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Thread: Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

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    Member Elliot's Avatar
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    Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

    Obviously, the Panasonic has longer reach, which is useful. For a trip to Alaska, would that be more valuable or would the higher quality of the Olympus 50-200 be preferable? I know it depends on usage, but this would be for a variety of uses on such a tour.

    I guess one thing to ask is whether the 50-200 is much better at 200mm (so that cropping could prove useful) than the Panasonic would be at 200mm? Would an Olympus 200mm shot be able to be cropped and still meet or better the general quality of the Panasonic at 300mm? I would expect not, but thought it useful to ask people with experience. These would be on an E-M1 camera.

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    Re: Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

    Quote Originally Posted by Elliot View Post
    Obviously, the Panasonic has longer reach, which is useful. For a trip to Alaska, would that be more valuable or would the higher quality of the Olympus 50-200 be preferable? I know it depends on usage, but this would be for a variety of uses on such a tour.

    I guess one thing to ask is whether the 50-200 is much better at 200mm (so that cropping could prove useful) than the Panasonic would be at 200mm? Would an Olympus 200mm shot be able to be cropped and still meet or better the general quality of the Panasonic at 300mm? I would expect not, but thought it useful to ask people with experience. These would be on an E-M1 camera.
    I have no experience with the Panasonic 100-300mm lens.

    The ZD 50-200/2.8-3.5 is substantially faster, however, and is a known superb performer. It includes a lens-mounted tripod support, which I prefer when using such a large and heavy lens for best tripod positioning and balance, and is a weather-sealed HG lens. Also, the Olympus ZD EC-14 1.4x teleconverter is a perfect optical match to the ZD 50-200 (some people have said that the lens performance actually improves with this teleconverter!) and nets a 70-200/4-4.5 (approximately) telephoto zoom. The EC-14 is also fully weather sealed.

    Used with the Olympus MMF-3 mount adapter, this makes for a very very high quality, completely weather sealed camera and lens system—certainly a plus for any kind of outdoor shooting in places like Alaska or aboard ship on coastal tours, etc.

    I had one of these lenses and teleconverters before when I was shooting with the E-5, and I'm thrilled to have re-acquired them again for use with the E-M1. The E-M1's image stabilization system allowed this nearly shakeless hand-held exposure at 1/15 second set to 137mm focal length ... Truly incredible performance:

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...es-fullrez.jpg

    It's not an inexpensive setup ... the pre-SWD ZD 50-200 lens cost me $550 used and an Olympus refurbished EC-14 cost me $300 ... but the quality and lens performance shows it was well worth the price.

    (For hand-holding with the E-M1, you'll also want the HLD7 battery grip, if you don't already have it. It lends a great deal of support and much better balance for this large and heavy lens, as I'm sure it would for the Panasonic 100-300 as well.)

    G

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    Re: Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

    I have been trying out my 50-200 on my EM-1 and so far, have not been impressed. The AF acquisition has been quite slow with a lot of hunting. Sharp images of fuzzy subjects just does't work for me. I will be working more with the combo as well as my other 4/3 lenses but so far ...

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    Re: Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

    Thanks for both responses.

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    Re: Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

    Hi Elliot,

    I have the ZD 50-200mm and 1.4x TC, plus the Lumix 100-300mm lens you are considering.

    The ZD zoom lens plus teleconverter will certainly get you better image quality, but you will pay for it in size and weight.

    If it was a once in a lifetime photographic safari, and I was based in a vehicle or needed serious weathersealing, I'd take the ZD option, but the 100-300 is a really nice lens for m4/3rds.

    Put it this way, if I had to sell one, I'd keep the native m4/3rds lens.

    Kind regards

    Brian
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    Re: Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

    Thanks, Brian. I already have the 100-300, so the other option would really have to be a major difference. The weather sealing will not be needed, and also there will be many times away from the vehicle!

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    Senior Member Brian Mosley's Avatar
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    Re: Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

    I'm looking forward to the Olympus pro 40-150 and the longer range pro lenses, both in development. Until then, I'll continue with the 100-300 and occasional use of ZD 50-200. Quite happy for now.

    Cheers

    Brian

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    Re: Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

    I have had the olympus 50-200mm lens since the E-1 days, and just love it. It is just a phenomenal lens. But it is heavier and bulkier compared to the 100-300.

    Still the images talk for themselves with the 50-200 lens. I use it on the em-5 currently. It is slow to focus on the em-5. I will usually do manual focus with this lens because it is faster. I don't know how it will focus better on the em-1.

    Aaron Britton

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    Re: Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

    Quote Originally Posted by bavanor View Post
    I have had the olympus 50-200mm lens since the E-1 days, and just love it. It is just a phenomenal lens. But it is heavier and bulkier compared to the 100-300.

    Still the images talk for themselves with the 50-200 lens. I use it on the em-5 currently. It is slow to focus on the em-5. I will usually do manual focus with this lens because it is faster. I don't know how it will focus better on the em-1.
    I have used this lens on Olympus E-1, Panasonic L1, Panasonic G1 (note: manual focus only for this lens), and Olympus E-5 bodies prior to the E-M1. I don't understand hsteeves comment:

    ... The AF acquisition has been quite slow with a lot of hunting. Sharp images of fuzzy subjects just does't work for me. I will be working more with the combo as well as my other 4/3 lenses but so far ...
    In my experience, the AF with this lens on the E-M1 is as fast or faster, and more accurate, than with any of the others. I have not seen any excessive hunting, even in EV 0 to 4 lighting circumstances where it can't autofocus at all with the E-1. I can only attribute hsteeves' reported poor AF performance to the configuration of the E-M1, some problem with the specific 50-200 lens, or ... hmm, I don't know what.

    The 100-300 is certainly smaller and lighter, but I'll take the image quality of the ZD50-200+EC14 any time. I prefer it even if I have focus it manually. Of course, I also still want to use it with the E-1 and I couldn't do that with the 100-300...

    G

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    Re: Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

    hmm wondering does the 50-200 have SWD. From what I have seen from E-M1 focus sample tests with four third lens, lens with SWD perform alot better than ones that do not have SWD.

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    Re: Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

    Quote Originally Posted by mazor View Post
    hmm wondering does the 50-200 have SWD. From what I have seen from E-M1 focus sample tests with four third lens, lens with SWD perform alot better than ones that do not have SWD.
    There are two versions of the 50-200/2.8-3.5. The new version has SWD.
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    Re: Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

    Quote Originally Posted by mazor View Post
    hmm wondering does the 50-200 have SWD. From what I have seen from E-M1 focus sample tests with four third lens, lens with SWD perform alot better than ones that do not have SWD.
    The 50-200 was updated with SWD focusing motors in 2007. I originally bought one of the pre-SWD models just after the SWD model shipped in October 2007, after trying both on the L1. There was little difference in the focusing speed on that camera, and the pre-SWD model felt more balanced to me (never mind I got it for just shy of $900 new where the SWD model was at least $1150 at the time).

    Never had any problem with focusing speed or accuracy on the E-1 and E-5 when I acquired them. The E-5 drove it a bit more swiftly. I once tested it against the SWD model on the E-5 and that indeed focused a bit faster, but the difference was still small to my perception.

    I sold that one in late 2009 as I found I wasn't using it much ... the ZD 50 Macro combined with the EC14 teleconverter was a better tool for my use then as it was much smaller, lighter, and convenient to handle. (I almost always used a sturdy tripod when I'm using the 50-200 ...)

    Scroll forward to the E-M1 introduction ... When I first handled an E-M1 at the store, the Olympus Rep had a 50-200 SWD there for us to try, and one of the other folks there to see the E-M1 brought his pre-SWD 50-200. For reasons I cannot explain, the pre-SWD model seemed to focus more swiftly on the E-M1 to me. I've since read reports from users on the various photo forums claiming both ways ... that the pre-SWD model is the one to have for the E-M1, and that the SWD model is the one to have.

    When I looked for one to reacquire, I noticed that pre-SWD models were generally priced $300-400 less than the SWD models. That clinched it for me: I bought this one in near mint condition for $550. It focuses very swiftly on the E-M1 (far as I can tell, as fast as it did on the E-5 and more accurately) and also works as nicely as my original one did on the E-1. Good enough for me. I focus this kind of lens manually about half to three-quarters of the time anyway...

    The other thing that I've heard is that the SWD model was lightly refreshed optically and vignettes less at the longest focal length settings wide open. I don't know how true this is.

    (The ZD 14-35/2 SWD ... now I've heard consistently that that one on the E-M1 autofocuses MUCH more consistently, swiftly, and accurately than it does on the E-5 or any other FourThirds body. Not that I'm in the market for it, but it is without a doubt optically one of the "Super Lenses" of the recent era. But small and light it is not.)

    G

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    Re: Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

    I bought a used non-SWD 50-200 and tried it out last weekend. I had the camera set on JPG, took the pictures handheld, and was experimenting with the in-camera 2x digital enhancement.

    During this week, a box with a refurbished EC-14 arrived (yet unopened), so I will set to RAW and get working on that set-up. Here are a couple of shots from last weekend.



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    Re: Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

    hehe I think I am about to join the 50-200 non SWD club. Found a good second hand deal. Will see how this works out on the E-M1

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    Re: Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

    I use the Panasonic 100-300 fairly extensively both in the Uk and on safari in Africa and it is preferable to the mZuiko 75-300 IMHO. However I have no experience with the Zuiko 50-200 F2.8, although it does have a superb opinion rating amongst users. I personally will wait for the mZuiko 40-150 F2.8 and mFCi4 converter both of which are tailored for m4/3rds and both weatherproof. In fact mine is on pre-order and due in the last week of November 2014.(UK)
    Cheers, Dave
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    Re: Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

    Note that the ZD 50-200 and EC-14 teleconverter are both weatherproof. That said, if I were buying new now and for the E-M1 exclusively, I'd certainly go with the M.Zuiko 40-150mm lens and its dedicated mFT 1.4x teleconverter. However, I'm still quite happy with the ZD50-200.

    The latest E-M1 firmware update to v1.4 does improve PDAF focusing responsiveness a noticeable amount. It's a well-advised update for all E-M1 cameras.

    G

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    Re: Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

    thx Godfrey for your info on the 50-200. $$$ permitting, I would gladly take the 40-150 2.8 over the 50-200 as native m43 lens would definitely focus faster on the E-M1. Also I heard the bokeh on the 40-150 is much improved over the 50-200.

    I already own the Panny 100-300, which is an excellent compact tele lens. but the much faster aperture and weatherproof seals on the Oly 50-200 does appeal, plus with the introduction of the 40-150, there are more second hand 50-200 bargains.

    If all goes well with the 50-200, I may also have to look out for a EC14 just to complete the set

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    Re: Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

    I had both, the Pany 100-300 and the ZD 50-200, and the EC14.... I sold them both and preordered the 40-150 pro with the 1.4 TC.

    Both lenses are quite good but both suffer from some downsides. The 100-300 has a lot of reach and if used properly in good light, it produces wonderful images. But it's slow and IMHO, it's useless for BIF and such. I just could not acquire focus or even the image to get decent shots.
    The 50-200 is much faster and the IQ is generally better than the 100-300. With the E-M1 if focuses much better than it did with the E-M5 or E-P5. The TC seemed to degrade the IQ... Neither lens was what I wanted for BIF and similar photographs. Also, the 50-200 had some flare issues that I did not like..
    As good as the 50-200 is, I think the 100-300 was a little better for my use, although both left me frustrated.
    Granted, my technique might need improvement and I probably need more practice. Anyway, I am awaiting with great hope the delivery of the 40-150 f2.8 PRO *and* the 1.4X TC. It will not have the reach of the 100-300, but I hope it will be a stellar performer in all respects.
    Anyway, I will probably end up purchasing a 300mm tele of the manual variety in Nikon or Canon flavor for those times when I need the reach...

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    Re: Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

    I was fortunate to attend the US Open and see the men's quarterfinals and the doubles. I had never done sports photography, despite being part of the baby boomer generation. I took one lens, the 50-200 non-SWD, and was pleased with what I was able to capture. Admittedly, I went for a greater DOF to have a better chance to get the players in focus, with Bob and Mike Bryan on their way to the championship.

    The new 40-150 would have been long enough -- from where I was sitting -- and the increased responsiveness would have been welcome, compared to the 50-200 non-SWD. But I had a good time and have some other photos having on the wall. The men's quarterfinals included who was to be the singles champion, Marin Čilić.

    A Bryan brother

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    Re: Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

    I got tired of waiting and cancelled my orders for the 40-150 f2.8 and the TC 1.4 I had sold the 100-300 and later the 50-200 so I had no long lens... I ordered a Zuiko 75-300 and I am very happy with it. It works well with the EM-1 and EM-5. As long as there is enough light, the A/F is great. It's compact and light and can produce very nice images.

    ISO 100, 1/250" f7.1


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    Re: Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

    Quote Originally Posted by silver92b View Post
    I got tired of waiting and cancelled my orders for the 40-150 f2.8 and the TC 1.4 I had sold the 100-300 and later the 50-200 so I had no long lens... I ordered a Zuiko 75-300 and I am very happy with it. It works well with the EM-1 and EM-5. As long as there is enough light, the A/F is great. It's compact and light and can produce very nice images.
    I must say in this case you are a lucky guy and maybe got a good copy of this lens!

    I owned the 75-300II for several month and was never satisfied with the results around the long end - too soft! So finally I sold it and waiting now for the 2.8/40-150.
    Life is an ever changing journey
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    Re: Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    I must say in this case you are a lucky guy and maybe got a good copy of this lens!

    I owned the 75-300II for several month and was never satisfied with the results around the long end - too soft! So finally I sold it and waiting now for the 2.8/40-150.
    Exactly my own experience. The Panny 100-300 is a far better and faster lens but my pre-ordered 40-150 F2.8 with TC14 when it arrives should be the one to use for most wildlife subjects.
    Cheers, Dave
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    Re: Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    I must say in this case you are a lucky guy and maybe got a good copy of this lens!

    I owned the 75-300II for several month and was never satisfied with the results around the long end - too soft! So finally I sold it and waiting now for the 2.8/40-150.
    That may be... But this one lens does a pretty good job. that moon shot is equal to or better than any similar shot I got with the P 100-300 or with the 50-200 non SWB

    Quote Originally Posted by dhsimmonds View Post
    Exactly my own experience. The Panny 100-300 is a far better and faster lens but my pre-ordered 40-150 F2.8 with TC14 when it arrives should be the one to use for most wildlife subjects.
    The funny thing is that this lens focuses with less hunting than my copy of the 100-300. The 50-200 was better for A/F (faster lens), but it had some nasty flaring which often ruined the image. Also, the IQ was not consistently good. I'm pretty certain that the 40-150 f2.8 is going to be quite superior, but when the TC is added it will lose some of it's light gathering advantage and is still shorter in reach compared with the 300mm...

    Of course, having said all that, I will probably end up with the lens & TC at some point. I'm an incorrigible gear addict and GAS will get me every time. I just got fed up with the waiting
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    Re: Lens question: Panasonic 100-300 and Olympus 50-200

    Not having much to add to this discussion, but just saying that I've always been very impressed with the results of my copy of the Panny 100-300.
    But I guess it's about time for improvement and I'd like to see a steady 1:4.0/100-300 mk II soon ...



    Kind regards.
    Bart ...

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