A day with my 300/4 and 100-400

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Phocal, Aug 22, 2016.

  1. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    On Saturday I planned a visit to my favorite state park (Brazos Bend State Park) here in Southeast Texas and with the development of my FrankinPack I was able to take both lenses with me. The weather report originally had rain in the forecast so I was excited for the day, but it ended up being a decent morning with scattered clouds.

    I am not sure if the recent flooding of the park (most of the park had 10-20 feet of water covering it a few months back) or the heat has killed the bird action, but a week ago Friday as well as this Saturday there were few birds hanging around in areas you could get to. I do know the heat is keeping the gators under cover, I only saw 3 and none of them were in areas I could get a good perspective to photograph from. Thankfully the bullfrogs have been out in force the last few weeks and I even spotted a few snakes that allowed me to get a photograph or two. Believe it or not, bullfrogs are really hard to get close to and typically jump into the water right as you spot them unless moving very slowly. Not only do you have to spot them before they jump so you can crawl towards them (they will jump if you try walking up to them), you have to find one that’s in a position that will allow a good perspective. I have learned that even if one jumps not all of them will, many times you will find 2+ hanging out together. If I see one in a good spot I will attempt to get close, even when I have to pass close by another one that will more then likely jump as I approach in hopes that my chosen subject does not follow his friend. I have been working hard at stalking them and was pretty successful Saturday getting into position to photograph a number of them. I even managed to find two that were very cooperative and allowed me to not only get fairly close but also to move around more then I thought possible.

    One of my goals for the day was to try and take some comparison shots between the two lenses using the same subject from the same location. I also wanted to do some comparison shots using all the combinations of TC’s and using various apertures. I was lucky enough to find a frog that allowed me to shoot him with both lenses and later a frog that allowed me to shoot him with all the combos of the 150 as well as at different apertures with those combos. Unfortunately I was not able to find a willing subject to allow the various combos of the 50-200 SWD. I would have loved for all the combos to be the same subject but that would be asking a lot from a wild subject. I could go to the zoo and do this, but I really wanted to test the difference in a real world shooting situation where I have to deal with terrible lighting, ugly water and the obstacles that are encountered in the field. I will say that the 1.5lbs difference between the lenses is noticeable, something I had never really noticed until Saturday when I was switching between them constantly.

    Before getting to the comparison shots here a few photographs I captured on targets of opportunity with the two lenses. As usual, full resolution versions are available if you click thru to my Flickr account. I have also done little editing to these, just a quick trip thru LR with my EM1 preset and few tweaks here and there. Some of the shots I will go back and do spot editing to fix problem areas, but the real reason for the shots was my own testing of the lenses.

    First successful frog stalk of the day, he spooked when I tried to get a better position without leaves in the way.

    EM1 w/ ZD 150mm ƒ2.0 + EC-20: ISO 1250, 1/400 @ ƒ5.6, Handheld
    28526688713_462f480927_h.
    ZD 150 w/EC20 @ ƒ5.6
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    The above photograph demonstrates how well Olympus IBIS performs in the field. I was laying in the muck along the bank and was at about a 45-degree angle (maybe a bit steeper) and bracing the camera with my elbows. I was not very steady as I framed and took the shot and at these close distances with 600mm of reach the smallest movement can cause blur. The day also showed me that when you get close enough to your subject, even the higher ISO’s can produce useable images. I typically don’t like ISO above 800 for wildlife as I feel it loses too much detail. But….. when you get close the camera/lens can resolve so much more detail that the higher ISO’s are useable. This was a good thing because I spent a lot of time in the higher ISO range, especially with the slower 50-200 SWD and EC-20 combo, which is typical when shooting under all the trees and overgrowth in the swamp.

    First I will show you my shooting location for the next frog photograph. After getting my photos I got my EM5 out to shoot some location shots, I decided to start taking some gear in action photographs to show the abuse my camera and I take while in the swamp. In the next two shots my EM1 w/ 50-200 SWD are on my skimmer pod with the skimmer and ball head underwater and in the 2nd shot my subject is marked with an arrow.

    28858892420_dcea23a841_h.
    EM1 w/ ZD 50-200 SWD
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    28524462934_612a9a5e60_h.
    EM1 w/ ZD 50-200 SWD
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    I was right at the minimum focusing distance for the lens, had gotten to close and had to backup to get the camera to focus (this frog was very cooperative, I spent close to an hour photographing him). This is also the frog that allowed me to do the comparison shots between 150/2 and SWD, at that time he was facing towards the bank and I was to the frogs right (from the shot directly above) looking down the bank at him. This is not the best shot, the light was pretty terrible and the water looked super ugly from this location. I include it because the IQ of the 50-200 w/ EC-20 just really impressed me on this shot. I have used the SWD for a lot of close up shots in the past but either bare lens or with the EC-14 and loved the IQ, did not think it would be so good with a 2x TC attached. Both the SWD and EC-20 (with either of my lenses) really does continue to impress me.

    EM1 w/ ZD 50-200 SWD + EC-20: ISO 1250, 1/320 @ ƒ7.0, Skimmer Pod Used 29065159491_b731467b54_h.
    ZD 50-200 SWD w/ EC20
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    When I got up from taking this shot there were several people watching me from the trail. This one older gentleman commented that I must be really brave to lay like that in the swamp because we have a lot of 12 foot plus gators that could easily pull me into the swamp to never be seen again (you can see from the location shots that I was laying more or less in the swamp, did have me feet kick over to dry land to keep my boots from getting wet. Hate walking around all day in wet boots and avoid it if at all possible). My reply was that my friends call it stupid but I will gladly take brave over stupid any day. We chatted for a bit and I found out he is a spider expert and was out shooting spiders, he had found 30 different species that morning at the park. Got his info for when I photograph a spider I can’t ID.

    Prior to the above shot I was shooting that same frog for the 150/2 and SWD comparisons. In between lenses (had to crawl up the bank to swap lenses then crawl back into location) this couple came by and said down the trail was a Water Moccasin aka Cotton Mouth sunning on a log. So I quickly got the SWD shots and went looking for this snake but could not find him and returned to my very cooperative frog. They came by again and asked if I got any shots of him, turns out he was back on the log so they took me down there but he was again gone. So I returned to the frog to take the above photograph and while talking with the older gentleman they came by again and told me the snake was there again. So off I go again to look for this snake. He was there this time, but turns out he was a Broad-Banded Water Snake and not a Cotton Mouth as I was hoping. I was able to get a close up shot at 400mm and another environmental shot at 100mm before he took off.

    EM1 w/ ZD 50-200 SWD + EC-20: ISO 320, 1/320 @ ƒ7.0, Skimmer Pod Used
    29065137421_af081aac8c_h.
    ZD 50-200 SWD w/ EC20
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    EM1 w/ ZD 50-200 SWD + EC-20: ISO 250, 1/200 @ ƒ6.3, Skimmer Pod Used
    29065122951_1d9729c138_h.
    ZD 50-200 SWD w/ EC20
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    On the way back to the Jeep I spotted this frog in a unique location, I liked the weeds sticking up behind him and shading him. The shot did not turn out as I envisioned (light was terrible as was the water color) but I include it because of the worm you can see coming out of his nose and going under his jaw. I did not notice this until I got home, if I had I would have done some shots with focus on the worm. Will ask one of my frog experts about this when I get a chance to speak with them.

    EM1 w/ ZD 150mm ƒ2.0 + EC-20: ISO 2000, 1/400 @ ƒ5.6, Handheld
    29067773931_63057ab6a6_h.
    ZD 150 w/EC20 @ ƒ5.6
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    When I got to the log where the water snake was hanging out I looked for him again. I did not find him but I found a Ribbon Snake hanging around the log and spent a good 10 minutes trying to photograph him. He would not stay still for more then a second and trying to get a good perspective of him thru all the vegetation was difficult. When he started going along the edge of the swamp I got about 30 feet in front of him and waited for him to approach. He saw me just after I took this shot and turned around, but I got my shot.

    EM1 w/ ZD 150mm ƒ2.0 + EC-20: ISO 1000, 1/320 @ ƒ4.5, Handheld
    29037245152_ebd2edc7db_h.
    ZD 150 w/ EC20 @ ƒ4.5
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    That was the last shot of the day. Next post will have my comparison shots from the 150/2 and SWD and the posts following that will be the 150/2 with different combos of TC’s and apertures.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016
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  2. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    All 3 photographs were taken from about the same approximant position and processed identically (150 shots cropped to get similar framing as the SWD shot). The 150 shot at ƒ4.0 was taken from a slightly different perspective as the ƒ5.6, I moved over a little to get more head on to the frog. The SWD shot is from about the same spot as the 150 shots, I had to crawl up the bank to switch lenses and return but tried to get into the same spot (used a very thorny bush as my reference). I didn’t want to do a square crop for this but the SWD shot almost filled the frame so this was the only decent composition I could get from the shot. I could have planned it better if I had first shot with the SWD for framing, I will do that the next time I try this. After the SWD shots I wanted to switch TC’s but while I was up the bank the frog turned around into the position he was in for the shot in the above post. One last thing – when I approached the frog with the 150 I did not have the skimmer pod so those where shot handheld. When I went back for the SWD shots I grabbed skimmer, this allowed me drop the shutter even lower and obtain the same ISO as the 150 @ ƒ5.6 shot.

    EM1 w/ ZD 50-200 SWD + EC-20: ISO 1250, 1/250 @ ƒ7.0, Skimmer Pod Used
    29065112401_6a382875cc_h.
    ZD 50-200 SWD w/ EC20
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    EM1 w/ ZD 150mm ƒ2.0 + EC-20: ISO 1250, 1/320 @ ƒ5.6, Handheld
    28523969533_e9305413fe_h.
    ZD 150 w/ EC20 @ ƒ5.6 200 crop
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    EM1 w/ ZD 150mm ƒ2.0 + EC-20: ISO 640, 1/400 @ ƒ4.0, Handheld
    [​IMG]
    ZD 150 w/ EC20 @ ƒ4.0 200 crop
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    I am really impressed with the performance of the SWD with the EC-20. It produced a very acceptable result in some terrible shooting conditions and to me is not far behind the 150/2 with EC-20, but there are some differences. Looking at the OoF area above the frog you can see that the 150/2 does a better job of pulling the color out and it just seems to pop a bit more (think that has a lot do with the better micro contrast of the SHG lens vs the HG lens and is what I love about the 150/2 even with the TC’s). Bokeh wise, the 150 @ ƒ4.0 is much better then the ƒ5.6 shot, enough that I would take the smaller DoF (which is not much different) for the better Bokeh. I actually prefer the Bokeh of the SWD over the ƒ5.6 shot, it is a lot smoother even if it does lack the color. Given the choice I would probably take the 150 @ ƒ5.6 over the SWD shot just because of the very dull and almost all white OoF area. But, for a lens that is 1/3 or less the price it really does well in the comparison.

    I was kind of surprised in how little the DoF did increase from ƒ4.0 to ƒ7.0 in this close up shooting situation. This would be one good application of the 300mm ƒ4.0 Pro because it could focus bracket the shot and get a bit more DoF. If I end up getting the 300 I will definitely put that ability to use because I have been getting obsessed with frog photography the last few months.

    Up next are the ZD 150mm ƒ2.0 shots without and with both TC’s and at several apertures in each combination.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016
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  3. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    First up are the comparison of the ZD 150mm ƒ2.0 + EC-20 to EC-14 to no TC. All photographs were processed identically, but the light really changed after the EC-20 shot so the color is a bit different (with some aggressive post I could probably get them closer). The shots with the EC-14 and no TC are cropped to about the same as the EC-20 photograph and all shots were taken handheld (was not expecting him to stick around so did not break out the skimmer). In all of the shots in the rest of this thread I did not fix the skew and only tried to get the frog about the same size in each frame. It would have driven my OCD crazy if I tried to get everything exactly the same. I was also really surprised he stayed while I fumbled around reaching for the different TC’s to switch out. I did move around a lot but am very thankful I found my second cooperative frog of the day.

    EM1 w/ ZD 150mm ƒ2.0 + EC-20: ISO 400, 1/320 @ ƒ4.0, Handheld
    29039578282_62ab1cb957_h.
    ZD 150 w/ EC20 @ ƒ4.0 No Crop
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    EM1 w/ ZD 150mm ƒ2.0 + EC-14: ISO 640, 1/320 @ ƒ4.0, Handheld
    28526409133_cb00a03960_h.
    ZD 150 w/ EC14 @ ƒ4.0 EC20 Crop
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    EM1 w/ ZD 150mm ƒ2.0: ISO 800, 1/320 @ ƒ4.0, Handheld
    28523429514_c9f0eeb7e6_h.
    ZD 150 @ ƒ4.0 EC20 Crop
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    EM1 w/ ZD 150mm ƒ2.0 + EC-14: ISO 250, 1/400 @ ƒ2.8, Handheld
    29145076485_0b24c183d8_h.
    ZD 150 w/ EC14 @ ƒ2.8 EC20 Crop
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    EM1 w/ ZD 150mm ƒ2.0: ISO 400, 1/320 @ ƒ2.8, Handheld
    28526481923_e92d41a320_h.
    ZD 150 @ ƒ2.8 EC20 Crop
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    EM1 w/ ZD 150mm ƒ2.0: ISO 200, 1/320 @ ƒ2.0, Handheld
    28526497243_dd00158906_h.
    ZD 150 @ ƒ2.0 EC20 Crop
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    The first thing that jumps out at me is the Bokeh differences. The EC-20 shot and the bare lens at ƒ2.0 have the best Bokeh to me and are pretty similar in appearance. Looking at all three ƒ4.0 shots it gets worse as you decrease the focal length. This holds true when looking at the EC-14 ƒ2.8 shot and bare lens at ƒ2.8.

    The second difference can be seen when looking at the back of the frog. As expected, the bare lens (even at ƒ2.0) has a bit more DoF then the other shots.

    Looking at all the shots I really prefer the bare lens at ƒ2.0. It gets just that much more DoF to bring out more detail in the frogs back while keeping a wonderfully creamy background. While the Bokeh of the EC-20 shot is just as good, I prefer the bit more detail in the back of the frog in the bare lens shot. I know this is just looking at strait crops that are smaller images then the EC-20 shot. The real test is going to be upsizing the crops to match the size of the EC-20 shot and looking at them. When I get some time I am going to do that and then have the photographs printed. That will help me determine if I am better off with the TC or cropping and upsizing. I am going to guess that I am better off with the TC as that is a pretty significant crop to upsize from. The real test is how well the EC-20 shot compares to an upsized EC-14 shot with it’s much smaller amount of cropping. For just Internet viewing I would take the bare lens shot over the EC-20 shot. But, I am more interested in printed shots then zooming in on the computer to look at things you will never see in print.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016
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  4. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Now time to compare the EC-14 to the bare lens at various apertures. As with the previous comparison all still applies. I should add that the photos are the same ones used in the above post, just cropped to be close to the same.

    EM1 w/ ZD 150mm ƒ2.0 + EC-14: ISO 640, 1/320 @ ƒ4.0, Handheld
    28526398033_3ebb5aa159_h.
    ZD 150 w/ EC14 @ ƒ4.0 Normal Crop
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    EM1 w/ ZD 150mm ƒ2.0: ISO 800, 1/320 @ ƒ4.0, Handheld
    28523441364_c0ca075a30_h.
    ZD 150 @ ƒ4.0 EC14 Crop
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    EM1 w/ ZD 150mm ƒ2.0 + EC-14: ISO 250, 1/400 @ ƒ2.8, Handheld
    [​IMG]
    ZD 150 w/ EC14 @ ƒ2.8 Normal Crop
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    EM1 w/ ZD 150mm ƒ2.0: ISO 400, 1/320 @ 2.8, Handheld
    28526487353_108f1ecfc7_h.
    ZD 150 @ ƒ2.8 EC14 Crop
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    EM1 w/ ZD 150mm ƒ2.0: ISO 200, 1/320 @ 2.0, Handheld
    29145121955_da0b1231b9_h. by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    First, Bokeh in the ƒ2.0 shot is the best as I expected but the EC-14 shot at ƒ2.8 is not that far behind. Just like before, the Bokeh of the greater focal length at similar apertures is better then the shorter focal length, but that ƒ2.0 Bokeh is just to nice.

    The biggest surprise for me was from the EC-14 at ƒ2.8 and ƒ4.0. In the manual Olympus recommends stopping down to ƒ4.0 when using the EC-14 (the manual says nothing about the EC-20, need to look at what the EC-20 manual says about using it). I always assumed it was the standard blurb you hear about TC’s, stop down one stop for a 1.4x and two stops for 2.0x for best performance. I have seen several people mention that Olympus says that because the TC’s do not match up well with opening of the ƒ2.0 lenses they need to be at f4.0 to match openings for best performance. Looking at these two shot I really prefer the ƒ2.8 shot, it has much better Bokeh. In some ways the ƒ4.0 shot looks sharper but I think it is an illusion because of the bit greater DoF and detail it picks up in the area below the eye. Looking at these I will not hesitate to shoot it wide open to get the better Bokeh.

    I also intend to upsize and print to see how much of a difference there is between the shots.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016
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  5. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Last but not least are the bare lens shots at 3 different apertures.

    EM1 w/ ZD 150mm ƒ2.0: ISO 800, 1/320 @ ƒ4.0, Handheld
    28523421194_88b4a7215e_h.
    ZD 150 @ ƒ4.0 Normal Crop
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    EM1 w/ ZD 150mm ƒ2.0: ISO 400, 1/320 @ ƒ2.8, Handheld
    28523453244_1917b4472f_h.
    ZD 150 @ ƒ2.8 Normal Crop
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr


    EM1 w/ ZD 150mm ƒ2.0: ISO 200, 1/320 @ ƒ2.0, Handheld
    28526494233_e9602e984a_h.
    ZD 150 @ ƒ2.0 Normal Crop
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    I really prefer the DoF on the ƒ4.0 shot, really shows off the back of the frog. But the Bokeh is just terrible compared to the ƒ2.0 shot. I wish the focus bracketing worked with the 4/3 lenses, would love the Bokeh of ƒ2.0 with the DoF of ƒ4.0.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016
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  6. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Final thoughts.

    It was a good experiment and I noticed things I don’t typically notice because I tend to shoot wide open unless it is something I really need the extra DoF on (like my gators). The difference in the Bokeh was really surprising in this close up type shooting. I actually wanted to shoot birds and gators for this experiment but as things worked out it was a day of more macro type shooting. Guess I will have to try again when some good bird action has returned, should be in late September when the temps are a bit lower (they all seem to be hiding in the deep cover of the swamp away from the sun).

    This did show me that while there are some differences in sharpness between wide open and stopped down, I will take the Bokeh of wide open because the sharpness is more then adequate. I do need to print the images to look at the printed versions to see what differences there really are between the TC’s and various apertures.

    I also did the micro focus adjust on my lenses at 35x the focal length (want to do them at 50x but need to order the larger ruler) and it’s good to see that at these short distances the adjustment is still really good. Because I like using telephotos for close up work I was a little concerned about how that would effect the focusing. This test has put all those worries aside, but I will redo it after I make the adjustments at 50x just to be sure. If needed, I will do one adjustment for 50x and another for close up work and just switch between them as needed. The EM1 will hold more then one micro adjustment for the same lens, which will make switching between them easy (will just have to make sure I have the correct one selected when in the field).

    I separated everything into albums on Flickr so here are links to the different albums where full resolution photos are available.

    All photos from the park: Brazos Bend State Park on 20 August 2016

    150 and SWD comparisons: ZD 150 & 50-200 SWD Comparisons

    150 TC comparisons: Comparing Various Combinations of TC's and ƒstops on the ZD 150mm ƒ2.0
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016
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  7. moonhawk

    moonhawk Mu-43 Regular

    44
    Feb 12, 2016
    Dave Cherry
    Great post, but your title says 300f/4 and 100-400. Cool Frogs, though.
     
  8. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Thanks.

    That's because I was I shooting a 300/4 lens and 100-400 lens all day.

    ZD 150mm ƒ2.0 + EC-20 = 300mm ƒ4.0
    ZD 50-200mm SWD + EC-20 = 100-400mm
     
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  9. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Hi Ronnie,
    Do you still want to get the m.ZD 300/4, or do you think what you have is good enough?
    I guess the 300/4 + MC-14 would be 2/3 stop faster than the 50-200 + EC20.
     
  10. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I really want the 300/4. Being able to focus bracket frog or snake shots and sometimes even some of my gator shots (impossible to get nose to eye in focus with a telephoto, have not tried anything below 150mm but that would put you closer then even I am comfortable and my friends tell me I am crazy for how close I get). LOL, that was a really long run on thing in ( ). I also want to get back into sports, which means I am going to need all the Pro lenses. I am just waiting on some real reviews on the mk2 before deciding what I am going to do. If the mk2 is what I am hoping it will be and I am pretty sure it will be, I will get a pair of them and the 300/4.

    Now, the 50-200 is an amazing lens that is also very versatile because of how well it takes the TC's. For action type photography I don't think it is the best, but for IQ the thing is worth 3x what it sells for. With the EC-20 it is really slow (aperture wise) and focus is decent, but can hunt in poor light (in the swamp it can be dark). As I am finding the IQ is really great, as long as you have decent to good light. Can be tough keeping shutter speed high (1/1000 for freezing a birds head when it strikes a fish) and ISO low in all but good light. I will never sell my 50-200, it is way to versatile and not worth much and I think I got a really sharp copy.
     
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  11. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    Great job doin all that work. I was going to do this with the 300s, but once I had made my own judgements about how they compare and work together, I lost the motivation to write it all up. Kudos for being neurotic enough to drag it all out and compare.
     
  12. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    LOL, thanks......I think. I am not done. Still have to print and look at them all. Then when I get the 300 we can do it all over again. Wonder if there is a frog that will let me go thru 3 lenses and 2 TC's with 2 and one TC with one?
     
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  13. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    Once you have the ability to focus bracket and stack, you will care less about the comparison. The 300 is my favorite macro lens. I suspect once you get it, you'll be a stackin' fool.
     
  14. moonhawk

    moonhawk Mu-43 Regular

    44
    Feb 12, 2016
    Dave Cherry
    I wish I had kept the 300. I returned it and got the 100-400 PL, which autofocuses poorly with the E-m1, and you lose dual IS.

    But i shoot a lot from a kayak, and needed the ability to change focal lengths without changing lenses. Not much opportunity to zoom with your feet when you're bouncing around in the water.
     
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  15. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    While you are correct when it comes to macro, when it comes to other wildlife I will still care. The subjects in this post just happened to be more macro type subjects but I was actually hoping to find some birds to do this with. I am more interested in the difference when printing between say the EC-20 shot, the EC-14 shot cropped to match the EC-20 and the no TC shot cropped to match the EC-20 shot. Also want to look at the same between EC-14 and no TC. I suspect that when printed there will be a noticeable difference between the EC-20 and no TC, that is a lot of crop to upsize from. What I am really curious about is the difference between EC-20 and EC-14, and EC-14 and no TC. My plan is to print all at 12x9 because I can do that for about $4 each, going up from there the price jumps a lot. I will probably print selected ones much bigger. Still working all that out.

    What I am really curious about is the difference between the 300/4 and the 150/2 when matching subject size. I really do want to compare the two while using the both TC's on the 150 and without. The problem is going to be finding a subject (I want to do field testing, screw the shooting a target at home because it is not the same) that lets me shoot with the 300/4 and 150/2 + EC-20 that will then let me move closer for the EC-14 and on TC shots.
     
  16. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    It's interesting that you say that because in his review, Matt at Mirrorlessons concluded that the 100-400 performed better on the EM1 then the Panny (not sure which model he was using) when it came to CAF.

    I shoot a lot from a kayak and don't really find using a prime that difficult. Now, when I need to I will switch out TC's but I know that is not always an option depending on conditions. Shooting with a prime is different because you don't have much control over the subject, but I just change my type of shot when the subject moves around. Here is a perfect example.

    Pulled up along this weed bed to watch this juvenile Yellow-Crowned Night Heron hunt and was in the perfect spot to capture this shot.
    28451066236_0bb1b40976_h.
    Needs Sauce
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    Then he decided to move my direction so I got this shot.
    27815914573_d513048783_h.
    The Search
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    Then he walked right pass my kayak and I got this shot. Which he was so close his head filled the frame and I had to use PS to extend the canvas followed by content aware to fill it in.
    28268641202_1ebf38caca_h.
    Full
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    I still maintain that a zoom is not needed for wildlife, just change up the style of shots when the subject gets close. Not only does it allow you to get great detailed shots of frame filling subject, but it forces you to shoot other things then full body and gives you a much more rounded portfolio. Now for sports I live by the zoom, but there are occasions when a prime works well. It's all I use for the airshow now, much prefer the prime over zoom for that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2016
    • Winner Winner x 1
  17. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    I think I need to rent you a D500 and 200-500VR just to see how you do. :)
     
  18. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    LOL, not sure how well I would like it. The increased size and weight would make a lot of the stuff I do to get the shot a lot harder. It's one of the main reasons I left Canon after 25+ years of shooting with it. I honestly think the 150/2 on the EM1 is the best wildlife setup I have ever used. It performs amazingly well with the TC's and provides 300mm, 400mm, & 600mm of effective reach. The D500 probably has an edge on the EM1 because it has the newest sensor, but the mk2 will probably narrow that gap once again. There really is not much difference between APSC and µ4/3 when looking at same generation of sensors. Now if you want to rent me a D5 and the 200-400 ƒ4 I am all ears. That is a combo I would love to try out, even if it would weigh more then all my µ4/3 gear.

    If I were to leave Olympus I would have a very hard time deciding which way to go. I really like having 600mm of effective reach, so that would mean either a full frame with a 600mm ƒ4.0 (which would just be way to big for my style of photography) or an APSC with a 400mm lens. That is where the problem comes in for me when looking at crop bodies. I am not a fan of Canon's sensors at all and really prefer what Nikon is putting into their cameras. But...........Nikon does not have a 400mm ƒ4.0 lens, which is what I would want for a crop body because it is a good compromise between reach and aperture speed.

    Honestly, you would be hard pressed to pick out a full frame, APSC, µ4/3 photograph printed and hanging on the wall. I would like a little more DR and hope the mk2 can provide that as well as a bump in high ISO performance.
     
  19. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    I agree, but I am hoping that the mk2 moves AF, in particular, far forward.

    I was at a local coastal refuge yesterday. Had great light and a few good subjects, but BIF is still a challenge and the distances mostly very far. I tried the 50-200 with EC-20 and it was a struggle.

    Of course the greenhead flies were a struggle too. They were attacking the car like Stukas. It was like a scene from a Bugs Bunny movie. I'll go back in fall when they die down.

    I found a spot in which fish were incredibly active. Something sardine size was roiling in the water, striking insects. It was fascinating to watch. Birds would swoop in, twist and dive. Action was fast and I couldn't capture any. I tried tracking the birds...I tried focusing on the water. The action was too fast for em1. Even when I was on target quickly, or predicted were the bird would hit the water AF failed miserably. I eventually switched to MF and tried holding on a spot of water. You can guess how that went. They struck everywhere else.

    Very frustrating. Herons and ballet dancers are easier.

    So the question for me becomes what to do with $4000-5000? Upgrade to mk2 and buy 300mm/f4 which is the current plan...Or go d500, 300pf and 200-500 which I can get all used for about that $$$. 7dmk2 with 400,5.6 and more? I could keep MFT and augment with another system with that money.

    I hope the mk2 makes the decision easy one way or the other. I'm not getting any younger!
     
  20. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    That is not something I would try with that combo, with the EC-20 it is a bit slow on the focus and can hunt because of the lack of cross type sensors. I have had good success with the EC-14 tho, but I don't really do a lot of BiF.

    I was at a NWR yesterday that is along the coast and the bugs were terrible. I setup for the morning hoping to see a bobcat that frequents a spot that is right next to the parking lot. Got there 2.5 hours before sunrise to setup and in the time it took to open my back window on the Jeep and put up my camo cloth I had 10000000000 mosquitos inside. Let me tell you, it was wonderful spending 2+ hours in there with all those damn bugs. The damn bobcat did not show up either. That place is known for it's mosquitos and horseflies, which can be absolutely miserable.

    BiF is probably one of the toughest things for an autofocus system as well as skill in following them. Most times the OVF is the difference when it comes to being able to stay on target, EVF still has a bit of catchup in that area. For most sports and action photography I find it more then acceptable once you adapt to it. For fast moving in any direction birds it can be hard to use an EVF. I would have switched to manual focus and followed them while adjusting focus, difficult but can be done....especially with a mechanical focus, screw trying to do that with focus by wire. Not sure how much better success you would have had with a Nikon or Canon unless you are able to keep the bird in the frame no matter which way it goes, no autofocus system can help if you can't do that.

    I am struggling with this exact decision. I don't want to leave Olympus because I really do like the size advantage it has when it comes to telephoto shooting, which is mostly what I do. Plus some of the features like Live Composite are just so damn cool and easy to use and I really don't want to run two systems. Then when it comes to printing, I can print 40x30 without any real difference in outcome from even a full frame. Going bigger would be a problem, but I have not needed to print any bigger yet and I have no problem getting photos excepting to stock agencies from my EM1.......so the IQ really is good enough.

    For anything but maybe BiF, the CAF of the EM1 is pretty damn close. I do want to get back into sports photography and would like it to be better and that is why I am waiting. I am confident that the mk2 will be more then good enough for sports and action photography, Olympus has really been pushing that fact and it would be bad for them if they did not succeed in it. Not because it is needed to keep sales going (the EM1 sold very well), but because they have said this is going to be a great sports camera so they really need to back it up and I don't think they would go out on a limb like that if they did not deliver.

    How well it will work for stuff like BiF is to be seen and it really is something that I could care less about. I am not into BiF photography and I don't understand why people seem to think it is the ultimate in wildlife photography. It is the ultimate in testing an autofocus system and skill in tracking but that is it. I can walk to a 1,000 places around me and shoot birds flying by, other then skill in tracking a flying bird there is really not much else to it. That is what 90% of the people who post BiF shots do, walk 100 yards from the car and start shooting. There is way more to wildlife photography then that and that is the photography that I concentrate on. The stuff you have to have great field skills just to get close enough to your subject to photograph or where you have to lay still and watch and wait for hours to get that shot of the subject doing something (like catching a snake to eat or a frog jumping up to catch a dragonfly, which is why I spend hours watching frogs and will one day get that shot). Honestly, for 99% of my wildlife photography the current EM1 with the 4/3 lenses meets that need and is the perfect system. It's for sports that I want better CAF/Tracking and really it's the tracking side I want to see improvements as well as better high ISO ability.

    For other systems I would have a hard time picking on. Not happy with the Canon sensors but I am equally not happy with the Nikon lens selections. The Nikon 200-500 is a stop slower then I would like for a crop body (would be fine for me on full frame), but is not weather sealed which is a no go for me. I like shooting in the rain way to much to have a setup that is not weather sealed. Nikon also has no 400m ƒ4.0 lens, which I would find ideal for a crop body and their 300mm ƒ4.0 lens I am not impressed by. The Nikon 200-400 ƒ4 is a sweet lens, but now you are getting into heavier then I really want to lug around. While I don't like Canon sensors they have what is probably the most perfect lens for sports photography (to heavy to lug around the swamp) in the 200-400 ƒ4.0 with the built in 1.4x TC. If Metabones ever makes a weather sealed adapter that lens will be high on my list of wants.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1