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OMD + 50-200mm??

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by ingrid, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. ingrid

    ingrid Mu-43 Rookie

    My husband and I are using four-thirds cameras (E-3 and E-520) -- with an OM-D in our immediate future. For bird photography, I'd been planning an upgrade to the 50-200mm (with EC). I'm currently using a 70-300mm. I was ready to put in an order, but I've been reading about questionable AF performance of the 50-200 on MF bodies. Has this been a significant factor for those of you using this combination?

    I don't want to make a lateral move in terms of lens quality, and would also like a lens that has some responsiveness on my new m4/3 body. The obvious benefit of the 50-200mm (beyond quality) would be the versatility between the four-thirds and micro-four-thirds camera bodies. Do you think the AF issues would be significant enough to make this a poor choice for use with the OM-D?

    Thanks very much for any help and insight.
  2. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    There's been nothing to indicate the OMD focuses 4/3 lenses any better than prior m43 cameras. If the lenses are slow to focus on a Pen (and they are), they'll be slow to focus on the OMD.
  3. ingrid

    ingrid Mu-43 Rookie

    Thanks for the response. I realize my question is a bit premature with respect to the OM-D's performance -- and that the slowness with other m43 bodies has been addressed in other threads here. I may just bite the bullet on behalf of my E-3, hoping that Olympus decides to upgrade the E-x line. My E-3 is nearing 80,000 clicks. I was, however, hoping to use the OM-D for bird photography & video, so it's still a bit of a quandary in terms of where to put those limited funds.
  4. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    In a word, yes. Unless you enjoy manual focusing or 3 second+ to AF, the 50-200 is a poor choice on m4/3 cameras.

  5. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    Yeah, as much as I love my m43 cameras, they're still not quite there for shooting action. I've read one report that the GH3 is supposed to be much, much better for shooting sports, but that is complete rumor, and totally unsubstantiated, so I'm not going to hold my breath.
  6. BarefootPilgrim

    BarefootPilgrim Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 23, 2009
    Westchester, IL
    Welcome to the forum, Ingrid!

    I've used the 50-200 (non-SWD version) on my on my E-PL2 and E-5. In fact, it's my go-to lens on the E-5 and seldom comes off that camera.

    The few times I tried it on the E-PL2 were very trying times, indeed. AF performance on the E-PL2 is glacial. It also hunts alot. But the image quality is as stunning on m4/3 as it is on full 4/3.

    I suspect on the OM-D E-M5 the 50-200 will not AF as snappily as a native m/43 lens for one reason... the 50-200 is not optimized for the m4/3 format's CDAF. So it's likely to remain glacial, even on the new / improved body.

    But... your 70-300 will AF very quickly on m4/3 bodies because it is CDAF optimized. I've used it on the E-PL2 and noticed no slowdown at all vs. its AF speed on the E-5.

    I do find the 70-300 is a bit unwieldy to handle on the E-PL2. So instead of using it with that body, it's now dedicated to a Panasonic G2 that handles it very nicely. Don't imagine that should be an issue with the E-M5, though.

    Only regret I have about the 70-300 is that it has no tripod collar. That would make it near-perfect, imo.
  7. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    There is nothing wrong with using the Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 on a Micro Four-Thirds body. It fits nicely and provides stunning image quality. Just don't rely on the AF... Use MF when you can and keep AF to emergency use (like say, if you can't see what you're doing) or if you're just lazy and have time to spare. MF is generally faster than AF on this lens, assuming that you're good with AF. But then, MF is faster than AF in more situations and on more lenses than most people realize, because they are simply too reliant on AF to even bother trying. ;) 

    Bob made a good suggestion about the Zuiko 70-300mm f/4-5.6 though. If AF is important, this lens does nearly as well on m4/3 as on 4/3 (which granted is not that great even in native format, as this lens has always had a tendency to hunt). It's nowhere near as bright nor as high-resolving as the Zuiko 50-200mm, but it is still a very solid performer and offers even more reach as well as 1:2 tele-macro capabilities with 3 feet working distance. It is more robust than the m.Zuiko 75-300mm f/4-6.3 in Micro Four-Thirds mount. I would not pick up any native Micro Four-Thirds telephoto zooms when you already have the Zuiko 70-300mm. I like that one better than any of the m4/3 offerings, and it feels similar to a native lens in response.

    Of course, the 50-200mm is weather-sealed like the OM-D... but the 70-300mm you already own. So all you will need is the mount adapter (wait for the MMF-3, so you can use it on all your weather sealed lenses down the road) to get that one going.

    Personally, I would pick up the Zuiko 50-200mm and MMF-3. Use it when you want the best, but also keep your 70-300mm around for when you want quick AF. The Zuiko 50-200mm is an all-time favorite lens to many, and you won't be disappointed by it... on whichever body you use. There will eventually be an equivalent in native Micro Four-Thirds mount, but that will be a long time in coming.

    And one last thing... when you mount the Zuiko 50-200mm SWD on your E-3, you will be very impressed with its performance, including AF which is significantly faster than the 70-300mm (on that body).
  8. Indeed, +1, etc.

    The IQ is as stunning as the AF is slow.
  9. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Which is makes Olympus' decision not to fix AF with m4/3 bodies all the more frustrating. Whatever the reason, they're giving up a lot of lens sales (not to mention sending the resale value of existing 50-200 lenses down the drain).

  10. ingrid

    ingrid Mu-43 Rookie

    Thanks very much!

    Thanks, everyone, for the exceptional input. I pre-ordered the MM3 with the upcoming OM-D, so I will have an adaptor for my 70-300mm lens, once the camera arrives. It's great to know that the 70-300 is comparatively snappy on the m4/3 bodies.

    Thanks, too, for the insight about using manual focus with the 50-200mm on the m4/3 body. I have no issue with with using MF. I have a sense, though, that based on your feedback, the 50-200mm will be living most often on my E-3. Still, understanding how to capitalize on the 50-200mm/OM-D relationship will help me immeasurably when I choose to use that configuration.

    I'm beyond excited. I've been shooting with the E-3 for several years now, and this is my first upgrade in glass since my initial purchase of the 70-300mm. Combined with taking the plunge on a new m4/3 for lightweight purposes, I'm not sure how I'll be able to live with this level of enjoyment in my life. Thanks again -- very much. I'm grateful for the quick, thoughtful and informed replies you were so kind to post here.
  11. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I had the E-3 since it was new, and have had many PEN cameras since then. I enjoy using the Zuiko 50-200mm on all of them. The OM-D line is even better than the PEN line for this sort of thing, so you should have no problems on any body you choose to mount this lens on.

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  12. ingrid

    ingrid Mu-43 Rookie

    50-200mm/OM-D - thanks for the help

    Just wanted to say thank you, again, for the exceptional advice and help. Our OM-D kit still hasn't arrived ... back-ordered from B&H, you know the drill. But that's actually okay because I got my long-awaited 50-200mm SWD two days ago -- and, hopefully, the OM-D will be charged to the card in a fresh billing cycle. :wink:

    I've been putting off investing in a better lens -- been honing my wildlife photography skills on the 70-300mm for almost four years now. Well, I knew there would be a difference, but I just didn't realize how much. As I was telling my mate yesterday, my cull factor in just two days dropped easily by a half. I love my 70-300mm and anticipate getting much more use out of it, due to its portability and reach. When I can fill the frame with that lens, it's such beauty. But, the sharpness and quiet AF of the 50-200mm is fantastic. Even on heavily cropped images, the subjects were sharp. I was also thrilled to be shooting at 1/1250 with so much light and little need to crank up the ISO.

    My next adventure will be adapting my 4/3 lenses to the new OM-D. Honestly, even if the AF is slower, I already feel as though I've hit the paradise mark where camera gear is concerned. Two very cool toys (and tools) in one year. Your help and kindness is much appreciated.

    Olympus E-3, Olympus E-520, Zuiko 50-200mm SWD f2.8-3.5, Zuiko 70-300mm f4.0-5.6, Zuiko 14-54mm f2.8-3.5, Panasonic Lumix FZ50 + Raynox DCR-150 & 250, Panasonic Lumix ZS10
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