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Panasonic 100-300mm tele zoom, a reappraisal

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by AndrewS, May 3, 2014.

  1. AndrewS

    AndrewS Mu-43 Regular

    May 12, 2012
    I bought one of these two tears ago but sold it as I had become dis satisfied with results at the long end. But I wanted the focal length so I bought a second copy and have been testing it quite intensively. Short version, the second copy is delivering better results. Is that due to sample variation or my improved technique ? I have found that careful technique does make a big difference especially at the long end. I have published my findings in a two part post on the Camera Ergonomics blog at the address below. Happy reading, Andrew

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  2. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team Subscribing Member

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Technique plays a big part I think, but it's definitely less sharp at the long end. IMHO, you need a support to use such a narrow FOV lens well. It needn't be a tripod - a bean bag or even just a ledge will do.
  3. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    You can't expect great results from such focal lengths without at least using a monopod. Just because it's significantly smaller than the Canon lens that you compared it to, doesn't mean that it's any easier to keep stable, it can in fact be more difficult to keep stable than a heavier lens (laws of inertia etc).
  4. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team Subscribing Member

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Nice write up on the blog BTW. My pedant tendency however suggests you correct the errant "it's" possessives. You should write "its", not "it's" in these circumstances. "It's" = it is. Sorry, but it's just something that bugs me!
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  5. AndrewS

    AndrewS Mu-43 Regular

    May 12, 2012
    Yes, the smaller long lenses have less inertia and are therefore more affected by fine jitter movements such as hand tremor. Our family has an FZ200 which is even lighter and more prone to softness from fine camera/lens movement at the long end.
  6. AndrewS

    AndrewS Mu-43 Regular

    May 12, 2012
    pdk42, Be bugged no longer. I have fixed the errant possessives. Henceforth all the its and it's will be put where they belong.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. biomed

    biomed Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 22, 2013
    Seattle area
    One problem with all of the long u4/3 zooms is the lack of a tripod collar. A longer lens mounted on a tripod with a tripod collar is more balanced and stable the lens/camera attached to the tripod with the camera baseplate mount. It is good to see that you are using the Roesch tripod collar.
  8. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team Subscribing Member

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Thank you - that feels much better! :smile:
  9. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    I've had the P100-300 on my "will buy one day" list for a year...I've always considered it a 100-250 (still a staggering 200-500 35mm equivalent) with a "could give good enough results in a pinch" 300mm long end.

    I don't think I could justify this at the American price ($600), but at the Korean price (around $420), I think I could live with its shortcomings.
  10. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    Shooting animals in Africa, I was able to get pretty good stability by sort of wedging myself into the seat and frame of the game drive vehicles. I did use a monopod from time to time, though. The OIS is nice, but nothing beats actually eliminating camera motion.

    I haven't see that as an issue. The camera/lens combination is so light that while yes, there is an imbalance, I am not conscious of it when shooting hand-held or on a tripod. Years ago I owned a Nikon 50-300mm f4.5 (http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/nikon/nikkoresources/zoomsMF/50300mm.htm). Now that is a lens that needs a tripod collar mount -- which it has.

    The thing (IMO) that what people forget in these discussions is: "What is the alternative?" In the case of this lens used at the long end, the alternatives are either (1) no shot at all or (2) heavy cropping. And if you crop, what does that do to sharpness as you enlarge the piece that is left? (I guess an adapted lens is also an alternative for some. For me it's too much screwing around.)
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  11. mjgraaf

    mjgraaf Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 9, 2014
    My impression is that the Oly in-body stabilization is really stressed heavily at the long end. Is the lens stab on the Pany better for such extreme focal lengths? And i'm still pleasantly surprised about what i can get out of these zooms, if on tripod, shutterdelay, remote cord, etc

    Sent from my C6503 using Tapatalk
  12. 50orsohours

    50orsohours Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 13, 2013
    Portland Oregon
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  13. vm666

    vm666 Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jan 19, 2013
    IBIS is theoretically less efficient with long focal length (I guess that the same rotation of the camera produces a bigger translation of the image on the sensor with a longer telephoto)
    On the other hand, lens stabilization degrades the bokeh and long telephoto lens do not have a nice bokeh without that "feature".

    Testing stabilization is neither easy nor reliable I'm afraid.

    I bought the Pana 100-300 instead of the Oly 75-300 because I thought that the lens stabilization would be more efficient that the E-M5 IBIS, but that's only my intuition.
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  14. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    That was the fact before EVFs, when visually there was no image stabilisation in the viewfinder vs lens stabilisation. With the advent of EVFs, you see the stabilisation in the same way as with lens stabilisation, which make it easier to manage long lenses when hand holding. I'm not sure where you've gotten the idea that stabilisation affects bokeh, if the image is stabilised and sharp, the lens attributes remains the same.
  15. Dave Lively

    Dave Lively Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 16, 2014
    My 100-300 sometimes has bad bokeh but only when IS is being used. It is intermittent and hard to reproduce but I notice it most when I forget to turn off IS while using a tripod. Back when I used a SLR my 70-300 Nikon had the same problem. My working theory is that IS has to move some elements off center to compensate for motion blur and when these elements are off center the bokeh gets worse. There is a thread on the DPR forums at http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3664838 that shows examples.
  16. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    In theory, though, with a long lens the shaking image on the sensor is shaking a lot, and needs a much larger physical deflection of the sensor to correct it by body IS. Pretty soon it becomes impractical to move the sensor that much, and you pass the limits of sane engineering. Putting the IS mechanism in the lens overcomes this limitation.
  17. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    I think he's saying that the additional elements used in the lens for stablization can affect the bokeh quality.

  18. Rasmus

    Rasmus Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2013
    Stockholm, Sweden.
    No, it's the native alternative. There are many non-native alternatives. For example, I shot this a few weeks ago.
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    350 mm, f/2.8. Non-native lens.
  19. vm666

    vm666 Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jan 19, 2013
    I was not speaking about the viewfinder but really the stabilization itself.
    For example: imagine that your camera rotates slightly. You have a 100 mm lens and the image moves 1 mm on the sensor. If you had a 200 mm lens, the image would move 2 mm. IBIS has more trouble in the second case.

    I don't remember either where I read this (Wikipedia?).
    Anyway, I don't understand your point. Bokeh is the (ill-defined) look of the objects that are out of focus: the fact that the image (= the subject?) is sharp or not is irrelevant.
    With IBIS, bokeh does not change because the sensor follows the image when it moves.
    With lens stabilization, I guess that the effect is different on objects that are at different distances. I suspect that if the stabilization keeps the plane of focus sharp, it will on the contrary blur more images that are out of focus.

    I'm not sure it works exactly this way, but optics is often basic geometry.
  20. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    Except for a few modern lenses that can sense that the equipment is tripod mounted and adjust OIS accordingly, you should ALWAYS turn OIS off when the camera is on a tripod. It has long been known that under those conditions OIS can make matters worse. This isn't bokeh, this is using the system outside of it's design constraints.. I suspect the same is true of IBIS, but haven't seen any documentation of that fact.
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