Advice needed: 200-250 mm

Mellow

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I'm feeling the need to add something a little longer to my lens collection. Right now the longest I have is the Olympus 4/3 40-150mm, which is excellent, but sometimes isn't quite enough. What I'd like is a 200mm (maybe 250?) with either of the following characteristics:

(a) Significantly faster than my 40-150mm (f/5.6 at 150mm); or
(b) Significantly higher IQ than my 40-150mm, so I can better crop

Obviously I'd like to have both of these things (and light as a feather as well!) but I'm trying to be realistic, because I can't afford to spend too much on it. My budget is probably < $100, unless something is just too good a deal to pass up.

One more thing: I've tried several 300mm legacy lenses and rejected all of them. Either they were too heavy and unwieldy, or had poor IQ (especially CA), or both. That's why I've set my sights on something smaller.

Suggestions?
 

dixeyk

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I have used a Konica 200/3.5, Super Takumar 200/4 and most recently a Vivitar Series 1 70-210/3.5. While they were all quite good the Super Tak is the most compact (amazingly so) and has the best sharpness and the Vivitar is the most fun to use as it can do amazingly nice macros as well.

All of these lenses were under $100 (the Vivitar was under $50). That said, MF on a 200 lens is not so simple (I think a VF2 is essential) and a tripod is probably best in anything other than ideal light as most of the more reasonably priced telephotos are not particularly fast.

Kevin
 

Mellow

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Thanks Kevin.

The Vivitar has been on my radar. So too the Pentax, but I've had bad luck in the past with CA on Takumars, so I'm a little leery. Have you noticed any undue CA on your Takumar?

I've been eying a 200mm Canon FD f/4 in the new FD mount. Only 440 g, and the few reviews I've managed to find seem to suggest it's very sharp.

Any thoughts on this one?

Does anyone else have any experience with Canons?
 

dixeyk

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I haven't noticed too much CA but I live in the Pacific NW so bright conditions aren't that plentiful until some time in July. I'm not a big Canon fan. I think they make wonderfully sharp optics but there always seems to be something missing in the images. Maybe the rather cool caste they produce...not sure what it is. I like my Vivitar Series 1's quite a bit. I have a 4th generation (Cosina) and a 1st generation (Kiron) and they are both nice. I prefer the Kiron between the two. The macro is easier to do and its a lot sharper.

Mind you, the Vivitar is not as sharp as a prime at full tele but it is a whole lot more flexible as a lens.
 

Mellow

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Interesting. I always thought Canons had a warm cast, but I have to admit I've never shot with one.

I live in Florida where bright, contrasty conditions are common. It's really a CA torture test for some lenses, and many of the older telephotos I've tried really fare poorly. I'm going to look more closely at the Vivitar.

Again, thanks for your advice. I really appreciate it.

Tom
 
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I've never had any particular issues which the colours from Canon FDs. Maybe it's just personal preference. I've only used primes between 20mm and 85mm so I don't know what the telephotos are like.
 

dixeyk

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Funny whenever I look at the stuff I get from my Canon 50/1.4 it looks cool to me. Maybe when you live in an area known for being gray and cool you get hypersensitive about it. :eek:

The Vivitar 70-210's are pretty nice (and cheap). I know that the 3rd generation Komine version is THE most coveted one, but I like my Kiron made version. It's bigger than the other versions but isn't too awkward. I like my Cosina made version as well but it isn't as sharp as the Kiron one. Then again it was only $30 in mint condition so I can't really complain too much.
 
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There's also a few Tamron Adaptalls in the 70ish to 200ish zoom ranges that max out at about f4.5 which are worth considering.

You could be right about the 50/1.4 - I haven't used mine too much. I generally prefer to use the Zuiko 50mm although I haven't tried the two back-to-back so I can't really compare their colour rendition.
 

Mellow

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Happy to report that I think I've found my lens. Bought a Canon FDn 200mm f/4 and put it through its paces today, shooting my standard test scene. I'll post images later, but here's a quick synopsis of the results:

(a) Lens is really sharp from f/4-f/11 in the center, sharpest at 4/5.6-f/8;
(b) Little soft at f/4 at the edges but sharpens up quickly upon stopping down;
(c) Very little CA, a little purple fringing but not bad . . . and I was trying to produce it;

And now for the interesting part, to me:

(d) Significantly better than a slightly up-sampled image from the 40-150mm Olympus 4/3 at 150mm, f/7.1 (the sweet spot for this lens at 150mm);

(e) When up-sampled, practically indistinguishable from a 300mm image from the Oly 70-300mm 4/3 lens @ f/8 (again, the sweet spot at 300mm for this lens). This was the part I liked best--I've replaced my $300 zoom with a $40 lens, with practically no loss in IQ.

I upsampled cropped images in LR3 to native size, 4032x3024 and compared them at high resolution in FastStone.

Oh, and the lens is nice and light and is easy to hand-hold. (Wouldn't want to do it without the VF-2, however.)

Couldn't be more pleased!!!
 

iliakoltsov

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Tamron produced a nice 200mm as well , even though zooms a more known and it is understandable why as on M4/3 they are just outstanding .

BBAR tamron 200 F3.5 ( non SP)

on SP there was a really nice lens :D

SP 180 F2.5 (very hard to find collector item)

Concerning zooms
70-210 3.8-4 is great from Tamron dirt cheap as well

SP :
70-210 F3.5 Fantastic lens one of my favourite.
80-200 F2.8 Never owned it by the look of it it is a monster.
 
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