Birding with the Leica 100-400mm lens

I recently tested the Leica 100-400mm lens on my Lumix G9.

Shoutout to Dave at The Camera Store in Calgary, for the loaner. And a reminder to support your local photo retailer, because they support your local photography community.

I went on some very serious birding excursions with this lens. It was warm for February, and I had some excellent birding companions with me.

I was extremely fortunate to see four lifer owls when I had this lens too: a Snowy Owl, a Northern Pygmy Owl, a Great Grey Owl, as well as a Northern Hawk Owl in the distance.

Northern Pygmy Owl

Let’s talk about this lens!

The reach to 400mm was so nice to have. Especially with the owls.

It’s the same speed as the 100-300mm lens. Smallest f/stop is f/4.0 at 100mm for both. And at 400mm you’re wide open at f/6.3.


In birding I feel that the focal length affects your bokeh more than your f/stop. And if you’re close up to your subject, you’re going to see that even more.

Not sure if this is an effect of the lens, but I did notice some “twin” bokeh when shooting through a lot of branches. This happens with the 100-300mm but I never noticed it until I went back and looked at some similar photos.

I did a bit of research and I have seen this double bokeh happening on photos from different camera brands as well.

There are a lot of more technical reviews out there. So I’m not going to spend a lot of time testing out sharpness at every f/stop.

But it’s clear to me that this Leica 100-400mm lens is sharper than my Lumix 100-300mm lens.

Northern Pygmy Owl

So should I buy it?

I’m on the fence. My photography is very personal.

This lens is heavy and expensive. Plus, there are new cameras to look forward to this year.

The GH6 with a new sensor is coming out very soon. That will be a video-centric camera. But will that mean a G9 successor is on the way too?

Time will tell.

Make sure you watch the video to get my full experience of this lens.