PanaLeica 100-400mm - Oly 50-200mm w 2x Tele adapter - Nikon 80-400mm

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Clint, Apr 10, 2016.

  1. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    I’ve shot enough with these lenses to make an accurate comparison of these lenses. Each of these are very good alternatives compared to each other and up the ante over 70-300/100-300mm m4/3s lenses.

    It is possible to capture great images with either of the 300mm m4/3s zooms and the image quality incrementally increases from 70-300/100-300mm > 80-400mm > 50-200mm with or without the teleadapter, and finally the 100-400mm zoom.

    What works for you will depend on your wallet; what you are willing to tolerate for size, weight, and operational functionality; and if the incremental increase in image quality is worth it to you.

    Some quick lens stats -
    Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4-6.3 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. Lens
    3.27 x 6.75” (8.3 x 17.14cm), 2.17 lbs. (.99 kg)

    Olympus 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 ED SWD Zuiko Zoom Lens with Olympus Zuiko EC-20 2x Teleconverter
    3.41 x 8.75” (8.7 x 22.22 cm), 3.19 lbs. (1.45 kg)

    AF VR Zoom-NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED
    3.6 x 6.7" (9.14 x 17.02 cm), 2.99 lb (1.36 kg)

    F Stops

    How much closer is 400mm compared to 300mm? Here is a 100-400mm focal length comparison.

    In this comparison I used a Nikon D7100 and the 80-400mm lens as I already own them and the often thought 2x crop factor of m4/3s is deemed to as a major positive. That is no longer the case with the 24mp APS-C cameras. A cropped 24mp APS-C image can counter those from the m4/3s.

    The positive of the Nikon is when using this gear, it feels substantial and the operation leaves a very positive feeling in the shooting experience. However, you are now dealing with another system; size, weight, cost differences; as well as all the peripheral gear assorted with another system.

    102380-c39967aa1903ebbf42d6ba5df20993ec. [/URL

    Overall all, both the 50-200 w/2x teleconvertor and the 100-400mm fared better in image quality than the copped 80-400mm images. Yet the IQ remains better than a m4/3s and one of the 300mm zooms.

    The Olympus 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 ED SWD Zuiko offers the most versatility yet is really restricted to use with the E-M1. Focusing ability on the E-M1 is snappy and as good as on the Olympus 40-150mm Pro lens. You can use the lens on other m4/3s cameras but focusing takes second or two – not something I’d recommend.

    You can use the lens without a teleconvertor and just resize you images in a photo editing program and exceed the IQ of the 300mm zooms and challenge the IQ of the lens used with a the Olympus Zuiko EC-20 2x Teleconverter. Or you add one or both of the telepconverters for more dedicated focal length ranges.

    I use the 50-200mm lens when I need a versatile zoom lens even just to walk around with. The IQ is outstanding! Phocal showed some photos using this lens with the 2x teleconverter which impressed me enough to get the teleconverter. It is very good and turns the lens into a 100-400mm f/5.6-7 zoom. Which is surprisingly useful.

    Properly used the 50-200mm and 2x teleconverter can turn in some great images.

    The 50-200 w/teleadapter can focus closer than either of the other lenses yet not by much compared to the 100-400mm.

    The down side of the 50-200mm lens with a 2x teleconvertor is you also need a 4/3s to m4/3s adapter. Adding these two adapters now makes the setup up the longest and heaviest of three setups. And even with the Olympus adapters you can have a slight bit of play. All of which can add challenges to hand holding techniques and more consideration is required when using the setup on a tripod.

    102381-997dcd8a2a4b5d00f9435fb255c42d15. [/URL

    With the 4/3s to m4/3s and 2x tele adapters
    102382-b394b8add0029b2484a3f893e11d8518. [/URL

    and mounted on the E-M1 and E-M5

    Overall the 100-400mm is enough better to warrant the price. You can gain a little sharpens closing down a stop, but wide open at all focal lengths will produce sharp images when properly used.

    The lens is smaller and lighter than the other two; and the image quality at 100mm, 200mm, 300mm, and 400mm is better than the other two lenses.

    It is also the only native m4/3 lens at these zoom focal lengths. The focusing is quicker than the 50-200mm w/teleadapter and the less light to shoot in, the more prevalent the better focusing becomes.

    I tried the lens with just the lens O.I.S., just the E-M1 IBIS, and with both ISs on. I’m more inclined to leave both IS systems on when shooting. Although the two systems are not designed to work together, they seem to do that very well.

    A couple of comparisons –
    At 200mm
    102374-533a26eb17a8a6c03e7933b9c207a839. [/URL

    At 400mm
    102376-fb9a96b0de03a70ee80d2714845b36cd. [/URL
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 10
    • Like Like x 9
    • Informative Informative x 5
  2. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Thanks for posting Clint. Appreciate you taking the time.
  3. D7k1

    D7k1 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 18, 2013
    Also Thanks, very interesting comparison.
  4. MacBook

    MacBook Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jul 24, 2010
    South Carolina
    Thanks for the review. I have a pristine Olympus 50-200mm non-SWD and am trying to decide whether to invest in the Panasonic 100-400. Given the outstanding performance of the Olympus, the fact that the Panasonic can outperform it (at least the Olympus with the 2x teleconverter), the longer reach, and the lighter weight makes it very attractive.
  5. PhilippePASCAL

    PhilippePASCAL Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 21, 2015
    Very nice test !
    On the other side, you can get a very cheap 50-200 non-SWD.
    I bought mine for less than 250 shipped :friends:
  6. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Great post and appreciate it. I have already decided the Panny was not for me so I would not not have been able to do the comparison. Looking at your side by side shots, the 50-200 w/ EC-20 gives up little to the Panny. I still feel the the 50-200 is the best telephoto zoom bargain in any system out there, that lens is just amazing.

    Based on my testing of the 50-200 and looking at your results, that really is a great setup for someone on a strict budget (granted it is really only viable to someone shooting an EM1). Combining it with both TC's gives you a very versatile setup. Here are the aperture ranges for various focal lengths from the 50-200 with both TC's. They are not exact because I got tired trying to get to exactly 150 or 200.

    50-200 SWD
    50mm - ƒ2.8
    101mm - ƒ3.2
    147mm - ƒ3.4
    200mm - ƒ3.5

    50-200 SWD + EC-14
    70mm - ƒ4.0
    102mm - ƒ4.3
    153mm - ƒ4.6
    208mm - ƒ4.8
    258mm - ƒ4.9
    283mm - ƒ4.9

    50-200mm SWD + EC-20
    100mm - ƒ5.6
    152mm - ƒ6.2
    202mm - ƒ6.4
    260mm - ƒ6.7
    294mm - ƒ6.8
    364mm - ƒ6.9
    400mm - ƒ7.1

    If you are zoom person I think it is much more versitale then the Panny 100-400. From 283mm down it is faster then the Panny and only a little slower at the long end. As your photo shows it is a little crazy long with the MMF-3 and EC-20 attached.

    I do admit that I hardly use my 50-200 now that I have the 150/2, actually for my thread about using it with the EC-20 was the only time I have used it. But, I am going to start shooting at local rodeo's (we have them going on all year long here in Texas) and the 150 is to much reach for most of the smaller venues. Which really sucks because the covered ones are dark and I could really use the ƒ2.0 of the lens. I am actually looking at the 4/3 35-100 ƒ2.0 for shooting at the covered venues, plus I really want that lens. But any lens purchase will have to wait until the EM1 mk2 is released. I want to see what Olympus does with C-AF and tracking, if they make no improvements I may have to consider going to Nikon (not an option I really want to do). I don't expect D500 ability but I do want to see that they are working on it and improving it like they have stated is a goal.

    If anyone is interested here is the thread where I used the 50-200 with EC-20 that Clint mentioned - A day with the ZD 50-200 SWD and EC-20

    Here is a thread I created with nothing but links to threads I have created documenting my experiences using 4/3 lenses for wildlife and action stuff - Using the EM1 with 4/3 Lenses for Sports/Action/Wildlife Photography

    • Like Like x 2
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  7. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    Great write up @Clint@Clint . Now I'm glad I went the 100-400 over the 50-200 +x2 TC + em1 (I have em5ii) for my up and coming trip to Alaska.
  8. Nawty

    Nawty Mu-43 Regular

    May 1, 2015
    I'm also looking to get the 100-400 for a trip to Alaska, I just hope the UK gets stock soon.

    I was thinking of the Oly 300mm but that seems to stretch the premise of a compact system a little too far.
  9. freelancer27

    freelancer27 Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 17, 2016
    Hi guys,

    I am struggeling a bit with getting happy with the focus speed of the 50-200 SWD (lots of hunting and even the single point AF-s has a lot of misses). I am wondering if the 100-400 is much better here.

    As far as I have heard the IQ of the 100-400 is superior to the 50-200 with TC1.4 and TC2.0.

  10. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    Are you trying the 50-200 on an em1? If it's any other m43 it will be painful.
  11. freelancer27

    freelancer27 Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 17, 2016
    Yep, on the EM-1. Of course ;) 
  12. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I have zero problems with my 50-200 without a TC or with the EC-14 and minor issues with the EC-20 (which actually surprised me). Keep in mind that the EM1 uses horizontal and not cross type focus points.

    As far as IQ all I have to go on are Clints examples above. Based on them it looks to me like with the EC-20 the 50-200 is only slightly worse then the 100-400. With the EC-14 it's probably equal and with no TC probably exceeds.
  13. freelancer27

    freelancer27 Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 17, 2016
    Phocal, you seem to praise the 150 F2. Do you think it is comparable with the 300mm F4 (when used with the TC-20)?

    Still arguing with myself if I should invest in the Pro lenses rather staying with the older 4/3 lenses.

  14. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    I don't possess Phocal's skill or experience, but my first outing with the 150,2 and EC-20 was impressive in terms of focus performance. That was a real surprise. S-AF was about as instantaneous as any m43 lens. It worked as well with C-AF as any lens and the challenges in that mode were same old e-m1 challenges.

    IQ was excellent even with the EC-20. I haven't focus tuned the combo yet, but results were still very good. Couldn't possibly be as sharp as the O300,4 with the EC-20 mounted, but still excellent.

    What you'll miss is the dual IS the 300,4 brings to the table.
  15. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    The 150mm ƒ2.0 is honestly the most amazing lens I have ever used. There is just something magical with the images that it produces and as long as I shoot Olympus the lens will never be sold. It is also one very versatile lens because of it's ability to use the 1.4 and 2.0 teleconverters and still have a very fast aperture. With the EC-14 you get an effective 420mm ƒ2.8 lens that I honestly believe is as sharp as anything in µ4/3 lens lineup and still produces images that just have that amazing "pop" that is hard to describe. I am still up in the air about using it with the EC-20, it seems to be more of a love/hate type relationship for me. This Flickr gallery does not have all of my 150 w/ EC-20 shots but it is a good example of what this lens can do Olympus ZD 150mm ƒ2.0 + EC-20 I have a lot of other shots that I just hate so they don't get posted anywhere, mostly from shooting subjects at a greater distance. Part of the problem is I have the lens micro-adjusted for a much shorter distance then I really want. The reason is I didnot buy the large ruler for the focus tune system because my plan was to get the 300mm ƒ4.0 and only use the 150mm ƒ2.0 with the EC-14. You also really need to stop down the lens to ƒ5.6 to get that amazing sharpness it can achieve, even with the 2x TC attached. It can produce good photos at ƒ4.0, but there is a noticeable difference when you stop down and for me ƒ5.6 is getting into the realm of to slow (this is just my personal preference when it comes lens speed). There is also the fact that 300mm is as far as you can go with the lens and the 300mm Pro can get you to 420mm when you need even more reach. The other big difference is the 150/2 will top out at around 6.5fps when using C-AF and the 300/4 can do 10fps+. Overall I think the 300/4 is going to be a better lens in sharpness, IQ, and shooting speed but that comes at a pretty large price. On a budget the 150/2 is really the way to go. While the overall price to get the 150/2 + MMF-3 + EC-14 + EC-20 is pretty large (not up on current prices but I think you could do it for around $2,000) you can do it in stages and you really end up with 3 lenses. While at the long end you can't go as long, and you have to really stop down a full stop, and it will shoot a bit slower in C-AF, but you get a lens that without a TC blows away anything Olympus or Panasonic are putting out, with the EC-14 is as good if not a bit better then either company is putting out, and with the EC-20 is only slightly behind the 300/4 (at 300 it will still be sharper then the Panny 100-400).

    Personally, for wildlife I want the 150/2 with the EC-14 and 300/4 with the MC-14. For wildlife I do not find a real need for a zoom, sure they are nice but really are not needed. There has never really been a time that something changed distance so quickly that switching out a TC or even a lens could not be done. The only time would be shooting BiF that are flying towards me but for that I would just set up and concentrate on when they were at optimal distance for my chosen focal length. Sports is a bit different and for that I do prefer a zoom for some and I am fine with a prime for others. Fortunately I already have the 150/2 and now just have to wait on the specs/reviews of the EM1 mk2 to make my decision on the 300/4. In all fairness I will say that I only use the EC-20 when I absolutely need the extra reach, I tend to stick with the EC-14 and try to get closer.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  16. D7k1

    D7k1 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 18, 2013
    My experiences have lead me to just the opposite conclusion. Things like Elk, Bear even Big Horn Sheep can move so fast that here is no time to changes lenses. How about otters or snakes that are moving. I find that zooms are needed here in the west.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  17. freelancer27

    freelancer27 Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 17, 2016
    So, what is your lens of choice Jeff? And why?
  18. D7k1

    D7k1 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 18, 2013
    PL 100-400 Gx8 in m43. Great performance from BIF to macro. Weather resistance, dual IS, and DFD and 4k video with OIS.
  19. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    This is a very interesting discussion. Thanks, Clint for starting it with that great comparison. Really helps with making choices.

    I have the 50-200 SWD w/EC-14. I should borrow my friend's EC-20 to test it, but actually, I'm pretty happy with the EC-14 because I think that's a good compromise between IQ, lens speed, and AF. Not to mention weight and size. :) 
    Last edited: May 13, 2016
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I linked my thread above and from what found is the 50-200 is really only worth using the EC-20 at 400mm (maybe down to 350mm). If you need 400mm of reach its worth it, otherwise just use the EC-14 and get closer or crop.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.