I just got my hands on an M. Zukio 100-400mm f/5.0-6.3 lens with a loan from Olympus, and I’ve gotta tell you I’m impressed. Here are a couple images I made while chasing down wildlife in northern Arizona.

Long reach plus

I added my MC-20 2X teleconverter to see what the added reach would do to the quality of the image. When fully extended, the lens gives a 1600mm field of view at f/13 to a full-frame camera.

Surprisingly, the loss of quality was minimal in a fully lit scene. You do become limited when the light gets low, but there are many times I could put this to good use. For example, this dragonfly pretty much filled the frame. I was excited to see all the little lenses in the eyes. I haven’t been able to get this close in the past to register this kind of detail.

Dragonfly from Sedona, AZ wetlands. Check out the eyes. Cropped section from a frame filling capture of the entire dragonfly.

Obviously lower light — for example, closer to dawn or sunset — would require removing the 2X teleconverter to get additional light to the sensor.

Wildlife behavior

Wood duck running off a rival at the Bubbling Ponds Preserve in Page Springs, AZ.

The long reach makes capturing avian behavior much easier. These wood ducks were slightly aware of my presence but not disturbed. I could see them noting my presence when I first arrived. Assessing that I was no threat they went about their business. Behavior images are my favorite. This setup allowed me to observe and capture photos that had been difficult to make in the past.

Additional gear

In addition to the lens and 2X teleconverter mentioned above, I used the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III. It was placed atop of the Fotopro Eagle E6L tripod, which has a built-in gimbal — helpful for tracking long lens/long distance subjects easier.

Looking forward pushing this lens more. In the meantime, it gets two thumbs-up from me. Get some more thoughts on the Olympus 100-400mm lens from Bryan Esler here.

Yours in Creative Photography, Bob

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