Review M.Zuiko 300mm f/4 Pro - My impressions

Klorenzo

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Bet it's all of the above.
No doubts, but I'd like to see something like this:

Autos - Market Realist

If two tons of raw material account for 47% I wonder how much 1kg max of glass matters. Yes, making lenses is hard, but engines are not that easy too. And the assembly of a whole car is much more complex (but much more automated). And administration costs does not depends much on the product type. It's going to be a much different chart, still about costs, not price.
 

pellicle

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Hi
You need to get into the 500mm/f4 and 600mm/f4 uber-lenses, or maybe the 400mm/f2.8, to see comparable quality. That's almost unbelievable to me.
and to reestablishes Olympuses position way back when that 4/3 was a very viable alternative SLR for the professional.

To me this lens steps their range back up to the plate offering photographers an alternative to Canon / Nikon without compromise at lower costs and weight.

:)
 

eteless

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@Replytoken, I don't remember seeing anything about shock changes in 4.0... Did I miss it?
The improvement was minor, all it changed was allowing sequential low rather than only single shot, no changes to the actual behaviour of the antishock were made AFAIK.
 

hazwing

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Thanks for the reply. I remembered EFCS being added in earlier FW update (and yes it is different than a full electronic shutter), but what did they do in FW4.0? They claim they addressed the shock issue, but did not say what they did. So I am trying to understand what is different in this firmware update from the previous ones that addressed shock.

--Ken
FW4.0 added 0sec EFCS to sequential shooting (L). Previously if you were doing any sequential shooting you could not have 0sec antishock.
 

Raptor7

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Here, in Spain, you can buy a Canon EF 300 f4 for about 1300€, and a Nikon 300 f4 VR for about 1000€. But the M.Zuiko 300 f4 will cost about 2500€, about twice the price of the Canon or Nikon lenses. In a few years it will drop to about 2000€, but this is still a very expensive price.

The PanaLeica 100-400 will cost about 1800€, which seems a more reasonable price: the Canon EF 100-400 II is about 2100€... The m4/3 should be cheaper than the equivalent FF/APSC lenses.
 

mcasan

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While the price may be lower on the 100-400, we have yet to see lab test results for its performance at 300mm and 400mm. The lens is a bargain if it get close to the same IQ as the 300 Pro at 300mm and the Pro plus the TC at 420mm. Right now, that objective data seems to be missing. Maybe we will start to see it in a month or so as product units start to be given to the Luminaries and others for tests and reviews. One thing seems certain, Dual or Sync IS will only happen within the two respective brands. If max IS is a need, stick with your camera body brand.
 

Holoholo55

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Edited: Samples look good, but I'm still in the mindset that 300mm prime is too long for an M43 sensor. I really wish this was a zoom while maintaining the f4 aperture. To be honest I think both the Pan 100-400mm and Olympus 300mm missed the mark. A 100-300mm f/4 would of been the sweet spot.

A 100-300 f4 would have been nice, but I fear the cost would have been even more prohibitive if we wanted something with Pro quality IQ. As some of us had said in other postings, if Olympus had re-made their superb Zuiko 50-200 f2.8-3.5 SWD into a native M43 lens, I would have been very happy. I've shot that up to 283 mm (w/EC-14 teleconverter) for kids soccer games for a tight composition, but glad that it was a zoom so I could pull back for closer shots. That lens suffices for me, although I have been impressed with the sample images I've seen from the 300mm f4 Pro.

I am not the target audience for this lens. If I were shooting wildlife or birds, it would be high on my wish list.
 
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hoodlum

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While the price may be lower on the 100-400, we have yet to see lab test results for its performance at 300mm and 400mm. The lens is a bargain if it get close to the same IQ as the 300 Pro at 300mm and the Pro plus the TC at 420mm. Right now, that objective data seems to be missing. Maybe we will start to see it in a month or so as product units start to be given to the Luminaries and others for tests and reviews. One thing seems certain, Dual or Sync IS will only happen within the two respective brands. If max IS is a need, stick with your camera body brand.
Also AF-C may limit you to a certain lens brand. The DFD on Panasonic bodies would not work with the Olympus 300mm.
 

eteless

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A 100-300 f4 would have been nice, but I fear the cost would have been even more prohibitive if we wanted something with Pro quality IQ. As some of us had said in other postings, if Olympus had re-made their superb Zuiko 50-200 f2.8-3.5 SWD into a native M43 lens, I would have been very happy. I've shot that up to 283 mm (w/EC-14 teleconverter) for kids soccer games for a tight composition, but glad that it was a zoom so I could pull back for closer shots. That lens suffices for me, although I have been impressed with the sample images I've seen from the 300mm f4 Pro.
To me the biggest advantage is being able to pull back so you can actually see where you are in the scene, trying to find something with a 600mm FOV is a nightmare.
 

Mat - MirrorLessons

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Which leads to the question of when will you be testing a 100-400 and be able to compare how each lens does on both brands of bodies?
I will definitely test the Panasonic lens but I don't know when yet. I'll try to do a comparison as well if I will be able to loan the 300mm again.
 

Mat - MirrorLessons

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Glad to read in your review that the electronic shutter produces somewhat sharper results. I hadn't noticed that outcome with the P45-175 (which is a very sharp and light lens), but I have noticed it with the long adapted lenses I use like the Sigma 300mm APO. Thanks for the validation!
The anti-shock (0s) mode also works really well.
 

kevinparis

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To me the biggest advantage is being able to pull back so you can actually see where you are in the scene, trying to find something with a 600mm FOV is a nightmare.
Is it just me or is everybody looking at the 300 all the wrong way?

I will admit that long range photography hasn't really been my thing till relatively recently. I bought my 50-200 way back when I bought my e-510.. and I paid list price... well New York street price... and was savvy enough not to be pawned off with the older non swd version

I used it, enjoyed it, but as I transitioned to micro 4/3 with the e-p1, the gh2, and the em, it was not really used at all due to the fact that I did't have the patience to manually focus

With the E-m1 that lens started to be in my bag again, focus speed was in the ball park of the e-510.. not great but certainly as good as the Canon 5d Mk2 I had acquired on the way. I also started to visit locales that offered the opportunities to take advantages of the reach of the 50-200

What I found was that the ability to fill my viewfinder... which is often where the decision to press the shutter is made... even at 200mm (which you would need a 300 mm for apc or 400m for full frame) was lacking. You can juggle the other variables like shutter speed, aperture and iso... but you have to see what you are getting

Adding the 1.4 teleconverter made a difference...I was within touching distance of 300mm and at f4.9 but I was then getting into frankenstein territory.. 4/3 to micro 4/3 convertor, teleconverter, and lens at full stretch... it worked .. but not an optimum solution..

I will admit that I did wish that the 2500 buck price might have bought the lens, the teleconverter and the red dot sight.. but sigh .. thats not to be for now.

I actually don't care about the finesses of how sharp the lens is compared to other solutions.... when you are shooting long there are so many other variables that can screw up your shot that the lens quality is the least of your worries

Bottom line is that the Oly 300 will fill your viewfinder like a 400mm on aps or a 600mm on FF.. Are there alternatives? ... of course their are...but they come with compromises too.. its a value judgement

K
 

eteless

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Is it just me or is everybody looking at the 300 all the wrong way?

I will admit that long range photography hasn't really been my thing till relatively recently. I bought my 50-200 way back when I bought my e-510.. and I paid list price... well New York street price... and was savvy enough not to be pawned off with the older non swd version

I used it, enjoyed it, but as I transitioned to micro 4/3 with the e-p1, the gh2, and the em, it was not really used at all due to the fact that I did't have the patience to manually focus

With the E-m1 that lens started to be in my bag again, focus speed was in the ball park of the e-510.. not great but certainly as good as the Canon 5d Mk2 I had acquired on the way. I also started to visit locales that offered the opportunities to take advantages of the reach of the 50-200

What I found was that the ability to fill my viewfinder... which is often where the decision to press the shutter is made... even at 200mm (which you would need a 300 mm for apc or 400m for full frame) was lacking. You can juggle the other variables like shutter speed, aperture and iso... but you have to see what you are getting

Adding the 1.4 teleconverter made a difference...I was within touching distance of 300mm and at f4.9 but I was then getting into frankenstein territory.. 4/3 to micro 4/3 convertor, teleconverter, and lens at full stretch... it worked .. but not an optimum solution..

I will admit that I did wish that the 2500 buck price might have bought the lens, the teleconverter and the red dot sight.. but sigh .. thats not to be for now.

I actually don't care about the finesses of how sharp the lens is compared to other solutions.... when you are shooting long there are so many other variables that can screw up your shot that the lens quality is the least of your worries

Bottom line is that the Oly 300 will fill your viewfinder like a 400mm on aps or a 600mm on FF.. Are there alternatives? ... of course their are...but they come with compromises too.. its a value judgement

K
For sure, what I meant was a 300mm (600mm eq) prime is a very specialist lens, they're not exactly a walk in the park to use... I personally have trouble for the first half of the day or so just finding what I want in the viewfinder, with practice it becomes much easier however who actually practices enough with that one focal length? a specialist :)

A zoom is much easier to use was all I was suggesting, I have no doubt any of these lenses can be sharp enough once you find your subject.
 

lomagnin

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Hi Mat,
I would definitely be interested to know the respective T Stops of the Oly 300 mm & the Pany 100-400 at 300mm...
Shooting wildlife & sport, I don't really care about the (shallow) depth of field but the amount of light transmitted (which should be impacted by the greater number of required lenses & over complexity of a zoom).
 
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For sure, what I meant was a 300mm (600mm eq) prime is a very specialist lens, they're not exactly a walk in the park to use... I personally have trouble for the first half of the day or so just finding what I want in the viewfinder, with practice it becomes much easier however who actually practices enough with that one focal length? a specialist :)

A zoom is much easier to use was all I was suggesting, I have no doubt any of these lenses can be sharp enough once you find your subject.
You're absolutely right. Being able to zoom out, acquire the target, and zoom back in is incredibly useful until you get the eye-hand coordination to bring the lens up exactly to where your eye spotted the target (unless the target is really far away, then reacquiring it through the lens even at max range is not so difficult).

One other option to overcome that issue is the EE-1 Red Dot Sight. I wasn't enamored with it at first, and even when it is on I don't tend to use it much. But it does help when used properly.
 

hoodlum

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Is it just me or is everybody looking at the 300 all the wrong way?

Bottom line is that the Oly 300 will fill your viewfinder like a 400mm on aps or a 600mm on FF.. Are there alternatives? ... of course their are...but they come with compromises too.. its a value judgement

K
I totally agree and this is something that gets completely overlooked in the equivalence discussion. While a Nikon APS-C DSLR with 300mm will give you similar cropping, you only have a 450mm FOV in a smaller viewfinder. It is much easier focusing on smaller birds among branches with m43 @ 300mm and it is the main reason I keep coming back to m43 after reviewing other alternatives.
 

aphasiac

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Mat - I have a question.



Honestly do you think this lens is worth that? Who do you see buying this lens (considering the pana/leica zoom will be 100-400 and considerably cheaper).
 

Klorenzo

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The 100-400 is a little more versatile but not much. With the 75-300, when I'm around, I always find that even at 75mm is too long for anything except animals. Yes, you can use it for portraits, architectural details, etc. but after that you'll be switching lens very fast.
The 100-400 is even longer and the size...who bring around a lens like that if you do not need the super tele reach? For 100 mm the 40-150 or 35-100 are good enough. The 50-200, as said, was more general purpose.

Then, before IQ, IMO the comparison should be on stabilization: the lens is slower, if the IS is not exceptional this means that it's a tripod only lens.
 
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