A telephoto zooms comparison spread sheet

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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My OCD has been kicking my brain hard lately (even more so after the news about Olympus NewCo stuff) and I had to give in and make another spreadsheet (I love doing these for an unknown reason to me). But before I share it (bellow) I need to explain the reasoning and the content.
First things first: you can download the spreadsheet itself (it's an Excell file) and modify any way you want or need.
Next up: feel free to criticize or correct me if I am wrong somewhere (I am far from a perfect human being and I can admit to mistakes).
The reason I felt the need to make this is that my brain kept churning up for reasons why it would be a good idea for me to be interested in buying the upcoming Olympus 150-400mm f 4.5 Pro whatever the price it might have (compared to other systems available today, as in the 15th of July 2020). My main focus is ONLY mirrorless for a multitude of reasons (good or bad, whatever) so the systems are Micro Four Thirds, Sony E and FE, Canon RF, Nikon Z, Fujifilm X.
With so many debates of equivalences and real differences between 35mm FF, ASP-C and Micro Four Thirds I decided to scratch the brains of those 2x on EVERYTHING in lens specifications I put at the top of Micro Four Thirds and ASP-C the 2x and 1.5x crop factor of aperture (whether you want to debate Depth of Field or "Light Gathering Capabilities) and to make the crop factor camp there "real" aperture value bellow it as well as the ISO exposure based on a fixed value from original ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed.
Next up is the ISO value I based it on. I found myself in low light situations for wildlife and I want to base that case as the worst-case or the minimum capabilities I would like to be able to start from. And that case is ISO 6.400 at f 5.6 and 1/125th of a second. This is an example of such a case:
W0LF0209.jpg
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Low light even on a bright sunny day when you are under foliage (trees, tree alcove, underbrush, foliage-covered footpath, forests, etc) there can be a struggle for light. I often find myself in such situations when I don't have half or quarter of a day to sit out in the fields to wait for birds, instead I go where the birds often rest or hide.
2nd case:
W0LF0006-2.jpg
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(Not the best quality picture I have but the best for this case) With no control over the weather, even a cloudy day can push ISO at maximum to get enough shutter speed to freeze the motion and it gets worse the closer winter is. I hate being limited by weather be it in terms of light quality or safety for the gear (it's why I got Olympus in the first place).
IF you do not shoot in such low light conditions (if you prefer mid-day shooting or only in sunny weather or whatever) then all you need to do is lower ALL the ISO values to however many stops you feel it's your minimum or average. (Assuming you aim for 1/125th sec exposure at f 4 if you want other settings you need to account for that as well).
No more talk here is the spreadsheet (as preview):
1594854682769.png
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(Download link here for xlsx file since the website doesn't allow me to attach this format: https://1drv.ms/x/s!AksBB2IBTehLhb00Ev2NB4zMOCEyTg?e=wORu3v )

The reason I chose zooms is that I am looking for a zoom lens for versatility in most conditions. So most of these lenses go from 100mm (35mm FF equiv.) to either 400mm (the shortest lens), 600mm (on average) and 800mm (with teleconverters or natively) and a few more than that). I only choose what is available for purchase and know of the price and or specification with the only exception being Olympus 150-400mmf 4.5 Pro for comparison sake (and original interest). Prices are from PriceBuster.co.uk. The size and weight specification are rounded a bit (I have OCD and I prefer numbers that are easy to read) +/1 50 grams and +/1 0.5mm.
The color coding is a bit funky at first, going from light shades of blue/blue/green/yellow/light orange/orange/dark orange/red/brown/black, weight in a similar manner for camera & lens & teleconverter, and for the set red for 35mm FF, green for ASP-C and Blue for Micro Four Thirds.
I chose Sony A9 because it has the best AF and performance for birds in flight, even though it's a very expensive lens.
I chose Sony 200-600mm despite its slow aperture and huge size (basically the BIGGEST lens from the whole list by a huge margin) because of it's the lower price.
I chose Sony 100-400mm as an alternative but it's still pricey especially with the teleconverter.
Sony A6600 is a big mismatch for both 100-400mm and 200-600mm but given its possibility and reach I had to put it there.
Sony 70-350mm seems to be a decent pairing with A6600 BUT there's not teleconverter option.
The new Sigma 100-400mm feels better paired for A6600 then A9 because of the question about IQ and AF speed of adding the Sigma 1.4x TC as a 3rd party lens AND slow aperture.
Canon is not much of an option considering the HUGE price and the lower advantage compare to the other options in most respects.
The only lens Nikon has that interest me, (since besides 80-400mm lens) all other options have more 0s than my bank account can count and has no native option as of TODAY (15th July 2020), is the 200-500mm f 5.6 so FTZ adapter is mandatory.
I added Z50 just for the hell of it (since it doesn't have IBIS and it's smaller so more difficult to handle a full-size DSLR telephoto zoom lens)
Fujifilm is shockingly similar to 35mm FF counterparts in terms of size and weight (like the combo of A6600 with 100-400mm from Sony or from Sigma) and price-wise it's not exactly ... exciting.

Any recommendations to change/add/remove or would like to share your own interest/experience in this department?
Since I already own the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III my price limit for Olympus 150-400mm f 4.5 Pro is the cost of Sony 200-600mm with 1.4x TC and A9, beyond 4.500 £ it would be hard for me to justify the cost outside weight and size savings. 2nd option would be Nikon Z6 with 200-500mm and 1.4x TC adapter since I can get ISO 6.400 throughout and ISO 12.800 if I really need more reach (I just realised I put the wrong colour code for Nikon Z6 since it's the heaviest combination of all of the options, sorry about that).

(PS: Now my OCD is satisfied and I can have a normal life ... until next time :p )
 
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stevedo

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Good job, I like things like this :thumbup:

PS just noticed that the EXIF for your first shot shows an aperture of F5.6, " f/5.6 1/125s ISO 6400", and not the reference " ISO 6.400 at f 4 and 1/125th". Maybe I'm interpreting what you wrote incorrectly.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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Good job, I like things like this :thumbup:

PS just noticed that the EXIF for your first shot shows an aperture of F5.6, " f/5.6 1/125s ISO 6400", and not the reference " ISO 6.400 at f 4 and 1/125th". Maybe I'm interpreting what you wrote incorrectly.
Sorry about that, the reference is f 5.6 as is the Exif data on the picture, I corrected the text. As I did not notice the f 4.5 short end of lenses is the correct value of ISO 4.000 in such a "case".
 
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L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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The P100-400 comes out look pretty good, actually - range, eq f/stop, price, weight. Sharpness, though, is not part of the analysis.
There is no way I can quantify sharpness even within one system because reviewers might use different cameras or methodologies. The other issue is what might be sharp for someone might be unacceptable for someone else. Ideally, you would test ALL these lenses on one camera: that's impossible.
The sharpness and other image quality factors will have to be part of your own knowledge and interpretation.
This analysis is purely empirical measurable data that can be compared with the other.
 
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L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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I'm waiting for the Oly 100-400 to make to the market - and the spreadsheet. ;)
Originally it was part of the spreadsheet but I realised that almost everything but the aperture start and aperture end of the zoom range was the only available data I could put on the table ... which was not helpful so I had to remove it. I will update it as soon as reviews crop up along price, size, weight.
Same for other systems, like the Nikon Z 200-600mm.
 

ac12

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color coding is a bit funky at first, going from light shades of blue/blue/green/yellow/light orange/orange/dark orange/red/brown/black, weight in a similar manner for camera & lens & teleconverter, and for the set red for 35mm FF, green for ASP-C and Blue for Micro Four Thirds.

Not really.
It took me a little while, but then realized that in general, your color coding is simply the electrical color code merged with the light spectrum, but reversed in direction. But you missed violet/purple :biggrin:
Once I figured out the color coding, it made sense.

Neat table.
I do something similar but with less manufacturers.
A few other thoughts.
  • A HARD spec to find is the extended length, for extending zooms. The advertised spec is the shorter collapsed length, not the longer extended length.
  • Which lens has or does not have a tripod mount.
    • The Sigma100-400 does not.
  • Which direction the zoom ring turns.
    • Depending on what and how you shoot, this can be important.
      • For FAST moving sports/action, I want ALL the zoom rings to turn in the same direction, so my left hand can zoom with muscle memory. Example, I HATE the Sigma lens on a Nikon, because the Sigma zoom turns in the opposite direction than the Nikon zooms.
      • For slow stuff, for me it makes no difference.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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Not really.
It took me a little while, but then realized that in general, your color coding is simply the electrical color code merged with the light spectrum, but reversed in direction. But you missed violet/purple :biggrin:
Once I figured out the color coding, it made sense.

Neat table.
I do something similar but with less manufacturers.
A few other thoughts.
  • A HARD spec to find is the extended length, for extending zooms. The advertised spec is the shorter collapsed length, not the longer extended length.
  • Which lens has or does not have a tripod mount.
    • The Sigma100-400 does not.
  • Which direction the zoom ring turns.
    • Depending on what and how you shoot, this can be important.
      • For FAST moving sports/action, I want ALL the zoom rings to turn in the same direction, so my left hand can zoom with muscle memory. Example, I HATE the Sigma lens on a Nikon, because the Sigma zoom turns in the opposite direction than the Nikon zooms.
      • For slow stuff, for me it makes no difference.
I tried to put the most measurable data I can but I admit I can't be 100% accurate since I do not own any of the (current) lenses on the table so I can't give accurate aperture values per focal length.
I did it in reverse because I associate blue and green with very good (or GO on street signals) and red or darker tones with not very good (NO GO) ... my brain is funny to me sometimes :p ... sorry about violet/purple ... but if you have the budget for the likes of Nikon 180-400mm f 4 and Canon 200-400mm f 4 I can add them to the comparison in the category: sell your house, car, wife, and cat (package deal only) with violet/purple highlight :p
I debated whether to put in the tripod collar weight but my intent and need (it may differ from yours so feel free to modify the values for your own reference from the file in the download link) is portability and lack of interest of tripod/monopod usage.
I can add zoom ring turn orientation AND focus and zoom ring positions if it helps most people but it will add more complexity to the table with another vertical section.
Slow stuff might be the only option on some systems: like Canon RF (for the moment) or it might be the only affordable option: like for Sony E/FE. Nikon, upcoming Olympus and Panasonic are the only ones offering "relative" (depending on your point of view of equivalencies) fast apertures.

Panasonic 50-200 with 1.4 + 2.0 TCs? Compares favorably with the 100-400, and gives a lot more flexibility with the 50-200 range / speed.
I am adding it to the comparison (it's the only lens I have at the moment) and the decent compatibility with Panasonic's own 100-400mm f 4-6.3 is part of the reason I bought this lens for myself.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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I have updated the list with Panasonic 50-200mm and Teleconverters, I also added 2nd hand prices for some of the lenses and cameras where there are available IN THE UK!!! (if you need for a different country you will need to do your own research), I have also added identical coloring for the Micro Four Thirds aperture to the 35mm FF:
1594854642587.png
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Bushboy

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I want a Panasonic 200 2.8
One day, when I win the lotto, I’m gonna get one and move to Switzerland.
 

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