Review New Oly 100-400: Impressions and images

retiredfromlife

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I'm struggling to find fault with the brick wall shots. I'll look on a bigger screen later.
Thanks for checking.
I think they got resized on posting. On the camera fully zoomed in and on my screen it is much easier to see. I know I can see problems where they should not be, which is why I asked my wife to check if the image was even over the frame. She spotted the difference with no extra prompting.

I will post a few other images I took using a mono pod after my first post and they look a little better, but I had to use a high shutter speed.

But if memory serves me [doubtful these days] I thought I remember someone posting about unsharp images with IS above a certain shutter speed ?
 

RichardC

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But if memory serves me [doubtful these days] I thought I remember someone posting about unsharp images with IS above a certain shutter speed ?
Recommendation is to switch off IS when on a tripod. The IS is designed to combat low frequency vibration (squishy watery hands type vibration) rather than the sort of high frequency vibration you would get if a lorry drove past your tripod.

That said - plenty of people have posted on here to say that it doesn't seem to make any difference with their combination of lens/camera/tripod/monopod. More testing required probably.

I haven't received my copy yet, but I'm expecting a steep testing/learning curve to figure out the best combination of setting and technique. 2x focal length for a minimum shutter speed will be my starting point, then take it from there.
 

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But if memory serves me [doubtful these days] I thought I remember someone posting about unsharp images with IS above a certain shutter speed ?
That was me. Using my E-30 + 50-200 @ 200mm, all photos at over 1/1000th had strange artifacts when using IBIS handheld. At the same time and place, all photos with IBIS off had no artifacts.

Sample of around 20 photos in each group.
 

RichardC

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Thanks for checking.
I think they got resized on posting. On the camera fully zoomed in and on my screen it is much easier to see. I know I can see problems where they should not be, which is why I asked my wife to check if the image was even over the frame. She spotted the difference with no extra prompting.

I will post a few other images I took using a mono pod after my first post and they look a little better, but I had to use a high shutter speed.

But if memory serves me [doubtful these days] I thought I remember someone posting about unsharp images with IS above a certain shutter speed ?
I can see some fall off on the left corners on my big monitor, more so on the 400mm end and slightly more pronounced with the IBIS on.

It seems tight to the corners. I'm wondering how few degrees you need to be out from 90 to make one side worse than the other.

If you try the test again, you could try rotating the camera to see if the softness rotates with it.

Image quality does fall off in the corners on many many lens designs.

Would I have noticed it if you hadn't photographed a wall and pointed out the softness? Definitely not.
 

retiredfromlife

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I can see some fall off on the left corners on my big monitor, more so on the 400mm end and slightly more pronounced with the IBIS on.

It seems tight to the corners. I'm wondering how few degrees you need to be out from 90 to make one side worse than the other.

If you try the test again, you could try rotating the camera to see if the softness rotates with it.

Image quality does fall off in the corners on many many lens designs.

Would I have noticed it if you hadn't photographed a wall and pointed out the softness? Definitely not.
Thanks for checking.
I am going to do the test again. I will more accurately square a line from the house to my tripod head so I know there is no twist in the camera setup.
Used to do a lot of that when I worked in the construction industry, I may have been a little out this time.

Also trying to find a downloadable test chart to use as the textures in my bricks are not even either.

I would expect poor corners as all of my zooms including the pro ones have soft corners, no concern for me there. I am more interested to see if both sides are the same.
 

retiredfromlife

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That was me. Using my E-30 + 50-200 @ 200mm, all photos at over 1/1000th had strange artifacts when using IBIS handheld. At the same time and place, all photos with IBIS off had no artifacts.

Sample of around 20 photos in each group.
Thanks, I will keep that in mind.
I used high shutter speeds in some of my initial tests, but in real life I doubt I will be over 1000 much unless in the full sun miday.

Just hope I can learn to hold this thing. Don't know how people say a heavier lens is easier to hold than a lighter one. I can hold my arm out a lot longer without a weight and my Panasonic 100-300 is far easier to hold steady.

I will have a play with the shutter speeds as well one day, but have to learn to use the lens better first. :(
 

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I'm not a fan of brick wall tests because of the need to align the lens perpendicular to the wall and because walls tend to lack well-defined details. When I saw that my 100-400 was soft on the left side, I took photos with the lens aimed about 45 degrees toward flat ground with enough contrast and fine detail to see sharp edges. That way, I can see the in-focus region - whether it's symmetrical and roughly centered on the focus target or if nothing at all is in focus on one side, etc. Olympus wanted test images with high-contrast details, so newspaper laid out flat on the floor or wall works well in the absence of a good test target.
 

Ross the fiddler

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I'm not a fan of brick wall tests because of the need to align the lens perpendicular to the wall and because walls tend to lack well-defined details. When I saw that my 100-400 was soft on the left side, I took photos with the lens aimed about 45 degrees toward flat ground with enough contrast and fine detail to see sharp edges. That way, I can see the in-focus region - whether it's symmetrical and roughly centered on the focus target or if nothing at all is in focus on one side, etc. Olympus wanted test images with high-contrast details, so newspaper laid out flat on the floor or wall works well in the absence of a good test target.
Whether the wall is perpendicular or the camera is precisely level with the floor (or more correctly the newspaper), the result will be the same if it is not.
Another thing, how often would this lens be used for those sort of images anyhow? I bought it for wildlife or birds mostly & they are not flat brick walls or floors.
 

Ross the fiddler

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Well I purchased one of these today, first impressions OH No did I do the right thing.
This thing is heavy and hard to hold. The IS with my EM1.3 is no where near as good as the Panasonic 100-300 and G85 body combo.

Tried a few shots on ISO 400 & 800 and not one in focus :hmmm: I don't even have to try with the Panasonic combo.
This was the first time I have tried something and come away completely empty handed with any images, bit sobering for my technique. :speechless:

Set it up for a brick wall shot all nicely leveled up on a tripod. Tried with IS on and off. Gave it to the wife for the first look in case I was biased.
Corners soft at 100 & 400 as to be expected I guess, but the left side is softer than the right. She noticed that straight away and it certainly looks like it is. Not much but definately softer. Checked at maximum playback zoom. Need a better test subject as brick walls don't have even textures across the board.

Since I could not get anything thing even remotely like a keeper I will have to try later with a few tripod shots in my garden next weekend.

Since this will only be for occasional use this will be hard to learn to use. I thought I would have at least got something sharp oh well.
Sure it must be me never having ever used a lens this heavy before.

One thing I did like is that is was very easy to manually focus, the focus ring was very smooth and the peaking worked very well. To zoom I used the hold the foot and twist the lens like Thomas Stirr recommended. It seemed to work well and I did not feel any play.

Edit,
Will try and post some brick wall images later tonight to see if others think the lens is the same across both sides.
these brick wall shots uploaded seemed to be resized so not sure if they are helpfull or not

Below Brick wall shots with stabilization turned off, mounted on a tripod

100mm below
View attachment 873711

Below at 400mm
View attachment 873717

Below Brick wall shots with stabilization turned on, mounted on a tripod

Below at 100mm
View attachment 873718

Below at 400mm
View attachment 873719
When you are turning off IS are you turning off both IBIS (camera) & OIS (lens)? When both are on the camera only corrects for roll (along with the lens OIS) but if the lens OIS is only turned off then the camera uses 5 axis IBIS, but I'm sure you're already aware of that.
 

RichardC

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Whether the wall is perpendicular or the camera is precisely level with the floor (or more correctly the newspaper), the result will be the same if it is not.
Another thing, how often would this lens be used for those sort of images anyhow? I bought it for wildlife or birds mostly & they are not flat brick walls or floors.
Agreed - but - when mine arrives in a few weeks I want it to be a good copy. It's a lot of money and it's going to get amateur levels of use. I look after my gear and expect I'll have it for many years. I want mine to be as sharp as the design allows........in the middle......because that's the kind of predictable photographer I am :)

I will not be taking pictures of walls because I care so little about the corners I darken them on every picture I take - but I completely understand where @retiredfromlife is coming from - when there have been examples of 'issues', you want your purchase to be right.
 

Ross the fiddler

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Agreed - but - when mine arrives in a few weeks I want it to be a good copy. It's a lot of money and it's going to get amateur levels of use. I look after my gear and expect I'll have it for many years. I want mine to be as sharp as the design allows........in the middle......because that's the kind of predictable photographer I am :)

I will not be taking pictures of walls because I care so little about the corners I darken them on every picture I take - but I completely understand where @retiredfromlife is coming from - when there have been examples of 'issues', you want your purchase to be right.
These lenses are made in Japan & not Vietnam, so I'm suspecting they are being assembled by Sigma since the lens optical design is the same as their DSLR lens (& most likely their OIS unit) & I agree that the cost isn't 'cheap' but I just started using mine for what I hoped to use it for with these being my first trial shots with the first being downsized to 2000 pixels across & the second a 1000 x 750 pixel crop (both second frames of sequential shots).

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

retiredfromlife

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When you are turning off IS are you turning off both IBIS (camera) & OIS (lens)? When both are on the camera only corrects for roll (along with the lens OIS) but if the lens OIS is only turned off then the camera uses 5 axis IBIS, but I'm sure you're already aware of that.
I remember reading that but admit I forgot when I did my initial tests. That's another reason why I need to repeat them. :doh:
 

retiredfromlife

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I will not be taking pictures of walls because I care so little about the corners I darken them on every picture I take - but I completely understand where @retiredfromlife is coming from - when there have been examples of 'issues', you want your purchase to be right.
I agree the corners are of no concern to me, but I have read a few reports of consistency across the frame, so no harm in checking. Wish I had a test chart or something since brick walls don't have even textures so they could be misleading. I just hope the lens is sharp across enough across the field to use the rule of thirds without problems. From what I have seen of other peoples posts the lens looks really good.

Have been taking a few shots with a monopod and getting mixed results which I am sure is just me. I initially thought since I have a reasonably steady hard for macro this would translate to using this zoom, not so as it is far harder to hold than the Pany 100-300.

Must admit I am over cautious, especially since I think they cheapened out on the rear lens mount that results in a bit of rotation for some.

but with nowhere to travel with the lens I have plenty of time to learn to use it.
 

John King

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Old dress patterns make quite good test targets ...

e.g.
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I have various 'proper' test patterns downloaded on my computer, somewhere. USAF test patterns.
 

Ross the fiddler

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I agree the corners are of no concern to me, but I have read a few reports of consistency across the frame, so no harm in checking. Wish I had a test chart or something since brick walls don't have even textures so they could be misleading. I just hope the lens is sharp across enough across the field to use the rule of thirds without problems. From what I have seen of other peoples posts the lens looks really good.

Have been taking a few shots with a monopod and getting mixed results which I am sure is just me. I initially thought since I have a reasonably steady hard for macro this would translate to using this zoom, not so as it is far harder to hold than the Pany 100-300.

Must admit I am over cautious, especially since I think they cheapened out on the rear lens mount that results in a bit of rotation for some.

but with nowhere to travel with the lens I have plenty of time to learn to use it.
I think it looks sharp enough to me. For hand holding I hold my elbows into my ribs (I needed to do that as I was recovering from bypass surgery anyhow to minimise strain across the chest) & that keeps the hands steadier, as well as supported, then the feet placement helps too, but for moon shots I have lent against a wall. I also have both IBIS (after E-M1 II FW update) & OIS on.
 

retiredfromlife

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I think it looks sharp enough to me. For hand holding I hold my elbows into my ribs (I needed to do that as I was recovering from bypass surgery anyhow to minimise strain across the chest) & that keeps the hands steadier, as well as supported, then the feet placement helps too, but for moon shots I have lent against a wall. I also have both IBIS (after E-M1 II FW update) & OIS on.
I must admit I am still holding mine like my lighter setups, going to try the elbows like you indicate. I saw a video once where the person sort of crossed the arms/elbows in front of themselves and rested the lens on one side and shot sideways. Bit hard to explain but will try that as well.
I can see my normal slap dash way of taking photo's will need improving now, but that is good one must always improve
 

retiredfromlife

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Thanks for those links
Those PNG files with all the lines will be good to compare my lenses.
From what I can see the Oly 100-400 is a bit sharper than my Panasonic 100-300, but it will be good to actually put that to the test and those two charts look like they may be able to help. Only judging this by a shot I took of the back of a bird and the feather detail looks better on the OLy I think. But the Panasonic was hand held and the Oly was on a monopod.
 

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