Panasonic S1R Review: A Wildlife Photographer’s Perspective

Can it handle BIF (Birds in Flight)? Why yes, it certainly can.

The first reaction I had when handling the S1 and S1R for the first time at a local camera event earlier this year was “wow, these cameras are large and heavy”. The S1 and S1R are a hair smaller than my Nikon D850 dimensionally, but also over 200 grams heavier.  The Panasonic S cameras are therefore considerably larger than most other full frame mirrorless cameras, and the system’s lenses are, in general, as heavy or heavier than comparable DSLR lenses. This didn’t stop me from wanting to try one.

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Wildlife Photography in Madagascar – What Gear Should You Bring?

Endangered red-ruffed lemur in Masoala National Park (Sony A7R IV with 200-600mm F5.6-6.3)

What was in my bag? 

Choosing what gear to bring with you to any new destination is a daunting process. If you are like me, you’ve spent your time pouring through forums trying to glean information about what types of camera gear to bring. In preparation for my trip to the forests and rainforests of Madagascar, I opted to bring a lot of gear to cover many bases (a lot of which, unsurprisingly, I did not use that much). In retrospect, I would have downsized my kit. For this trip, I had with me the following: 

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Why I still shoot Micro Four Thirds in a full-frame mirrorless world

Mine’s bigger than yours.

In the past year, the world has witnessed a steady stream of full-frame mirrorless camera releases. We’ve got a full suite of Sony Alpha full-frame mirrorless cameras (with more, including the A7R IV on the way), and newcomers including the Nikon Z, Canon R, and Panasonic S series. I can imagine someone interested in purchasing a serious camera for the first time would naturally gravitate towards these full frame models, if for no other reason than these cameras are getting the lions share of marketing attention. A bigger sensor must be better, right?

Is a large format camera necessary when a smaller format is giving you the results you desire?
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Better beamer – better wildlife photos?

What’s a Better Beamer? It’s not a hot-rodded BMW. It’s essentially a plastic fresnel lens that’s placed in front of your flash to concentrate the light beam using age-old lighthouse technology and physics.

Anna’s Hummingbird

A Fresnel lens projects the light beam farther then your flash can accomplish on its own. It does this by bending parallel light beams that would otherwise diffuse towards a concentrated point.

Many wildlife photographers find this type of flash setup useful for illuminating wildlife under forested cover and less-than-ideal lighting conditions. It also provides a nice catchlight in the eye, which helps bring subjects to life.

This photo was captured with the Sony A9, 100-400 GM lens, flash, and a Better Beamer.