Olympus 75-300 on Safari?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by hrsy1234, Dec 30, 2013.

  1. hrsy1234

    hrsy1234 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 29, 2013
    East London

    I am spending 10 weeks in Africa next year and am looking for a zoom to couple with my E-M5.

    Has anyone used this lens on safari or similar, and what were your experiences of it? Is it the best option available for an Olympus body? The equivalent 600mm focal length is very useful, but how achievable is that? I won't be using a tripod so it will be handheld, possibly resting on trucks or whatever.

  2. peteygas

    peteygas Mu-43 Rookie

    Nov 21, 2011
    sedona arizona
    Your only good option is the Panny 100-300. The general concensus( this has been discussed many times) that it out performs the Oly . I took one to Africa last year , and it performed admire ably. It gets softer above 275
  3. peteygas

    peteygas Mu-43 Rookie

    Nov 21, 2011
    sedona arizona
    I just read a DXO review that claims that the updated Oly with Zero lens coating now outperforms the. Panny
  4. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Both are probably great options, with the upsides to the Panasonic being larger maximum aperture and Optical IS. My impression from reviews was that there isn't much between the two in terms of quality; both work best stopped down a little, like any lens.
  5. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Real Name:
    I did a safari back in 2000 with a Pentax MV film camera and a Sigma 100-300. It worked well but here were definitely times I wanted more reach. I would also suggest a bean bag and maybe a nice monopod for stabilization. The most important thing will be for you to practice using the longer FLs. I'm envious. There are few things better than a being on a Safari with a long lens.
  6. beurms

    beurms New to Mu-43

    Jul 22, 2012
    I went last november for a 2 week safari to Uganda. Is was extremely pleased with my E-M5 Olympus 75-300mm combo. IBIS did once again miracles at 300mm handheld. I will send you some more info and experiences with a link to some of my photo's in a couple of days when I am back at home.
    Happy new year.
  7. ScottGamage

    ScottGamage New to Mu-43

    Dec 30, 2013
    I hope you don't mind me asking, but would you also be able to point me in the direction of your photos taken with the 75-300? Im also looking at getting my hands on one, but still in 2 minds over the panni 100-300.
  8. beurms

    beurms New to Mu-43

    Jul 22, 2012
    no problem whatsoever. I will prepare a selection and send you the link or share it on the forum.
  9. Fred2726

    Fred2726 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 13, 2013
    Audubon, New Jersey
    Real Name:
    I too am looking at both these lenses. Not for a safari, but for my sons upcoming youth baseball season. Last year I used my Pentax k20d with the 50-135mm F2.8 (75-202 equ) and in a lot of instances it just was not enough reach. Being able to shoot at f2.8 was really valuable, but I think I'd trade it for the extra reach.

    Looking forward to seeing the safari samples.
  10. Savas K

    Savas K Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2013
    Both long zoom lenses being discussed furnish good results. Take your long shots on sunny days; select closer subjects with a shorter, faster lens as the sun diminishes.
  11. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 24, 2011
    Viera, Florida USA
    Real Name:
    Just got back from a cruise to the Bahamas. Didn't use the 75-300 much, but got one of my favorite shots with it. This ship was a speck on the horizon. The reach of the lens brought it in nicely and kept the sunrise colors fairly true. This is straight out of an E-P5. I only cropped out a deck light from our ship at left.

    • Like Like x 3
  12. davidedric

    davidedric Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 24, 2013
    Cheshire, UK
    Real Name:
    I can't speak for the specific camer/lens combination, but I've been on many safaris, so I can offer a few general observations.

    For the past couple of years I've been shooting with a 75 - 300mm f4-5.6 on an APS-C body, so up to 480mm 35mm equivalent at the long end. I've found the reach good enough for most purposes. Of course there will always be times when you want more, but with going up to 600mm in your case I think you will do OK. There may occasionally be problems at the short end if an elephant gets up close and personal, but I expect you can live with that :smile:

    A couple of comments about shooting on safari. If this is a normal safari, you'll likely be on a shared vehicle and the action may happen anywhere around you. Although there may be bean bags or similar (monkeys tend to eat the beans) it will often be difficult to use them, so expect to be handholding much of the time. For the same reason, I think a tripod is impractical, and personally I don't even take a monopod - though some do.

    Don't forget to ask the driver to turn the engine off! Even the best IS struggles to compete with a diesel engine.

    A final piece of advice: using your feet to zoom is rarely a good idea :smile:

    If I can offer any the general help, please do ask,

    • Like Like x 1
  13. beurms

    beurms New to Mu-43

    Jul 22, 2012
    Back again and giving here as promised some extra info.
    I went to Uganda with 2 E-M5 bodies, a few (mostly zoom) lenses and a flash (all fitting nicely in a very small Lowepro Flipside 300 dedicated backpack). My wife used a small Olympus XZ-1.
    The backpack was very handy passing the airport checks. For two weeks we (7 friends) did drive through the country in a Toyota Landcruiser (with driver), to see the solar eclipse, local villages and most of the wild parks.
    During the safari drives (in the jeep, on a boat on 2 occasions, on foot in several cases) I used the Olympus 75-300mm II F4.8-6.7 on one body and the Panasonic 12-35mm F2.8 on the other, so that I could switch between wide angle for landscapes and occasional close animals and my tele-zoom for the animals. Switching lenses in a jeep in a hurry and in a lot of dust is unpractical (one of my friends used a Nikon D800 with 24-70 F2.8 + 70-300 F4.5-5.6 and had to choose before the trip what lenses to use - luckily her husband had a D90 with an 18-200 F3.5-5.6 so he could do the wide angles).
    Monopod or bean bag are not really usable in the jeep (and yes, ask the driver to cut the diesel engine when shooting). Handheld 300mm shots were handled without any issue by the E-M5 IBIS.
    For street shooting and the gorilla tracking in the tropical rain forest I used the Panasonic 12-35 and 35-100 (both hanging on the Peak Design capture camera clips fixed on the shoulder straps of my back pack, so that I had my 2 hands free). The water resistant body and lenses behaved flawlessly under heavy rain.
    After the trip I composed a selection of 100 photo's - best of Oeganda. When looking at the lenses used for these 100 shots : nearly half were shot with the 12-35, one third with the 75-300, about one fifth with the 35-100, two with the Panasonic 7-14 and one with the XZ-1. 25mm, 45mm, 60mm macro lenses and the flash were not used at all (also not in the 3800 total of shots taken, so I could have left them at home and used an even smaller bag).
    Here you can find a link to my 75-300 shots in full resolution (with EXIF data included) : https://skydrive.live.com/redir?res...5&authkey=!AN92oDi_4yvevtI&ithint=folder,.jpg
    As you can see, the lense was not only very practical for the typical 300mm safari shots (600mm equivalent, all hand-held), but also for several close-range shots (many also at 300mm).
    A last recommendation : charge your batteries whenever possible!
    PS. I had more than sufficient space on one 64GB + one 32GB SD card - which I backed up both on a daily basis
    PPS. I have no link whatsoever with the different brands cited above
    • Like Like x 6
  14. onur

    onur New to Mu-43

    Oct 31, 2012
    thanks for sharing your experience with oly 75-300 mm.

    I am seriously thinking off trading my pana 45-175 with this one and also planning to get soon to be announced new OMD...

  15. jssaraiva

    jssaraiva Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 26, 2013
    Porto, Portugal
    Real Name:
    José Saraiva

    I've used the ZD 70-300 on an E-PL3 and found hard and/or slow to get focus, with vegetation, on anything smaller than an Elefant :rolleyes:
    In fact I've instead used my back-up, a Sigma 28-300 as for me it was easier to focus manually and had a much greater range.

    • Like Like x 1
  16. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    Depending on what camera you have, the IS in the 100-300mm may be more effective than IBIS. With the EM5/EM1, I think the 5-axis IBIS is as good or better than the OIS of the 100-300, but with cameras with standard 2-axis IS the OIS is probably better.

    Personally I went with the 100-300 for the extra speed on the long end, but I don't have any safari experience to share.
  17. peteygas

    peteygas Mu-43 Rookie

    Nov 21, 2011
    sedona arizona
    I was in Namibia, Botswana, Zambia,and Zimbawe for 35 days .I left my Nikon D 800e , and 35 pounds of gear home .I had 2 Panny GH2s On a BR double shoulder harness with aPanny 14-140 , and 100-300 , 3 extra batteries and memory cards in my pocket.I never changed lenses on the trails. What a pleasure.Bean bags were not useable due to the vehicles we used. I always shot at the highest shutter speeds possible . A sharp slightly noisey image is always. better than a fuzzy noiseless image
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Ares

    Ares Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 13, 2013
    lovely pics beurms, thx for sharing.
  19. hrsy1234

    hrsy1234 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 29, 2013
    East London
    Thanks everyone for the great worthwhile responses. I'd forgotten that I posted this, it's great to come back and have all this information to read!

    Thanks beurms - I will have a look at your photos once I am home from work later! I hadn't really considered all the potential dust issues, getting dust on the sensor whilst traveling would be terribly bad.

    Thanks everyone else for your feedback also - there weren't too many hits on this forum for the word "safari" so hopefully this will provide useful info to anyone else who searches it in future!
  20. STR

    STR Mu-43 Veteran

    May 16, 2013
    DXO has a pretty wide margin of error, anything within 10% of each other (6.0 vs 6.6 for example, or the 10 vs 8 difference that the real 75-300 versions have) should be treated as identical. They also put too much weight into wide-open performance and pretty much zero weight into stopped down performance, which is unhelpful when there's a difference. In this case, the 100-300 is almost a stop wider, so if you were to stop it down to the 75-300's f/6.7 you'd end up with a sharper shot. Slightly. To be honest, all 3 are equally sharp (read: dull) and all 3 are a step down from something like a 35-100. We really need a premium option at this length.