Shootout Olympus 75-300 vs 50-200 SWD w/ EC-14 vs 300/4 Shoot Out

Phocal

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Good point Barry. For large prints at normal viewing distances, the difference is likely not noticeable. It raises the age old question of "How good is good enough?".
Honestly, I think the difference in a 40x30 print would be noticeable. Viewing distance has really changed in this day and age and most people still think you should be able to walk right up to a print of any size and see great detail just like zooming in on the computer (I am talking non-photographers here since most photographers should understand that). Hang a 40x30 in your house and watch how many people walk right up to it to view it. This is why I limit the size of prints I sell to 40x30, the good lenses can pull it off for up close viewing.
 

Phocal

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Μany thanks for your effort and the tough test you going through Ronnie, I’m looking forward to see another one with 150/2 in the feature even inside from your kayak (I have 150/2,50-200SWD with both TC and Pany 100-300II).
My general observation about the color is that many 4/3 lenses (even the SHG series as 14-35/2, 35-100/2, 150/2) are less contrasty than the newer m43 (even some kit lenses) but they have much more microcontrast. There exceptions of course in m43 pro line as 300/4 which has both of them (contrast and microcontrast / detail).
I think also that the differences on your test would be a lot bigger if the distance to the target was more than 42 feeet.
You are welcome. I hope to get one done with at least the 150/2 w/ EC-20 and the 300/4 soon. I have actually avoided carrying the EC-20 when out so I wouldn't get side tracked with trying to do a comparison. But I have now had the 300/4 for enough time to really get to know the lens and I am ready to do that comparison. Look for a post comparing the 300/4 w/ MC-14 and the 50-200 SWD w/ EC-20. I will say that I was rather surprised by the result.

I think also that the differences on your test would be a lot bigger if the distance to the target was more than 42 feeet.
I so agree. I mentioned this in my reply to Barry above when talking about distance. I did this test the way I photograph, which is honestly a lot closer than most people. Most people tend to shoot from distances at least 2x farther than I do and crop. Shooting from a farther distance would have seriously disadvantaged the 75-300 and really made it not even close to the other two lenses. I think the difference between the SWD and 300/4 would have been a lot more also. In my comparison of the bare 150/2 and 300/4 I bring up that the resolution of the 300/4 is past the line of being noticeable. What all the extra resolution does do is allow for much greater cropping and still hold good detail. Based on LensTip testing the 300/4 is a good bit more than the 150/2 and while on the computer that difference is really not noticeable, it is when you start cropping or printing large (by large I mean 30x20 and up). I didn't shoot from a farther distance but as I mentioned in the begging and in my thread when I mentioned I was going to do this test is I do comparisons and testing live, in the field, and how I would use the lens. I thought about shooting from farther away but I wanted to remain true to myself and how I do testing, so I did just that. I actually would have tried getting closer for more shots but my subject departed before I could and after that the light was way to harsh.
 

adammaniam

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I have multiple problems with this reply.

First, almost all zooms tend to get softer as you get closer to the ends. I could have backed off on the 75-300 and the 50-200 and the results between them would have most likely remained the same. Although I suspect the differences between focal lengths is less drastic with the SWD than the 75-300, really wish LensTip would test one of the xx-300 m4/3 lenses. Even with a bit more resolution the 75-300 still wouldn't have gotten much better compared to the other 2 lenses, it just doesn't have the resolving power of the better lenses.

Second, I don't crop...…...or I should say I crop very little and it's mostly just to tighten up composition. But even if I did shoot the 75-300 at 250mm and cropped I would have a photo with less resolution that I couldn't print as large as one that was at full resolution. The solution for the 75-300 isn't to shoot at 250mm and crop, it's shoot at 250mm and get closer so you don't have to crop.
Thanks. It was not meant as a criticism of your very well done test, which I appreciate, as stated in an earlier reply from me on this thread.

I also agree with you that getting closer with the 75-300 so one can shoot below 250mm is preferable and will yield better results than just shooting from further away and cropping. Though sometimes, even from the same distance away, I prefer my shot below 250mm (cropped) compared to the shot at 300mm. Of course, as you say, this affects the size you can print.

I also agree that the 75-300 does not have the resolving power of the better lenses. I have the 40-150 F2.8 and even with the teleconverter, to me, it resolves a lot more than the 75-300.

Ultimately, I was not trying to say that the 75-300 is somehow the equal of the other 2 lenses. For one, the aperture and light weight certainly makes it more difficult to use conpared to the other 2, putting aside their greater resolving power. My point was simply that the 75-300, to me, performs well above its price point. For a consumer zoom that is accessible (price wise) to most people, it can get very decent results.

If my earlier post caused any misunderstanding, apologies to anyone who misunderstood. But as explained above, in my own experience, a cropped shot below 250mm sometimes yields a better result than a shot at 300mm, from the same distance (albeit with a photo that cannot be printed as large). Hence my earlier post. YMMV.
 
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Phocal

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Thanks. It was not meant as a criticism of your very well done test, which I appreciate, as stated in an earlier reply from me on this thread.

I also agree with you that getting closer with the 75-300 so one can shoot below 250mm is preferable and will yield better results than just shooting from further away and cropping. Though sometimes, even from the same distance away, I prefer my shot below 250mm (cropped) compared to the shot at 300mm. Of course, as you say, this affects the size you can print.

I also agree that the 75-300 does not have the resolving power of the better lenses. I have the 40-150 F2.8 and even with the teleconverter, to me, it resolves a lot more than the 75-300.

Ultimately, I was not trying to say that the 75-300 is somehow the equal of the other 2 lenses. For one, the aperture and light weight certainly makes it more difficult to use conpared to the other 2, putting aside their greater resolving power. My point was simply that the 75-300, to me, performs well above its price point. For a consumer zoom that is accessible (price wise) to most people, it can get very decent results.

If my earlier post caused any misunderstanding, apologies to anyone who misunderstood. But as explained above, in my own experience, a cropped shot below 250mm sometimes yields a better result than a shot at 300mm, from the same distance (albeit with a photo that cannot be printed as large). Hence my earlier post. YMMV.
No problems at all. I just have this thing about cropping, especially with m4/3 that has such little room for doing so. There are way to many wildlife photographs on this forum that are shot from way to far away and then cropped to give a decent subject size but lack any detail because they were taken with a lens that doesn't have the greatest resolution to begin with. Then when that person post the photo and ask for a critique and I mention the total lack of detail they get all defensive and call me an asshole because I didn't rave about the photograph. So when someone says you can just do this and then crop I get a bit worked up because that is not the solution. Another member on this forum @macro said it better than I can I quote him all the time.

"Contrary to what a lot of people think we do with long tele lenses, we use them at close range. The closer to the subject the better and that applies to any tele lenses really. That's where the details are, in being close to the subject. The idea is to let the subject get as close as possible before you push the button. You are better off not taking the shot and wasting time if its too far out to start with. You need to learn what you can get away with using PP and cropping after the shot. Learning that saves a lot of wasted shots."
 

Joseph_B

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"Contrary to what a lot of people think we do with long tele lenses, we use them at close range. The closer to the subject the better and that applies to any tele lenses really. That's where the details are, in being close to the subject. The idea is to let the subject get as close as possible before you push the button. You are better off not taking the shot and wasting time if its too far out to start with. You need to learn what you can get away with using PP and cropping after the shot. Learning that saves a lot of wasted shots."
You Sir are so right.
I don't shoot birds with my M43, simply because my Nikons APS-C and FF are better tools for that (and I have a lens that fits well my nikons for birds). But when I shoot birds (600mm on FF / 900mm equivalent on APS-C) they are on average between 7 to 25 feet at max. The closer the better. And it's still never close enough.
 

Phocal

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You Sir are so right.
I don't shoot birds with my M43, simply because my Nikons APS-C and FF are better tools for that (and I have a lens that fits well my nikons for birds). But when I shoot birds (600mm on FF / 900mm equivalent on APS-C) they are on average between 7 to 25 feet at max. The closer the better. And it's still never close enough.
Wish I could take credit for that saying but I can't. I do love using the quote whenever this subject comes up because he said it so well.
 

martink111

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Have you noticed any issues with focus accuracy on the 75-300? I was very disappointed with the output I was getting with my EM5mkii until I started looking carefully and seeing that almost every single shot was ending up slightly front or back focused (something I never ran into before with M43 before). Sure enough, if I set a focus bracket on either that camera or the EM1mkii, I will almost always get at least one (but rarely the first) shot dead on and if shutter speed is high enough it will rival my 50-200. That focus though....
 

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