Olympus MC-20 converter with 40-150mm f2.8 zoom

DaveJP

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I've had an email from Olympus recently to mark the third anniversary of my MyOlympus membership and offering me 15% discount on my next online order from them. I thought that was very generous, and I'm thinking of purchasing the MC-20 converter for use with my 40-150 f2.8 zoom.

I have the MC-14 converter and the image quality is excellent; I struggle to tell any difference in IQ when the converter's on or off! However, a 2x converter's a different matter. For those who've got this converter what is the quality like? I would end up with a 80-300mm f5.6 zoom, which is a bit slow, so I wouldn't really want to have to stop it down further just to get decent IQ. Also, how does it compare to the Panasonic 100-300 f4/5.6, which I could probably get secondhand at a similar price?

Looking forward to your comments.
 
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I have both TC’s. The MC-14 has spent most of it’s life (6 years?) on either the 40-150 or the 300, and I also find the photos taken with it to be very good. I got the MC-20 in January and it is more difficult to use (for me). I rarely use a tripod, so handheld or monopod for me. The MC-20 doubles everything, and I think it doubles the difficulty of using it. Both TC’s give me good results at their minimum focusing distances.
 

apete

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I've had an email from Olympus recently to mark the third anniversary of my MyOlympus membership and offering me 15% discount on my next online order from them. I thought that was very generous, and I'm thinking of purchasing the MC-20 converter for use with my 40-150 f2.8 zoom.
Haha this is my story exactly! I was having 40-150 and a few weeks ago and after 1 year of MyOlympus membership I got discount offer. Originally I was leaning toward 100-400 but since I am occasional long lens shooter I decided to pick up MC20 to pair it with 40-150. This is much cheaper than getting separate long lens. Besides, having 40-150 with MC20 in your bag is like having two separate lenses 40-150 f2.8 and 80-300 f5.6.

Unfortunately so far the weather is terrible here and if I present you any of my first test photos you are gonna think "oh boy, that is hazy and lacks contrast" ;)
 

Jbat

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I have used the 40-150 with the MC20 for almost a year and find it quite acceptable. Like any long combo, I have to watch my technique if not on my tripod but that is the case for me with any long lens.
 

Carbonman

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Like Harvey, I have both the MC-14 and MC-20, plus the 300mm f4 and the 40-150mm f2.8. Both TCs give nice sharp results but the MC-20 on the 300 is tougher to hand hold. The magnification is extreme.
 

PeeBee

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I've had the MC14 for a while and I got the MC20 yesterday, to pair with my 40-150. My initial impressions are a little mixed. Auto focus is much more snappy and positive than it was with my P100-300, however my test shots were disappointing, thought I think I should take the blame for that, not the TC. It was a dull, overcast day, my shutter speeds were low and I should have increased the iso a little.

My initial test shots with the MC14 were also disappointing, but I've had some really good results since. Longer focal lengths are less forgiving to user error.
 

j_win

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I've got the MC-20 on the 40-150. F5.6 is soft. 6.3 starts to get sharper but not great until f7.1.

Overall I find it good in great light, but only adequate for anything moving in so-so light.

For the flexibility and price its nice to have, but dont think it would really replace a lens like the 100-400.
 

PeeBee

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I've had a bit more play-time with my new MC-20. It was a brighter day and I got a few more acceptable test shots. That said, the keeper ratio was still lower than I expected and I think there will be a learning curve to get more out of it. It's still early days, though I have a feeling it was easier to get sharp shots out of my P100-300 when the AF played ball. Maybe that is down to OIS vs IBIS at 300mm? Of course, it might just be that I've forgotten how many poor 100-300 shots I deleted.

I was able to focus on flying birds with the MC-20 and 40-150, something I really struggled with on the P100-300, but it's not as good as the naked 40-150. The BIF images I did manage aren't great, but that was partly due to poor air quality so there will be scope for improvement. I found tracking a flying bird at 300mm very difficult so my current opinion is that when BIF is the intention, I'll stick with the naked 40-150, maybe with the MC-14 at a push.

MC20 and 40-150, 300mm at f5.6

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MC20 and 40-150, 300mm at f8

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Carbonman

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I've had a bit more play-time with my new MC-20. It was a brighter day and I got a few more acceptable test shots. That said, the keeper ratio was still lower than I expected and I think there will be a learning curve to get more out of it. It's still early days, though I have a feeling it was easier to get sharp shots out of my P100-300 when the AF played ball. Maybe that is down to OIS vs IBIS at 300mm? Of course, it might just be that I've forgotten how many poor 100-300 shots I deleted.

I was able to focus on flying birds with the MC-20 and 40-150, something I really struggled with on the P100-300, but it's not as good as the naked 40-150. The BIF images I did manage aren't great, but that was partly due to poor air quality so there will be scope for improvement. I found tracking a flying bird at 300mm very difficult so my current opinion is that when BIF is the intention, I'll stick with the naked 40-150, maybe with the MC-14 at a push.

MC20 and 40-150, 300mm at f5.6

View attachment 853969

MC20 and 40-150, 300mm at f8

View attachment 853970
The photo of the swan is excellent!
 

PeeBee

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The photo of the swan is excellent!
Thank you Graham. The highlights are a little blown where the sun hits it's neck, but it shows the that combo is acceptably sharp. I've studied my previous shots and I think that I have a combination of missed focus and camera shake. Murky air possibly contributed to poorer af performance. Last night I checked my IS setting, it was set to auto and I’ve changed it to 1, on in both directions. It may be all in my head, but the image through the vf seemed slightly more stable afterwards.

I’ve been out for another test session today. The air is clearer and looking at the results in camera, they look much more promising, including BIF. I’ll post up some examples later if I have the time.
 

Carbonman

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Thank you Graham. The highlights are a little blown where the sun hits it's neck, but it shows the that combo is acceptably sharp. I've studied my previous shots and I think that I have a combination of missed focus and camera shake. Murky air possibly contributed to poorer af performance. Last night I checked my IS setting, it was set to auto and I’ve changed it to 1, on in both directions. It may be all in my head, but the image through the vf seemed slightly more stable afterwards.

I’ve been out for another test session today. The air is clearer and looking at the results in camera, they look much more promising, including BIF. I’ll post up some examples later if I have the time.
It's almost impossible to maintain the highlight detail without darkening the upper midtones too much with any camera when shooting swans and other very white objects in direct sunlight. Even our eyes let the extreme whites go when looking at similar scenes - that's why we squint to try and not overload our rods and cones on a very sunny days with certain scenes.
 

PeeBee

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It's almost impossible to maintain the highlight detail without darkening the upper midtones too much with any camera when shooting swans and other very white objects in direct sunlight. Even our eyes let the extreme whites go when looking at similar scenes - that's why we squint to try and not overload our rods and cones on a very sunny days with certain scenes.
Yes, I appreciate that but I usually expose to protect highlights where possible. I must have forgot with that swan image.

Some of todays test shots. I noticed the first shots today were distant subjects shot at f5.6 and they weren't pretty. As other's have mentioned, I think stopping down for f8 in these situations helps.

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This one was shot through a double glazed window, so there is possibly some degradation.

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ac12

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Reading this thread, I just thought, a MC20 on my 40-150/2.8 is a cheaper option to the 100-400, with slightly less reach.
f/5.6 is not an issue during the day, and that is similar to the 100-400 at the long end anyway.
hmm, something to think about.
 

Acraftman

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I think its a good purchase like Harvey said it seems it that there is definitely a adjustment curve I am certain the setup will produce good results Tbh 95% of my shots so far have been taken in a kayak so there's that also.Meaning the tack sharp shot is tricky at 300.
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