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Arguments for a 400mm f4 for m4/3

Discussion in 'Back Room' started by faithblinded, Feb 12, 2015.

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  1. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    I started posting this thought in another thread, but I think it deserves it's own, in light of the recent Olympus interview.

    I have long been of the opinion that both Olympus and Panasonic have failed to capitalize on the 2x crop factor, and how it compares to APS-C for users of super telephoto lenses. I'll break down my logic here:

    Let me preface this by saying, the only "equivalence" I care about is FOV. I'm not looking to start one of those discussions. Most of the traditional equivalence arguments don't have relevance to super telephoto work anyways. If anything, they get flipped on their head.

    The new 300mm will be great for the system. Here's where it will get us, and what it compares to directly in APS-C for FOV. I include the TC for all of this, because honestly, at these focal lengths, the TC will be on 90% of the time, if not always. It's the max reach with the TC that I'm concerned with, so I don't include numbers for without. Either way, the focal lengths compare directly for FOV.

    300mm + 1.4x TC on m4/3 gets you 420mm(840mm equiv FOV)
    400mm + 1.4x TC on APS-C gets you 560mm(840mm equiv FOV)

    That's great. The weight difference between a 300mm f4 designed for m4/3 and 400mm f4 designed for full frame should be significant. This is even true for the compact diffractive optics designs using fresnel elements. The new Canon 400mm f4 DO IS II USM lens comes in at 4.63lbs, and that's the ultralight end of fast full frame super telephoto lenses. I saw the new Oly 300mm quoted at 1500grams, or about 3.3lbs. That's almost a pound and a half saved versus the lightest lens for APS-C that can offer the same reach. And that's comparing a fresnel based design of unknown optical quality(the first version wasn't well received, despite the weight savings), to a traditional design that will likely at least equal the other PRO lenses optically. There are no traditional 400mm f4's that I know of to make a more direct comparison of weight. All the other 400mm are 2.8 or 5.6, so comparing for weight is less meaningful.

    But APS-C isn't limited to 400mm. Pros who use long lenses always want more reach, up to the point where either they can no longer bear to pay for, or carry it, whichever comes first. I'd say for most of these folks, 500mm is probably as far as they will ever go with a prime. Yeah 600s exist, but they are bloody ginormous, and weigh 5 tons.

    Here's what a 400mm would get us, and what it compares to in APS-C for FOV.

    400mm + 1.4x TC on m4/3 gets you 560mm(1120mm equiv FOV)
    500mm + 1.4x TC on APS-C gets you 700mm(1050mm equiv FOV)
    600mm + 1.4x TC on APS-C gets you 840mm(1260mm equiv FOV)

    So looking at equivalent field of view, 400mm plus a 1.4x TC would put us smack dab in between the longest focal lengths commonly used by pro sports and wildlife photographers. This means we could have a lens offering the same reach as the longest lenses used by APS-C pros, with a weight that would likely be similar to the Canon 400 f4 discussed above. Olympus should exploit this possible advantage. They have their focus on imaging, and with the E-M1 soon capable of 9fps with C-AF, and it's generous buffer, they could really make the most of a 400mm prime. I believe that such a lens would draw in wildlife and sports shooters in large numbers, after years of being nudged towards a larger sensor, and being forced to use lenses made for that larger sensor. All those Nikon users waiting for a D400 could buy E-M1mark2's instead.

    Ok tear apart my logic, or tell me why your focal length is a better idea. Or agree, since obviously I'm correct. :p
     
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  2. GRID

    GRID Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 22, 2011
    If they make a 300mm i think 400mm is way to close, 500 or 600mm would get me thinking of buing it.
    Or i think people will but just one of them.

    I´ve tryed 1,4 and 2.0 teleconverters on my Canon 300mm, and when you get down to thouse lengths 100mm isnt that much.
     
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  3. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    I just think a 500 would be unreasonably large, or too slow. Not to mention exorbitantly priced.

    The 300+TC will take us to 840mm equiv FOV
    400 +TC would get us to 1120mm equiv FOV

    So yeah it's only a 100mm advantage. Add the teleconverter and the advantage becomes 140mm vs the 300+TC. Add crop factor and you're talking 280mm difference in field of view, which is significant, in my mind.

    If you really want to take it a step further, they could make a 400 f2.8, and release it with a 2x TC, but also compatible with the 1.4xTC. You'd get:
    400mm f2.8 (800mm equiv FOV)
    400mm + 1.4TC would get you 560mm f4(1120mm equiv FOV)
    400mm + 2xTC would make it a 800mm f5.6(1600mm equiv FOV)

    That would rock.
     
  4. Rasmus

    Rasmus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    660
    Nov 16, 2013
    Stockholm, Sweden.
    I wouldn't buy a 400/4. My 300/2.8 with 1.4x tc becomes an excellent 425/4. I would buy a 400/2.8. I had an eye opener yesterday evening, because I got the opportunity to play a bit with top level Canon gear. The 5D MK3 + 300/2.8 combo totally surprised me by being easily one hand holdable. I have trouble holding the E-M1 + 150/2 combo in one hand. Even the 1D X + 600/4 felt only marginally harder to hand hold than the E-M1 + 300/2.8 combo.

    To me it says that we could definitely have an M43 lens that is as long AND as fast as the canikon big guns, and that it could be manageable. A native 500/4 would be a dream lens, they tend to be fairly light for their reach and speed, but 400/2.8 would also be interesting, they are rumoured to be ultra front heavy pigs but anyway worthwhile because they can become 600/4 or 800/5.6.
     
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  5. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    haha we were posting the same notion at the same time. jynx
     
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  6. Rasmus

    Rasmus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    660
    Nov 16, 2013
    Stockholm, Sweden.
    500/4 lenses tend to be around 3 kg. Not unreasonably heavy and actually lighter than the Oly 300/2.8. But you're right, the versatillity of a 400/4.8 + 1.4x + 2.0x would be great. It would also be great if the converters were stackable, like those from Nikon and Canon.
     
  7. Gillymaru

    Gillymaru Mu-43 Veteran

    I am getting the 300 f4 and teleconverter when it ships but a 400 f4 would be even nicer.
    I am hoping someone decides to build a lens over 300mm with decent quality for m4/3, seems that there is demand for those of us that need a long telephoto lens.
    Why can't someone build a lens like this, http://cameralabs.com/reviews/Sigma_150-600mm_f5-6-3_DG_OS_HSM_Sport/index.shtml not too pricey and good reach, even If they only took it out to 500mm it would still be great.
     
  8. gcogger

    gcogger Mu-43 Veteran

    342
    May 25, 2010
    UK
    Graeme
    I'm not convinced there's any significant saving in weight when you consider the system as a whole and the results you are trying to achieve. A 400mm f/5.6 lens on APS-C will let you achieve pretty much the same results as a 300mm f/4 on micro 4/3 (AOV, DOF, light sensitivity of the whole system), and Canon's version is only 1250g.
     
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  9. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    I really don't want to get into an equivalence argument, so I'll go at this from another angle.
    Add a 1.4xTC to your f5.6 lens and now it's f8. Now you can only use the center focus point. I take the 300 f4 and add a 1.4xTC, it becomes a 5.6 lens, and the focus system is unaffected, allowing me to still shoot BIF with multipoint. (not certain if there will be a reduction in focus points with smaller aperture in the new C-AF mode coming to E-M1)That alone makes an APS-C body with a 5.6 lens not an option, because I'm going to want to use a TC to get the most reach I can.
     
  10. Dave Lively

    Dave Lively Mu-43 Regular

    82
    Mar 16, 2014
    The upcoming 300mm f4 is about as heavy and big as I want to go. Olympus made a good choice with that focal length and aperture. Fast enough to use with a 1.4TC but not crazy heavy and expensive. After looking at 300mm f4 lenses for SLRs I was hoping the 300mm f4 would weigh no more than 1kg and be priced around $1600. The latest information predicts the lens will be 50% heavier than I wanted and for all I know the price will be 50% higher too. I would not want anything heavier.

    For those that do need more reach a longer lens would be nice. But from a practical point of view when you start looking at 400 and 500mm f4 lenses they are so large, heavy and expensive the cost of 24MP APS-C SLR body is not very significant. If you crop a 16MP image out of a 24MP APS body you get nearly the same reach as you would with a 16MP m43 body. I am already thinking about whether I would be better off just buying a Canon/Nikon 300mm f4 and one of the smaller APS bodies for it instead of waiting for the Olympus 300mm. The Olympus lens is priced over $2000 I might do exactly that. I would like to only have one system but if I can buy a 300mm f4 AND body that is lighter and less expensive than the Olympus lens by itself I am going to do so.
     
  11. gcogger

    gcogger Mu-43 Veteran

    342
    May 25, 2010
    UK
    Graeme
    Agreed, that's the where the advantage lies over conventional APS-C SLRs. With the increasing number of mirrorless APS-C cameras, I'm not so sure there's an advantage over those in the telephoto range.
     
  12. Rasmus

    Rasmus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    660
    Nov 16, 2013
    Stockholm, Sweden.
    IMO the advantage is having one system, not two. My E-M1 works as well with the 17/1.8 as it does with the 300/2.8. All the menus are the same, the buttons don't move etc. I can bring just one body instead of one body for the telephoto and one for the rest.
     
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  13. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    I do kind of wonder if the reported weight of the upcoming 300mm f4 got skewed in translation. It seems like it just can't be right, by at least a few hundred grams.
     
  14. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    There's also this. I love my E-M1. More than any camera I've ever worked with. And it just keeps getting better. I also love where Olympus is heading, and that Panasonic brings the best video game in the market out to play with all my lenses. I'll gladly pay a slight premium for Zuiko PRO glass, it's a gambit that has yet to disappoint. When the new firmware is released, I may just acquire a 2nd E-M1, and sell the unused E-M5. :D
     
  15. rklepper

    rklepper Mu-43 Top Veteran

    733
    Dec 19, 2012
    Iowa, USA
    Robert
    Personally I would love to have either a 300 or 400. A TC would just be a bonus. Never understood why my wants never translate into their needs. :)
     
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  16. SteveNunez

    SteveNunez Mu-43 Veteran

    450
    Oct 11, 2010
    South Florida
    Steve Nunez
    Sigma needs to make a 50-500 just like they do for APS-c and ff for micro4/3!
     
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  17. Rasmus

    Rasmus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    660
    Nov 16, 2013
    Stockholm, Sweden.
    It would be FABULOUS if Sigma offered their teles with m4/3 mount. One lens I'd get ASAP would be the 120-300/2.8, but the 300-800/5.6 and the 800/5.6 would also be of interest.
     
  18. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    A 300/4 is a $1500-$2000 lens when produced in significant quantities. Pricey, but still feasible for a lot of enthusiasts.

    A 400/4 is something else altogether. $6000-8000 or so, minimum. And remember, mirrorless (and 4/3 rather than FF sensors) doesn't any real advantages when it comes to designing long telephotos.
     
  19. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I imagine that a 150-500mm or similar "Bigma" style zoom would have a much wider adoption than a 400mm or greater prime. Frankly, I don't know if there is any audience for such a thing who would be willing to spend multiple thousands of dollars for such a lens.
     
  20. Dave Lively

    Dave Lively Mu-43 Regular

    82
    Mar 16, 2014
    The used to make that lens for 4/3 SLRs. I never owned it but the consensus on the 43 forum on DPR was that the 50-200 with a 2x teleconverter and a little cropping produced produced images that were better than the 50-500 images at 500mm. I am not sure if the lens has been redesigned since then. While I prefer zooms in general for long lenses I prefer primes. It seems like most of the reasonably priced zooms are at their worst when fully zoomed out. That is certainly true of my 100-300. It is OK at 300mm when stopped down but is better at shorter focal lengths. But since I bought to for the 300mm end that does me little good.
     
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