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Panasonic 100-300mm handheld-able?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by ak3888, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. ak3888

    ak3888 New to Mu-43

    Feb 14, 2011
    Hi All,

    Just stepped up from compact cameras to micro four thirds.
    Very interested in the Panasonic 100-300mm, just wondering if I can get away without a tripod/monopod to get decent quality images. Mainly using it for travel and football matches (both involves day and night shots) and don't like carrying a tripod.

    • Like Like x 1
  2. bilzmale

    bilzmale Mu-43 All-Pro

    The short answer is yes in good light. The OIS works well. A compromise is a monopod but the general concensus is to switch off the OIS when using a tripod/monopod which is a bit self-defeating.
  3. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    For focal lengths greater than 200mm (35mm), one needs a bit of practice to handhold a camera and lens. The greater the focal length the more practice. I found that handholding long lenses is individualistic. Some peoples can adapt to a long lens easily and other peoples have extreme problems. Implementing proper camera holding techniques becomes important at long focal lengths. You do not need the OIS for sports, (unless you pan), as the shutter speed required to stop action is sufficient to also stop handshake.

    I routinely shoot soccer with focal lengths from 200mm to 600mm handheld (w/Canon dSLRs). I hope you have some type of eyepiece and are not planning to use the LCD. EVIL cameras do not focus fast enough to make shooting sports easy and fun and is a quick way to get one's blood pressure up. The Pany 100-300 is an f/4-5.6, way too slow for most night sports venues. In daytime, those apertures may deliver too much DOF making the background distinct, full of detail and a distraction from the principal focus point.

    I haven't any experience with G1 or GH1, but I read that the EVF can't keep up with sports action, so you're kinda shooting blind and have to follow the action more by guess than aim. Also, the 3FPS is not very sports friendly.

    • Like Like x 2
  4. Glenn S

    Glenn S Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 1, 2010
    Hand-held at 300mm

    • Like Like x 9
  5. ak3888

    ak3888 New to Mu-43

    Feb 14, 2011
    Thanks Guys.

    Glenn, thats a stunning handheld shot! When you mentioned "at 300mm", is that equivalent to 600mm(ie max focal length)?

    Gary, sounds like this lens and micro four thirds in general aren't very good for sports... you've got me start thinking about DSLR now... which I can't afford...

    I'll need to think twice about this lens then, its a bit too expensive for me if its limited for day/well lit shots. Anyway, thanks for all your help.
  6. Glenn S

    Glenn S Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 1, 2010
    Thanks, yes, 300mm on the lens and through a double-glazed patio door.
  7. Brianetta

    Brianetta Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 5, 2010
    North East England
    Brian Ronald
    Your heart rate must be on the floor.
  8. Glenn S

    Glenn S Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 1, 2010
    :biggrin: just been doing it a long time!
  9. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011

    I hope others jump in on this thread as I am new to m4/3 and just relating information I've read and applying it to what I have experienced.

    The final nail for using m4/3 is that a typical ISO for night and indoor sports is 1600. For my tastes, with the GF1, noise at 1600 is barely or not acceptable at all, (different people have different levels of acceptability). Minimum aperture for me, in shooting night/indoor sports is f/2.8. Generally, anything slower than that will will cause one to use a shutter speed which won't stop action.

    This is all general information, I feel that I am shooting blind as I don't know what camera you will be using or where you are planning to shoot (professional level venues, college level venues or high school level venues).
    Typically, the lighting differs from level to level, best lighting, as one woud expect, is at pro facilities and the lighting at high school facilities truly sucks.




    All handhed and shot with a dSLR.

    • Like Like x 6
  10. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I would think that at the shutter speeds one would use for shooting most moving objects (birds, sports, etc), handheld wouldn't cause a problem with the SHOT... The thing I'd wonder about is whether you could hold the lens steady enough to frame the shot when even the tiniest amount of lens shake would move the field of view quite a bit at that long focal distance. I think it would be tough to get the shot lined up and focussed, but if you can do that, the actual moment of shutter release should be the least of the problems. Seems like most pro sports photogs you see using these kind of focal lengths are using monopods to steady the works but still allow free movement to get the shot framed in fast motion. I've done OK with the 200 on the 45-200 but its sometimes a challenge and I would think going out to 300 would be that much tougher. I don't do a lot of this kind of shooting, but now that I have a GH2, I'll probably be doing somewhat more.

    • Like Like x 1
  11. Rich M

    Rich M Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 2, 2010
    Handheld at 300mm


    100% crop


    • Like Like x 8
  12. Brian G

    Brian G Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2010
    Victoria, BC

    And ditto for the sports shots above, as well!

  13. taikuodo

    taikuodo Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 17, 2011
    Maybe... just maybe, don't get a 4/3 camera for sports for now? Haha.
  14. ak3888

    ak3888 New to Mu-43

    Feb 14, 2011
    Wow x 2!!!

    Rich, thats amazing!!

    Thanks for all your inputs everyone!

    Gary, I currently have the Panny 14-140mm. Took that to a pro soccer match at night, found the lighting ok, a little challenging to frame and focus quick enough, but not a huge issue. The bigger problem was the zoom wasn't quite enough, thats why I am interested in the 100-300mm. But I gather that it'll just magnify the smaller problems(hunting the subject and focus speed) and makes it rather frustrating to use for sports.

    I do intend to use the lens for my travels too, which involve a bit of night shooting. So I was wondering if its handheld-able. But looks like the 100-300mm requires a lot of light with it's F4-5.6. And yes I agree m43 at 1600 ISO is barely acceptable.

    So it looks like this lens can only satisfy my travel needs during the day. I was hoping it could do a bit more for me. Shame I am not into birds(and bees!) yet, otherwise, the pics from Rich and Glenn makes it a no brainer.
  15. DesertRose

    DesertRose Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 1, 2010
    Yes, you can do it. :smile: I shoot a 1D3 and 400mm (non-IS) lens for BIF handheld. I try to keep shutter speed at around 1/1600 or so to freeze motion and deal with my 'shakies'. It does take a lot of practice, and I am not superb at it, but I have gotten quite a few good shots. A sample is at this link, the whole sequence of this launch was sharp.


    I cannot do a sequence like this with my GH1, I've tried. The black out between shots makes it way too difficult for me to track because you are sort of aiming blind. For the GH1, I've decided just to shoot video if I really want to see the sequence later.

    As a sidenote, I have been working out with dumbbells to get more upper body strength specificially for BIF shooting this summer. It helps alot.

    • Like Like x 1
  16. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    OK, I'm sold! That's a spectacular shot, technically. Was it at the full 30mm extension? Its about as clear and sharp as I could imagine for a shot with that much telephoto. Just messing around with the GH2 and my 45-200, I was getting much more consistently good results than I used to with my ep2 or gf1, but not THAT good! Nice one.

  17. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    aaahhhh ... Ray ... I believe the BIF was shot with a Canon 1D-MKIII using a Canon 400mm L prime lens.

  18. JudyM

    JudyM Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 5, 2010
    Westminster, MD
    I'm also considering this lens. I've been using manual focus legacy lenses, but autofocus would be nice to have. I have a few questions:

    Glenn, very, very nice shot. How far away was the bird in your photograph?

    Michelle, stunning shot of a magnificent bird. Could you estimate how far away you were?

    Gary, which Canon DSLR were you using, and are those Canon lenses? I love the clarity of your shots.

    I guess my real dilemma is whether this lens and the Gf1 can give me the kind of shots I'd like, or if the Gf1 in general isn't suitable for fast moving birds and wildlife. I have managed some good shots with it using legacy lenses, but I've thrown away far more.

    As for handholding long lenses on a M43 camera, here are a few examples from the Gf1 using manual focus legacy lenses. The first one of the gull at sunrise on the beach was taken with a Canon FD 100-300mm f5.6 L, 300mm at 1/400 sec, ISO 100. The other two shots are with a Carl Zeiss 80-200mm f4 Vario Sonnar, both at 200mm: the hummingbird at 1/2000 sec and probably ISO 100, the plane at 1/500, ISO 100, and using the LCD (I didn't have the LVF1 then).

    Thanks to all for your help.

    View attachment 157675

    View attachment 157676

    View attachment 157677
    • Like Like x 2
  19. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Hey Judy-

    #1 = 1DsMKII w/ Canon 300mm f/4 L plus a Canon 2x Extender MKII
    #2 = 1DsMKII w/ Canon 300mm f/4 L
    #3 = 5D w/ Canon 70-200 f/2.8 L

    Here's a few more:

    The Airplane



    Mr. Miyagi Plays Soccer


    • Like Like x 4
  20. JudyM

    JudyM Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 5, 2010
    Westminster, MD
    Gary, thank you very much for the information. The contrast and color in your shots really make them stand out. Canon has always built impressive lenses. Recently I've been giving thought to moving in that direction as my primary camera and keeping the Gf1 as a secondary.

    I'd like to toss this question out to anyone who cares to answer: With the exception of my 20mm, I've been shooting exclusively with manual focus legacy lenses. Can someone speak to how effective the OIS is in the native lenses, perhaps in terms of lowering ISO? The shots I've seen from the Panasonic 100-300mm here and in other threads are very good.

    Thanks for your help,
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