Is my Olympus 75-300mm a dud?

Joined
Jan 19, 2018
Messages
465
Location
Columbus, Ohio, US
Real Name
Mark
Thanks to @agile_one I got a free Olympus OM 200mm f/4 from the Free to good home thread this winter and I've been playing with it a lot the last few days. I think I am getting pretty good at manual focusing. I started to notice that I thought the images coming from it were sharper than those from my Olympus M.Zuiko 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II. Today I took both out and I'm pretty sure there's no contest. Below are 100% crops of the two best images from each camera at 200mm and 1/200th. Is it me or is the 200 sharper than the 75-300?
51178214034_75091715d2_b.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

MZ75-300mm by Defective Monk, on Flickr

51178214029_648a1cedf3_b.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

OM200mm by Defective Monk, on Flickr

So, assuming that my eyes aren't deceiving me is my 75-300 a dud? I'm having trouble believing that I can manually focus a 30+ year old lens and get a better result than a modern auto-focus lens. When I look at a photo like this one from what is the "same lens" I've never even gotten close to that level of detail from this lens. I know I'm not shooting at the same level but I should get lucky every once and a while and it's not happening.

So is it me? Is it the lens? Is it both?
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2018
Messages
465
Location
Columbus, Ohio, US
Real Name
Mark
Try shooting in e-shutter mode and use Magnify to help grab your focus point. It's a little bit slow to focus, but it's such a light lens you have to work a bit more to get the best of it.
I tried manual focusing the 75-300 and it was brutal. It was MUCH harder than the 200mm.
Which camera are you using? Any chance it's a body with PDAF and needs a focus adjustment for C-AF?
It's the EM5iii which I don't believe has AF adjustment.
 
Joined
Apr 20, 2019
Messages
1,062
Location
Tasmania
Real Name
Richard
Curious if you've any photos with the 75-300mm that are in focus?
That's a light lens and it's easier for me with a heavier lens hand held.

The 75-300mm can give excellent results.

You haven't accidentally turned image stabilise off?
 
Joined
Nov 2, 2013
Messages
406
Location
Western North Carolina
It will have it. Check page 163 of the manual for AF focus adjust. This only affects continuous focus, so if you shooting in single af it won't make a difference. I've found that it's not just my old 4/3 lens that needed adjustment. My m43 40-150 4-5.6 needed someone adjusting.

@Darmok N Jalad is talking about a magnify feature that let's you autofocus at a very fine point. It's pretty hard to hold steady depending on what zoom level you apply to magnify. Not sure where that is at the moment in the manual. Also the point about weight is a good one. I have to be more careful on the 40-150 plastic fantastic than the old zd 50-200 2.8-3.5.
 

Darmok N Jalad

Temba, his aperture wide
Joined
Sep 6, 2019
Messages
1,824
Location
Tanagra (not really)
Yes, I was referring to fine focus through magnify, where you digitally zoom in to the spot you want in focus. I found it essential to getting it right, especially with the E-M5iii. Paired together, it's an incredibly light combo for 600mm FF eq, so technique is very important. Using the Magnify option, you're going to see just how steady you are going to need to be in order to nail the focus. Just a bit of movement forward or back will result in missing the desired focus. Another tip is to raise your ISO in order to keep shutter speed up. 1000 is not out of the question, and try to keep the shutter at 1/200 or faster.
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2018
Messages
465
Location
Columbus, Ohio, US
Real Name
Mark
It will have it. Check page 163 of the manual for AF focus adjust. This only affects continuous focus, so if you shooting in single af it won't make a difference. I've found that it's not just my old 4/3 lens that needed adjustment. My m43 40-150 4-5.6 needed someone adjusting.
I was unaware that option existed. Is this the same as the lens-specific adjustment that is on the E-M1 and E-M1X?
@Darmok N Jalad is talking about a magnify feature that let's you autofocus at a very fine point.
I’m aware of the magnify focus assist. That’s how I focus the OM 200mm otherwise there's no chance that any shot will be sharp. I found it MUCH harder to manually focus the 75-300mm. I'll try it again today on some birds at the feeder (maybe using a tripod) and see if it gets any better.
 

RAH

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Dec 1, 2013
Messages
1,893
Location
New Hampshire
Real Name
Rich
If I suspect I have a poor copy of a lens I put it on a tripod and eliminate myself from the process of finding the problem.
Yes, I agree with this completely. If you want to test a lens for sharpness, put it on a tripod, trip the shutter with a remote control (or self timer), try it at various focal lengths and apertures. Shoot at a large, flat, detailed subject (a road map, perhaps; stack of cereal boxes) and try to get square to it. If your lens is good, the test will help you later to know what apertures are best and what zoom level is max, etc. No handheld duck shots!! ;)

Edit: I think I would do this test BEFORE any focus adjusts. You need to know what you are dealing with, i think.
 

fortwodriver

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Nov 15, 2013
Messages
1,240
Location
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Real Name
Frank
What did you focus on?
Back in the day, the OM 200 f4 was regarded as a pretty sharp lens.

Both shots look to me like they actually have a bit of motion blur. The blur seems to be towards the right.

Try taking both shots at 1/300. I suspect that the 75-300, due to it's extension, may not be as stable at 1/focal length as the 200mm OM lens.

My 75-300 is very sharp as long as you stay just shy of 300mm. At 300mm it seems to get soft quickly wide-open.
 
Joined
Nov 2, 2013
Messages
406
Location
Western North Carolina
I’m aware of the magnify focus assist. That’s how I focus the OM 200mm otherwise there's no chance that any shot will be sharp. I found it MUCH harder to manually focus the 75-300mm. I'll try it again today on some birds at the feeder (maybe using a tripod) and see if it gets any better.
But if I'm understanding you correctly you are using magnify focus to only manual focus both the OM 200mm and the 75-300mm. What we're indicating is that it can be used to AF as well for the 75-300mm. Apologies if I misinterpreted.
 

demiro

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Nov 7, 2010
Messages
3,348
Location
northeast US
I think you have to start out by separating AF accuracy and sharpness. Like many are saying, shoot the 75-300 in manual on a tripod at a stationary object at different FLs and go from there. Shoot the 200 the same way and compare.

If you can't get sharp shots with the 75-300 in that test I think the lens is a dud. No need to do more. If those images looks good you start to look at AF accuracy, speed, etc.
 

RAH

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Dec 1, 2013
Messages
1,893
Location
New Hampshire
Real Name
Rich
I think you have to start out by separating AF accuracy and sharpness. Like many are saying, shoot the 75-300 in manual on a tripod at a stationary object at different FLs and go from there. Shoot the 200 the same way and compare.

If you can't get sharp shots with the 75-300 in that test I think the lens is a dud. No need to do more. If those images looks good you start to look at AF accuracy, speed, etc.
I actually disagree slightly on this. I think you should shoot the 75-300 on a tripod with remote trigger or self-timer, but use AF (not manual focus).

I think you need to remove yourself entirely from the equation. Modern AF systems should nail the focus under a controlled condition like this. So to judge the sharpness, try that. If it isn't sharp, then yeah, I guess you'd have to try it with manual focus, but if it isn't sharp using AF, the lens is very likely to be faulty anyway, I think. :)
 

mfturner

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Aug 6, 2019
Messages
290
I'm happy with my 75-300, but my experience with older prime lenses is such that I might expect the 200mm lens to be a bit sharper at 200mm. The newer zoom might be puncher, with more contrast and brighter colors, and you might trade longitudinal CA in the prime for astigmatism in the zoom.

I'm not sure I would expect it to be sharper at equivalent magnification to 300mm, and AF is very valuable to me, not to mention framing options (I try to crop images less in mu43).
 

RAH

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Dec 1, 2013
Messages
1,893
Location
New Hampshire
Real Name
Rich
I think your shutter speed to low.
I agree that that could be a culprit. This is one reason why I think using such hand-held, real-world photos to evaluate technical capabilities of equipment is not a good idea - there are far too many variables. The best thing to do is to do a more controlled test, almost always involving a tripod and an unmoving subject.
 
Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Mu-43 is a fan site and not associated with Olympus, Panasonic, or other manufacturers mentioned on this site.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Forum GIFs powered by GIPHY: https://giphy.com/
Copyright © Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom