Oly ZD 50-200 SWD or something else (for my E-M1)

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by m43renegade, Feb 24, 2016.

  1. m43renegade

    m43renegade Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 23, 2015
    ok so here i go again, still confused and not been able to have a definitive reason to buy the Oly ZD 50-200 SWD.

    i want to try wildlife/birding/ sports photography. i havent shot any of these since i dont own a tele lens. i am almost convinced to buy the Oly ZD 50-200 SWD as it is really optically superb and the fastest among my choices.

    the few reasons though that prevents me from placing the order, and it's kinda big for me. i don't like the size of its hood. really awkward looking and massive, if only the non-swd version hood will fit to this. second, i know it will fell short in AF speed compared to the native mft tele lenses. i tend to say that is a bearable con but i guess soon i will find it slow as my photography advances. these are the only reason i still cannot decide.

    i'm low on budget as this will be my first tele lens (this will be my training ground) i will keep my budget up to 500USD only. so the MZD 40-150 2.8 is not an option here. i have the Pana Lumix 100-300 4.0-5.6 and the Oly 75-300 II as the runner ups. it will solve the issue on bulkiness and AF speed but a few drawbacks, slower than the ZD 50-200 SWD,no tripod collar option and optically inferior to the ZD 50-200 SWD. i favor the Pana Lumix 100-300 4.0-5.6 over the Oly 75-300 II as i thought it is more ergonomically well balanced to handle and slightly faster, but as per reviews/lab tests. the Oly 75-300 II is sharper. again im confused.

    i would like to ask your opinions and recommendations. especially to those who owns the combo. please help me out. i will make sure i will not regret this decision.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2016
  2. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    On that basis I would definitely suggest & recommend the Oly 75-300 & because it uses the same hood as the DSLR ZD70-300 that appears a little too large on the lens, I modified the 40-150 lens hood to fit instead (including reversing it) seeing that both lenses use 58mm filters. Here are the Olympus original & modified JJC model.
    S1162252-cr-s. S1162250-cr-s.

    And this is how it looks on the lens.

    Here are some sample photos with the Oly M.ZD75-300 lens.


    Another cropped image
    And a closer crop of that same photo

    All photos have EXIF intact so each will show the settings, plus clicking on the photo it will take you to my Four Thirds User Gallery.

    Cheers & hope that helps.

    EDIT. I couldn't help it, but here's a few more.

    And a close crop to show the captured detail.

    Close crop of above

    That should be enough to show you how good the lens can be.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2016
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  3. m43renegade

    m43renegade Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 23, 2015
    once again Ross, thank you for all the guidance. hows the AF speed and AF tracking for the 75-300II? mounted on the EM1
  4. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    It's reasonably good but others will tell you the Pro lenses are faster.
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  5. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    When I first decided to give µ4/3 a try I did not want to invest a lot of money like I did when I was testing out Fuji. So I got a used EM5 and used my Canon FD 400mm ƒ4.5 as my wildlife lens, which performed very well. Then I decided I really wanted an autofocus lens so I got the Oly 75-300, which also performed reasonably well. I say reasonably because the lens was soft from about 280mm+ (so I rarely used it past 250mm but would go to 280mm when needed) and the slow aperture of the lens pushed ISO higher then I liked in early morning or late evening (which is one of the best times for wildlife photography). When I decided that I was going all in with µ4/3 I got the EM1 and the ZD 50-200 SWD.

    First.....you cannot have fast focus and fast apertures and small size, just not going to happen. While the 50-200 is bigger then the Oly/Panny xx-300, it has a much faster aperture then either (even when using the EC-14 that gets you to 280mm which is close to both in reach). Yes, the 50-200 SWD has a rather larger hood, but it's effective and when shooting I really don't notice it on the lens. I have it on all the time because I don't use protective filters and use it more as protection for the lens.

    Second......if autofocus speed and tracking are your concern then discount the Panny....from what I hear (never owned it) it has slower motors and is a dog in C-AF. Having used both the Oly 75-300 and 50-200 I don't see any perceivable difference in autofocus speed or tracking ability between the two.

    Third....where do you get "I know it will fall short in AF speed compared to the native mft tele lenses"? I will give that it is maybe not as fast as the 40-150 Pro, but honestly it is not that big of a difference (we are talking fractions of a second). For 99.9% of the stuff you will shoot it will not make a difference. The only real difference between the 40-150 Pro and 50-200 SWD are the smaller number of focus points (the 4/3 lenses only use the PDAF points) and in C-AF you are limited to about 6.5fps (in S-AF 10fps is not a problem) (I believe the Panny is also limited to 6.5fps or there about in C-AF also, again this is what I have read here and no personal experience with that lens). I am not a big BiF shooter (just not my thing) but I have never felt that the 50-200 was lacking in shooting BiFs/sports/action/wildlife.....if anything it is my ability to actually follow the subject that is the biggest limitation.

    Honestly......if I was getting the EM1 it would be a no brainer as to which lens to get for a budget telephoto. With the 50-200 you will get much better IQ and faster apertures which will keep ISO down and provide even better IQ. You basically get two lenses when paired with the EC-14, so you can leave it off if the extra reach is not needed and out to 200mm get even better IQ. You also have a weather sealed kit (if that is something you need, me.....I only buy weather sealed geared) with the MMF-3 and 50-200. You can even add the EC-20 later for a budget 400mm lens that while a bit slow provides perfectly acceptable photos. From my experimentation with it a few weeks ago, the images with the EC-20 are better then my 75-300 at 300mm by a long shot. The only thing the xx-300 lenses will give you over the 50-200 is a smaller setup that compromises IQ and aperture speed. Oh, I also find the 75-300 much harder to handhold then the 50-200 because it is to light......a little weight actually helps with getting steady shots.

    It's your money and you have to do what you feel is right for you. Research is good, I do a lot of it before buying any gear. Anymore questions don't hesitate to ask and I hope you find the perfect combo to fit your needs.

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  6. m43renegade

    m43renegade Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 23, 2015
    very decisive input indeed Ron, as always. really appreciate your uplifts on the ZD50-200SWD. one of the reasons i pick first that lens. real photographer like you giving intensive inputs (pros and cons) on a particular lens.

    if the mft lenses i considered would still fell short in AF Speed and tracking then maybe safe to say that i have to bear with the massive hood of the 50-200SWD. I guess i would say that "i will get what i paid for" and accept what the lens can offer an not expect too much from it.

    i hope i can find solution for that massive hood im concerned. some people said to use the ZD14-54II's hood as it will fit but ive reseached a lot and havent found any proof.

    so far i havent really found any lens close to the optical performance of the ZD50-200SWD at 500USD pricepoint, looks like i will have to deal with that hood ;)
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  7. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    I agree that the hood is massive. I have a 50-200 SWD and the size and weight is worth it for its speed and IQ. C-AF worked well when I used it for kids sports, although the AF hunts when there is a low contrast background like the sky or ocean. I bought a 67mm threaded Hoocap to substitute for the lens hood. It's a lens hood that has folding leaves to cover the lens. Serves dual purpose, albeit that it's not an ideal hood for the 50-200. It doesn't shade as well as the Olympus hood, but is a LOT more compact. It's a trade-off. I would take the big hood if I was shooting wildlife.

    Hoocap DSLR 67mm lens cap + hood shade 2in1 for filter thread lens TR67
    by Hoocap
    Link: Amazon.com : Hoocap DSLR 67mm lens cap + hood shade 2in1 for filter thread lens TR67 : Camera & Photo
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  8. popiT

    popiT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 20, 2014
    BayArea, CA
    Hi, I use EM1 with P100-300 for birds/BIF. I have no problem with S-AF for non-moving birds but C-AF is where it (the lens) really struggles. I wouldn't say it's "impossible" for medium & large birds but the hits are very low. As Ronnie, @Phocal@Phocal mentioned above with C-AF in low fps, sometimes I get only 2-4fps when +- EV is dialed. And he's right, I would discount the P100-300.

    Here a few using C-AF

    View attachment 458571

    View attachment 458572

    View attachment 458573

    View attachment 458574

    View attachment 458575

    View attachment 458576
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  9. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    The 14-54 II lens does not fit the 50-200 SWD lens (maybe it fits the non SWD version).
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2016
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  10. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    what's the concern with the size of the 50-200 hood? Serious question, not trolling. I have the lens and the hood weighs little being just a big piece of plastic. In the field, its appearance doesn't matter. Its still a small lens compared to a FF 70-200, or anything that can reach 400mm. For the price, you can't beat it. The hood stores back on top of the lens so carrying it in a bag isn't an issue. Just wondering.

    Highly recommend the lens. Really not much comparison in terms of IQ and speed compared to the others that you listed. Now if size and weight are your primary concern, that may be a different matter.
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  11. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I always wonder the exact same thing when people complain about the hood compared to the non-SWD. When I put in my camera bag which is actually set up for the Little Tuna it has lots of spare room on both sides compared to the Little Tuna which barely fits the space I have.

    On a side note, the action at the rookery is already started so I am going to try and get there Wednesday. Last year all I had was the 50-200 and EC-14 and this year I was looking forward to using the 150/2 with the EC-20. The 150/2 will be my primary lens on Wednesday but given the success I had with the 50-200 and EC-20 I am going to bring it along to test it out after the sun gets up and it's bright enough to keep my ISO down. Once I make the 1/2 mile walk to my favorite viewing platform I don't have to go anywhere else, taking both lenses will not be an issue. Will probably set both up on different tripods and just switch the camera between them..........I really need a 2nd EM1 but just can't convince myself to buy a 2nd one with the mk2 soon to be released.
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  12. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    The 50-200mm F/2.8-3/5 SWD is probably the best bargain lens on the market. The eight year newer 40 – 150mm f/2.8 just barely performs better and when using the 4/3s adapter and the MC-14 on the respective lenses, the size/weight difference is minimal. I’m delighted that I kept this lens my 4/3s days.

    The lens hood is big enough that it earned it the nickname “Champagne Bucket” by some. The one thing I really enjoy about it, is the filter door to adjust a polarizer without removing the hood. Makes life simpler when using adjustable filters.

    Transporting the lens with hood presents few challenges as it already requires a bag larger than typically used for m4/3s, and even if the hood is removed there is still the tripod foot to deal with – so removing the hood gains little.

    There have been some certain circumstances where I’ve removed the hood and tripod foot as I did not need either one and could use the small amount of extra space in my bag. My only other issue of the lens hood is when I store it. I have to remove the hood and store it standing up in the drawer in which I store some equipment. In the drawer I place many smaller items and the hood keeps them all together so I don’t have to hunt for them.
  13. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    There's nothing wrong with the lens hood. It just takes up a little more room in the bag (& looks a little more serious when using it). ;)
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2016
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  14. m43renegade

    m43renegade Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 23, 2015
    im not concern about the weight, in fact im not concern about the lens. i even praised it for its superb IQ and nothing in it's price range came close to it. it's that massive hood. i cannot understand why they designed it like that knowing that the non-SWD version's hood is much smaller while having same optical construction. if they intend that users can replace filters while the hood is on, its not a big of a deal, replacing filter takes less than a minute and i wouldnt mind removing that hood to replace filters, carrying that massive hood takes a lifetime. they've completely disregarded the aesthetics and the ergonomics while designing this lens. looks awfully unbalanced.

    but anyhow, i already got it ordered:dance2:
  15. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    The access hatch is not necessarily for changing filters, but more for rotating a polarising filter when viewing through the lens (screen or EVF). Try that with a fixed hood & it's a pain reaching in with the finger to rotate it while checking the result. :rolleyes:
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  16. m43renegade

    m43renegade Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 23, 2015
    oh yeah, the small opening, i understand that. it's a must i guess. but it doesn't mean to the size of the hood i'm concerned.

    but that's it, ive ordered it. it is slightly over my budget but i thought its worth getting a mint condition as possible. i hope i could get along with it in no time. one thing's for sure, im gonna need an new backpack. theres noway it will fit in my 10L Lowepro flipside sport AW. i fell in love with this bag already. maybe im getting same model but the slightly larger 15L capacity. i hate bulky backpacks
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