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Is the 100-300mm a good walk around lens?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by ralfmouth, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. ralfmouth

    ralfmouth Mu-43 Regular

    77
    Oct 16, 2012
    For hiking and capturing wild life without a tripod, can the panny 100-300mm be a good walk around lens or would a shorter focal length be steadier/ more practical (thinking here of the new weather sealed 35-100). It sure would be cool to have the most zoom possible but i don't have any experience with ultra-zooms.. Appreciate any advice. (the panny 12-35 will probably be the go-to lens).
     
  2. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Patrick
    I like the extra reach of a super-zoom like the 100-300mm for capturing wild life, but it could be a little challenging to handle if you have no prior experience using one. You need to keep the shutter speed up, and the relatively slow aperture, particularly at the long end, could make this rather challenging sometimes... You might consider getting a monopod, which would help stabilize your lens, and double as a walking stick when you are not using it with the camera.

    The 35-100mm would be a better general purpose lens, but for me, I'd like to have more reach when hiking and capturing wild life. The 45-200mm might be a good economical compromise, giving you a wider range to work with, although it has the same limitations of small aperture like the 100-300mm, and doesn't have the sharpness of the 35-100mm.

    Sorry, not sure if I am addressing your question, or creating more confusion...
     
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  3. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    I've done some hiking and wildlife photography with the 100-300mm in Alaska, and my experience after a couple hikes was that it does not work very well as a general use lens. The short end at 100mm is just too long for almost anything except wildlife shots.

    The 14-140mm worked very well however, covering wide enough for landscapes up through some of my wildlife shots while hiking. I kept the 14-140 on my camera most of the trip and swapped in the 100-300 when I was riding the park buses or boats and expected wildlife opportunities (or even better, kept it on a second body). After that trip experience, if I had to only pick one lens for hiking & wildlife combined the 14-140 would be it. Note that a lot will depend on the distance you're working at too. In Alaska most wildlife was pretty far away, and even 300mm often felt short; in other locations 140mm might be plenty.

    The 35-100mm isn't out yet but I'm sure one will be added to my kit eventually. 35mm is a little shorter for general use shooting, and I can certainly see getting use out of it as a hiking kit especially when paired with the 12-35mm. I like landscapes too much to be stuck at 35mm for the wide end, so I'd want to pair it with something wider - even if it's just a 14mm pancake in a pocket.

    EDIT: Also, 100mm is probably on the short side for wildlife most places. For perspective, I had the 100-300 at 300mm almost every wildlife shot I took in Alaska and I still had to crop the shots in a lot of cases :biggrin:
     
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  4. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    FWIW, the slow aperture on the telephoto zooms isn't an issue in daylight (e.g. hiking) in my experience but it's worth noting that if you plant to shoot sunrises/sunsets or anything in low light then you'll need a tripod and/or an alternative fast lens to swap in for those uses.
     
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  5. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    With any very long lens there is a bit of a learning curve to competency. For hiking, this lens would be awesome but not as your sole lens. I've used it in low light with the OM-D IBIS, elevated ISO and the lens simply delivers. The lens so light that it is easily used sans tri or mono pod.

    GRAA0258-L.
    OM-D @ 228mm, 1/350, f/5.2, ISO 1600

    [​IMG]
    OM-D @ 300mm, 1/125, f/5.6, ISO 1600

    Gary
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. kevwilfoto

    kevwilfoto Mu-43 Veteran

    294
    Sep 23, 2011
    Colorado
    I have both the 100-300 and the 45-175, and I definitely consider the 45-175 as my go-to telephoto zoom walking around. The 100-300 is much longer and heavier, and 100mm can be a bit long for quickly finding subjects if you're using a camera with a viewfinder.

    I think it depends on your subject. I you expect to shoot wildlife and might have to grap a shot quickly as you come across a bird/grizzly/fox/whatever that might bolt away in a second, then the 100-300 gives you the reach you probably want. Well, almost. I suspect I'd love to shoot an adapted 400/2.8 for grizzlies.
     
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  7. ssgreenley

    ssgreenley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    509
    May 12, 2011
    I've tried using the 75-300 for this very thing. I failed miserably. If you have the discipline to ignore good shots at the normal/wide end it might work, but I don't. The last time I tried this I gave up and switched to my 12mm, just in time to miss multiple shots of a deer that startled a bald eagle.

    Anyway, my advice if you're serious would be a second body (I understand many of the 12mp cams are pretty cheap these days). If you had an EM1 w/a 20mm in you pocket, the 100-300 would probably make a great walk around on the camera in your hand...
     
  8. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Kind of long for a carry around! The 14-150 would be a better overall single carry lens.
     
  9. tdekany

    tdekany Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 8, 2011
    Oregon
    I am getting ready to order the 100-300, but it will accompany my 14-140mm.

    PS: I guess I am used to the 14-140, so the weight size was not an issue for me when I tested the 100-300 at the store.
     
  10. ralfmouth

    ralfmouth Mu-43 Regular

    77
    Oct 16, 2012
    This is helping, thanks. From what i gather,

    1) Yes it can be hand held (in good light)
    2) Needs a fast shutter and requires practice. I like the monopod idea (though i just bought an $800 gitzo)
    3) It will probably stay at 300mm (wish they just had a 300mm prime - lighter, brighter, sharper?)
    4) Much longer/heavier than 45-175 and other ultra-zooms, but has longer reach.
    5) Keep the 12-35 for general use.
    6) In the end, I am just digging the pics.

    Panny's weather proof combo (12-35 & 35-100) is cool and the 45-175 had advantages, but reading this confirms the 100-300. I do hate losing the camera's weather proofing though.
     
  11. ralfmouth

    ralfmouth Mu-43 Regular

    77
    Oct 16, 2012
    That confirms what i have read and was thinking (mabye an E-PL5 w/ ultra-zoom and OM-d w/12-35). Things are getting expensive.:tongue:
     
  12. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Patrick
    Thanks for pointing this out, Jay! I should have qualified my comments by saying that in my part of the world, the sky is often overcast, making the slow aperture somewhat of a handicap! Otherwise, it shouldn't be an issue...