Budget telephoto zoom help?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Tall Guy, Jan 1, 2016.

  1. Tall Guy

    Tall Guy Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 15, 2015
    Jeff H
    i bought the Panasonic 45-200 recently. I have had it out a few times. I have not been happy at all with it's performance shooting waterfowl at 200MM. My images are not sharp at all. I shot hand held at 1/300 second shutter speed and f5.6 for my best shots. I have lens stabilization turned off and am using the 5 axis in body stabilization of the camera. My camera is an Olympus OMD EM10 Mark ii.

    I really wanted the reach of the 200MM but is one of of the offerings from Olympus or Panasonic optically sharper by more than a margin? I would like the 200MM reach or even the 300MM reach but I'm not in the position to purchase the pro offering from either manufacturer. i've looked at the ones DXO has tested and they are not giving any of them a good sharpness rating if I'm reading their tests correctly. I would consider 150MM, 175MM or 300MM on the telephoto end if I can get decent sharpness.

  2. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    The primary requirements for sharp pictures are accurate focus and no camera movement. Make sure the Anti-Shock setting is set to 0 Sec. If pictures still aren't sharp, Put the camera on a tripod, if you have one, or just set it down on something and set the camera to use the self timer; this will avoid any camera shake.
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  3. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    ..and use electronic shutter since you have most current camera.
    FWIW, users of Olympus 75-300 II generally like it, so you may research it more and give it a try.
  4. Tall Guy

    Tall Guy Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 15, 2015
    Jeff H
    I have 0 sec set on anti shock, I manual focus with focus peaking and focus zoom assist on also. I was shooting handheld. I guess I will go back this weekend and shoot off the tripod and see if I can achieve better results before I decide to send the lens back. I've even looked at the Tamron 150-600 for my Nikon D750 but it's one thousand dollars and I just don't want to spend that kind of money and I don't want to lug around a large lens. I saw plenty very large lenses at the wildlife observation building this morning. I sensed some smirks while i was using my small Olympus. LOL
  5. Tall Guy

    Tall Guy Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 15, 2015
    Jeff H
    I used electronic shutter on a series of the photos and still didnt see any difference in sharpness. I don't have the shutter release cable and I don't like using the smart phone app so when I tripod shoot, I set the self timer for 2 seconds and have anti shock mode turned on. Thanks for the tip. I think I will try using my tripod this weekend and see if it gets better.
  6. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Sometimes backing off the max FL helps. Try 180 or so.

    You might want to research some lens reviews from sites that publish detailed data. Maybe this lens will be present and you can find specific information on its sweet spots.

    The p100-300 for instance, was thought to be mediocre in sharpness until someone started shooting it at 280 instead of 300 and found it to be very sharp.
  7. Another suggestion in the blog posting, How to get Sharp Telephoto Images is use a shutter speed double your 35mm equivalent focal length, so at 200mm at least a 1/400 shutter speed. I know it has helped a little with my P 100-300.
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  8. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Are you able to reasonably fill the frame with the bird?
    Can you post some examples?

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  9. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Kiillarney, OzTrailEYa
    oops, misread what I replied to. Sorry about that.

    since the OP says budget have you considered legacy glass?

    300mm f4.5 Oly manual focus is less than $200 when working on a tripod with ibis I'd expect reasonable results.

    This is 300mm hand held manual focus

    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
  10. mikekiwi

    mikekiwi Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 16, 2010
    The Netherlands
    I own the 45-200 as well and am more then happy with it. Never had any complaints about sharpness, it always delivered what was expected.

    However, I always give priority to the OIS of the lens instead of IBIS, maybe that helps?
  11. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    Try AF-S. Every so often I take out my adapter and take some shots with my Nikon 200/4 AIS or 180/2.8 AF-S lenses, and while they are very sharp when I nail focus, that's the exception rather than the rule. The loss of resolution from a tiny amount of mis-focus is very large. The AF of mirrorless cameras are generally more accurate than SLRs.
    How the hell do you focus those manual focus lenses on modern DSLRs? Very carefully....
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    I would spend a little more time with this lens. First to understand the limit of the lens second to get better at using a tele lens. I have no idea how much experience you have with a 400 equiv. lenses, I discovered myself that is harder then I expected.

    This is what I would do:
    - find a completely static subject (not trees) outdoor at a "real world" distance
    - get a few test shots, at base ISO, 1/1000 at apertures: "wide open", f5.6 and f8, like 10 for each. Do this at 200mm, 150mm, 100mm, 50mm moving closer to keep a similar framing. Try to stay as steady and relaxed as possible. Notice how your breath moves the camera and find the best moment. Press the shutter gently.
    - go back home and pixel peep at 100%. Find the best set (focal length and aperture) and the best shots.

    In real situations you can use speeds slower then 1/1000 but here I'm trying to limit the human factor as much as possible.

    Yes, this can be quite boring and a little insane :) but will give you a better idea of the lens then any review can. You should see that in the 10 shots supposed to be identical there are many differences. Sometimes the best of the worst set can be better then the worst of the best set.

    Or you can go on DxO and look at the whole measurement charts like Sharpness->Field map. The P45-200 wide open at 200mm seems quite bad. Stopped down at f8 it recovers a little. Moving back to 150 it gets better. This is typical for tele zooms.

    The O75-300 is a better lens, even wide open at 300mm, but if you use it in this way only again you are using it at its worst. And the photographer blur contribution would be even greater. That is why I think it is useful to spend some time testing/learning each lens.
  13. Tall Guy

    Tall Guy Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 15, 2015
    Jeff H
    Hi Barry...I was not. that is one of my problems. By the time I crop, I've diluted my image pixel count pretty bad. I'm not ready to post any examples yet. They look that bad. I will go out this weekend or early next week and try again on a tripod with a faster shutter speed, 2 second self timer with anti-shock turned on.
  14. Tall Guy

    Tall Guy Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 15, 2015
    Jeff H
    Thanks for the reply. i wondered which image stabilization I should use. I will try your suggestion. Thanks
  15. Tall Guy

    Tall Guy Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 15, 2015
    Jeff H
    I haven't considered legacy glass. I really want to stick to micro four thirds glass with this system. I have a nikon ff for wide and portraits. I would like to keep it small for telephoto and macro. I appreciate your reply.
  16. Tall Guy

    Tall Guy Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 15, 2015
    Jeff H
    I appreciate all the helpful suggestions. Looks like you folks have given enough great advise to keep me busy for a little while. I've never shoot at an effective 400mm telephoto range before so there is definitely a learning curve. I had my tripod in the truck when i shot at the wildlife refuge but didnt take it to the observation building with me. I'll shoot some static items here at the house this weekend and try to nail down better technique before i go back. Thank you all.
  17. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    I used a 45-200 to shoot kids' soccer games. At 200, I could only get good results at f8 or higher. I ended up replacing it with a 4/3rds Zuiko ED 50-200 SWD lens, which I could shoot wide open and get good results. Rather reasonable used. But, that requires an EM1 for fast AF. I also shoot at shutter speeds of 1/1000th or higher to freeze the action and minimize the effects of shake shooting handheld.

    Added. Sample shot with this lens during a soccer game. Any focus errors are my fault. :)

    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
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  18. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Kinda hard to say what's going on without samples, but a few thoughts:
    1) Often longer focal lengths are used for more distant objects. Any sort of moisture in the air is going to cause issues with distant objects.
    2) The 45-200 is somewhat notorious for sample variation - 'good' copies are considerably better than 'bad' copies.
    3) Stabilization results can vary. To rule out other factors, when testing its good to turn off stabilization entirely and use a very high shutter speed (I'd say 1/800s or more at 200mm). That will give you a better idea of what the lens is capable of.
  19. kenez

    kenez Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 18, 2012
    I have the 45-200mm, 75-300mm mk2, and the ED 50-200mm with adapter. The 50-200mm is my favorite followed by the 75-300mm which is reasonably compact with great reach. The 45-200mm isn't bad but rarely gets used. Since you manual focus I wouldn't hesitate to pick up a nice used copy of the 50-200mm. I use the lens' tripod bracket as a handheld grip for more stability. You can also often find the EC-14 teleconverter on eBay for a reasonable price. I paid about $75. That will extend the lens to 70-280mm with no image degradation.
  20. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 21, 2013
    N Essex, UK
    I've not had any problems with mine, these were shot at 200mm:
    21171899624_12ce3f18c4_c. Heron 1 by Mike Kanssen, on Flickr

    14059540263_a9b8d9d70c_c. On the Tiles by Mike Kanssen, on Flickr

    9903202875_3a5cc96f53_c. Dragonfly in flight by Mike Kanssen, on Flickr

    The first shot at 1/160s f8, then 1/1600s f5.6 & the last at 1/250s f8, using OIS (all handheld).

    When I need longer reach I tend to use my legacy 600mm reflex lens on a focal reducer (~900mm EFL - without the focal reducer the 1200mm EFL is too much to handhold) hand held shots of the moon are no problem, but focusing is rather slow:
    21782869322_f488577fc4_n. Supermoon pre-eclipse by Mike Kanssen, on Flickr
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
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