Testing the Fuji 100-400 lens: Back Yard Birding

A couple of weeks ago I bought the new Fuji 100-400 lens with the intent of retiring my Canon 70-200/2.0TC setup as my primary birding lens. I’ve taken it out a couple of times and I really like it, but the changeover is actually more complicated than it seems at first glance. Even though I’ve shot a lot in that range in the past, and even though I’ve shot with the Fuji X-T1 a lot as well, I’ve always used the Fuji as a wide-angle camera, primarily for landscapes, and the technique and configuration of the camera for birds and wildlife is a lot different, and so I’m having to spend some time testing configurations and practice my shooting technique.

Fortunately, I have a good local environment to do this practicing in; it’s call my back yard, where I have a set of feeders. So as I sit here at my desk, which happens to face outside through the patio window, when interesting things happen I can stop what I’m working on, pick up the camera, and shoot.

Please note that I’m shooting through a fairly dirty patio window (I need to wash it this weekend), which softens the images a bit and washes out the contrast a bit, and occasionally the autofocus insists on locking onto the dirt and not the feeder, but overall, I’ve been pretty happy with the results.

I’m starting to get comfortable with shooting with this lens on the Fuji, and as usual, I love the sensor and I’m coming to really like the setup overall. The autofocus has taken a bit to understand how to configure so I can reliably lock on, but once it locks on, it works really well.

And the results? I doubt I’m going to shoot an award-winning image of a house finch, but the sharpness and quality is making me happy. I like how the lens handles, the speed of autofocus is good, and overall, I’m at the point where I can retire the Canon gear without feeling like I’m accepting any compromises and with no regrets.

I’ll write more about the lens once my testing is done, but at this point, my main camera bag is now 100% Fuji, and the only Canon I have left in my kit is the 7DmkII and that Sigma 150-600 behemoth — and it’s taken me and the Fuji platform a few years to get to this point, but it was well worth the wait, because the lens is a joy to work with, and lighter and smaller than the Canon equivalents.

Lesser Goldfinch, Backyard Feeder, Santa Clara, California

Lesser Goldfinch, Backyard Feeder, Santa Clara, California

Lesser Goldfinch, Backyard Feeder, Santa Clara, California

Lesser Goldfinch, Backyard Feeder, Santa Clara, California

Not a bird, Back Yard Feeder, Santa Clara, California

Not a bird, Back Yard Feeder, Santa Clara, California

House Finch, Backyard Feeder, Santa Clara, California.

House Finch, Backyard Feeder, Santa Clara, California.

House Finch, Backyard Feeder, Santa Clara, California.

House Finch, Backyard Feeder, Santa Clara, California.

Lesser Goldfinch, Backyard Feeder, Santa Clara, California

Lesser Goldfinch, Backyard Feeder, Santa Clara, California

House Finch, Backyard Feeder, Santa Clara, California.

House Finch, Backyard Feeder, Santa Clara, California.

House Finch, Backyard Feeder, Santa Clara, California.

House Finch, Backyard Feeder, Santa Clara, California.

Lesser Goldfinch, Backyard Feeder, Santa Clara, California

Lesser Goldfinch, Backyard Feeder, Santa Clara, California

House Finch, Backyard Feeder, Santa Clara, California.

House Finch, Backyard Feeder, Santa Clara, California.

Backyard Feeder, Santa Clara, California.

Backyard Feeder, Santa Clara, California.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Backyard Feeder, Santa Clara California

Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Backyard Feeder, Santa Clara California