Is my Olympus 75-300mm a dud?

RichardC

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Mar 25, 2018
Messages
4,554
Location
The Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield, UK.
Real Name
Richard
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.

With IS set to 'off'.
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2018
Messages
462
Location
Columbus, Ohio, US
Real Name
Mark
You know that lens is not flat-field, right?

Unless that's a reproduction lens, or a lens designed for flat-field work, you'll never be completely satisfied with brick-wall photos.
I'm not going for perfect sharpness edge to edge. It's never going to a 300mm f4 but I'd like for the photos I take with it not to look like I smeared the lens with petroleum jelly before I started shooting. I'd just like a little better center sharpness so I get things like better feather detail.
 

PakkyT

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Jun 20, 2015
Messages
4,279
Location
Massachusetts, USA
but if it isn't sharp using AF, the lens is very likely to be faulty anyway, I think.

While I agree that he should try some tripod shots with AF, it should be noted that sharpness of image and being properly focused are not the same thing. You can be at the best focus point but the lens can still give a soft or otherwise flawed images if there is something wrong with the optics. So to your point AF first. If the photo still looks like crap then next is to see if it can be improved upon by manually focusing. If it does get better with manual focus, then likely something is off with the AF of the lens. On the flip side if you can not get any improvement with MF, then likely you have bad optics which no amount of focus tweaking will help.
 

PakkyT

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Jun 20, 2015
Messages
4,279
Location
Massachusetts, USA
It's never going to a 300mm f4 but I'd like for the photos I take with it not to look like I smeared the lens with petroleum jelly before I started shooting.

One thought that is quick to check If your lens's BACK element clean? I know we all often look at the front element to see if it is clean or you accidentally left a finger print on it, but often people forget that there is an exposed back end element that could also have a smudge on it.
 

RAH

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Dec 1, 2013
Messages
1,806
Location
New Hampshire
Real Name
Rich
While I agree that he should try some tripod shots with AF, it should be noted that sharpness of image and being properly focused are not the same thing. You can be at the best focus point but the lens can still give a soft or otherwise flawed images if there is something wrong with the optics. So to your point AF first. If the photo still looks like crap then next is to see if it can be improved upon by manually focusing. If it does get better with manual focus, then likely something is off with the AF of the lens. On the flip side if you can not get any improvement with MF, then likely you have bad optics which no amount of focus tweaking will help.
Yes, I agree completely. It's hard to decide what to start with, I think. I guess my approach is to take yourself completely out of the equation first, which requires using AF. Then, as we agree, if you get poor results, you would then do a manual-focus test to see if you can improve the results. If you can, then the AF needs adjusting to at least match what you could do manually. It's nice that the E-M5 can do this. If you cannot improve the poor AF results manually, then the lens will make a really fine door-stop.

This, of course, is not to say that it isn't important that a user has a lens that they can handle. I mean, as others have said, the 75-300 is hard to handle because it is so light and has so much magnification. So I suspect that this might be the real reason. I'm not great with it either, which is a quandary because anything heavier causes other problems. I need to take up macrame, I think...
 

Darmok N Jalad

Temba, his aperture wide
Joined
Sep 6, 2019
Messages
1,613
Location
Tanagra (not really)
It definitely gets a bit weaker the farther away things get. My best results with it are birds inside 50 feet, but I think I’ve actually gotta few decent BIF shots with one too. I could see the lack of weight being a big issue on the E-M5iii. That combo is a dream to carry, but a bear to shoot with.
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2018
Messages
462
Location
Columbus, Ohio, US
Real Name
Mark
If you cannot improve the poor AF results manually, then the lens will make a really fine door-stop.
Oh, the pictures are not THAT bad. It's just that nothing that comes out of it is going to be one of my better shots. 300mm with mediocre image quality is more fun than not having 300mm of reach.
This, of course, is not to say that it isn't important that a user has a lens that they can handle. I mean, as others have said, the 75-300 is hard to handle because it is so light and has so much magnification.
I agree that the lightness makes it difficult but it's also obvious after a few days with the OM 200mm that it's MEANT to be manually focused and is designed that way. The M.Zuiko 75-300mm has manual focus as an afterthought and so it's not emphasized in the design which also makes it more difficult.
 

RAH

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Dec 1, 2013
Messages
1,806
Location
New Hampshire
Real Name
Rich
Oh, the pictures are not THAT bad. It's just that nothing that comes out of it is going to be one of my better shots. 300mm with mediocre image quality is more fun than not having 300mm of reach.
That's if the controlled AF test comes out poor and the manual focus cannot improve on it right? If so, yes, I guess it's still nice to have 300mm. But if the AF test comes out pretty good - i.e. the lens is sharp but hard to control, that will tell you that you need to refine your technique using the lens. I guess you know this, but it will be interesting to see what you come up with. :)
 

S-Osolin

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Feb 20, 2019
Messages
116
My 75-300 gets really soft from 150mm on as well. I don't know if it's from sample variance or not, but I'm near certain that I can't possibly get as good results as the ones Robin Wong got on his review of the lens.
 

John King

Member of SOFA
Joined
Apr 20, 2020
Messages
2,866
Location
Beaumaris, Melbourne, Australia
Real Name
John ...
My 75-300 MkII appears to be as sharp as my FTs 50-200 MkI.

This is more than surprising. The 50-200 had a retail price of around AUD$1,700 when new. My 75-300 cost me AUD$398 new.

Technique is everything with narrow AoV lenses (long telephotos). Using electronic shutter helps a lot IME.
 

exakta

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Jun 2, 2015
Messages
855
It's been taking me a long time to get sharp bird photos in my backyard (let alone in the wild). Getting the focus target on the right part of the bird and geting the shot off before the bird moves out of focus seems to be most of the problem.

Here's some recent shots
 

RAH

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Dec 1, 2013
Messages
1,806
Location
New Hampshire
Real Name
Rich
Technique is everything with narrow AoV lenses (long telephotos). Using electronic shutter helps a lot IME.
I am curious why you think that electronic shutter helps. I don't doubt you, but just wondering why it would help. Especially with a mirrorless camera, the action of the mechanical shutter is pretty quiet anyway (no flapping mirror). I'm asking because I had kind of decided to not bother with electronic shutter.
 

John King

Member of SOFA
Joined
Apr 20, 2020
Messages
2,866
Location
Beaumaris, Melbourne, Australia
Real Name
John ...
I am curious why you think that electronic shutter helps. I don't doubt you, but just wondering why it would help. Especially with a mirrorless camera, the action of the mechanical shutter is pretty quiet anyway (no flapping mirror). I'm asking because I had kind of decided to not bother with electronic shutter.
Rich, I think that it prevents the tiny vibration as the second curtain starts to run when using EFCS.

I tried it at 300mm with some nesting rainbow lorikeets in a tree across the street. Handheld, I could only get useable results using full electronic shutter.
 

Vermont3133

We Both Love M43
Joined
May 11, 2018
Messages
260
Location
Melbourne Aus
I use electronic shutter most of the time.
It's amusing though, when I use the mechanical shutter with my [shutter-shockless] GX85 I go 'WOOO the camera is bouncing all over the place!'
I think it's what you get used too......but It does feel as if the mechanical shutter produces some vibration.
 
Last edited:

fortwodriver

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Nov 15, 2013
Messages
1,231
Location
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Real Name
Frank
Rich, I think that it prevents the tiny vibration as the second curtain starts to run when using EFCS.

I tried it at 300mm with some nesting rainbow lorikeets in a tree across the street. Handheld, I could only get useable results using full electronic shutter.

If you're photographing at over 1/250, the two curtains travel together. Above sync speed the blade gap width determines exposure.

I haven't experienced what you have. The shutter is very smooth in both my E-M1 and M1mk3, but I also allow the ISO to rise - it's better to get a sharp, slightly noisy shot that you can fix in post than a blurry one.
 

John King

Member of SOFA
Joined
Apr 20, 2020
Messages
2,866
Location
Beaumaris, Melbourne, Australia
Real Name
John ...
If you're photographing at over 1/250, the two curtains travel together. Above sync speed the blade gap width determines exposure.
The second curtain still starts to move after the exposure has commenced. It is that slight change in inertia that I was referring to.
I haven't experienced what you have. The shutter is very smooth in both my E-M1 and M1mk3, but I also allow the ISO to rise - it's better to get a sharp, slightly noisy shot that you can fix in post than a blurry one.
I'm happy to push ISO, but I never use auto ISO, except in my phone. I'm old fashioned in some ways.
 

Latest posts

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