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Best telephoto lens for the EM5

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by bijansabet, Jun 15, 2012.

  1. bijansabet

    bijansabet New to Mu-43

    Mar 26, 2010
    Looking to buy the best (image quality and speed) telephoto lens for my em5. Need something better than the kit lens for kids sporting activities (soccer and lacrosse)

    Thanks in advance !
  2. kenez

    kenez Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 18, 2012
    For image quality and reach I would go for the 4/3 50-200mm with the adapter. It is a F2.8-F3.5 lens ,however, it doesn't focus particularly quickly on the E-M5 so you might instead look at the m4/3 75-300mm. It isn't fast in terms of aperture but since the E-M5 can handle high ISO it should be usable in relatively dim light. It is also a good size match for the body.

    There are also some good deals around for the m4/3 45-200mm by Panasonic. Optically it is not as good as the Olympus 50-200mm but for $200-$250 it is an excellent deal.

    As far as the 50-200mm goes it is reported that the SWD version does not focus any faster than the original non-SWD model on the E-M5 so you might save a few bucks and buy the older lens.
  3. bijansabet

    bijansabet New to Mu-43

    Mar 26, 2010
  4. nueces snapper

    nueces snapper Mu-43 All-Pro

    Daylight Shooting ...

    m4/3 Oly 75/300. There is nothing wrong with this lens. I enjoy mine regularly. Yes it is not a fast lens but for daylight its fine. It focuses fast as long as it can find a subject. Trees and limbs can be a problem with birds and such but kids on a sports field will be no problem. Fast action can be a problem and you have to practice to get your keeper rate decent. I hardly ever shoot in any manner other than single shot and the focus and shoot is nearly instantaneous. 600mm of effective focal length can get you some great shots. For sports I would recommend a monopod. :2thumbs:
  5. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Try the m.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8, though it will be difficult to find for a while as its just been announced. The pre-production versions have been out for a long time though (almost as long as the pre-production E-M5!), so I wouldn't expect too long of a wait. This is a very useful focal length for small sporting events, and the speed is more than you'll need for outdoor events. It's actually an ideal lens for indoor sports, which means it'll be more than you need for outdoor sports.

    Later this year we'll have the Lumix X 35-100mm f/2.8. Its mate, the Lumix X 12-35mm f/2.8, has already been announced. These lenses are fully weather sealed to go with your sealed E-M5 body.

    And that unfortunately ends the currently available list of fast telephotos. The Micro Four-Thirds system is still very new and rapidly growing. We stared off with fast wide to standard primes with slow telephoto and standard zooms. We are now working on fast telephotos and fast zooms. Olympus has stated a commitment to completing the prime lens range, while Panasonic is showing effort in the zoom range.

    However, if "the best Image Quality and Speed" is your goal, then you have an incredible selection already available in the Four-Thirds lens range, all usable with the MMF-3 mount adapter, which will also give you a fully weather sealed system with the E-M5 as well. The only problem with Four-Thirds lenses is they were made for Four-Thirds DSLRs rather than Micro Four-Thirds non-reflex cameras, meaning they work better with the DSLR's Phase Detect Autofocus system rather than the E-M5's Contract Detect Autofocus system. If you're comfortable with manual focus, then you should be able to manually focus these lenses faster than autofocus. If you know how to use them right, they will deliver the goods! The Zuiko Four-Thirds glass are known for their sharpness and high resolving power.

    The best for IQ and speed would be the Zuiko 300mm f/2.8 or Zuiko 90-250mm for the longest reach, or the Zuiko 150mm f/2 or Zuiko 35-100mm f/2 for a mid-tele range with incredible speed and resolution. These lenses all won the top-pro lens category of the EISA awards when they came out. The f/2 zooms are also the fastest zoom lenses made.

    However, those top-pro lenses are rather large and expensive, and quite excessive for your kid's sporting events. Especially outdoor events, which could actually be serviced with slow native telephotos as these fast lenses will need to be stopped down anyways.

    So a good compromise would be the High Grade category, with lenses such as the Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 (SWD or non-SWD). This is a wonderful lens with amazing detail and sharpness with beautiful creamy bokeh. The speed is quite decent, but with the variable aperture it makes a lightweight lens for its class, which is easy to hand-hold.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    But then, since you are shooting outdoor sports, I question whether you really need "the best image quality and speed"? Certainly you don't want to sacrifice image quality, but you will only need the speed on cloudy days. Granted, that's when you'll get the best photos so I can certainly see the desire for faster glass. The slow native telephoto zooms like the Lumix 100-300mm f/4-5.6 or the m.Zuiko 75-300mm f/4-6.3 should also do well enough. However, since this is kids sports you should be able to get close to the field and don't need as much reach. As such, a fine prime lens like the m.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 will deliver with much better detail and much more speed when you need it.

    We really need a lot more information from you. You say you want the best image quality and speed, but you're only shooting your kid's outdoor sporting events which doesn't necessitate the best fast glass with their associated bulk, weight, and expense.... or in some cases (ie, using a PDAF lens on a CDAF body), complexity in use.

    So my two main questions to you are... what kind of budget are you looking at, and what kind of focal length range?
  6. bijansabet

    bijansabet New to Mu-43

    Mar 26, 2010
    Thanks for all this info

    I don't have any budget constraints for this lens.

    I want something that can go 200mm or more.

    I like the idea of weather proof

    Thanks again.
  7. rkelac

    rkelac Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 15, 2011
    Wow. No budget constraint! Go with the $7000 Olympus Zuiko 90-250mm.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yeah, if the sky's the limit and you don't mind the extra weight, go with the Zuiko 90-250mm f/2.8 or the Zuiko 300mm f/2.8. Both are fabulous lenses.

    Especially with your smaller Micro Four-Thirds body though, I would lean towards the 300mm/2.8. The prime lens is easier to handle, especially since you don't have to deal with the zoom ring. It's a good idea to invest in the battery grip for your E-M5 if you haven't already... and a tripod. :) 
  9. mclarenf3

    mclarenf3 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 23, 2010
    If you do go with the 90-250mm or 300mm on your E-M5, please take a photo of it. I'd love to see that monstrosity!
    • Like Like x 1
  10. humzai

    humzai Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 17, 2012
    you can get teh 90-250mm for around $3000 on ebay.
  11. ckrueger

    ckrueger Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 16, 2011
    Forget the 90-250. If you have an unlimited budget and don't mind carrying a heavy hunk of lens like a 90-250, buy a Nikon D4 and 200-400/4VR instead. Save the EM5 for more noble pursuits. :) 
  12. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 3, 2011
    90-250mm on the E-M5? Stop being silly guys.....
    • Like Like x 1
  13. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Do you care about autofocus? If so, better avoid any of the longer Olympus ZD (4/3) lenses. None of them work remotely well for moving subjects.

    Best wait for the m4/3 35-100/2.8 from Panasonic.

  14. MizOre

    MizOre Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2011
    Unlimited funds suggests getting a larger format DSLR that does auto tracking well and a 70-200mm or 80-200mm f2.8 lens unless you can't stand the weight, live somewhere that requires being less conspicuous, or simply like the challenge of using a m43rds for everything. Or wait for the 35-100 f/2.8 from Panasonic which will have an equivalent field of view and a possibly advantageous deeper depth of field.

    Wanting to do everything with micro 43rds is valid enough, but the better photographic solution is probably different.
  15. Sounds like many of the customers I used to get when I was a Concierge at a good hotel.

    You would set up all sorts of activities for them because "budget wasn't an issue". When they saw what the hourly cost of a helicopter totals too.....suddenly they had other things to do that "just came up"! :rofl:

    I learned to start out by requesting their credit card number before making bookings....that way we got the excuses sorted straight away, and I got to eat my dinner that night.:drinks:

    To the OP.....if you've bought an E-M5, and budget isn't an issue for you, and the main thing you want it for is active sports.....take it back to the shop and buy a DSLR with matching telephoto lens. This is a great format, but you have picked the one application where it isn't a ideal system for your needs. Yet.

    Cheers, Tom
  16. bijansabet

    bijansabet New to Mu-43

    Mar 26, 2010
    I should have clarified. I'm willing to spend but I don't want something super heavy. That's why I went with the oly em5.
  17. Pokemon

    Pokemon Mu-43 Rookie

    May 26, 2012
    anyone know when the panasonic 35-100mm is going to be available?
  18. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    I think maybe the Panasonic 100-300 may be the best compromise focusing speed and weight. I would try to see if it meets your needs before investing in the faster 4/3 lenses w/adapter. The 50-200 is a great lens, but will be slower to use. If you can wait, while using the 100-300, I'm sure we'll see faster native lenses in the future.

    • Like Like x 1
  19. mclarenf3

    mclarenf3 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 23, 2010
    It hasn't been officially announced yet. So as far as I'm concerned any guess is exactly that.
  20. bijansabet

    bijansabet New to Mu-43

    Mar 26, 2010
    Thanks. Will give it a try.
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