Is Panasonic 45-175mm the best m43 telephoto zoom?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Art, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    Reviews and image samples I've been seeing all seem to indicate that this lens is by far the sharpest m43 telephoto zoom lens with better color and contrast especially at the longer end compared to both Oly 40-150 and Pana 45-200.

    I've tried Oly 40-150 in the past. While it's definitely a good bang for the buck (if purchased at or under $150), I always considered the lens somewhat average. It’s sharp at close distances but softens up as it gets closer to infinity (mind you, I don't use slow telephoto zooms for portraits, prefer bright primes for that). The color and contrast are no match to the primes I shoot most of the time (Panny 20, 14 and Oly 45). Its build quality is below decency level, IMO. So eventually I sold this lens due to low rate of keepers. I was never really interested in Pana 45-200 due to much larger size and weight.

    Now, Panasonic 45-175 seem to be the smallest overall package due to internal zooming and 46mm filter thread. But it also seems to be the sharpest at all focal lengths with noticeably better contrast and well controlled CAs? The only issues I was reading about were all related to OIS which I won’t be using on Oly body. It’s a daytime lens for me so just like with Oly 40-150 I would have no problem reaching at least 1/800s.

    I like to use telephoto zoom to shoot my friends surfing and sailing including video. Also, I go to national and state parks several times a year (Yosemite, Yellowstone, Everglades, Grand Canyon, you name it...). By all accounts Pana 100-300 seem to be an excellent lens and more appropriate for some of those types of shooting but it's way too bulky at which point photography becomes a burden and not fun anymore. Therefore, pixel level sharpness is rather critical to me as I am cropping quite a bit and hoping to achieve that with Pana 45-175. Thoughts?
  2. cookme

    cookme Mu-43 Regular

    May 25, 2012
    I don't think you will get the sharpness with 45-175mm at 100% + crop, at least I haven't been able to get it so far... but each lens varies a bit so you might have a better luck. However mine works just fine for all intents and purposes as long as you are not looking at "pixel level sharpness". Plus I love the internal zoom so I don't have to worry about lens sliding out on its own when I carry it on my wrist.
  3. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Real Name:

    14-140 is my long lens now and I'm quite happy with it. (Not much of a super long lens user.) But I'm always interested to hear how the best, new longer lenses perform.
  4. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Real Name:
    At the moment I have both the Panny 45-200mm and X 45-175mm. Indeed, optically the 45-175mm is much better: less vignetting, hardly any purple fringing wide-open while the 45-200mm has it even at f/8 and the images are more sparkling, the 45-200mm can be somewhat greyish. The 45-200's sharpness is OK (this is my 3rd sample, the other ones had defects).

    The bad news is the OIS issue the 45-175mm is suffering from. Mind you, even with OIS switched off on a tripod you can get the infamous double-line effect with shutter speeds between roughly 1/80 and 1/800s. See my thread on this. I've also seen a report of an E-M5 user with this problem. If you're using shutter speeds of 1/800s or faster you won't have a problem. Also, below 100mm or so the unsharpness is hardly distinguishable and, from other reports and my own limited experience, it's also alleviated when focussing closer (a few metres).

    In light of all this I'm actually considering to return the 45-200mm and live with the 45-175's OIS issue. Maybe someone knows: will the G5 with its electronic first curtain not provoke shutter-shock induced blur? Just guessing...
  5. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    sound like DOA. Have you compared it to Oly 40-150? No wonder Panasonic is quickly releasing a new 45-150 zoom, no internal or power zoom (back to older design I guess).
    I'm gonna give 45-175 a try on E-PM1.
  6. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    You didn't mention if you ll be using it on a Panasonic or Olympus body. For Olympus you can have the excellent 75-300. I had a chance to try it with OmD and it was very nice. Quite light too.
    I have the 45-175 and though I haven't tested it extensively, it seems better at the lower end of its range. I don't have much experience with lenses so I don't know if that is common behavior. I really like the internal zooming. Makes it very easy to handle. I don't know if other zooms do this, but I also like that you can see the focal length on the screen or viewfinder as you are zooming in or out.
    Even though it was initially marketed as a premium zoom, there s been price drops lately that make it not much more than basic zoom like 45-200.
    The new number Panasonic 50-150 seems like a more portable replacement from the 45-200.
  7. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Real Name:
    Sorry, no. The Oly 40-150mm is not for me because I need a telezoom with OIS on my GH2 and G1 :frown:.
  8. htc

    htc Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 11, 2011
    Real Name:
    Interesting to hear how the opinions differ. I sold 800 euro Pana 14-140 because of poor tele end performance. Now I have 99 euro Oly 40-150 and I'm perfectly happy with it. Okay, it feels 99 euro lens so not perfectly happy but it performs like pro. Sorry, I don't know anything about the 45-175, but seems that the common truth is that 45-200 is average and 100-300 better. How about 100-300?
  9. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    on paper, 45-175 seems like a step up from Oly 40-150 with internal zooming, metal mount, power zoom option for video and perhaps superior optics, all for $100 more. I ordered one so will find out soon.
  10. svtquattro

    svtquattro Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 24, 2012
    Vancouver, Canada
    Just got my 45-175. Sure focuses quick on my E-PM2.

    Anyone else's rattle when shaken? Only happens when the camera is off or the lens is not mounted. I assume it is the OIS. A little disconcerting.

    Also its amazingly light. How do they do that? Any glass in there at all?!?!

    Have not taken any serious photos with it so I can't comment about the IQ.
  11. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Real Name:
    Mike Aubrey
    Nothing to worry about. It's just the OIS.
  12. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Real Name:
    I had the Oly 40-150mm, and it was a good lens. I think the 45-175mm is a little better, though, especially at the long end. It's not much, but the images seem to 'pop' a little more (microcontrast?).

    One of the most important factors in my decision was the smaller size when zoomed. The 45-175mm is quite tiny, and stays that way all throughout the zoom range. The reversible hood is smaller too.
  13. svtquattro

    svtquattro Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 24, 2012
    Vancouver, Canada
    Uh oh, took a few test images today and they aren't sharp at all.

    From what I understand, there is no way to turn off the OIS on an E-PM2, because the Lens IS priority ON really just means default to the OIS rather than the IBIS of the body.

    Will post some samples when I get a few minutes. Damn, this lens is really nice otherwise...I like the PZ and the size.

    It may be going back to Amazon...
  14. ssgreenley

    ssgreenley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    Have you considered the 75-300? It's amazingly small and light for what it is, slightly outperforms the 100-300 (I haven't seen comparisons to the mid-range zooms), and you would need to do far less cropping. Especially if you only need it for a daytime lens, I suspect you'd be fine. A bit more moolah though...
  15. twalker294

    twalker294 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 18, 2010
    I am highly impressed by the 45-175 on my EM5. I used a Canon 80-200/2.8L on my 40D prior to purchasing my EM5 and while the 45-175 isn't as good as that fabled Canon zoom, it's definitely adequate for my needs. I highly recommend it.
  16. Kiwi Paul

    Kiwi Paul Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 15, 2011
    Aberdeen Scotland
    I have one, it's a very good value for money lens, compact, lightweight and very good IQ. There is the double image issue although my copy isn't too bad and is fine when used with the G5 electronic shutter.
    It's doesn't have the detail or resolution of say the 12-35 or 35-100 but as long as your not pixel peeping then its fine.

  17. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    You can turn OIS off - that's the whole point of Lens IS priority. When that's on, OIS is on. When that's off, OIS is off. At that point, you have the choice of turning IBIS on or not.

    It's a fairly easy test. You should hear a faint humming if OIS is enabled, among other things.
  18. juangrande

    juangrande Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 2, 2012
    mine seems sharp

    Just shot some handheld shots @ 175mm w/G3 @ 1/100,1/160,1/200,1/250, 1/350 sec. The object was the mountains from my backyard approx 5000 ft. up and 1-2 miles away. I could see no difference in sharpness among them. They look relatively sharp normal and @ 100% are certainly less sharp. They don't appeared blurred or double imaged, however. Outside, shooting objects @ 50 ft., much sharper!(some difference from 1/160 to 1/1000) Inside, I shot some photos of my wife's painting on the wall @ 175mm, iso 800 and 1/16 sec from 15 ft., ambient light, handheld, and I could make out the brush strokes @ 100%. Not as sharp as the 45 oly or 25pl for sure, but brush strokes nonetheless! My take is this lens does fine for $229. If you want tack sharp @ 300mm equiv.w/variable zoom you'd have to add $1000+ to the price. 70-200L f4 maybe. I used to have a Tamron 18-270mm on a 40D and I think they were about the same IQ wise. I am going to try the 100-300 next week to see how it compares. On amazon, you can get $100 off w/purchase of G5 or GH2 and can play with them until end of Jan. and still get full refund (-shipping).
  19. twalker294

    twalker294 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 18, 2010
    If you are shooting objects that are 1-2 miles away, you are going to get atmospheric haze that will certainly reduce sharpness and contrast, so I would expect those pics to be much less sharp than those with a subject distance of 50 feet.
  20. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Real Name:
    Lots of feedback on the Panny 45-175 vs the 45-200 and the Oly 40-150. But how about the new Panny 45-150?

    Personally, I can vouch for the Panny 100-300, which I use almost exclusively for wildlife photography.