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Shootout Little Tuna vs Micro Tuna - A Look at Resolution

Discussion in 'Reviews, Tests, & Shootouts' started by Phocal, Dec 19, 2017.

  1. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Houston
    I have had a number of people ask me to compare the 150/2 against the 300/4 and I am sure what they really want is a comparison using the EC-20 on the 150/2. I will confess that I tried over the weekend but was not able to get any great comparison images because for most of the day the light was terrible. There was a brief time when the sun poked out that corresponded with finding a baby gator on the bank, which allowed me to compare the lenses resolution with similarly framed photographs.

    Baby gators are lot more nervous when on land compared to in the water, so I was not sure how close this guy would let me get. I had the 300/4 in my hands, so I took some photos and moved closer, took some more photos and moved closer again and again and again and he never once seemed nervous. He didn’t even mind when I put on the MC-14 or when I took it off or put it on again or when I took it back off again. So I slowly moved away and went back to the Jeep to grab the other EM1 with the 150/2 attached. When approaching with the 150/2 and 300/4 I would take some photos with both lenses, move closer, take more photos, move closer again……….hoping that when it was over I would have some shots between the two cameras with similar framing. This was also when I got the closest, so was shooting some really close-up shots with the 300/4 in between the 150/2 shots. Because it was a young gator (about 2 years old) I had to assume that mama was somewhere around, so I didn’t waste time looking at photos on the back of the camera to try and exactly match framing. I took the shots and got out as fast as I could to keep from scaring the baby gator or becoming its mama’s lunch. But I was able to get shots with each lens that lined up pretty close to identical framing.

    While shooting the photos I was also switching between wide-open and stopped down one stop since both lenses are sharper stopped down. For some reason the set of images from the 300/4 that matched framing with the 150/2 I didn’t shoot any images at f5.6. I have no idea how this happen because I was being very conscious about taking comparison images, but it doesn’t really effect the comparison so it’s all good.

    Data on the images taken……………………………………
    • All taken handheld
    • All processed identically
    • No crop except going to 16:9 aspect ratio
    Data on the 300/4 from Lenstip
    • Center MTF 50 = ~69 @ f4.0
    • Center MTF 50 = ~74 @ f5.6
    • Edge MTF 50 = ~62 @ f4.0
    • Edge MTF 50 = ~68 @ f5.6
    Data on the 150/2 from Lenstip
    • Center MTF 50 = ~49 @ f2.0
    • Center MTF 50 = ~52 @ f2.8
    • Edge MTF 50 = ~45 @ f2.0
    • Edge MTF 50 = ~47 @ f2.8
    I include the MTF data for several reasons. The first is because this comparison is about resolution or what people tend to call sharpness. Another reason is I have been doing a lot of lens testing the last couple of years and when testing my lenses I look up their MTF data. This information gives me a good idea about how much detail I can expect from a lens, or how sharp images will appear at 100%. I have also learned that the higher the MTF the farther away you can shoot or the more you can crop and still maintain acceptable levels of detail. Now when a new lens is released I can look at the MTF data and know if it’s a lens I should consider buying since I have done so much testing of various lenses with very different MTF numbers. But resolution is not everything when it comes to images that a lens creates (it is the one thing that can be measured though) and that’s why I like shooting the same subject at the same time for comparisons. Doing that allows me to compare the aspects of an image other than sharpness.

    I should also point out that I included the edge MTF numbers because that is a concern of mine when looking at lenses. I don’t use the center focus point and crop for composition like a lot of people do, I hate cropping so I get close and shoot with composition in mind. That means that the eye of my subject is never at center and is typically somewhere close to one of the vertical and horizontal rule of thirds line. So for wildlife shooting a lens that has serious sharpness drop off towards the edge is not something I want to shoot with. Why people tend to think edge sharpness is only important for landscape photographers has always baffled me.

    Data on the 300/4 shot
    • ISO 250, 1/400 @ f4.0
    • Taken from a distance of 10.4 feet
    • DoF = 0.5 inches
    Data on the 150/2 shot
    • ISO 200, 1/800 @ f2.0
    • Taken from a distance of 6.4 feet
    • DoF = 0.4 inches
    Data on other 150/2 shot
    • ISO 200, 1/320 @ f2.8
    • Taken from a distance of 6.4 feet
    • DoF = 0.5 inches
    Ok………………………so here are the wide-open shots. The framing is not perfectly identical, but it’s close enough to compare the lenses.

    24277693257_9f79406089_k.jpg
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    Baby Gator 005 by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    39106121752_6d705ed533_k.jpg
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    Baby Gator 006 by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    I am fine with you posting what lens you think took what shot, but if you click thru to Flickr I ask that you wait a few days before posting the truth. Gives everyone who comes a chance to guess without any spoilers.

    Since Flickr only displays just over 2000px I have uploaded full resolution images to DPR and at the end will include links to them so you can pixel peep until your eyes bleed.
     
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  2. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Houston
    I have looked at these images over and over again and here is what I have determined……………………………...

    First I should mention that like my first comparison I find the colors very similar, which is a good thing……………or at least I think it is.

    When it comes to image detail it is obvious which photograph was taken with which lens. The 300/4 has more resolving power than the 150/2 and it is enough that it is noticeable at 100%. Now the question remains if this will be noticeable in a print that’s 40” long. I plan to print all three images at 40” long to see how they compare, when I get the prints made I will post here what I have found. I don’t think the additional detail is going to be noticeable in a print, especially something in the 11-20” range. Larger prints in the 30-40” range it could be noticeable and that is what I plan to find out. I will also print them at 1 or 2 smaller sizes to check if the extra detail is noticeable on smaller as well as larger prints.

    Now for bokeh I think the 150/2 is much nicer. It has smoother transitions to the out of focus areas, especially when changing from one color to another. The background in the 150/2 shot is just more pleasing to look at overall. I am not saying there is anything wrong with the 300/4, it is more than acceptable. It’s just that the 150/2 looks better to me.

    I am really glad that they are as closely matched as they are. My intended use for the pair of lenses is to get close enough to shoot full body with the 150/2. That will then put me close enough to get really close-up detail shots with the 300/4. This is how I used the two lenses when approaching the gator for these comparison images. It’s also a lot easier to pickup a different camera then it was having to add/remove the EC-20 to switch between the two types of shots like I use to.

    This next photograph I actually took in between the wide-open and stopped down images from the 150/2. It is with the MC-14 attached and has the maximum amount of crop on it (3917x2203) that I like to use, actually a bit more because I prefer to stop at 4000px on the long side. But it’s a good representation of how I intend to use the two lenses together. The photo was taken from 6.4 feet away and has a DoF of 0.1 inches or 0.3 centimeters, so not much. Oh, I will also include a link to the full resolution image on DPR.

    39097952711_c0483bbb2e_k.jpg
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    Baby Gator 004 by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    I also did a large crop (3045x1713) to the above image and converted to B&W, love how gators look in B&W with all that texture. This large crop is the framing I want with little to no crop and I think from minimum focus distance I will be able to achieve it. Because of the super thin DoF I want to focus stack an image like this one with all of the gator that you see in focus. I am honestly not sure how good the image will look, but damn will it have a lot of texture. It is why I got the 300/4 and until I am able to get that shot I will not know if stacking a baby gator will make for a better photograph. It could also be that something in between is the sweet spot and for something like this a little stacking would help because there isn’t really enough DoF to cover all of the eye and eye ridge, getting another 2 feet closer will result in even less DoF. So I do believe that focus stacking will result in better images, just not sure if having everything in focus is the way to go. But hopefully soon I get to find out.

    38258711595_72c9cbf447_k.jpg
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    Baby Gator 004 - Cropped B&W version by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr
     
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  3. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Houston
    I have waited until now to show the 150/2 shot stopped down to f2.8 because if closer together it would be obvious which was from which lens (because of the framing), hope putting down here will not give it away as easily.

    25272234508_47c3b66c33_k.jpg
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    Baby Gator 007 by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    At 100% any difference in amount of detail resolved is almost indistinguishable compared to the 300/4. But the bokeh is definitely worse than both the wide-open and the 300/4 shot. It’s not so terrible to be unusable, but it is not nearly as beautiful as the wide-open photo. I have tested the 150/2 many many many times between wide-open and stopped down to f2.8 and I know that it is sharper stopped down, but never felt the need for the additional sharpness when I would lose the much prettier bokeh. But I will stop down when I need extra DoF, like for most of my adult gator photographs where I typically find myself shooting at f4.0.

    I am very glad I did stop down because it showed me that anything above an MTF of 50 is not really going to be noticeable, even at 100%. If I was one who cropped a lot of an image away this would mean that I could crop more before losing to much detail. But since I don’t crop much I am not seeing much extra detail in my images once above an MTF of 50, or so it seems.

    But………………………………..

    I have noticed I can shoot at higher ISO’s with the 300/4 than I can the 150/2 because losing detail to noise is not as detrimental, so that is a good thing.
    As promised, here are the links to the full resolution images.

    Having problems linking to the full resolution images on DPR. I moved them all to a folder and will see if that will link. I am not real sure how DPR works so if anyone could let me know if you have access to the full resolution image I would greatly appreciate it.

    DPR folder with full resolution images - 300/4 and 150/2 Comparision photographs: Phocal: Galleries: Digital Photography Review : Digital Photography Review

    Hope some of you find this comparison useful, even if it’s not the comparison most are waiting for me to do.

    Regards,

    Ronnie
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2017
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  4. JDS

    JDS Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    556
    Nov 11, 2014
    San Francisco, CA
    David Schultz
    You got those shots handheld from a kayak?! Freaking amazing... spectacular images. I'm assuming the top shot is the 300/4, but is the bottom shot maybe focused on a slightly closer point? It seems the round texture on the neck is more in focus on the bottom shot. Regardless, either is outstanding. What an incredible pair of lenses in talented hands.
     
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  5. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    I always wonder how much time it takes you to write up these elaborate posts Ronnie, lol.

    I won't spoil the results, but my guess on which lens took which image in the first post was confirmed when I clicked thru to Flickr. The 150/2 is/was an amazing piece of glass, and the 300/4 appears to easily be just as good.

    As always, great processing and thanks for sharing!
     
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  6. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    Thanks for putting in the hard work of doing the comparison (this as well the earlier thread). I will not play spoiler, but to me at least the 300/4 is a touch sharper and the colors from the 150/2 are a touch warmer. And I was right when I clicked through.
     
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  7. Schwert

    Schwert Mu-43 Regular

    158
    Mar 2, 2016
    Pacific NW
    Dedicated, precise focal work, Mr. Phocal...

    Any differences, in my view, are actually indescernable to my eye. Great post for great glass AND even greater handheld ability with both lenses.
     
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  8. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Houston
    These were shot laying on the bank, but out of the kayak would not have been any more difficult..............unless in heavy chop.

    The focus point is the eye in all of them. What you are seeing is from the angle of the baby gator in that shot, I was not perfectly parallel to him.
     
  9. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Houston
    LOL.............they do take some time.
    • 15 minutes to take 330 photos between the two cameras
    • 3 hours going thru the photos to pick out the ones I want to use
    • 4 hours over 2 days actually writing the post
    Time is my most valuable asset and I try not to waste it because I can't buy more. If it wasn't for a forum to share my findings I would still do the first 2 things for my own knowledge, something I have done since my film days (which was a lot more expensive). I like writing, teaching, sharing, story telling, learning etc................so I find the other 4 hours worth the time spent when it can help others.

    I have also started working on a book about wildlife photography, so a lot of my forum post are the basis for parts of the book (consider them really rough drafts). I have looked at a lot of photography books about wildlife photography and believe I have a different approach to the subject than I have seen presented so far. It has moved to the front of my project list, so should have it finished in a year or so. The hardest part is going out and remembering to take some behind the scene as well as setup shots, but I have been getting better about that. Plus I have various techniques I want to share or go over and I have find a subject that not only allows me to use the technique but also allows me to shoot behind the scene shots.........which is turning out to be the hardest part (would be a lot easier if I had someone to follow me around and shoot that stuff).

    I have always known the 150/2 was an amazing piece of glass. After the 300/4 was released I was personally not really impressed with a lot of the photographs I had seen published. It's one of the reasons I waited to get the 300/4, wasn't seeing any compelling reason to get it compared to my 150/2 w/ EC-20 combo. Didn't help knowing that when I did get it I would basically double the weight of gear I take with me because I would still have to bring the 150/2. I really did buy it for the close focus ability as well as focus bracketing because I have been satisfied with the IQ from my 150/2. Now that I have the lens and have been using it a bit I am glad I bought it, it's a great lens and worth the price.

    I was concerned about the bokeh because of all the reports and photographs with the ugly bokeh. I have my own thoughts behind this and hope sometime in the next few months to put together images to do a post about it. That said.............................how I photograph wildlife the bokeh issue is a non-issue for me and I actually find it pretty close to the 150/2. It's not as buttery smooth as the 150/2, but it is seriously just as good as any Canon or Nikon 600mm lens and definitely much better than any of the super telephoto zooms aka the 150-600mm Sigma/Tamron lenses.
     
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  10. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Houston
    That is exactly what I determined. But I don't think any of the differences will be noticeable in print and will prove that to my self after I get the prints made. The biggest advantage to the extra sharpness is the ability to crop more (if you crop, I don't) and shoot at higher ISO's without losing detail (which is good since I find m4/3 lacking on its higher ISO ability).
     
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  11. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Houston
    Olympus IBIS is amazing and makes handhold so easy that I never use a tripod except for video. That said I do find the 300/4 a touch light for handholding (especially with the MC-14), would like it better if it was maybe 1/2 lb heavier. I like a little weight for handholding.....................
     
  12. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Clearly it’s not hump day for somebody...

    If you’re going to be bitter, why even bother coming in to the thread?

    And if Ronnie’s mentioning of the 150/2 bothers you that much, just add him to your blocked members list, that way you never have to be bothered with his posts again.

    I just don’t get it...
     
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  13. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Houston
    Seriously..............if you don't like what I post you can either not read it or the forum offers a feature called "Ignore"................I highly suggest you use it.
     
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  14. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Houston
    I think I hurt his feelings on my other 150/2 vs 300/4 post when I pointed to my post showing the differences between the 150/2 and his newly acquired 50-200 SWD..........................guess he couldn't handling the truth.

    Other than that I have no idea what his issue is.............................
     
  15. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Yeah, it just doesn't make any sense to me why someone would deliberately go out of their way to make a post saying "We get it you like this lens now stop telling us that". Talk about having someone piss in your Wheaties...

    People have asked for a comparison between these two lenses, and you provided said comparison, letting people make their own determination of which image they think is better.

    As for the 150/2 vs 50-200 SWD, having owned (and sold) both lenses, I too can confirm that the 150/2 is on a different level, primarily due to the bokeh and how it renders the OoF areas. You just can't beat having an extra 1 1/3 - 1 2/3 stop of speed when it comes to subject isolation and creating a shallower DoF. I really wish that Olympus would create a 150/2 PRO using the same design philosophy they used with their f/1.2 PRO primes. I suppose the PL 200/2.8 is close, but it lacks the manual focus clutch (not that the focusing ring was all that great on the 150/2 SHG, mainly due to it not having the SWD focusing system), and it's a 400mm FoV, not a 300mm FoV.
     
  16. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    So if you're getting sick and tired of it, don't bother clicking on the threads. PROBLEM SOLVED! You don't waste your time seeing the same content ten times over, while those who are interested still get the benefit of the analysis.

    Or, if you don't have the self-control to not enter the thread and write some snarky response, follow the below steps:

    upload_2017-12-20_12-24-15.png
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    upload_2017-12-20_12-22-23.png
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    Attached Files:

  17. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Houston
    I would love a 150/2 Pro lens if built to their new design philosophy and would actually pre-order it (even tho it would probably be the most expensive m4/3 lens). The focus ring on the 150/2 is terrible, probably my most hated of all my lenses. Since I shoot Olympus the Panny is of zero interest to me, losing camera features that I would actually use are not worth it to me (except to pick a copy of the Big Tuna, which I still want). I am also not a big fan of Panny's design philosophy, they use to much software correction to keep size down...........I much prefer Olympus's approach to lens design, even if it makes the lenses a bit larger, they will still be smaller and lighter than FF equivalents.
     
  18. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jan 5, 2013
    Dan
    Thank you for sharing this. I enjoy your photos very much. Ironically, I enjoy looking at datagov’s photos as well and think he is a very good photographer. Anyway, I would be much more interested in finding a 150/2 if it would af with a Panasonic camera. I may buy a G9 one day and my understanding is you need an EM-1 for the old 4/3 lenses. But it looks like the 300/4 is a better lens is some ways anyway. If I only had an extra couple grand lying around.
     
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  19. rumplestiltskin

    rumplestiltskin Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    444
    Aug 16, 2017
    El Paso, TX
    Anything besides Tuna?:th_salute:

    All the shots with both lenses are beautiful. However, any love for those of us that can't afford the approx $2400 for the 300mm lens?

    Perhaps this deserves its own thread (and if anyone with an opinion in response to my question wishes to start one, please do so!). Assuming my budget is minimal, what 300mm (more or less) lens would provide a sharp image at the enlargements Phocal has used? Might a 2X teleconverter give a decent image with (for example) the Panny 45-175mm? (I know zooms are never as sharp as primes but might the images be...umm...serviceable? I am thinking along the lines of "the best lens is the one you have with you" rather than "the best lens I can't afford")
    :laugh1:

    Thanks, Phocal, for those 'gator images. I actually prefer the B&W for the texture (although all are wonderful).
     
  20. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Houston
    You are welcome, hope you found it useful and/or enjoyable.

    Thank you, appreciate the comment...................there is no reason you can't enjoy both and I have enjoyed his photos as well.

    I have tried all my 4/3 lenses on my EM5 and the only one I found worth using on it was the ZD 14-54mm f2.8-3.5ii because it is optimized for CDAF. It's not as smooth or fast on the EM5, but more than useable, it is what's typically on my EM5 when I am out shooting wildlife. At 300mm and 420mm the 300/4 is better, but at 150mm and 210mm the 150/2 is better :biggrin:

    Seriously tho................................. They are both amazing lenses and even with the EC-20 the 150/2 is very usable and I can't wait for the opportunity to compare them to see just how much difference there is. Right now all I have really tested is bare lens vs bare lens with similar framing and they are pretty much equal. The 300/4 has the advantage of being able to use all the features in Olympus cameras, which is something to think about. It's also a bit sharper so you can crop a little more and shoot at higher ISO's without losing detail.
     
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