supposed to work.

    • Peter BoenderOn Jan. 22nd, 2017

      _”Olympus say to turn off any lens IS except their 12-100 which is designed to work with the camera.”_

      Can you let us know where you have found this statement? It certainly isn’t in the E-M1 Mk II manual (I checked).

      In that manual Olympus gives advice what to do with Image Stabilization when using lenses *other* than Micro Four Thirds/Four Thirds system lenses (you can set a focal length in the camera to help the stabilizer system, no statement you should turn lens stabilization off, pg.53). So, as the Panasonic Leica 100-400 is a MFT System lens, according to this manual, we shouldn’t need to do anything, and it should work. It’s interesting to see that Daniel did find different results with different settings though.

      One last remark, you mention the Olympus 12-100 Pro as the only lens capable of in-lens stabilization together with the in-body stabilization, but please note that, in the Olympus realm, there is also the 300mm f/4.0 Pro that has S-IS. Sync IS with the E-M1 Mk II works perfectly (tested it myself).

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Feb. 4th, 2017

      Thanks for the additional info Peter. Greatly appreciate your generosity to come share your insight.

  41. Dan LeffelOn Jan. 20th, 2017

    Thanks for posting this, Daniel. I have been doing some shooting with the same camera and lens combo. I mistakenly left the 100-400 lens AF limiter in 5M-Infinity and had no problems! I guess I was lucky there! Also I thought I would point out that on the EM1 MK2 the Pro Capture mode only works with Olympus lenses. With the Lumix 100-400 attached Pro Capture is grayed out in the menu. The Panasonic GX8 does the same thing as Pro Capture, but I wish Olympus would let it work with the 100-400 lens!

    By the way, I am really looking forward to traveling with you in May to Croatia and Slovenia!

    Dan Leffel

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 20th, 2017

      Thanks for the additional info Dan. Looking forward to meeting you and working together in Croatia.

  42. Wes MallardOn Jan. 20th, 2017

    I don’t think the omd e-m1 ii will C-AF in sequential high speed mode?
    I’ve also experienced those soft focus images with the new Olympus and not just with the pany 100-400 lens ( mostly shooting low speed bursts with electronic shutter and C-AF).

    Thanks for the review.

    Wes Mallard

    • Wes MallardOn Jan. 20th, 2017

      Sorry for the redundant post. Looks like the C-AF distinction has already been made.

  43. Mark WashburnOn Jan. 19th, 2017

    Good to see your comments on this Daniel. I have been shooting with the EM1.1 and the P/L 100-400 for several months and the combination is very nice. On the older EM1 I usually use the lens IS only. I did just complete a rental/trial of the EM1.2 and found it to be very good, fast, etc. I had very limited use with it on the 100-400 since I also rented the Oly 300. Of course that pairing worked out wonderfully with dual IS. And although there are a few quirks with the mk2 and the 100-400, I did get very good images with them together as well. Mostly I shot those with the camaera IS set to auto, but also disabled it a time or two as well. I love the versatility of this lens. I did thing on very poorly lit conditions…heavy overcast, etc, the 300 was certainly my go to lens. I had more confidence in it. But in good light and if you had to hike around much, it’s hard to beat the 100-400 for most anything. I did shoot mostly in Seq Low. On a few occasions I might bump that up to high if some kind of dramatic action was taking place but for me, and for birds in flight, I felt I could track it better with the Low setting.

    Daniel, I want to thank you as well for leading me into the m4/3 arena. You, along with Jay Dickman were probably the biggest inspirations for me to even try it. If you were to believe much of what you might read about it I think it’s too lightly discounted. For my main interests, such as wildlife, birds in flight, and landscapes, the EM1, and particularly the mk2, has proven to be everything I could want. The lenses, both panasonic, and olympus, are fantastic. The systems are nimble, relatively light, packable, and more than capable, and compared to the typical Canon or Nikon equivalent, m4/3, while not cheap, is certainly more affordable for me. I couldn’t be happier, and the proof is in the fact that I’m shooting and enjoying my time in the field, more than I ever have. So thank you for that!

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 19th, 2017

      Mark, great to hear your experience’s with MFT. I appreciate your kind comments. MFT really does have an uphill battle but it’s plugging away pretty well. People are really tired of the huge traditional DSLR cameras and with Sony mirrorless, we have more of the same. It’s a fun time to be a photographer.

  44. AndyOn Jan. 19th, 2017

    Good to see you trying this combo – I’ve been using it for a while. You can leave body IBIS set to on. When lens IS is ON the Body IBIS automatically switched off. I have found it best to use IBIS when panning because the lens IS causes a similar problem to the one you list. I haven’t seen the blurred effect that you show.

    You said “AF-C with the FPS set to Sequential High” – The High setting fixes focus on first frame. For C-AF you need to use Sequential Low which despite its name is still fast!

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 19th, 2017

      Hi Andy, thanks for adding this important information. That’s interesting about the Sequential High and Sequential Low. I may have even done better with AF-C had i put the camera in Sequential Low but that’s why I didn’t’ claim for this to be an exhaustive review. Still things to discover obviously. Have to say I knew high settings fixed focus but I thought it was with the electronic shutter at 18FPS and the Super High 60FPS. I did just check the manual and you are right. Thanks for your input.

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