Falling in love with Four Thirds lenses (Lots of Images)

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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Hello, first let me say sorry for the very long post this is going to be and it will include many images as well. Most of my life I worked for minimum wage (earning less than 300 Euros per month) so I couldn't afford much and what I could I had to pay monthly for years (took me 4 years to finish paying for my first Panasonic camera). I did best I could with my constraints: My most used camera was Panasonic G1 (5 years) and my most used lenses were Reveunon 50mm f 1.8 M42 (6 years) and Sigma 60mm f 2.8 (3 years) sprinkled with kit lenses. I always looked for value from cameras and lenses and how I come to use Four Thirds:

Olympus Zuiko Digital 14-54mm f 2.8-3.5 ED Mark I:
I bought this lens, instead of the Mark II which I know it will focus faster and better, because of the 125 pounds price. The mark II generally goes to double that in the UK but I was curious about this lens and I didn't want to invest too much if such endeavor was not to my liking. As such, I got a cheap Viltrox adapter for 25 quid as well. Here are a few of the results I got from it:

Olympus 14-54mm 1.JPG
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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, 14mm, f 2.8, 1/80 sec, ISO 200.

Olympus 14-54mm 2.JPG
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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, 54mm, f 3.5, 1/1000 sec, ISO 200.

Olympus 14-54mm 3.JPG
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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, 14mm, f 2.8, 1/2500 sec, ISO 200, stitch of 6 images.

Olympus 14-54mm 4.JPG
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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, 19mm, f 5.6, 1/800 sec, ISO 200.

Olympus 14-54mm 5.JPG
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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, 54mm, f 3.5, 1/400 sec, ISO 100. 14 images were stitched together to make this image.

Olympus 14-54mm 6.JPG
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Panasonic GX7, 23mm, f 3.5, 1/3200 sec, ISO 200.

Olympus 14-54mm 7.JPG
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Panasonic GX7, 54mm, f 5.6, 1/800 sec, ISO 200.

Olympus 14-54mm 8.JPG
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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, 54mm, f 3.5, 1/2500 sec, ISO 200.

What I love and don't like about this lens:
*Colors, they are just amazing, very beautiful and warm colors, very close to how I like them to be.
*Sharpness, it's not clinically perfectly sharp but this is what I love about it. The (few) Micro Four Thirds I had before were sharp but also very contrasty at a pixel level and made the images to rough in a way. I don't know if the higher end lenses from Micro Four Thirds are the same but this lens has a more pleasant sharpness and transition and make the images look smoother but still sharp.
*Out of Focus rendition, it looks amazing (to me). The way it goes in and out of focus all throughout the focus and the focal range is just so pleasant, smooth and buttery, have not encountered any busy background (yet).
*Distortion, although not perfect it's better balanced than the Panasonic 14-42mm Mark II and Olympus 14-150mm Mark II because the edge of the frame doesn't feel stretched or cut off by software correction to eliminated barrel distortion.
*Vignetting, there is some, noticeable against uniform or bright background, but its fixable with just +20 Vignetting correction in Lightroom.
*Lens flare, it's well controlled, I didn't have any big problems with it so far.
*Chromatic Aberrations is very well controlled, there is still some in very high contrast (like shooting against a bright background or light sources) but it was never too distracting, compared to my Olympus 14-150mm Mark II that has such horrible Chromatic Aberrations I just hate using that lens. I know it can be fixed in Lightroom but when I push my edits to where I like them to be the Chromatic Aberrations turn into an ugly, almost neon-like, red tint that even Lightroom doesn't know what the f*** it is and how to fix it.
*Minimum focus is nice, I can get very close throughout the focal range, not macro level but close enough that I don't feel frustrated about not carrying a macro lens with me.
*Focal range, going from 14mm to 54mm in a pinch is a very useful for being versatile in a pinch,
*Aperture range, it's not constant f 2.8 but even f 3.5 is not that far and its a bit better than f 4. It stays at f 2.8 up to 18mm, f 3.1 at 25mm and only when going into a more portrait/telephoto range some light is lost but that mostly bumps up the ISO from 400 to 640 or fall from 1/125 sec to 1/80 sec going from f 2.8 to f 3.5 for example.
*Size, it's not small but in all honesty, I got used to it and it's not that big either. Sure its longer because of the adapter but I still find it compact for its zoom range and especially aperture.
*Weight, at first I didn't like it but after using it for a while I got used to it, from using 100 to 300 grams Micro Four Thirds lenses. It felt even better balanced after adding a 3rd party grip.
*Build quality, GREAT. It feels very nice in the hand, probably the heft (440 grams without adapter) helps with that too. The lens feels though (-er then the plastic fantastic of Panasonic 14-42mm Mark II, but I never hated that lens or plastic for that matter) and the weather sealing makes it more reassuring that I can take images and not be scared of the English weather. The zoom ring has a different pattern so it's easier to tell it apart and works smoothly, the focus ring worths smooth and even though its Focus by Wire (like most Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds lenses are) it feels smoother and more precise then Panasonic 14-42mm Mark II or Olympus 14-150mm Mark II.
*Autofocus, the biggest elephant in the room when it comes to Four Thirds lenses isn't it? Well with only CDAF cameras I have it works reasonably and by that, it focuses in about 1 to 2 seconds (faster if its very contrasty and bright light, like 1/1000 sec or more) and it works accurately too. If the contrast drops off and/or the light is getting low it will focus slower and will hunt sometimes, but the accuracy mostly remains, On my Panasonic Lumix GX7 the AF is pretty much useless because its extremely slow and not accurate at all, the shots with it above was in Manual Focus. I only tested Single AF because that's how I shoot but I don't thing Continous AF would work to any reasonable degree. The Mark II version will do better (from what I read from others) because it's optimized to work with Contrast Detect AF. The AF noise is there, and I haven't heard the wiring AF of a lens since I used my Pentax K200D back in 2010, but it doesn't bother me that much, it's still noticeable though. I use this lens mostly for landscapes, portraits, and macro and AF speed is not my highest priority (at the moment).
I love this lens and I won't replace it until either it breaks or I need something better and can afford it. Originally this lens was supposed to be a placeholder until I can afford either the Olympus 12-40mm f 2.8 or Panasonic 12-35mm f 2.8 or Panasonic Leica 12-60mm f 2.8-4. I will try to test these lenses in the coming years and see which one comes close to the Olympus 14-54mm f 2.8-3.5 in the things I love most about it, and that's a testament of how much I like this lens.

Olympus Zuiko Digital 50-200mm f 2.8-3.5 ED Mark I:
Originally it was supposed to be SWD version, let me explain. I found this lens marketed as SWD version, including the images of it, on Camera World UK for 300 pounds. I felt lucky because this lens usually sells for 400 pounds at least in UK (usual price is 500 pounds) so I bought the lens and when it arrived: SUPRISE SUPRISE its no SWD. When I contact the seller I was told it was just an honest mistake and gave me the option either return and refund it or get a 50 pounds refund and keep it. I chose the 2nd one because I got 6 months warranty on it too (which is better than anything you can get on eBay). And at 250 pounds its the usual (but not the cheapest, I could import from Japan for 200 pounds) selling price of this lens.
I used this lens so much in the last month that I can't leave it at home anymore, here are some of (many more) my favorite images I made in the past 30 days:

Olympus 50-200mm 3.JPG
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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, 200mm, f 3.5, 1/400 sec, ISO 500.

Wolfy - 052018 - Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II - 0807-Pano.JPG
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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, 200mm, f 3.5, 1/400 sec, ISO 320, Panorama stitch of 16 images vertically oriented in burst mode.

Olympus 50-200mm 8.JPG
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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, 200mm, f 3.5, 1/400 sec, ISO 320, Panorama stitch of 25 images vertically oriented in burst mode.

Olympus 50-200mm 5.JPG
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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, 200mm, f 3.5, 1/250 sec, ISO 200.

Wolfy - 052018 - Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II - 0404.JPG
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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, 200mm, f 3.5, 1/400 sec, ISO 3200.

Olympus 50-200mm 4.JPG
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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, 200mm, f 4, 1/640 sec, ISO 400.

Wolfy - 052018 - Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II - 0185-Pano.JPG
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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, 200mm, f 3.5, 1/800 sec, ISO 250, Panorama stitch of 4 images oriented in landscape.

Olympus 50-200mm 7.JPG
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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, 200mm, f 3.5, 1/400 sec, ISO 1250.

Olympus 50-200mm 2.JPG
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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, 200mm, f 3.5, 1/400 sec, ISO 3200, Panorama stitch of 32 images oriented vertically.

Olympus 50-200mm 1.JPG
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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, 200mm, f 4, 1/400 sec, ISO 400., Panorama stitch of 42 images oriented vertically.

Olympus 50-200mm 6.JPG
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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, 200mm, f 3.5, 1/800 sec, ISO 200.

What I like and do not like about this lens:
Most of what I said about the Olympus Zuiko Digital 14-54mm f 2.8-3.5 ED Mark I apply here, it's just like the perfect big brother of that lens. The colors are just amazing and I am always stunned by every image it makes. The aberrations are there but it's not too intrusive or jarring. I found no noticeable distortions, vignetting is not noticeable (for me) as I don't remember even trying to fix it in Lightroom, flare I only encountered in a specific shot (the first image) where it can show up intensely but that was the only moment when I ever have seen it so I am not sure if its a big issue (I have used lens hood all the time). Sharpness looks very good, even wide open. A lost of the images I shot are either wide open or close because I wanted to see how well it handles it and I am very happy with this performance, I would only close down the aperture IF I need more DoF or there's too much light. The Out of Focus rendition is just mind-blowing, to me. I am sure people have seen better performance, have used better lenses, but for someone who never had a lens like this is an eye opener, even after 8 years of making images. The aperture range is rock solid, it stays at f 2.8 from 50mm to 90mm (that's 100 to 180mm f 2.8, not bad at all for portraits), f 3 up to 145mm.
The build quality is rock solid, everything feels well placed and comfortable to use. The weight was worrying at first but I got used to it (the third party grip really helps here) and though it's still a bit more then I would like its worth every single gram. The thing that I don't like is the manual focus ring, I know its Focus by Wire but it doesn't feel smooth at the finest level of adjustment, like trying to get the eye of the subject in focus, where a few centimeters is out of order, its hard to get fast adjustments because the AF motor does not respond fast to small adjustments. I have lost a few shots because of that. The aperture mechanism is slow on the more modern cameras, as soon as I close down the aperture the burst rate falls down considerably as it takes time to close the aperture. When I shoot burst I keep the aperture wide open to get most out of it, especially since I am manual focusing and can't track focus manually very well I try to maximize the keeper's rate.
But the biggest problem I have with this lens is Autofocus, which, on my CDAF cameras only, is utterly useless. And it's not the focus speed that is the problem because I can survive with a few seconds to make focus lock, but the focus accuracy is off that every shot I tried is either front focused or back focused. I was expecting slow AF performance, even in Single AF, but focus accuracy makes it useless in AF. Every shot I showed above and every shot I have taken with this lens is in Manual Focus. That is ok, for me, for now, though having a 250 pounds lens that does focus manually only is not the best value, and the image quality balances it right now. And again, this lens is a placeholder 'till I can find a good replacement but for this lens its harder because Panasonic Leica 50-200mm f 2.8-4 is 1400 pounds more expensive, and for someone who makes images out of passion and not for the money it's extremely hard to swallow. Olympus 40-150mm f 2.8 PRO, even with the 1.4 teleconverter, is still 600 pounds more expensive used. Maybe Panasonic 100-300mm f 4-5.6 Mark II but I do lose light and don't know if the rendition and the colors will match.
I will get a used Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark I to, mostly, solve the AF performance and get more life out of this lenses, get time to find alternatives for them too.

If you made it this far, thank you for taking time to read this and sorry for such a long post, I've been trying to write it for 3 weeks and somehow I am still as much enthusiastic about this lenses now as I was before writing this post because I keep getting the best images I ever took every day.
 
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LilSebastian

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I like the 200mm shot of the lone bunny rabbit, it has great lighting. Very interesting that you use panoramic stitching too.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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I like the 200mm shot of the lone bunny rabbit, it has great lighting. Very interesting that you use panoramic stitching too.
Luckily I work night shifts only so I walk to work at sunset and go back home at sunrise and I work at the edge of the town so I get to see a lot of wild animals (like the bunnies) in good light. Using multiple images to expand the field of view has become something of my style of making images as a technical way to overcome some of the limitations of Micro Four Thirds sensor (and not being able to afford very fast lenses) like resolution, depth of field and field of view in relation to each other, and a way to represent how we naturally see the world (Full Frame looks to creamy and out of focus).
 

number17

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Nice photos.

I also stumbled upon a FT 14-54mm Mk I for close to nothing, and it was too good to pass on even though I know its AF time will be very slow on my E-M10 II. I've had it for maybe 2 weeks, I haven't had a chance to go out and do a field test yet but here's my random thoughts ...

- Picture quality is pretty darn good, for a zoom lens. I ran some quick test comparing it to my Panny-Leica 25mm f1.4 prime and it holds its own. Here's a quick shot of my dog sleeping over my vent in our bedroom ...

First this is with the 25mm Prime @f3.2:
42813843862_e4c7060c92_c.jpg
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Taking the same photo with the 14-54 @f3.2:
41961422185_ac4fc2798d_c.jpg
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Not the most interesting photo, both photos are unprocessed but I love the colour rendering and also how smooth the lens shift from in focus to out of focus, the boken is smooth and nice.

And here's another sample shot from the lens, just around the house ...
28989601668_de446dc9af_c.jpg
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So picture quality-wise, I think it is very, very good for a zoom lens. I never have a chance to play with the new 12-40 f2.8 PRO lens, but I doubt if it will be noticeably better.

- AF: like you said, the elephant in the room. Mk I is CDAF (?) I believe, which EM-10 doesn't really support. In general, with good light, the AF time is about 1-3 sec. Indoor, the AF time is 3-4 sec, and there is focus hunting, the focus is LOUD, and there are the odd times it cannot focus if it's too dark.

If I am to compare it to the 20mm f1.7, which is one of the worse MFT lens for AF, I'd say it's still noticeably worse.

I can see myself using this for landscape or portrait shooting in a good light environment. It's really not suitable for indoor shooting, and I've got not chance for event shooting or action shooting.

- Weight : the lens is heavy if compared to other MFT lenses I have. It feels as heavy as the body of the E-m10 II plus the 45mm prime lens plus the fotodiox grip, if not more. The build quality is actually VERY good, the lens has a metal body I believe, and though the one I got is used and has its share of war scars on it, it holds up well and I have no reason to believe it will fail anytime soon.

However, with it being such a heavy lens, the dilemma for me is - I initially picked up the zoom lens for travel, and weight is a factor for a travel lens. It is pretty long as well, for a 14-54 zoom lens, especially with the FT-MFT adapter. It is LONGER than my 14-150mm superzoom lens.


So in conclusion, I love the lens (especially when it costs so little, bang for buck you can't go wrong) but I am still trying to figure out how I can use this lens ... it's not ideal for indoor, its weight may not be ideal for travel lens, and I can't use it for any moving subject. I will see in coming months how it works in the field and if I can ever make it work, it can be a real gem.
 

zzffnn

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Fellow budget photographer here and cheers! Very nice images!

How do you do panoramic stitch of live small animals? Do you just activate burst shooting (what fps) and move camera (while trying to keep focus manually)? I never thought of doing that, though it should work sometimes given the high burst rate of current cameras.

I do know non-m43 users who used burst shooting to do manual focus stacking and got good images. Which is not too different from your panaromic stitching, I am guessing?
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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Nice photos.

I also stumbled upon a FT 14-54mm Mk I for close to nothing, and it was too good to pass on even though I know its AF time will be very slow on my E-M10 II. I've had it for maybe 2 weeks, I haven't had a chance to go out and do a field test yet but here's my random thoughts ...

- Picture quality is pretty darn good, for a zoom lens. I ran some quick test comparing it to my Panny-Leica 25mm f1.4 prime and it holds its own. Here's a quick shot of my dog sleeping over my vent in our bedroom ...

First this is with the 25mm Prime @f3.2:
View attachment 657274

Taking the same photo with the 14-54 @f3.2:
View attachment 657275

Not the most interesting photo, both photos are unprocessed but I love the colour rendering and also how smooth the lens shift from in focus to out of focus, the boken is smooth and nice.

And here's another sample shot from the lens, just around the house ...
View attachment 657276

So picture quality-wise, I think it is very, very good for a zoom lens. I never have a chance to play with the new 12-40 f2.8 PRO lens, but I doubt if it will be noticeably better.

- AF: like you said, the elephant in the room. Mk I is CDAF (?) I believe, which EM-10 doesn't really support. In general, with good light, the AF time is about 1-3 sec. Indoor, the AF time is 3-4 sec, and there is focus hunting, the focus is LOUD, and there are the odd times it cannot focus if it's too dark.

If I am to compare it to the 20mm f1.7, which is one of the worse MFT lens for AF, I'd say it's still noticeably worse.

I can see myself using this for landscape or portrait shooting in a good light environment. It's really not suitable for indoor shooting, and I've got not chance for event shooting or action shooting.

- Weight : the lens is heavy if compared to other MFT lenses I have. It feels as heavy as the body of the E-m10 II plus the 45mm prime lens plus the fotodiox grip, if not more. The build quality is actually VERY good, the lens has a metal body I believe, and though the one I got is used and has its share of war scars on it, it holds up well and I have no reason to believe it will fail anytime soon.

However, with it being such a heavy lens, the dilemma for me is - I initially picked up the zoom lens for travel, and weight is a factor for a travel lens. It is pretty long as well, for a 14-54 zoom lens, especially with the FT-MFT adapter. It is LONGER than my 14-150mm superzoom lens.


So in conclusion, I love the lens (especially when it costs so little, bang for buck you can't go wrong) but I am still trying to figure out how I can use this lens ... it's not ideal for indoor, its weight may not be ideal for travel lens, and I can't use it for any moving subject. I will see in coming months how it works in the field and if I can ever make it work, it can be a real gem.

I have the Olympus 14-150mm f 4-5.6 II and I haven't used that lens in months since I got the Olympus 14-54mm f 2.8-3.5 I. The reason for that is I really dislike (almost hate honestly) the rendition and image quality of the 14-150, sharpness doesn't seem to be there, the colors and rendition of OOF areas are harsh. In contrast the 14-54 has better sharpness, more contrast, the colors are warm but very close to how it is in the scene, the rendition though is absolutely gorgeous (even when stopping down) and, obviously, there is aperture advantage too. The first version of Olympus 14-54mm f 2.8-3.5 is not CDAF optimized but it can AF albeit very slowly, the best camera for this lens is the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark I and II to make the AF more useful than the limits of static or slow subjects with 98% of the Micro Four Thirds cameras.

As such I will get, at some point, an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark I instead of replacing the lens with Olympus or Panasonic equivalent Micro Four Thirds lenses. The build quality of both lenses is really good, all metal, rubber rings, and I can attest to the hardness of, at least, Olympus 50-200mm f 2.8-3.5 I as I dropped it while mounted on my E-M5 Mark II and it survived with just a scratch on the hood, the camera not doing so well. Physically this lenses should be able to survive a few more decades of (not too rough) handling but internally that's a different matter. As many have said, and it seems logical and reasonable, using Four Thirds lenses on CDAF cameras can burn out the motor because CDAF by nature has to go through most, if not entirely, the focus range by contrast the PDAF goes only through some, or very little range, to get achieve focus. It's like a car going from NY to DC by the longest route every time instead of going by the shortest route, it wears on the car engine. I knew this before I got the lenses, I don't plan on using them for a very long time but instead as a placeholder until I can afford the high-quality replacements. And by the time they will break lenses like Panasonic Leica 50-200mm f 2.8-4 should come down in price, hopefully to under 1200 pounds.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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Fellow budget photographer here and cheers! Very nice images!

How do you do panoramic stitch of live small animals? Do you just activate burst shooting (what fps) and move camera (while trying to keep focus manually)? I never thought of doing that, though it should work sometimes given the high burst rate of current cameras.

I do know non-m43 users who used burst shooting to do manual focus stacking and got good images. Which is not too different from your panaromic stitching, I am guessing?

You can, most surely, try to do manual focus stacking IF the manual focus ring is mechanically linked (because it has to move accurately and consistently) by moving the focus ring while doing the burst, you would also need a deep buffer to record more than 20 images to have enough data to capture the focus range as well as high burst rate to get enough of the focus range. Never tried that myself because Micro Four Thirds lenses have focus by wire, meaning you tell the focus motor when to move the focus but there is an inherent lag and the speed is not consistent as you turn (aka it can jump focus). I have tried that using Macro lens by focusing at minimum distance and moving back and forth as slow as I can, with some limited success. If you want that the best option is Focus Bracketing (if your camera has that feature, like Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, E-M1 Mark I and II, Pen-F, Panasonic G85, GX85, G9, GX9, GH5) and Olympus Pro Lenses and 60mm f 2.8 Macro or any Panasonic Lens with Panasonic cameras mentioned above.

The way I stitched panorama of wildlife is to focus on the subject and move quickly from one direction to another of your choice. If the subject doesn't move too much (tends to stay in a spot for more then 10 seconds) you can use single shot, but if they move to try to shoot into their direction, meaning you start from their location to the direction their heading. That way you don't get them at a different location in more than one shot which can confuse the stitching software in post. Best way to do that is to keep your subject in one frame and no more then 75% if the frame because you need a bit of overlap between frames so the stitching software knows where to stitch them by content. It works best with slow moving subjects and if they move parallel to you (so you don't lose your initial focus). It can work with some fast moving subjects IF they move parallel to you if you work the opposite way: a squirrel runs from left to right in a parallel line (or as close to as possible), focus on the squirrel, move one or two frames ahead and take a picture and move from right to left, shot an image of the squirrel running, move again a bit and continue the panorama until you are happy with the aspect ratio.

When doing panorama you have to think ahead what kind of aspect ration you want on the final image based on the content (what exactly you want in the frame), the subject movement (speed and direction) because it dictates how you will orientate your camera (landscape or portrait), the direction in which you move the camera, how fast you sweep the camera.

Shooting burst is not always better then single shot because for example: if your subject moves fast and you shoot burst into their direction (you move left to right and your subject moves left to right as well) then in every shot you get the subject in a different posture and in a different location in the frame and that will trip the stitching software because it doesn't know that you want that subject to be in one frame only so it will duplicate it in a lot of the frames and will show up as ghosting. You can do it with a single frame speed if you put your subject in only one frame ... by doing that what you do is extend the environment the subject is by giving more of content in where your subject is, but also shrink the proportion of your subject in the image because there is more environment to the size of your subject, if you crop the image to make your subject bigger then doing a single frame shot is more then enough. It depends on how you see the world and how you want to show it in your image. Using burst will give you a lot more data (for better quality stitching) if your subject doesn't move too much (so you don't have different frames where your subject is in a different position to give you stitching errors) but if you have to much data make sure your computer can handle it because stitching more then 20 images of 16 MP will eat up 16GB of RAM like its a candy bar and then go through your hard drive space which is extremely slow by comparison (I had a few 200 images panorama stitch that took more than 24 hours for my computer to finish, on an i5 3.8 GHz and 16GB of RAM).

Other factors to consider are:
*White Balance, do not use Auto WB because it can change from frame to frame and will give you fucking colors and transitions in inconsistent light, use one specific WB.
*Shutter Speed, again no Auto, you need consistent shutter speed to freeze the moment from frame to frame (less headache in post, believe me), if you pan fast use 1/500 sec or more, if you pan slow and your subject is not moving you can go to 1:1 ratio speed to your focal length (but might not give you best sharpness).
*Aperture, again no Auto, consistent is the name of the game, one aperture to give you consistent DoF and sharpness, best use lenses that have sharpness from corner to corner and (EXTREMELY IMPORTANT) flat field lenses, the more curvature you have at the edge of the frame the more you blur and out of focus the areas between each stitch.
*You can use variable ISO, auto ISO works better in this situation then Aperture mode, Shutter Speed mode or Program auto. Don't be afraid to use high ISO (like 1600 or more) because you are building a larger than one 16 MP image and you can hide very easily noise in the sheer amount of Megapixels (one of the nicest advantages to stitching multiple images).
*Sharpness doesn't have to be perfect, it's less affected because, as above mentioned, you can hide some defects of the image quality by the huge amount of Megapixels (you can make tens or hundreds of megapixels images), it's a bit contradictory to when I said that the lens has to be sharp from corner to corner and that is because the image needs to be as flat as possible even if its less sharp.
*Wind is your biggest enemy, it literally is because it shifts the background and the foreground as much as your subject. Unfortunately, stitching software is very dependent on having consistency of the positions of each element in each image and if you get leaves moving between images then your panorama can and will be ruined. With very gentle breeze you can work with but if there is wind any stronger then that I don't recommend trying any panorama work, it will be a waste of your time and effort.
*Luck and persistence, as hard as you try it can come down to luck all too often, even in post, you might not be lucky with the software doing what you need it to do, best thing to do is be as consistent as possible in the field and when post process fails you use different software to do the job, not all of them work best and not one of them is the best. There are many free options: Microsoft's Image Composite Editor (it works surprisingly well but it doesn't handle some RAW files and has no exposure or color correction), PTGui (very complex and comprehensive but steep learning curve) and there are paid options to like: Lightroom (use it most of the time at it works pretty well but has huge resource demands, especially if you stitch RAW, so expect long waiting times for stitching if you don't have anything but highest end PC with over 32GB of RAM and M.2 SSD for scratch disks), or Kolor Autopano Giga (is expensive but very comprehensive with color and exposure correction), and more software keeps adding this feature. Also persistence, you will fail more often than not at the beginning but when you do get the right ones its worth all the hardship and effort. It's important not to rely solely on panorama stitching, take single frame shots too as backups, as lenses get better and better, software improves and hardware becomes more powerful and cheaper it will get easier and better to try it.

And if you really want to get a boost of moral, print those panoramas that did come out good, you will be amazed and happy you have them ... print big :)
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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Here are a few more pictures I took with the Olympus 50-200mm f 2.8-3.5 Mark I:

Wolfy - 061718 - Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II - 2667.JPG
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WOLF0315.JPG
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Wolfy - 060418 - Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II - 1947-Pano.JPG
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Wolfy - 060418 - Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II - 1894.JPG
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Wolfy - 060418 - Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II - 1789.JPG
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Wolfy - 052618 - Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II - 1261-Pano.JPG
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Wolfy - 052018 - Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II - 0306.JPG
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Wolfy - 060418 - Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II - 1740.JPG
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Wolfy - 060418 - Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II - 1761.JPG
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Wolfy - 060418 - Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II - 1736.JPG
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This one broke my heart when I saw it, a one eye bunny ;(
 

number17

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I have the Olympus 14-150mm f 4-5.6 II and I haven't used that lens in months since I got the Olympus 14-54mm f 2.8-3.5 I. The reason for that is I really dislike (almost hate honestly) the rendition and image quality of the 14-150, sharpness doesn't seem to be there, the colors and rendition of OOF areas are harsh. In contrast the 14-54 has better sharpness, more contrast, the colors are warm but very close to how it is in the scene, the rendition though is absolutely gorgeous (even when stopping down) and, obviously, there is aperture advantage too. The first version of Olympus 14-54mm f 2.8-3.5 is not CDAF optimized but it can AF albeit very slowly, the best camera for this lens is the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark I and II to make the AF more useful than the limits of static or slow subjects with 98% of the Micro Four Thirds cameras.

As such I will get, at some point, an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark I instead of replacing the lens with Olympus or Panasonic equivalent Micro Four Thirds lenses. The build quality of both lenses is really good, all metal, rubber rings, and I can attest to the hardness of, at least, Olympus 50-200mm f 2.8-3.5 I as I dropped it while mounted on my E-M5 Mark II and it survived with just a scratch on the hood, the camera not doing so well. Physically this lenses should be able to survive a few more decades of (not too rough) handling but internally that's a different matter. As many have said, and it seems logical and reasonable, using Four Thirds lenses on CDAF cameras can burn out the motor because CDAF by nature has to go through most, if not entirely, the focus range by contrast the PDAF goes only through some, or very little range, to get achieve focus. It's like a car going from NY to DC by the longest route every time instead of going by the shortest route, it wears on the car engine. I knew this before I got the lenses, I don't plan on using them for a very long time but instead as a placeholder until I can afford the high-quality replacements. And by the time they will break lenses like Panasonic Leica 50-200mm f 2.8-4 should come down in price, hopefully to under 1200 pounds.
Good to know I'm not the only one ... I also have the Olympus 14-150 I (and I was surprised to see how much I paid for it lol ... it wasn't a cheap lens, even used) and I find that I quite dislike that lens. It's easy to get flares even with the hood, I don't like its colour rendering, and I also don't like the rendering in out of focus areas. I think I paid a premium for it thinking it would be the perfect travel lens, and it's very convenient to be able to go as wide as 14mm and as long as 150mm on the same lens, but I guess I paid for the compromise with picture quality, and I rarely used that lens on my last trip.

So I took out the 14-56 FT lens for a test yesterday, and even though I like the lens, it is NOT easy to use because of its long AF time. I find that I missed focus a lot because for anything that moves, because it takes ~ 3-4 sec to focus, by the time the lens finally focus the subject has moved already. But when it does focus, I like the convenience of a zoom lens, and I like the pictures taken with it. It is not as sharp as the primes (and not as sharp as the 14-150 I) but overall I like the pictures better. F2.8-3.5 is also a lot easier to use than f3.5-5.6 on the 140-150.

I would seriously consider picking up the 14-56 FT II if I come across one for reasonable price. It would fix my single biggest problem with this lens right now.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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Good to know I'm not the only one ... I also have the Olympus 14-150 I (and I was surprised to see how much I paid for it lol ... it wasn't a cheap lens, even used) and I find that I quite dislike that lens. It's easy to get flares even with the hood, I don't like its colour rendering, and I also don't like the rendering in out of focus areas. I think I paid a premium for it thinking it would be the perfect travel lens, and it's very convenient to be able to go as wide as 14mm and as long as 150mm on the same lens, but I guess I paid for the compromise with picture quality, and I rarely used that lens on my last trip.

So I took out the 14-56 FT lens for a test yesterday, and even though I like the lens, it is NOT easy to use because of its long AF time. I find that I missed focus a lot because for anything that moves, because it takes ~ 3-4 sec to focus, by the time the lens finally focus the subject has moved already. But when it does focus, I like the convenience of a zoom lens, and I like the pictures taken with it. It is not as sharp as the primes (and not as sharp as the 14-150 I) but overall I like the pictures better. F2.8-3.5 is also a lot easier to use than f3.5-5.6 on the 140-150.

I would seriously consider picking up the 14-56 FT II if I come across one for reasonable price. It would fix my single biggest problem with this lens right now.

If you don't have the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark I or II try to test with it. The AF should be very noticeably improved. Most people say that the Olympus 14-54mm f 2.8-3.5 Mark II is faster but thats mostly with CDAF cameras. I paid 400 pounds for the used Olympus 14-150mm Mark II and though I am not happy with it at all, besides the convenience, I will keep it for when I will leave the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II for my little sister so she has weather sealing (which is a must for her). I read on forums that some people feel that the Olympus 14-150mm Mark II is very similar in sharpness with Panasonic 14-140mm Mark II but now I don't believe that (if it would be true then that lens would be just as disappointing), I chose the Olympus one based on that, I guess its my burn.

... oh and I forgot, there is Panasonic Leica 12-60mm f 2.8-4 now and the price used fell down to around 500-600 pounds, which is still very expensive BUT the quality is very good and the contrast looks pretty close to the old Olympus 14-54mm and 12-60mm.
 
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I don't know about the 14-150, but I have the ZD 12-60 SWD and the 50-200 SWD and love them both. There's something about the rendering and bokeh which makes them special. I was "fortunate" to have bought the EM1 before I got into 4/3rds lenses, but it made the transition to using the older lenses very easy. Those 4/3rds lenses are still among my most used lenses.
 

number17

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If you don't have the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark I or II try to test with it. The AF should be very noticeably improved. Most people say that the Olympus 14-54mm f 2.8-3.5 Mark II is faster but thats mostly with CDAF cameras. I paid 400 pounds for the used Olympus 14-150mm Mark II and though I am not happy with it at all, besides the convenience, I will keep it for when I will leave the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II for my little sister so she has weather sealing (which is a must for her). I read on forums that some people feel that the Olympus 14-150mm Mark II is very similar in sharpness with Panasonic 14-140mm Mark II but now I don't believe that (if it would be true then that lens would be just as disappointing), I chose the Olympus one based on that, I guess its my burn.

... oh and I forgot, there is Panasonic Leica 12-60mm f 2.8-4 now and the price used fell down to around 500-600 pounds, which is still very expensive BUT the quality is very good and the contrast looks pretty close to the old Olympus 14-54mm and 12-60mm.
No I have the EM-10 II, so 14-54 II should improve the AF time quite a bit for my setup.

I, too, will keep my 14-150mm because 150mm is a good tele distance and it is worth it just for say, taking sports photos now and then. It also focuses very fast so that also helps.
 
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No I have the EM-10 II, so 14-54 II should improve the AF time quite a bit for my setup.

While it will focus faster than the original version it's still not really fast enough for anything that moves. I mostly shoot the 14-54 II on my EM5 for landscape stuff, but for people I find it focuses just a tad to slow to be useful.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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No I have the EM-10 II, so 14-54 II should improve the AF time quite a bit for my setup.

I, too, will keep my 14-150mm because 150mm is a good tele distance and it is worth it just for say, taking sports photos now and then. It also focuses very fast so that also helps.

The second version of 14-54 will be q bit faster but the problem is the motor was design for PDAF, meaning the motor has high torque for fast and abrupt changes from one focus location to another. CDAF design motors are made for endurance of going very fast through the range of the focus, on all Micro Four Thirds lenses.

Even though the SWD and the CDAF optimized lenses of Four Thirds are a bit faster using CDAF its just software optimization and the motor is still PDAF design. All CDAF cameras will kill that motor from exhaustion, just Google how many people had their Four Thirds lenses died. Olympus E-M1 I and II uses only PDAF points with Four Thirds lenses so the AF motor lasts longer and is used as it was designed.

I don't know where you live but here in UK the Olympus 14-54mm Mark II goes four around 200 to 250 pounds, a used Olympus E-M1 goes for around 400 pounds (and is dropping), as you already have the Mark I of the lens maybe getting the E-M1 would be a better option (if you can afford it) because you get better AF with either Mark I or Mark II of the lenses and with any other Four Third lens down the road.
 
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I got lucky when I bought mine. KEH had both versions and I ordered and paid for the mk1 since I had 2 EM1’s. But what arrived was the mk2, so I use it on my EM5 for landscape stuff. It was shooting the New Orleans Jazz Festival that I realized for people moving (on stage or doing a 2nd line or moving in general) it needed to be on one of the EM1’s.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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I got lucky when I bought mine. KEH had both versions and I ordered and paid for the mk1 since I had 2 EM1’s. But what arrived was the mk2, so I use it on my EM5 for landscape stuff. It was shooting the New Orleans Jazz Festival that I realized for people moving (on stage or doing a 2nd line or moving in general) it needed to be on one of the EM1’s.

If you had an opposite experience where Camera World UK advertised for selling the SWD version of Olympus 50-200 at a very reasonable price of 300£ (on eBay it starts from 450£) but when I received it it was the Mark I and I talked to the store about it and I got a 50£ refund and kept the lens, which is not that bad since that's the price it goes on eBay as well. The biggest problem came to AF when I test it on my E-M5 Mark II (which should have similar AF performance to E-M10s), it was utterly useless, it was sluggishly slow (like more them 5 seconds), it gives up more often then not and when it thinks it locks on it actually front focuses. So I can use it only with MF and all the images above with that lens are manual focus.

Honestly, I think Four Thirds lenses are useful only with E-M1s if you want AF at any reasonable speed and with accuracy.
 

number17

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The second version of 14-54 will be q bit faster but the problem is the motor was design for PDAF, meaning the motor has high torque for fast and abrupt changes from one focus location to another. CDAF design motors are made for endurance of going very fast through the range of the focus, on all Micro Four Thirds lenses.

Even though the SWD and the CDAF optimized lenses of Four Thirds are a bit faster using CDAF its just software optimization and the motor is still PDAF design. All CDAF cameras will kill that motor from exhaustion, just Google how many people had their Four Thirds lenses died. Olympus E-M1 I and II uses only PDAF points with Four Thirds lenses so the AF motor lasts longer and is used as it was designed.

I don't know where you live but here in UK the Olympus 14-54mm Mark II goes four around 200 to 250 pounds, a used Olympus E-M1 goes for around 400 pounds (and is dropping), as you already have the Mark I of the lens maybe getting the E-M1 would be a better option (if you can afford it) because you get better AF with either Mark I or Mark II of the lenses and with any other Four Third lens down the road.
Fair point ... I'm not of a prime shooter to begin with, so I picked up the 14-54 I more because it's a great deal and I figure I may grab another zoom lens for travel. Picking up a EM-1 because of the lens doesn't make a lot of sense in that case. That said, I have always been interested in EM1, and if I come across a good deal for a used one I may pick that up in the future too.
 

magIBIS

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Thank you for the write-up. I learned some and you make your points with very nice shots. I am very keen on the 50-200, but won't stretch for it this year.
While reading, though, I stumbled upon you talking about the cheap viltrox adapter and better feeling with weather sealing. I thought, just the Olympus adapter mk III was weather sealed. The conjunction of the viltrox and camera is sealed then? Would save me some funds if true.
 

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