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Best lightweight wildlife lens?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Messiah Khan, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. Messiah Khan

    Messiah Khan New to Mu-43

    Jul 2, 2011
    What are my options for a light weight wildlife lens for a MFT camera (Probably going to be an Olympus E-P3).

    I am buying a MFT setup to take hiking (Going to be walking the 2650 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail next year) as my usual Nikon DSLR setup is far too heavy. The lenses I am after are a landscape lens (Probably the 12mm f2) and a wildlife lens. On my DSLR setup I use a 300mm f4, sometimes with a 1.4X TC. The DSLR is a 1.5X crop, so I am ideally looking at something in the 450mm-630mm equivalent. It needs to be as light as possible and as sharp as possible. I know Panasonic do the 100mm-300mm and Olympus the 75-300mm. Are there any other options out there? Which is the choice of these two? Shame there isn't something like a 250mm f4 prime out there for MFT.
  2. Pan Korop

    Pan Korop Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 31, 2011
    Phare Ouest
  3. Messiah Khan

    Messiah Khan New to Mu-43

    Jul 2, 2011
    I don't mind MF lenses, but not for wildlife. Trying to track birds in flight with MF lenses sounds like a game of frustration to me!
  4. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    If you're going to get an E-P3, by all means get the mZuiko 70-300 zoom. It's small and lite-weight, very sharp and super fast to focus.
  5. duke

    duke Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 4, 2010
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Not really any other autofocus choices, except the 45-200, which may or may not be long enough. Both lenses are good, with the Oly being slower, lighter, and more expensive, most people pick the Pana lens. Even though the Oly ep3 will have IBIS you might find that you actually prefer the OIS offered in the Pana lens since the focal length is so long.
  6. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    And then there was the days before auto-focus...:wink:
  7. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Which is why high-ISO performance is so critical - you need this with the 75-300 :wink:
  8. Messiah Khan

    Messiah Khan New to Mu-43

    Jul 2, 2011
    Thanks for the suggestion. I presume this is the standard 4/3rds lens, not a MFT? If so, do I need an adapter to use the lens, and if so do I retain all the functions, ie AF, Metering etc?

    Aye, I know that and I can use manual focus. But if the option is there for AF then why not take it? Also I am sure there are lots of shots that were simply missed before the invention of AF due to not being able to focus fast enough. :smile:

    That's the thing putting me off the 75-300. I can handle f5.6, but f6.7 on the long end is going to be hard to work with in everything but the brightest light. Not much fun and dawn or dusk!

    On a related note, what do you think the max usable ISO for the E-P3 will be? on my Nikon D300 I prefer not to go over ISO800 if I can help it.
  9. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Based upon my E-PL2 performance,
    You *should* be able to work with ISO 1600 in daylight conditions....But if you're looking for extreme feather details such as in BIF photography, I'd 1/3 step ISO to no more than 1250....or stick at 800 :redface:
  10. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    He said "m.Zuiko" and also mentioned "super fast to focus", so I assume he meant the m.Zuiko 75-300mm (mFT), not the Zuiko 70-300mm (FT).

    Personally though, I think the Zuiko 70-300mm is a very good choice. Yes, you will need an adapter for it (Panasonic DMW-MA1, Olympus MMF-1, or Olympus MMF-2), and it does hunt a lot (it does this on its native Four-Thirds mount). However, it is CDAF optimized so it focuses as well on mFT as FT.

    One thing I love about the Zuiko 70-300mm, is its wonderful tele-macro capabilities. At 300mm you can focus in only a few feet away, giving you 1:1 EFL macro magnification.
  11. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    Yahbut, back then it was easy to manually focus the cameras. In my Nikons I always used one of the screens with a split-image center. The current crop of overly-reliant-on-automation bodies does not provide anything that can rival those screens for MF speed or accuracy.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. duke

    duke Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 4, 2010
    San Francisco Bay Area
    The NEX has focus peaking :) 

    (Sorry to keep bringing this up wherever I go, but it's a great feature that I really do hope makes it to m43)
  13. robertro

    robertro Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 22, 2010
    Wildlife lens....

    I'd also add the Panny 45-200 to the mix, as probably the least expensive option if it's long enough. Even if not, it is very well behaved with an A-200 Olympus 1.5x teleconverter or a TCON-17 / B300 1.7x Olympus teleconverter.

    I'd second duke's comment on NEX focus peaking - it's a complete new world of easy manual focus compared to clicking around in magnification modes.

  14. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I would agree that the 45-200 is a terrific lens for hiking (That's how I use it). It's compact and reasonably fast to focus on my Panasonic body. I also find the results sharp. I doubt as sharp as the other two lenses you mentioned then again it is a lot less expensive.
  15. Drmarkf

    Drmarkf Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 26, 2010
    Cambridge, UK
    Yes, I've got a D300, 70-200 VRII and 1.4 teleconverter I use for wildlife & sports photography, but I take my E-PL2 while hiking for the same reason as you!

    Are you sure you wouldn't be better off taking a panny 20mm f1.7 for general use rather than the 12mm, excellent though I'm sure that will be? Or what about the mFT 9-18?

    As to a wildlife lens for the E-PL2, I have tended to take an Olympus 40-150 mFT, but I recently bought a Panasonic 100-300 and would probably take thatbased on my experience so far.

    I tried out an Olympus 70-300 as well, but went for the 100-300 despite the greater expense and weight mainly because I seemed to get more sharp keepers at 300mm with in-lens stabilization than with the in-body version with the Oly. IS in these light bodies isn't nearly as effective as VR in good Nikon lenses in my experience.

    Granted I didn't do an exhaustive test, but I'm happy so far (I used the 100-300 at the British GP last weekend and got good results both on and off a light monopod).
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