Oly 4:3 300mm vs M4:3 300mm

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Hudson, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. Hudson

    Hudson Mu-43 Rookie

    May 20, 2013
    Oly currently has the 4:3 adaptor on sale for $99 and the 4:3 70-300mm lens for $299, so essentially $400 for the combo.

    In contrast, you pay $549 for the m4:3 75-300mm lens.

    Is it worth considering the 4:3 lens and adaptor, or would you just hold out for the m4:3 lens and shell out the extra dough? Certainly size is a factor, but are there reasons to go with the 4:3 lens combo?
  2. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    If you buy the adapter then you have access to many more great 4/3 lenses. Cheaper versions of standard grade lenses which are CDAF compatible, or fantastic pro-grade lenses which are better than almost any of the lenses available to m4/3 but most are not CDAF compatible (only the 14-54mm II is, but it might be worth it just for that one lens).

    The other advantage of getting the 4/3 70-300mm is its great tele-macro capabilities. You can get 1:2 macro (the same magnification as the Zuiko 50mm f/2 macro lens) at 300mm with over 3' working distance... when you need that distance. ;) Good for getting close without getting too close, if you know what I mean.

    Just so you know the difference, a full-blown macro lens will usually do 1:1, though some macro lenses in the Zuiko line (both OM and 4/3) were made to do 1:2 without an extension tube and 1:1 with an extension tube. So the 1:2 tele-macro of the 70-300mm can be considered real macro, even though the lens is not even advertised as macro capable (you need to use Manual Focus to get to 1:2 on that lens, btw).

    On the other hand, a lens like the m.Zuiko 12-50mm is advertised as having semi-macro capabilities, yet it only goes to 1:3, while a non-macro Zuiko 4/3 lens like the Zuiko 14-54mm or 50-200mm can get to 1:4 as a minimum standard! The 1:2 macro of the Zuiko 70-300mm is actually quite impressive. Here's an example:


    Plus, when using the 4/3 adapter you can also use 4/3 accessories such as the fabulous EC-14 1.4x teleconverter or EC-20 2.0x teleconverter. Not only can you use these on any 4/3 lens, but you can also use them on any SLR lens that you adapt to 4/3 for use on m4/3, since the 4/3 mount is the shortest of all the SLR mounts. If you use adapted lenses this can be a great advantage as the quality of most legacy teleconverters that come with the various legacy systems you encounter are generally really bad.

    Another use for the teleconverter on your 70-300mm would be extra macro magnification too, besides extra reach. Here's an example of the 70-300mm with the EC-14...


    Now, let's get to the big advantage of getting the m.Zuiko 75-300mm instead - much improved Autofocus. Now the 70-30mm is actually CDAF compatible and does actually AF pretty much as fast on m4/3 as it does on 4/3 (some even say faster!). The problem is however, that this lens was ALWAYS known for focus hunting, even on its original mount.

    So the 70-300mm does have slow AF, but if you could use it on 4/3 then you'll be able to use it just as well on m4/3. I don't mean you specifically since I know you don't own the lens yet, but rather any of the many photographers who used that lens on 4/3. Nobody liked the AF on the 70-300mm, but that didn't stop us from buying the lens back then and shouldn't really stop you from buying it now, except for the fact that there is a faster option available in the same range, and also in a more compact form. The Zuiko 70-300mm is not a big lens (to me, who's used to much faster glass), but it's not that small either. The lens does have some bulk to it, which I've always liked as it adds to its stability at long focal lengths.

    So if you don't think you will ever use the greater adaptability of having the 4/3 mount adapter, then getting the native lens will offer you faster AF performance as well as a more compact size. To make the right decision for yourself, you need to look at your entire system both now and into the future, not just this one item. For the most part the native lens will suit MOST people's needs better but hopefully all this information will help open up options that may be relevant to you (or not?).
  3. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Real Name:
    Doug Green
    Well, if you need decent autofocus performance, you won't get it with an adapted 4/3 lens - they are not designed to work well with the contrast-detection-based AF in the micro-4/3 system, and they tend to hunt and take much longer to lock into focus than any native Micro 4/3 tele will.
  4. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Real Name:
    I just couldn't get past the AF on the 70-300 when I had it. Or the size. I'm happy now with the m4/3 version and I paid a lot more than 549 for the original. My vote is to get the m4/3 lens.

  5. Hudson

    Hudson Mu-43 Rookie

    May 20, 2013
    Ned, what an excellent and thoughtful reply. Thanks for illustrating this. I may end up with the adaptor alone just to have options!

    So far, AF speed is important as I am likely using the lens for shots of races and kids sports, not so much macro, but I agree with your ethos of thinking ahead.
  6. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Ned, nicely done.
  7. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    The thing about the 70-300mm lens is it's a BIG lens. It also is a slow focusing lens that needs a lot of power to focus. If you don't already own the 70-300 I'd get the 75-300mm.
  8. ghetto

    ghetto Mu-43 Regular

    I got a third party adapter for closer to $20 and got the 4/3 lens used for about $120, you cna usually get it all sorted under $200.

    It is big... but i love it and itstill focuses well (on an e-p1 at that), not fantastic but like a point and shoot would.

    no regrets, i'd do it again. theres a thread here somewhere withpictures from it too.