Review New Oly 100-400: Impressions and images

Shortsonfire79

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I did try hand-holding the lens by the foot. Again, it is very well balanced like this, so you could presumably use it this way, or removing the foot would probably not alter it much.
I find it quite comfortable to quickly release the foot and spin it up by the lock switch. I can access the lock switch with right index finger and comfortable cradle the lens without the foot in the way. It also works well with a body-mounted Peak Design arca plate for the Capture Clip in this fashion as well; otherwise the lens foot digs into your chest when mounted.
 

Ross the fiddler

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Well, I finally did some comparison tests with the 100-400, at 2 different focal lengths (349mm and 400mm), 2 different apertures (wide open 6.3 and f8); and also adding the MC1.4 TC (500mm and 560), 2 different apertures (wide open f9 and f11).

I was as far away as I could get in my house, from the back of the kitchen to the living room window (maybe about 40 feet). My test subject was one of those enamel tin posters you can buy in stores and the internet. They are very detailed and sharp. This is of the Titanic (matching the size of the 100-400 lens!). I used a tripod and a wired remote shutter release, ISO 200. The poster itself:

View attachment 865079
Below are the results, in 100% crop size.
349mm, f6.3
View attachment 865080

349mm, f8:
View attachment 865081

400mm, f6.3:

View attachment 865082

400mm, f8:
View attachment 865083

500mm (with TC), at f9:
View attachment 865084

500mm, f11:
View attachment 865085

560mm, f9:
View attachment 865086

560mm, f11:
View attachment 865087

My initial impressions:

1) at ALL focal lengths, it helps to stop down 2 stops from wide open (it probably also helps to stop down one stop, but I didn't try that).

2) there is not much difference in sharpness between 349 and 400, using f8. So not much point in backing off on the zoom. Also, the worst results I got was at 349mm and f6.3, so backing off on the zoom doesn't help when you are wide open either.

3) the TC doesn't hurt much, although it seems that backing off on the zoom some can help. I think that 500mm at f9 or f11 is essentially as sharp as 400 (without TC) at f8. But even here, 560 isn't bad at all, I think. The TC results are confusing in that sometimes the wide open results at f9 look better than the f11 results. I was pretty careful taking these shots, so I do not think there is any camera shake.

Anyway, I think I will be stopping down some (especially when not using the TC) and that also I won't be reticent about using the TC; it's pretty fine, indeed!

Hope this helps. Your results may vary! ;)
Thanks for those results, but when I'm photographing birds in branches that are swaying the keepers may not be too many (especially when the bird just won't pose right for me), I want as low an ISO & as fast a shutter speed as possible so I have the lens wide open with nice results, as can be seen in my recent Flickr photos. I tripod shot of the moon can be different though if it benefits from stopping down.
 

retiredfromlife

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Thanks for those results, but when I'm photographing birds in branches that are swaying the keepers may not be too many (especially when the bird just won't pose right for me), I want as low an ISO & as fast a shutter speed as possible so I have the lens wide open with nice results, as can be seen in my recent Flickr photos. I tripod shot of the moon can be different though if it benefits from stopping down.
Some nice images from the lens on your flickr page, having used it for awhile now how is the stabilization at 400mm ?
 

Ross the fiddler

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Some nice images from the lens on your flickr page, having used it for awhile now how is the stabilization at 400mm ?
It's reasonably good, but anybody with the 300 Pro lens would find that much better with Sync IS. I like to use a zoom lens & am very happy with it (plus it's much cheaper than the 300 Pro).
 
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RAH

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Thanks for those results, but when I'm photographing birds in branches that are swaying the keepers may not be too many (especially when the bird just won't pose right for me), I want as low an ISO & as fast a shutter speed as possible so I have the lens wide open with nice results, as can be seen in my recent Flickr photos. I tripod shot of the moon can be different though if it benefits from stopping down.
I agree that sometimes you need to be wide open; in fact, more than sometimes when shooting wildlife. I guess that's why people spend big bucks on Pro lenses like the 150-400 that give super sharp results even wide open. My old Canon 400mm f5.6 (a Canon L - "Pro" - lens) is like that.

My test is designed to just inform me about what the limitations are and how it functions best. So it functions best stopped down on a tripod (actually bolted to the earth with some strong cement pilings and earthquake resistent plates). Then you make your compromises and do what you have to to get the shot.
 
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RAH

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Back at you with hopefully my final test. Since my earlier test showed no noticeable advantage to zooming out, I figured I'd just confine this test to 400 and 560 (with and without TC), and then test the 3 critical apertures - wide open, stopped down ONE f-stop, and stopped down TWO f-stops (I had already tested stopping down 2, but figured I'd do it again just to have them all together in this post.)

Edit: in this post, I use "F-stop" sometimes. I really usually mean "step" not "stop". In other words, when I say "close down 1 stop" I really mean one step - one turn of the aperture wheel. This is configurable on your camera as "EV step". The default is .3 stops, I believe. This is actually good news because when I say you should stop down 2 stops, I'm actually talking about only 2/3 of one full f-stop. So, in this test, you can get better results by stopping down only .3 stops, and even better results by stopping down .6 stops.

400mm, wide open at f6.3:
pc280284_400mm_f63_crop.jpg
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400mm, 1-stop down at f7.1
pc280285_400mm_f71_crop.jpg
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400mm, 2-stops down at f8
pc280286_400mm_f8_crop.jpg
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560mm, wide open at f9
pc280281_560mm_f9_crop.jpg
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560mm, 1-stop down at f10
pc280282_560mm_f10_crop.jpg
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560mm, 2-stops down at f11
pc280283_560mm_f11_crop.jpg
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My impressions - it helps considerably to stop down 1, but not quite as much as stopping down 2. This is not really all that unusual, judging from other tests of many other lenses I've seen over the years. So, at least stopping down 1 seems like a good compromise if you can manage it.
 
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RAH

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Thanks for those results, but when I'm photographing birds in branches that are swaying the keepers may not be too many (especially when the bird just won't pose right for me), I want as low an ISO & as fast a shutter speed as possible so I have the lens wide open with nice results, as can be seen in my recent Flickr photos. I tripod shot of the moon can be different though if it benefits from stopping down.
I had a chance to look at your Flickr images. Wow! Very nice!

Meanwhile, want to point out something about my tests above. I realized after doing the tests that my camera is set to the default of "EV step" of .3. In other words, when I stop down one click of the aperture wheel, it is .3 of a full f-stop. So, stupid me, when I did my testing, I was not really stopping down one and 2 f-stops.

I think this is significant because I found that I could pretty noticeably improve the sharpness of my results by stopping down 1 click - .3 of an f-stop, and even more improve it by stopping down 2 clicks - which is still even less than 1 full f-stop.

So, in other words, you don't have to stop down much to get a lot better results, at least from what my tests are showing. So it seems you don't have to suffer much loss of light by stopping down. Although Ross, looking at your Flickr results, you aren't suffering much! :)
 

Ross the fiddler

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I had a chance to look at your Flickr images. Wow! Very nice!

Meanwhile, want to point out something about my tests above. I realized after doing the tests that my camera is set to the default of "EV step" of .3. In other words, when I stop down one click of the aperture wheel, it is .3 of a full f-stop. So, stupid me, when I did my testing, I was not really stopping down one and 2 f-stops.

I think this is significant because I found that I could pretty noticeably improve the sharpness of my results by stopping down 1 click - .3 of an f-stop, and even more improve it by stopping down 2 clicks - which is still even less than 1 full f-stop.

So, in other words, you don't have to stop down much to get a lot better results, at least from what my tests are showing. So it seems you don't have to suffer much loss of light by stopping down. Although Ross, looking at your Flickr results, you aren't suffering much! :)
Thanks, but you also can't see the photos taken I didn't post too. ;) Birds don't always co-operate for my sake & then they jump onto a branch to make it bounce around for a while, on top of that the birds are there on a windy day too, reducing my keepers even more. :) Still, when I get all things being ideal for that brief moment & the camera/lens focusses well on the subject, I end up with something I like which so far has been better (closer & filling the frame more) than what I have got with the 40-150 Pro lens & MC20, although that has been good.
 

joerg218

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I have the 100-400 lens and the MC 1.4 TC. I haven't tried the TC yet, but I can tell you one big pro for it - it is VERY small and light-weight. This might seem to be unimportant, but until now my main high-tele setup was a Canon 80D (APS-C DSLR) and a Canon 400mm f5.6 lens. The O 100-400 weighs only somewhat less than the Canon 400, so I was a little disappointed there. However, the Canon 1.4 TC is MUCH larger and heavier than the MC 1.4; surprisingly so. So m43 comes thru size-wise again, at least in that respect (and of course, my E-M5.3 is much smaller than the 80D; hmmm, good thing I don't have a G9!).

I will be trying the MC1.4 soon and will be reporting back on this forum.

As far as the MC 2.0, myself I don't think I'd ever bother even trying a 2.0 TC. In almost all cases I think you lose too much IQ. I'm sure some folks will disagree, but I just kind of draw my personal line at 1.4, and even there I kind of feel like I'm pushing my luck. Just MHO.
I just ordered the MC-14 for a good price. I hope i will have the time to use it in the next weeks, i will than show some photos
When it is good useable i will think about the MC-20.
 
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He's got one blue eye and one half blue and half brownish eye. It's not uncommon with Aussies. We don't even notice anymore.
People always think my blue Merle Sheltie is an Aussie.
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L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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She’s awful to photograph, always darting her head and eyes around. I have to be persistent and get a keeper about 1/10 times.
I know the feeling, our dog always runs into my lap as soon as I try to get to her level and even when we sre outside shes always 10 feet ahead and as soon as I lower myself she darts right back and tries to jump on my lap. She's impossible.
 

Shortsonfire79

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I know the feeling, our dog always runs into my lap as soon as I try to get to her level and even when we sre outside shes always 10 feet ahead and as soon as I lower myself she darts right back and tries to jump on my lap. She's impossible.
Same same. She'll be calm, cool, and ignoring me and the second I stoop down to get on her level, or even use the articulating screen, she'll come on over! arg.

But I can use this to my advantage and get some great zoomies shots with the 100-400.
 

PhotoCal

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I just ordered a few books on bird behavior. Knowing your subject can really improve your photography!
 

OldRex

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I don't know if anyone posted this already, but I just realised that the Lens hood from the 100-400 fits the 40-150 pro quite happily.

Apologies if this is old news.
 
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