A bright, high-performance super telephoto lens is essential for capturing beautiful shots of birds. The M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f/4.0 IS PRO is the lens bird photography enthusiasts who use OM-D and PEN have been waiting for. Here I'd like to share different ways to make use of its power and how to master using this lens.
1Revolutionising bird photography
The M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f/4.0 IS PRO is the fifth lens in the M.Zuiko PRO series, a line-up developed for professionals and known for its superb optical performance as well as splashproof and dustproof construction. It has a focal length of 300mm, which is 600mm when converted to 35-mm equivalent focal length. It has a bright f/4.0 aperture which is fantastic. Many times in bird photography a focal length of more than 500mm (35mm equivalent) is required, and the M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f/4.0 IS PRO is up to the task when combined with an OM-D or PEN.
One of the highlights of the M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f/4.0 IS PRO is the inclusion of an in-lens optical image stabilisation system. Working in concert with the in-body 5-axis image stabilisation on the OM-D (E-M1, E-M5 Mark II) and PEN-F, a 5-axis Sync IS system is formed to provide image stabilisation performance equivalent to 6 shutter speed steps. Even on lenses with a long focal length that require a shutter speed of 1/1000 sec. or faster to prevent camera shake, 5-axis sync IS makes it possible to capture crisp images 6 shutter speed steps lower at 1/15 seconds. With 5-axis sync IS, even in dark conditions where a tripod is usually necessary, you can shoot handheld and achieve sharp, blur-free images.
Because this is an M.Zuiko PRO lens, its image quality is impeccable. Suppressing chromatic aberration and colour bleeding, which affect image quality on telephoto lenses, three Super ED lenses are lavishly used for excellent resolving power and optical performance similar to fluorite (extremely minor refraction rate changes from blue to red wavelength). Simply looking through the built-in EVF (electronic viewfinder) is enough to experience the superior resolving power.
The level of detail is so fine that when photographing birds, the smallest details in the wings are captured and the texture of the features comes across clearly on the screen. Powerful image stabilisation contributes to sharp images, and the widest aperture setting does not result in brightness falloff around the edges or a loss in image quality.
The closest focusing distance is 1.4 m, with focusing possible up to 1.15 m from the end of the lens. Although a shooting distance of 3 to 10 m is the norm for photographing birds, unwary subjects can sometimes come in close, making a short closest focusing distance very helpful.