More Birding with the Leica 100-400mm lens

I always feel like a bit of an underdog using my Lumix G9 micro four thirds camera for birding. However, with the Leica 100-400mm lens, you can compete with the expensive full frame cameras.

Bird photography is something I really enjoy. It’s just as much about finding different species of birds as it is photographing them.

I have two birding lenses, the Lumix 100-300mm and the Leica 100-400mm. Both are excellent lenses. The 100-300mm is a lot lighter and less expensive. The results are really good with this lens.

But I just got the 100-400mm and I love the extra reach it gives me. It’s also sharper. I found it heavy at first, but I’ve got a new way to carry my camera and it is a game changer. The video here goes over all of my newest focus settings and many other tips I’ve learned along the way.

If you can’t see the above video, you can watch it on YouTube.

My new birding settings with the 100-400mm lens are:

  • Manual Exposure Mode
  • Shutter speed 1/1000s – If the bird is still you can use a slower speed. If the bird is moving you can use a faster speed.
  • f/8 especially if zoomed to 400mm
  • Auto ISO – with a limit of 3200 ISO
  • Auto White Balance

Focus Tips

  • Human/Animal detect on the Lumix G9 works great
  • I mostly use AFC Continuous Auto Focus but occasionally use AFS too.
  • But if the bird is really far away, I get better results with AFS and Custom Multi

Back Button Focus

I’ve set up my AE/AF Lock button to the AF-Far ON. That seems to work better for birds in the middle of leaves and tree branches. The video explains how I have all of that set up.

Here’s a selection of birding photos taken with the Leica 100-400mm lens and my Lumix G9.