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Long lens quandry: 70-300 4/3 vs 75-300 M4/3

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by picker77, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. picker77

    picker77 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 17, 2012
    I've been scratching my head on this: I want a long relatively light weight and compact AF zoom for handheld wildlife/bird work on my new E-P3. It appears that my choice (assuming I throw out Oly's nice but totally unaffordable for me $4K+ lenses) is between the Zuiko ED70-300 4.0-5.6 four thirds at $400, and the very similar but slower M.Zuiko 75-300 4.8-6.7 native micro four thirds at $900, a pricing strategy that escapes me. I already own an MMF2 adapter.

    Looking at Oly's MTF charts (which I admit I am by no means expert at interpreting), it appears there is little optical reason to pay $500 more for the native micro four thirds lens. To add insult to injury, the extra money buys a slower lens. Am I missing something important here? Is IQ dramatically different? Does the 4/3 version not work on micros for some weird reason? Is autofocus painfully slow or unavailable (despite the fact Oly claims it's compatible)?

    BTW, I also own a pretty sharp and fairly compact AF Nikkor 75-300 lens I use on my F100, and I do have an F-mount adapter on the way. I plan to try this out, but am not real confident in my ability to do accurate MF with the E-P3, so would prefer to have AF capability, even if it's somewhat slower than a native lens would provide.

    Thanks in advance for the advice...
  2. blue

    blue Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2010
    Why not the Panasonic 100-300mm ?
  3. picker77

    picker77 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 17, 2012
    Well, actually only because I haven't looked at anything but Olympus lenses so far. I'll take a look at the Panasonic offering. Thanks.
  4. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    The AF is slow. Not dreadfully slow like the 50-200, but still on the order of 1-1.5 seconds to AF in normal conditions (and assuming it doesn't miss and have to search through the whole range twice). The 75-300 is several times faster.

    The Olympus m.ZD 75-300 is also a fair bit sharper than the ZD 70-300 at the long end, although it is missing the macro ability.

    That said, the Panasonic 100-300 is a great deal less expensive, not much larger, and from what I can tell equally sharp.

  5. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    I had the same problem and went for the 4/3 70-300, which is slow but not pianfully slow.

    For me it's enough. Never regretted the choice. In any case if the price is similar I'd give a look to the 100-300 Pana, even if for me it starts up too long.
  6. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    I have the Panny 100-300, and focus is quite good on my GH2. It's also faster at the long end than the m43 Oly.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. dothraki

    dothraki Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 8, 2011
    São Paulo, Brazil
  8. picker77

    picker77 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 17, 2012
    As coinidence would have it, I received the new Nikon F adapter this afternoon, and immediately plugged in a Nikkor AF 75-300 4.5-5.6, which has been a favorite film lens on my F100 for a long time. Handheld from about 200 ft away, with the lens set at 300mm and wide open (5.6 at this focal length). E-P3 set on Aperture control, focused manually of course (fortunately, this lens focuses butter smooth with just a fingertip). I did turn on the "MF Assist" in the E-P3's AF/MF menu, but I see no direct indication that that does anything--what the heck exactly does "MF Assist" do? Anyway, seems to me the 100% crop of that leaded glass window is pretty sharp for a handheld shot at an effective focal length of 600mm.

    Attached Files:

  9. Grinch

    Grinch Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 9, 2011
    The MF assist gives you a zoomed in window for fine detail focus, but only works with native lenses as there needs to be electrical contact between the lens and the body in order for the the body to know your manipulating the lens.
  10. BarefootPilgrim

    BarefootPilgrim Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 23, 2009
    Westchester, IL
    "MF Assist" sets the camera up so you can quickly magnify the view on screen (or thru the VF if you're using that) so you can manually focus more easily.

    On m4/3 lenses (and 4/3 lenses with adapters) the view will automagically magnify when you touch the manual focus ring. But with your Nikon lens, there's no communication with the camera, so that won't happen automatically, since the camera doesn't know you're turning the MF ring.

    With non-native lenses you must press the magnifying-glass button to enlarge the view. Then you'll see a magnified area of the screen (wherever the green box is) to use for adjusting critical MF. To turn off the enlarged view, press the magnifier button again. Then recompose and shoot.

    You can press the shutter button to shoot even when the view is still enlarged. Trouble with that is, you won't know exactly what's in the shot until you switch magnification off.

    It's actually easier to do than it is to describe. Give it a try.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Crdome

    Crdome Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 11, 2011
    West Central Indiana
    Misunderstanding of effective focal length.

    Your interpretation of the "effective focal length of 600mm" is not correct. The magnification remains that of the 300mm lens. The 2x crop factor refers to the field of view (FOV). Because the M4/3 sensor much smaller then a 35mm negative. Only a portion of the projected image circle that would fall on film strikes the sensor. The resulting image has the magnification as a 300mm but the much narrower FOV that a 600mm lens would produce.


    [/QUOTE]...Anyway, seems to me the 100% crop of that leaded glass window is pretty sharp for a handheld shot at an effective focal length of 600mm.[/QUOTE]
  12. ssgreenley

    ssgreenley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    I've seen this before, and I don't really understand what it means. Do telephoto lenses focus in on a smaller angle of view or are they actually magnifying things (a la a magnifying glass used by detectives to snoop for clues). I thought macro lenses magnified things (that whole 1:1 thing) but most telephoto lenses just shrink what you're looking at (i.e. the compression effect). Like I said, I've seen this before, so I'm not disputing you, I just really don't understand the statement (or, admittedly, the science of optics)...
    • Like Like x 1
  13. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    IMHO Crdome is trying to make an unnecessary distinction that confuses you. While the magnification is determined by the 300mm effective focal length, that magnification per se is really irrelevant to a photographer. It is the crop factor that we pay attention to.

    Crop factor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    35 mm equivalent focal length - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    IMHO it is not a crime for an amateur to say that the "effective focal length" is 600mm when the lens is used on a camera with a sensor that is half the width of a 35mm film frame. The "effect" of the lens/sensor combination is an apparent doubling of focal length. The term is used differently by optical engineers, though. I think that is what Cfdome is fussing about.

    Don't lose any sleep over it.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. picker77

    picker77 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 17, 2012
    Thank you, Bob (and Grinch), for clearing up the MF assist thing. I'll try it tomorrow. Something must be helping, because I'm waving this thing around in front of me at arm's length when I shoot. I supposed it's the Olympus IBIS. At any rate, the quick test went so well I think I'll practice some with this 75-300 Nikon before I worry about throwing another wad of cash into the GAS money pit.
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