Micro four-thirds (MFT) cameras have been in the marketplace for 10 years now and have grown to be a most popular choice for professionals and amateurs alike. The small digital camera our bodies (you would possibly even say tiny) home high-quality options together with excessive dynamic vary, excessive ISO sensitivity, and 16mp (or better) sensors.

Because the MFT format has gained recognition a spread of professional-quality lenses has additionally been developed. I’ve been taking pictures the Olympus Em5 and Em5II since they got here in the marketplace in 2013 and 2015 respectively. All through my travels taking pictures wildlife throughout the U.S., I’ve been taking pictures this technique with nice outcomes.

There are various points that micro four-thirds cameras nice for wildlife in addition to a couple of drawbacks. I’ll stroll you thru my impressions of this technique for wildlife images, each the professionals and the cons.

humpback whales - Pros and Cons of Using Micro Four-Thirds Cameras for Wildlife Photography

I took this picture of bubble-net feeding Humpback Whales with an Olympus OMD E-M5. All the pictures featured on this article have been captured utilizing the MFT system.

Intrinsic Benefits (Professionals)

The micro four-thirds system has some benefits for wildlife photographers as a result of nature of its sensor and expertise. These “intrinsic benefits” as I’m calling them are inherent to the system and might help in your wildlife images. Within the subsequent few sections, I’ll stroll by means of how a 2x 35mm equivalency, quiet digital camera, excessive ISO vary, excessive shutter velocity, and high-resolution.

I can even evaluation some options particular to the Olympus E-M5 Mark II system that you could be discover useful.

Micro four-thirds for wildlife - caterpillar Micro four-thirds for wildlife - caterpillar

Right here I’ve used MFT to {photograph} all types of wildlife. From coastal brown bears to bugs.

Professional – Get Nearer with the 2x Crop Issue

Everybody who shoots wildlife images needs to get nearer to their topic and that is a method by which micro four-thirds sensors shine. When speaking about how a sensor’s measurement impacts the ultimate zoom of your lens, the images trade standardizes to “35mm equivalency”.

With out diving into the ins-and-outs of which means, right here’s the underside line: when you’ve got a 100-300mm lens the micro four-thirds system successfully makes it a 200-600mm lens. The digital camera intrinsically doubles the size of your telephoto lens – you’ll be able to probably respect how that doubling of focal size will make it easier to get your wildlife photographs!

Micro four-thirds for wildlife - portrait of a deerMicro four-thirds for wildlife - portrait of a deer

2x equivalency is an enormous deal! You may get nearer to wildlife together with your enhanced telephoto lens.

small bird with a berry - Micro four-thirds for wildlifesmall bird with a berry - Micro four-thirds for wildlife

As an avid birder, I respect the 2x equivalency to get nearer to small birds.

Professional – Excessive Most Shutter Velocity

The micro four-thirds system is able to actually quick shutter speeds. As a wildlife photographer, it can provide you a leg-up on fast-moving animals reminiscent of small birds and even bugs.

The Olympus OMD E-M5 II is able to shutter speeds as much as 1/8000th of a second! In vibrant lighting circumstances, you need to use the quick shutter velocity to cease water droplets of an animal strolling in a river or the quick pulse of the wings of a hummingbird.

hummingbird in flight - Micro four-thirds for wildlifehummingbird in flight - Micro four-thirds for wildlife

Quick shutter speeds will make it easier to cease the wings of a hen at the same time as fast as that of a hummingbird’s!

Professional – 40MP Excessive-Decision Mode

A function particular to the Olympus OMD E-M5 II is the 40-megapixel high-resolution mode. Sensor shifting-technology permits the digital camera to extend the decision of the picture.

One restriction of this course of is the topic or animal needs to be utterly nonetheless. Nevertheless, if you recognize you’ve the appropriate circumstances and a shot for which you want excessive decision, you will see this mode handy in case your purpose is to make giant prints later.

owls in a tree - Micro four-thirds for wildlifeowls in a tree - Micro four-thirds for wildlife

These nice horned owl chicks have been sitting so nonetheless that I used to be ready to make use of the high-resolution function of the Em5II to create a 40-megapixel picture of them.

Professional and Con – ISO, and Gentle

The micro four-thirds system is able to utilizing excessive ISO settings to spice up your digital camera’s sensitivity to gentle. Nevertheless, excessive ISO values can create picture noise (graininess within the picture), and that is one space the place the MFT techniques fall a lot shorter than full-frame techniques and DSLRs.

One can find that you could comfortably shoot as much as ISO 800 or 1600 and have the ability to post-process out the noise. Nevertheless, at ISO 1600 you’ll discover the noise when you crop the picture, so concentrate on that. Low-light circumstances are frequent for wildlife images, so take into account that this technique is not going to provide the efficiency of full body cameras.

great horned owl eyes closed - Micro four-thirds for wildlifegreat horned owl eyes closed - Micro four-thirds for wildlife

This nice horned owl was photographed in low gentle, so I wanted to extend my ISO to seize it.

Professional – A Stealthy Digicam

This digital camera incorporates no mirrors or transferring elements contained in the digital camera – each course of happens digitally. That makes the digital camera extraordinarily quiet while you press the shutter button and it’ll not disturb the wildlife you’re watching. This helps you retain the animal in vary and likewise be an moral wildlife photographer that doesn’t negatively influence the wildlife you’re taking pictures.

dragonfly damselfly - Micro four-thirds for wildlifedragonfly damselfly - Micro four-thirds for wildlife

A quiet digital camera is essential for capturing skittish animals reminiscent of this damselfly!

Professional – Flexibility

This digital camera can present unimaginable flexibility to your equipment. Within the subsequent sections, I’ll evaluation some options that I discover useful for wildlife images.

Professional – Gentle Physique

All the mirrorless cameras are gentle which makes them preferrred to move. That is as a result of lack of transferring elements inside the digital camera reminiscent of mirrors – which permit the cameras to be smaller. The lenses native to micro four-thirds cameras are additionally typically gentle.

Reiterating my level about 2x equivalency, you may get a 600mm equal telephoto lens that solely weighs a couple of kilos. As a touring wildlife photographer, you’ll respect the sunshine weight in your backpack, carry-on baggage, or strapped round your neck.

micro four-thirds for wildlife - olympus cameramicro four-thirds for wildlife - olympus camera

That is the Olympus Em5II physique and Lumix 100-300 that I exploit for wildlife images. You may see how small the physique and lens is!

Professional – Quick Autofocus

The autofocus system on this digital camera may be very quick and is helpful for inflight photographs of birds and common wildlife images. Upgrades to the autofocus techniques within the Olympus E-M5 II have supplied correct focus factors supplying you with the power to focus on an actual spot in your body to focus.

One drawback is I discover that the autofocus hunts in low-contrast conditions. So you have to be ready to manually focus in low-light taking pictures circumstances reminiscent of at nightfall or in a heavy forest cover.

micro four-thirds for wildlife - eagle in mid-airmicro four-thirds for wildlife - eagle in mid-air

A quick autofocus system will assist you a large number with in-flight pictures of birds.

crane in flight - micro four-thirds for wildlifecrane in flight - micro four-thirds for wildlife

I relied on the autofocus to seize this sandhill crane because it flew by.

Professional – Excessive Decision

Virtually all micro four-thirds cameras include a high-resolution (16mp or better) sensor. The 16mp sensor on the Olympus E-M5 II offers loads of decision for enlargements. That is helpful for printing and likewise offers you the power to crop a shot and preserve sharpness.

I’ve made canvas prints as much as 36” with pictures from this digital camera and located the decision was ample for that so long as you’ve a pointy shot.

owl in Lightroom - micro four-thirds for wildlifeowl in Lightroom - micro four-thirds for wildlife

Here’s a 1:1 crop of a picture of an awesome horned owl. You may see that the picture maintains first rate sharpness even at a big crop.

Professional – Native Lenses and Adapting Lenses

In case you are keen to shoot with handbook focus it’s attainable to adapt practically any model of telephoto lens (Canon, Nikon, Sigma, and many others.) to your MFT digital camera utilizing an adaptor. That is because of the small flange distance of the MFT format. I’ve had success adapting lengthy telephotos, outdated Olympus OMD lenses, and even outdated screw-mount lenses reminiscent of a Takumar 35mm that I’ve.

Why does that matter? Adaptors are low-cost ($25 – $50 typically) and let you make the most of glass that you could be already personal bringing down the price-point of your system.

olympus camera and adapted lens - micro four-thirds for wildlifeolympus camera and adapted lens - micro four-thirds for wildlife

You may adapt nearly any lens to the MFT our bodies. Though I don’t use this Takumar portrait lens for wildlife, it reveals off the power to adapt even a screw-mount lens reminiscent of this one constructed within the 1960s.

Professional – Sealed Our bodies and Lenses

The physique of the Olympus E-M5 Mark II is sealed from mud and water. Though that’s not the case with all MFT cameras, so long as you do your analysis you’ll discover different digital camera our bodies which can be sealed and well-built too.

That is invaluable to a wildlife photographer! I’m certain you’ll be able to consider occasions that you simply wanted to shoot within the rain, the mud, or maybe the mist of a waterfall. Having a sealed physique will shield your digital camera and funding.

breaching whale - micro four-thirds for wildlifebreaching whale - micro four-thirds for wildlife

On a ship or on land, you want to have the ability to rely on a sealed physique to guard your digital camera.

The Backside Line

You might have discovered the options above interesting on your images wants, so let’s have a look at the underside line and the value-to-cost of this technique.

Yow will discover micro four-thirds cameras beginning at $200 and going as much as about $1,000. For these costs, you’re getting a digital camera able to taking pictures high-resolution pictures with glorious high quality. With follow and endurance, you’ll be able to take stunning pictures of wildlife and never break your again (or your financial institution) whereas doing it.

As I prefer to say, “pixels are low-cost”, so I hope you make numerous them photographing wildlife with a micro four-thirds system.

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