Fine tuning F-Zuiko AUTO-T 300mm f/4.5 in OM-D EM-5?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by malmeida14, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. malmeida14

    malmeida14 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 17, 2012
    I just bought F-Zuiko AUTO-T 300mm f/4.5 (not multicoated) and I'm getting some results that I would like to discuss.
    At f4.5 and f5.6 it is not very sharp (which is normal) but at f8 till f22 I got good sharp pictures taken indoors, slightly sharper then my Panasonic Lumix 100-300mm f/4.0-5.6 G Vario. I know! This is not for indoor pictures. The problem is when I start using it for wildlife with sunlight, the Panasonic produce the same results as indoor, but the Zuiko loses is sharpness. In both cases I am using the original lens hood. In the Panasonic I'm using a Heliopan ES 72mm UV-0 SH-PMC, in the Zuiko I have no filter.
    The detail of the oil painting was used to test shooting in doors with flash (Olympus F280).
    The tree in the image is ± 40m away (43,7 yard)
    Regarding focus, since I did a lot of film photography I found that I can focus with relative easy. But for this photos I focus with the aperture wide-open with the help of digital enlargement of the image and then stop it down prior to taking the image.
    Another thing that I was not expecting was that the Zuiko give an image that is 125% of the Panasonic when in 300mm.
    I use the Olympus MF-2 Adaptor.
    So, is there a way to improve sharpness of the Zuiko lens outdoors?
    Am I missing something, since I have seen “ultrasharp” pictures posted with Zuiko lens?
    Or I must only use it in my OM-4 T body? :) 

    Attached Files:

  2. robertro

    robertro Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 22, 2010
    You daylight photo is taken at a greater aperture f11 with the Zuiko 300 than the 100-300 zoom (f8). You may be seeing diffraction effects - try the same aperture.
  3. malmeida14

    malmeida14 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 17, 2012
    Ok I have just done another two photos. Today there are clouds in the sky so I do not have direct sun. The two pictures seem to have the same resolution with this conditions.
    Even with direct sun I have a wall at my right (from where the sun comes) with about ten meters in the direction of the tree.
    However I see a lot of difference even for other non multicoated 300mm. I think I will ask them how the pictures where taken. I have seen a picture of an airliner supposed at 38 000 feet taken with a 300mm zuiko in an Olympus Pen which is far way better then the ones that I can get with my panasonic. Strange.

    Attached Files:

  4. malmeida14

    malmeida14 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 17, 2012
    My 300mm has some (maybe a lot) of dust, is this an issue? It might not, because my 50mm has also dust and fungus, however is very sharp, sharper than the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 EZ which I also have. Don't misunderstand me, I like the 12-50mm. You can see the pictures of dust of both lenses here:
    View attachment 259104 View attachment 259105
    Looking to the back of the 300mm I saw what seems a discrete “baffle”(I don't now if I'm writing the correct term; photo made with the 12-50mm):
    View attachment 259106
    So I started looking for information about it and ended doing a clumsy baffle (like the one at the side of moon pictures, but with a bigger size).
    I tried to test the baffle making series of photos with several apertures, but I realized that the operation to remove the baffle led to small movements which produced results that were not constant. So I made a series of pictures at f4.5 moving the focus ring between them, with and without baffle. Then I choose the best photo from each series. I think there are differences.
    View attachment 259107
    Link to full size picture:

    View attachment 259108

    Link to full size picture:

    Finally some pictures of the moon, here as the distance to the object was great, I had no major problems in focusing. With baffle the Zuiko 300mm with an aperture of f4,5 seems sharper then the Panasonic at f8.
    View attachment 259109

    Link to full size:

    Before the baffle I tried a long lens hood, but I didn´t seen any apparent difference.
    Nest weekend I hope that I will have some time to make more accurate tests, which can be useful to me and to others.
  5. malmeida14

    malmeida14 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 17, 2012
    I have been trying to improve the F-Zuiko 300mm f4.5 photo sharpness. I have seen other photos with the same lens and beginning to wonder if "is my 300mm particularly "bad"?" I just bought this lens because looking at some pictures in the forum it seemed to me an improvement regarding the Panasonic 100-300 that I already have. I am coming to the conclusion that I din't gain anything besides the pleasure of taking pictures with an old glass (I like that). Or am I missing something? or some photos were not taken in the mentioned conditions or/and have a lot of post-processing? or this lens behave different with the APS-C sensor or with mirror systems? Or the lens is perfect and the problem is that created too high false expectations?
    Well, I will try some 35mm slides with the F-Zuiko 300mm in the OM-4 T body to compare with OM-D EM-5.
    I think that at least this can be useful by giving some data on this lens body OM-D EM-5.

    I have tried an extended lens hood (black cardboard) and a baffle. I have tried different sizes and round or rectangular shape. The one that I have used was a rectangular one with 17X12,75mm.
    View attachment 261168

    All photos don't have post-processing.

    I use a tree at 40m (131feet) as a model which is the distance I hopping to photograph birds without any "hiding-place".
    View attachment 261169

    I dind't find any difference with or without lens hood/baffle or any major difference to my Panasonic 100-300.

    Comparison at f4.5
    View attachment 261170
    Full size link

    Comparison at f11
    View attachment 261171
    Full size link

    Panasonic vs Zuiko
    View attachment 261172
    Full size link

    Moon photo with F-Zuiko 300mm at f11 (this is a photo that can be easly be used to compare with other moon photos, since it is almost the same image all around the world...)
    Full size link

    An airplane at ±10 000 m (32800 feet) the conditions were not perfect (cropped).
    View attachment 261174
    Full size link

    I will try some birds.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. malmeida14

    malmeida14 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 17, 2012
    As promised pictures of birds. The photos are from a Serinus serinus, taken with the F-Zuiko 300mm lens f4.5 , with an aperture of f8 and an estimated distance of ± 14 meters (46 feet). They were taken hand helded and I found that even with IS I could not get sharp images bellow !/800 - 1/1000s (1kg of glass supported by a weak guy?). I present the original photo without post processing and without being cropped and then the cropped version with some sharpening with Gimp. Comparing the Zuiko sharpness to Panasonic 100-300mm at 300, I don't find any gain, only the pleasure of using old glass, and sometimes I focus slower but better with the manual lense. I hope this information would be useful. Next I will try the F-Zuiko 300mm with the 2x teleconverter (I know it is not appropriate...). Finally, I'm not a bird photographer expert, just a beginner.
    Without sharpening:
    full size image: Serinus serinus
    Without sharpening:
    full size image: Serinus serinus
    Sharp and crop
    full size image: Serinus serinus

    View attachment 263583
    full size image: Serinus serinus
  7. Declan97

    Declan97 Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 3, 2012
    Padang, Indonesia
    The blue sky is very contrast, always love the blue sky of olympus

    Sent from my 4.2.2 aokpac I9100 power by epl2
  8. malmeida14

    malmeida14 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 17, 2012
    I was very lucky with the conditions of that day, the sun was just rising, the air was very dry and clean.

    I have just joined two photos that exhibit the problem that I'm complaining. When the light is stronger (left), everything glows and I lose sharpness. With less light the problem is not so strong, but then I must work with very low speeds... in the right photo f8 and 1/30s with 200ISO. If I increase ISO i lost detail, if I increase the aperture to 5.6 or 4.5 I lose detail also (at f5.6 and and especially at f4.5 the sharpness is gone). This pictures were taken with the F-Zuiko 300mm + the Olympus 2-XA Teleconverter. The problem is not from the teleconverter, because without it the problem is the same. This is the problem that I'm trying and would like to overcome if possible.
    The birds are at more or less 25m (82feet) away.

    View attachment 263699
    At full size it is more obvious: Full size
    Just the picture without cropping with the F-Zuiko 300mm + the Olympus 2-XA Teleconverter, to give an idea of how much this 1200mm (35mm equivalent) combo get things closer:
    I don't se any gain with the teleconverter, the image is bigger with it but I can't see more details compared with the same enlarged (2X) picture from the 300mm alone. I think that the only advantage is to use it in video mode.
  9. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Olympus did not recommend the 2X-A being used with the 300mm. It is specifically designed for use with the 100, 135, and 200mm lenses.

    I have quite good luck with the lens at 5.6-8 and at shutter speeds well below 1/300 with IS turned on and set for the appropriate focal length in the E-M5 .

    I think post processing, preferably of a raw file, is essential for most legacy lenses.
  10. malmeida14

    malmeida14 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 17, 2012
    Thanks Lawrence for your advice.
    Since my posts I have search a lot. Recently I bought a Zuiko 200mm f4. Put all things together I think it is a problem of multicoating vs single coating.
    The "ghosting" of the pictures occurs at f4.5 and f5.8, almost disappear at f8.
    The Olympus 2-XA Teleconverter is not the culprit because the "ghosting" apear with and without it.
    The problem persists even when I use a tripod and a 12s delay.
    The "baffle" doesn't work, when it works is because I'm reducing the aperture with the baffle (moon photo previous post). I made a lot of them to experiment. Measures are in mm and the white paper is not used as baffle, just to know what I was using.
    View attachment 287810 Full size link
    The problem is worst in strong light.
    A lens hood does not solve the problem, I made a lens hood of black card with 50cm (19,6 inch) long and I didn't notice any difference.
    The 200mm f4 does not have this problem of "ghosting" even all open at f4. The same happens with the 50mm f1.8 (does't have serial number but I bought it new in 1989 so I think it is multicoated), off course this is a very different lens from the 300mm.

    I need now your help to se if it is a problem of multicoating vs single coating or a problem of this particular lens.
    My 300mm f4.5 has the serial number 128891 which appear to be single coated (multicoated with serial numbers greater then 135070 ?) and has some dust, normal dust for age - you can see in a previous post.
    My 200mm f4 has the serial number 268139 (multicoated with serial numbers greater then 183100 ?) and it is near mint without dust.

    You can see here some comparisons:
    View attachment 287811 Full size link

    View attachment 287812 Full size link

    I don't think the dust make any difference because I have a zuiko 50mm f1.8 with fungus and it is sharp - see previous post.

    So, if people o have this lens with and without this problem could tell their serial numbers and body used, I think we can confirm or discard this hypothesis. Thanks in advance.

    You can also see some additional pictures taken with this lens. They are the good ones, for instance, the picture of saturn is one in more then twenty:
    Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm f/4.5 Image Thread

    I will try to have some time to take pictures with these lenses and my old OM-4 T and compare them with the OM-D EM-5 body. I still prefer the feeling of taking pictures with the OM-4, but the cost involved compared with the EM-5...
  11. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    here's one I shot tonight, f8, iso 800 , 1/200 sec handheld. So I don't understand the picture of the faucet. I never get anything that soft, even at 100%

    View attachment 288032

    In fact, here's the 100% crop of the out of camera jpeg. I've done nothing except crop it -- no color correction, so the evening warm light is very, very warm. No sharpening, not nothing. For an untreated jpeg from a legacy lens, it look pretty sharp to me.


    ANd this is the 100% crop from the top example, which is developed from raw. P6303089_100_percent.

    I develop and sharpen for things to look good best at 50%, and find the lens does well for me most of the time. Mine is clean inside, and depending on where the dust, etc. is on your copy, it could make a huge difference, especially with a lens this long, which magnifies every problem. Mine is the F. Zuiko single coated earlier version. I usually have to adjust the black down to get a good d-max but don't find it especially prone to flare if I use the built in hood.
  12. malmeida14

    malmeida14 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 17, 2012
    Thanks for your replay and nice photos, impressive! I'm starting in bird photo and I'm starting to understand how is difficult to get a good photograph. I thought it was enough to have a long telephoto lens but now I realize that is far more complicated.
    I see that the theory of single coated vs multicoated was wrong.
    At f8 the lens takes good pictures as you can see in my previous post with the "Serinus serinus". The problem is at f4.5 and f5.6. I could live with that but I'm always trying to have my equipment operating at one hundred percent, I am a very annoying person...
    So nest step would be cleaning the lens. I live in a very small town so I'm thinking cleaning the lens myself. I have already cleaned my Zuiko 50mm and a Vivitar teleconverter, so I think I might have the skills to clean this one, but I would need a repair manual (official or not) of the lens so that I will not make a mistake. Does anyone now where I can get instruction for this lens?
  13. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Yes, I think the sweet spot is f8, and I try to stay there. But f5.6 is quite acceptable to me. I try to avoid shooting most lenses wide open, and this is no exception. But, again, I have used it that way and got acceptable images. I've been comparing the lens to a recently acquired m zuiko 40-150, and I think the 300mm legacy prime is sharper.
  14. Ryan

    Ryan Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 21, 2011
    How is the focus ring for you folks who own or used this lens? I picked up a BGN grade lens from KEH recently, I got lucky with a supposed multicoated version but the focus ring is pretty damn stiff, so much that fine focusing is extremly hard. It turns from minimum to infinity but it has some resistance and most certinly doesnt feel like the OM 50mm to 200mm primes i own., im struggling to get any crisp shots while tripod mounted.
  15. fdifulco

    fdifulco Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 28, 2011
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    my copy is is quick to focus. the focus is just like my old manual lens from 35mm days.
  16. bobpur

    bobpur Mu-43 Rookie

    Feb 11, 2014
    Don't focus open then stop down it is not needed with that viewfinder and it changes the focus point
    When you do it.
    Keep the speed at least 300 and use the focus peaking trick.
    Those old manual focus lenses are real sensitive, a very small turn of the ring can make a difference.
  17. malmeida14

    malmeida14 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 17, 2012
    I just try my 24, 50, 200 and 300mm Zuikos regarding the stiffness of the focus ring. The 300mm is the stiffest with the 200mm between the 300mm and the 50/24mm. I always feel this normal since the diameter of the 200mm is greater then the 50mm and the 300mm greater then the 200mm and so the friction might be greater. But this all are subjective things so Ryan, to give you an idea, since you have the 50/200/300mm, the increased stiffness from my 50mm to 200mm is similar to the difference from the 200mm to the 300mm. As I written, this is only my unscientific feeling.
    I use this lens with a EM-5. To get crisped images I use f8 to f16 (no more no less), tripod with timer (you can choose low speeds), when hand held 1/300s or more with IS (it is very heavy for me - small guy), definitively it is not a lens for point and shoot. I think because it is not multicoated the images are not sharp with strong sun and reflective surfaces. I tried in this conditions a polarizer filter and it improved the image but I lost some speed.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. malmeida14

    malmeida14 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 17, 2012
    One and half year ago I start this thread because I was not satisfied with this lens wide open.
    Recently, I found how to clean the front elements of this lens, which I did, and then try the lens. I got much better results now, but the light intensity is not the same (early spring vs summer), so I two factors changing at the same time - scientific error.:dash2:
    I never consider the dust a problem because I read that did´t interfere with quality and I have a 50mm 1.8 with fungus that apparently works fine.

    Photo without cropping:

    The original photos with new ones (green grass):
    13352577863_02987f7842_z. full size

    When I tested against the 200mm f4, the f4 was performing at f4 almost the same as at f8, while the 300mm f4.5 didn't:
    13351317333_70fd8b9188_z. full size

    So, could be the dust? The light? Or something else when I disassemble the elements? Well whatever the explanation could be, the lens is apparently working fine wide open.

    As I was shooting a bird appeared, just "point and shoot" at f5.6 (±30meters):
    Not cropped, nor processed:


    Finally I'm waiting for a zuiko teleconverter 1.4X-A. I will post the results in another thread.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. malmeida14

    malmeida14 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 17, 2012
    I think the problem was the position of the front elements and not the cleaning process. Probably someone had opened the lens previously. I will explain latter when I have more information.
  20. malmeida14

    malmeida14 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 17, 2012
    I think I solve the problem of this lens.
    A week ago I take apart the two front elements to clean them and after reassemble everything, the lens was "sharp" full open for the first time. What did happen? The dust removal? It was strange since I have a Zuiko 50mm 1.8 that is sharp with fungus and dust.
    Well, I make a mistake that cleared everything. I decided to try to remove more dust from the lenses, I forgot that if everything is working, I should leave it alone :dash2:. I finish reassembling the lens in late evening and I did not assemble the lenses correctly in place. When I tried the lens the results were similar with those that I have earlier. F/4.5 unusable, f/5.6 a little better and f8 usable but not sharp.
    The results:
    13413070344_2a76eb6ba5_b. Full size

    Today, with careful, I disassemble and reassemble the two front lens elements again.

    The results:

    13412712845_fcf46a4bf7_b. Full Size

    F/4.5 good, f5.6 slightly better and f8 sharp. Note: the light conditions were not very good.
    So, I think someone has mess with the lens before I have bought it. I believe this because I have been able to replicate the problem again, after the lens was “repaired”.

    The process:
    The optic elements enter in the body of the lens with some difficulty and we should not force to not block them. Calmly they will entering until stay in the right position. At that point the optic elements (happens with both) should be able to wiggle perpendicular to the length of the lens through a very tiny gap between the optic elements and the body of the lens. Is this micro movement that indicates to me that the lens is in place. The two threaded rings should go very smoothly. The ring that is between the front element and the next element is very difficult to place correctly, be patient:smile:.
    The whole process was done with gloves, an air blower, in a clean environment (1) and the lens spanner wrench was only used for the final tightening of the threaded rings.
    1- if I had a laminar flow chamber with filtered air, that would be the heaven... but inside house will do.

    Finally a comparison between the 300mm “before at f/8” – “after at f/8” – and “zuiko 50mm f/1.8 at 5.6”

    View attachment 350416 Full size
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