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Olympus 150mm F2.0 vs Canon 200 2.8 + Viltrox EF-M2 vs Sigma 120-300 2.8 + Viltrox EF-M2

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by narkotix, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. narkotix

    narkotix Mu-43 Regular

    May 31, 2015
    Hi all,

    I am in a unique position that I will be looking to purchase a new lens in the near (next couple weeks) fast telephoto prime lens.

    If you look at my history I use a variety of Canon, Sigma and Olympus adapted lenses so I am well versed in their behaviour but...I`m after a bit of advice as to what approach you would all take. All lens selections would be second hand as I will be buying from Japan.

    Olympus 150mm F2.0 - we have all seen what it can do but its slow focusing and 4/3's compatible. This was my first choice but at about $1200-1500USD its quite expensive for second hand examples.

    Canon 200 2.8L II + Viltrox EF-M2 - This brings it down to 142mm @ F2. Almost equivalent to the above but obviously adapted. It has a USM motor and I can get the whole combination for under $900USD. There is a risk that the adaptor doesnt work but I`m happy to concede at 200mm 2.8 and buy a kipon or metabones .7 speed booster.

    Sigma 120-300 2.8 + Viltrox EF-M2 - is on the list and brings in the fact that its a 2.8 zoom lens but cost is significantly higher. I would be looking at the older model which can be had for under $900USD plus the cost of the adaptor for a total of about $1050 USD. If i can't find the older non OS version then the price would likely double. This would be a 84-210 F2.0 lens with the speed booster attached which is absolutely insane and provide a flexible range to complement a 50-150 2.8 and 17-50 2.8 lens set with the speed booster.

    I do wildlife photography (some birding) but as my targets are generally land based or in trees i can do without the crazy focusing abilities. I`m after low light monsters and I`m keeping in mind that I may flick over to full frame in the future and buy an A7II and adapt the lenses I have.

    Thoughts? Or am I insane? Before anyone says anything I run the 18-50 2.8 and 50-200 2.8 four thirds combos on an e-m1 so I`m not neccesarily interested in scrapping everything and buying the 12-40,40-150 2.8's.
  2. Reflector

    Reflector Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 31, 2013
    Well I guess I'm one of the few crazy people to actually use this lens combo, so I'll offer you my thoughts and opinions on it.

    Have a funny image of it as a 600mm and a bit of a reason as to the funny stacked TC+focal reducer configuration:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    I own the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8, non OS, non DG variant. The previous owner included the nicer upgraded tripod foot that can be used as a carry handle. You'll want to use that rather than the smaller one that you see them with if you plan on carrying it around.

    I have no idea what your body is but it does determine how well that Viltrox will play along with the body. I have the non focal reducing version (plain tube, firmware otherwise identical) of that adapter and it does not play well with my E-M1II and I am still waiting for improvements to the firmware so I can play with it as a 600mm and even more as an exotic 840mm f/8.

    Instead of using it "plain", I have been placing a 1.4x Sigma TC-1401 teleconverter in front of my Metabones Speedbooster Ultra to "cancel" it out when I need 300mm from it. The TC-2001 I use for 420mm but I need to play around to find a reliable way to use it as a 600mm f/5.6. Part of it is keeping the shutter speeds high enough as well.

    Later I'll be using it with the Metabones Speedbooster XL which is a .64x reducer, making it a curiously interesting 77-192mm f/1.8.

    Do note it does focus breathe, so your actual focal length close up certainly is not 300mm, it will be closer to 1/2 to 2/3rds past 200mm.

    IBIS can only do so much when at longer focal lengths. As a 420-600mm with TCs, I rate the E-M1II's IBIS effectiveness while handheld to be 1-2 stops. It does pay for the difference in weight but you'll probably want to wear the lens on the strap or use a monopod unless you got big arms. Realistically you want to keep shutter speed closer to 2x of the focal length if you're using it as a >300mm lens. 1/600s with IBIS doesn't allow for high keeper rates from motion alone.

    The Non DG version tends to suck in regards to bright lights, use it with the hood and don't let stray light hit the front element. You will want to give it around a 2/3EV stop down or it will have a kind of halo-y/glow-y effect. I hear the DG versions are better and the OS versions are much, much better but you pay for it in weight in the OS versions and price for the DG versions. I paid $750 for mine and it was well worth every dollar even in the condition it was in. The optics were perfect, the rest of the lens... Well, I will say it must have been well loved by its previous owner given how you can tell it was well very used to the point that it was very fairly priced.

    The hood on mine had whatever material on the screw decay to the point that it no longer retains the hood and the previous owner packed some glued paper in as an attempted fix. I fixed it eventually by sanding a 1/4" dowel down to a short protrusion and glued it to the end of the screw. It doesn't work perfectly nor does it allow the hood to fully lock in one position but tightening the screw prevents it from falling off.

    All the 120-300s will be sensitive to crummy UV filters. For now I have been shooting mine bare with the hood on. I'll get a nicer UV filter for keeping the front element clean when I see one at a reasonable price or if my favorite maker of them makes a 105mm version.

    @jim_chung@jim_chung also owns one as well and details his findings here about it:
    Until Olympus builds a serious constant aperture telephoto zoom ......

    I also have a topic on it, but you have my most recent findings in this post, I've left most of my photos in this post as well:
    Showcase - Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8

    If you are shooting actual birds, you will want reach and light. I call my 120-300 my poor man's Olympus 300mm f/4, as it lets me shoot at 420mm. Good luck hitting 800mm with an A7II, you'll need an A7RII to get the pixel density up (You'd need 80mp to compare against the E-M1II to crop back away) and then you're still suffering with having to get a long, long lens. It'll be either a 100-400 with a 2x TC for a slow f/8 or one of the big prime monsters (Canon or whatever flavor). Having a slow f/8 lens on an A7II is unhelpful for autofocusing when you can hit a small sensor with a brighter f/4 lens. This is why APS-C still rules for reach in the case of the 7D2, D500 and A6500. In the end you will be "lens limited" for most purposes rather than format limited as the lens is the light gatherer.

    If you're not shooting birds, focal reduction makes the Sigma a great lens. It certainly is overkill for most things as a 210mm f/2. You'll run out of DoF before anything:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Had to go all the way down to 6.3 for this guy:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    But it is a wonderful lens when used with the right TC. The TC-2001 and TC-1401 seem to be the best bet from what I can tell due to their fairly complex constructions with SLD element(s, 2x in the TC-2001) in them. Lenstip's review of one was with an older Sigma TC and it certainly did no justice for the lens.
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

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

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

    Here are some examples with fairly heavy cropping:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

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

    And a practically almost 100% from the one before:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Finally a "not even challenging the lens," also not a bird:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
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  3. kurtwist

    kurtwist Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 6, 2011
    Southern Calif.
    Yes, you are insane.
    Seek professional help ASAP
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  4. Mike Peters

    Mike Peters Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Jun 19, 2016
    Mike Peters
    I really like a 135 f2 on my m43 cameras, it's a good focal length for me and the fast aperture makes many things possible. I tried the Canon FD for a long time, and it was mostly good. I also had a Canon EF version with a metabones smart adapter, no speedbooster. The AF was unreliable and slow, so basically irrelevant and the focus ring has such a short throw as to make it painfully difficult to fine focus.

    I wound up picking up a Rokinon 135 f2 used with a return guarantee, and once I tried it I was blown away at how much better it was than all of the other lenses. And it's cheap. MF is a snap and the focus ring is much better than the EF or the FD. Contrast and sharpness are superb (favorably compares to the Zeiss and Sigma) and there is zero CA. Did I mention how inexpensive it is?

    I did try a Sigma 135 f1.8 and the AF was decent, but again slow and inaccurate. If you get one in an EF mount you can adapt it to anything later. If you need longer reach there are plenty of lenses out there, old FD 300 2.8's or early EF models too that are not too expensive. The Canon 300 f4 is a stellar lens, and the FD 300 f4L is also killer good, and not so huge.

    None of the lenses you mentioned will focus automatically worth a damn, so why not stick with good MF lenses that have focus rings designed for the job. Plus the Sigma 120-300 is a monster of a lens. I wouldn't want to have to carry it around.

    If you're really interested in birds in flight, then a native m43 lens will probably be the way to go for reliable AF. If only they weren't so expensive.
  5. Reflector

    Reflector Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 31, 2013
    The E-M1II drives my Sigma 120-300 just fine...
  6. Mike Peters

    Mike Peters Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Jun 19, 2016
    Mike Peters
    You got me there! +1 for the Olympus bodies.
  7. Mountain

    Mountain Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 2, 2013
    I had the same thought on the Canon 200. I actually bought the FD version to test run the focal length as its about $100 used. I cant recommend the old lens because of the horrendous CA, but I imagine that is corrected on the EF "L" version. Focal length is good and f/2 isnt that bad to manual focus.
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  8. narkotix

    narkotix Mu-43 Regular

    May 31, 2015
    Thanks everyone for all your replies - especially Reflector!

    For context I have an e-m1 (mark 1) and currently use the Kipon EF-m43 adaptor (no focal reduction). I think budget wise the 200 2.8 is the most sensible purchase as it would allow me to buy a couple of other lenses but if I can find a cheap(ish) 120-300 i may just do that. The little tuna seems to be a rarer find however which may mean i am out of luck.

    @Reflector@Reflector you mentioned on the e-m1 mk2 focus is poor but it seems to be a supported lens on the viltrox lens list. Does it focus at all or are you talking about C-AF abilities which are garbage adapted lenses (bar 4/3's)?

    Certainly if i can find an older rubberised version like yours for under $1500usd then i may just go with that as it will be good enough. The higher priced item is for the updated model with dg os sports with the smooth skin.
  9. Reflector

    Reflector Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 31, 2013
    I believe the Viltrox will play along better with your E-M1 rather than my E-M1II. The E-M1II and Viltrox does not play along with any of my lenses. Its mostly focus unreliability/unresponsiveness. It will drive the lens to focus, past it, back and hit or otherwise struggle. Or it'll sit there and give me a blinking green to indicate it can't figure focus out... Sometimes with some lenses it'll play nice, but it certainly does not play remotely nicely with a Canon 70-300II NanoUSM. I have tried to use it with the Sigma 120-300 but it was with a 2x TC and it did not play well but that was with the UV filter on. For reference, the Sigma 120-300 plays better than the Canon 70-300II NanoUSM.

    By comparison my Metabones adapters pretty much throw focus onto the spot in the first try with some S-AF microadjustment or C-AF more or less acts like a DSLR.

    I can try the Viltrox as a plain tube and give you an idea for general AF, but it certainly won't be with BIF.

    Try your Viltrox with other Canon lenses first (Like a cheap 50 1.8 or a kit lens... Or rent some?) and your E-M1.

    The DG OS and Sports versions are significantly improved. The non OS version is optically a different formula and it weighs 2lbs less than the OS versions. The non OS version is considered optically inferior but at 5lbs I'll take it as a monster that I can handhold.

    Between the versions:
    Plain 120-300: Not flare resistant / contrast lost / 2/3 EV stop down to avoid haloing/glowing
    DG version: Better at flare/contrast/haloing/glowing
    DG OS: Optically better but heavier
    Sports: Same as DG OS optically, but heavier and better QC from Sigma, new exterior
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  10. narkotix

    narkotix Mu-43 Regular

    May 31, 2015
    Was definately thinking the L version and adapting with the AF 0.7 focal reducer to make it 142ish @ F2
  11. narkotix

    narkotix Mu-43 Regular

    May 31, 2015
    I have the Kipon EF-M43 adaptor and it works fine with both my 300f4 and 50-500 bigma II (the newest version). Obviously BIF is hard to do at 300 (600) without some form of stabilisation so I`ll definately try that..

    200 F2 sounds so damn tempting, particularly those feeding times at dawn where all our furry friends come out to graze (specially deer!).
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