Birding on a budget? Pairing the Olympus E-M5 III + 12-200mm for birding and nature photography


posted Wednesday, February 5, 2020 at 4:57 PM EDT


Interested in birding and nature photography but want a camera setup that doesn't break the bank? It's traditionally been a tricky proposition to do this, because on a budget we're usually limited in certain important aspects of the wildlife equation. The Olympus E-M5 line has challenged that general notion in its time, and now that the 12-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens is available, it's basically shattered it.

Why? Because for the first time we have a camera and lens combination that covers most of the important bases in a package that only costs about $2000 and weighs less than 2 pounds! With that limited investment in cost and weight we get the following:

• 24 - 400mm equivalent zoom range, taking us all the way from classic wide angle out to true wildlife territory

• Weather sealing on both camera and lens, which is rare for a combination at this price

• 5-axis image stabilization in-body that's rated to 5.5 stops, which is needed for longer focal lengths

• And as mentioned but that bears repeating, this combination weighs in at just under 2 pounds (867g)... a number that won't "weigh you down"

Image from the E-M5 III paired with the 12-200mm M. Zuiko

But enough talking...  it's really better to see this combination in action, and so I took it to the Southeast Coast for 2 days to show you in video form what it can do, and you can see all shots captured in about 10 minutes time. It really is amazing to see both the overall capability and the versatility, and I'll also talk about the few drawbacks from the system that I found as well. Just click below for the video.

Birding on a budget with the E-M5 III + 12-200mm

And as always we provide all original images as delivered by the camera, including RAW files if captured. This assures you that what you're seeing is the real thing, from this actual rig, and that's not something that you'll find provided in most places. So dive into our E-M5 III Gallery to see all the details for yourself! (Images with this lens in the E-M5 III Gallery have "12-200mm" in the filename.)

Olympus E-M5 III Gallery

[A special note that this video was sponsored by Olympus, yet we penned the script and were given complete editorial freedom in the video and commentary, without restriction.]