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Thread: A tale of two cheap plastic lenses

  1. #1
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    A tale of two cheap plastic lenses

    Hi There
    Just a little pre-amble.
    Each september we go to Crete for a fortnight - these were my pictures from last year:

    Pictures of Crete

    taken with a Leica M8 (or was it two :-)).

    This year I would like to take an SLR, so I was trying to decide whether to take the D700 or the E3. Worth mentioning that we do lots of walking, and I like to carry all the kit with me . . . . and it's hot!

    I wanted to try and carry from 14-300mm (equivalent) with me, plus a reasonable close up facility, which would have meant either:

    D700 / 14-24 / 24-70 / 70-300 + 105 macro (none of the other lenses are really close enough)

    or
    E3 / 7-14 / 12-60 / 50-200 . . I could take the 50 macro, but probably don't need it as the 12-60 is okay for the stuff I do.

    The Nikon kit was too heavy, and as a lot of people had sung the praises of the humble 18-35 (350) I thought I'd have a go with that instead of the big 14-24 . . so I bought one . . this was cheap plastic lens number 1.

    I took it out for a 'test run' . . . and the edges and corners were dreadful - even stopped down a bit, so that was a write off - basically I decided to take the E3 kit - smaller, lighter and weatherproof . . . not that the Nikon gear ISN'T weatherproof, but that if it leaks, then that's tough . . . if the Olympus gear leaks . . .then they fix it!

    I was then left with the problem of what to do with the 18-35 nikkor hmmm - I could have had a credit note, but, on a whim, I exchanged it for:

    Zuiko 70-300 (enter cheap plastic lens number 2).
    2 spare batteries
    1 skylight filter for son
    1 new high speed card reader.

    I don't really do a great deal of telephoto, and I thought the light and cheap Olympus might be fun . . . WOW is it fun!

    Of course, to some extent you get what you pay for - it isn't a miracle, and I've got sharper lenses, but, sharp as it is, it's sharp to the corners, it makes as a great bug catcher! It took it out for a couple of hours this afternoon, and obviously there is some learning,

    The point of this tale?

    Well; there are lots of splendid things about a full frame camera (low light, pp options, we all know the answers).

    However 4/3 design means that even cheap and cheerful lenses can come up with the goods , whereas full frame really does put a strain on anything but the very best, heaviest and most expensive lenses.


    here are some first attempts with the REALLY cheap and plastic Olympus 70-300 . . . remember, that the equivalent is 140-600!!!:

    this means that you are getting a useable IS 600mm f5.6 lens for . . erm . . 275! Added to which it focuses down to 1metre . . . bonkers!

















    all the best (and apologies if you think this is a silly post)
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    Jono Slack
    http://www.slack.co.uk

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    Re: A tale of two cheap plastic lenses

    It is only silly for those of us who didn't listen to you when you said "look at the E3"....but not so silly now that there will be micro 4/3.

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    Re: A tale of two cheap plastic lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    It is only silly for those of us who didn't listen to you when you said "look at the E3"....but not so silly now that there will be micro 4/3.
    Hi Terry
    Well, it isn't the final answer or anything, but for 275 this lens is certainly the best bang for the buck I've ever bought . . . . 600mm f5.6!!!! which you can shoot at 1/60th second . . . . Who would have believed it 5 years ago.

    Mind you, the front element rotates when it's focusing, it's rather noisy and it sometimes hunts, you wouldn't use it for a wedding (at least, I wouldn't). On the other hand, it focuses down to 1 metre, so it'll completely fill the frame with a butterfly. . . . . and if it's in focus the corners are sharp.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: A tale of two cheap plastic lenses

    It's a very nice lens, and well built too for being a plastic fantastic. Your photos demonstrating the use are absolutely great. Really love the last one.

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    Re: A tale of two cheap plastic lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    It's a very nice lens, and well built too for being a plastic fantastic. Your photos demonstrating the use are absolutely great. Really love the last one.
    HI Jorgen
    Thank you! Did you have this with the E1? do you still have all that kit, or have you moved over to the D80 completely?

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    Re: A tale of two cheap plastic lenses

    Here are a couple more examples:

    This one is at 300mm (that's 600mm equivalent), f5.6, 1/320th second handheld, ISO 320, uncropped:



    this one is 252mm (504 equiv) f7.1, 1/320th ISO 400, again, it's handheld and uncropped.



    As you can see, the bokeh is much better than just 'okay'
    Last edited by jonoslack; 16th August 2008 at 09:28.

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    Re: A tale of two cheap plastic lenses

    I like the silky greens from your Olympus, Jono.

    Earlier I thought this had something to do with the lens (150mm?).

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    Re: A tale of two cheap plastic lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    I like the silky greens from your Olympus, Jono.

    Earlier I thought this had something to do with the lens (150mm?).
    The Olympus colours have ALWAYS been good - just a little sparkle. What's more surprising is that this plastic fantastic even has good bokeh.

    You'll be able to fit it on to your new MFT camera too (all though fitting your Micro Four Thirds camera onto IT might be a better way of putting it)

    Just this guy you know

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: A tale of two cheap plastic lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    HI Jorgen
    Thank you! Did you have this with the E1? do you still have all that kit, or have you moved over to the D80 completely?
    No, I borrowed one for a weekend, and I was impressed and surprised, particularly since it's so ultra-cheap.

    My E-1 is still dead, but I miss Olympus for travel, so I'm probably buying an E-520 for that. Kit will be 11-22, 50 and 70-300. Money is limited though, so it will have to be step by step, and I also need a few new f-mount lenses.

    I have mixed feelings towards the D80, but from end of next week, it will mostly be backup for the S5 that will finally arrive (I hope ). I miss the DR and low light capabilities of the Fuji a lot, and even the E-1 was better in both areas than the D80.

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    Re: A tale of two cheap plastic lenses

    I just returned from shooting the NYC Falls summer art project with the same 70-300 mm lens. I don't think that it is cheaply made at all. I have used this lens several times, and it never fails to amaze.

    I was standing on the South Street Seaport Pier and shot the falls on Governors Island which is at least 1 mile away, and I was able to resolve the individual streams of water as they came over the top of the tower that forms the top of the falls.

    This lens is not a toy, and may be one of the best bargains around. It isn't the 150 mm f 2.0, but is isn't $ 2200 USD either.

    It may be plastic, but it certainly works. (Plastic to me has a connotation of being poorly made, and for a lens that usuually means poor quality images).

    Just for a real trip try this lens with 2x tele converter - a slow 1200 mm optic, but again when can a mere mortal have a 1200 mm lens. Compare that to the much faster, and incredibly expensive Canon 1200 mm.

    Martin

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    Re: A tale of two cheap plastic lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin S View Post

    This lens is not a toy, and may be one of the best bargains around. It isn't the 150 mm f 2.0, but is isn't $ 2200 USD either.

    It may be plastic, but it certainly works. (Plastic to me has a connotation of being poorly made, and for a lens that usuually means poor quality images).

    Just for a real trip try this lens with 2x tele converter - a slow 1200 mm optic, but again when can a mere mortal have a 1200 mm lens. Compare that to the much faster, and incredibly expensive Canon 1200 mm.

    Martin
    Hi Martin
    I was being a little ironic with my original title - I quite agree with you, it's a fantastic lens, and it's fantastic value. I haven't tried it with the 2x tele converter, but I have tried it with the 1.4 making it a meagre 840mm lens (which you can hand hold).

    When people say that 4/3 is dead and everyone will be shooting FF in a year or so, I really do wonder at them!

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    Re: A tale of two cheap plastic lenses

    My post might have a bit too strident, and for that I apologize.

    I, too feel that of all of the non Canikon products, Olympus seems to be the most maligned. True with today's technology, the 4/3 sized sensor might be outdated (in size only), and the "standard" locks in the lenses so that a possible increase in sensor size seems impossible.

    However, I stiil rather enjoy the 2x view factor, especially for telephoto work. The lenses for the most part are very good to excellent, and the tight integration of the body, and lens makes me feel confident that given the standards of the anatomy, I am getting excellent results. Too bad that Olympus advertising in the U.S. is directed mainly at the P&S crowd.

    This new micro initiative certainly seems interesting, and might even prove more than just a migratory pathway from P&S to DSLR. Sort of a digital RF without the RF, but with the smaller body, and lenses.

    I guess we'll see what Olympus/Panasonic are thinking at the Photokina. Maybe even some products ready to ship??

    Martin

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