Panasonic 45-150: Soft Copy?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Granolatron, Oct 30, 2015.

  1. Granolatron

    Granolatron New to Mu-43

    Oct 7, 2015
    I'm looking for some expert eyes to tell me if I have a "good" copy of this lens or not. All of these were shot in raw and processed in Lightroom (VSCO, grain removed, sharpening added, clarity added, some other tweaks).

    Some of the images look "soft" to me. Zoom in on the elk, for instance, or the Golden Gate Bridge, or the flag in the Ft. Mason photo.

    Thoughts? Is this lens performing how it should, or is my copy less than perfect?



    Golden Gate Bridge:

    SF Downtown + Fog:

    SF City Hall:

    Ft. Mason:


    India - Boats:

    India - More Boats:

    India - Flag:
  2. Don't know about copy, but at long distances atmospheric haze plays a big part. The elk one is weird, I almost feel the trees or the grass behind the elk is actually the focus region rather than the elk. As for the buffalo, bridge and flag shots, I see motion blur...
  3. xvvvz

    xvvvz Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 2, 2013
    If shots like the elk one were handheld, I would say your copy is performing around average based on the three copies of this lens I have used. As you know, out at 150 mm you really want to use a high shutter speed whenever possible. The elk shot was basically shot at the minimum shutter speed for that focal length (1/320 given the FF equivalent of 300 mm).
  4. Granolatron

    Granolatron New to Mu-43

    Oct 7, 2015
    Thanks both for the replies! It's helpful to have someone else to confirm the lens isn't obviously flawed.

    Sounds like solutions are: higher shutter speeds, shoot on clearer days, nail the focus :)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Try some around town type shots that don't involve so much distance..and atmosphere. And use a higher ISO if needed to get you a decent shutter speed..1/500 or more for the longer focal lengths. This lens should give good results. I'm very pleased with the good used copy that I have and if something happened to it, I'd buy another. And if I had the bucks for the pro lens, I'd still keep it, because of it's size.
  6. Improving hand holding technique, using stabilisation help (tripod, tree, fence post etc) will also help with motion blur. For still shots with IS much lower shutter speeds should be achievable with care and practice. Also try shooting a burst if you can't push the shutter speed up enough (e.g. ISO too high for your liking) - you'll only have a certain probability of success so a burst might help.

    The other thing to watch for is the dreaded 'shutter shock' - either higher shutter speeds, electronic shutter, or electronic first curtain is required.
  7. Bif

    Bif Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 28, 2012
    San Angelo TX
    Bruce Foreman
    To the OP...Others have pointed out all the probable things to watch out for, all are valid. At the long end of any zoom with "reach" everything gets critical. But the point is that 45-200 can be a very useful lens when the equivalent of 400mm is needed. I have both this lens and the 45-150 which gets carried in a bag a lot because it is more compact. In comparison the sharpness of both is pretty close.

    This short video was shot with a GH4 and the 45-200 pretty much at the 200mm position. Mounted on a fairly solid tripod, the two main problems were proper focus and switching back and forth between motion picture and stills where I sometimes forgot to put the shutter speed back to 1/60 for motion picture. You see the results as more "flutter" in the hummingbird's wings.

  8. Bif

    Bif Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 28, 2012
    San Angelo TX
    Bruce Foreman
    To the OP: All of the probable causes mentioned by others are valid. This is a very useful lens, I have one and am quite satisfied with my copy. Remember, on any telephoto zoom with "reach" everything gets critical out at the long end of the zoom range. I'll go for a higher ISO if necessary to get a sharp image and not obsess over a bit of noise if that happens.

    Here is a short video I did with that lens on a GH4 mounted on a fairly sturdy tripod. Minor problem focusing, and switching back and forth between motion picture and stills I sometimes forgot to put the shutter speed back at 1/60th from the 1/500th I used on stills. You see the result in more "fluttery" motion of the wings.

  9. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    elk (1/320s): somewhat blurry in different ways. Could be wind in the grass but 1/320 should be freeze it(?)
    buffalo (1/500s): movement, branches left right (strong wind?)
    chelsea boats (1/1600s): perfect, a ton of noise
    trees + boats (1/320s): bad, noise?
    city hall (1/13s): strange, some parts good some bad, very slow shutter speed
    tennis (1/3200s): perfect (nice shot BTW)
    us flag (1/400s): movement (up-down, check windows on the left), a ton of noise
    india flag (1/500s): strange, the flag is perfect, the ropes on the bottom (same focus distance) are not
    bridge (1/320s): noise, atmosferic haze, seems good. Maybe a little movement (up-down, check main cables, concrete towers tops).
    fog city (1/320s): too much fog, too much noise, hard to tell.

    1/320s is not much but if OIS was on and the shots were taken with care (i.e. not with the arms fully extended using the LCD) should be enough speed.

    My guess is shutter shock: some camera/lens combinations suffer most then usual from the shutter mechanism internal vibrations, usually from 1/60s to 1/320s even using a tripod.
    I went back to check the shutter speeds and all the strange shots are in the danger zone. You could take a few shots with electronic shutter or with 1/500+ shutter speed and compare the results.
  10. The shutter shock thing is definitely something to watch for. When I got my M10 last year, the first few shootings had me puzzled and I had to ask on a forum why overall sharpness was lacking. Fortunately for that forum, someone was gracious enough to come back with a list of settings to check and the anti-shock setting was among them. Don't know if the GX7 has something similar or not, but it's something to check.
  11. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    On the E-M10 the antishock works only from 1/320s.
    At 1/1000s the shutter shock is not visible, so I avoid anything between 1/800 and 1/400.
    (this applies only for 100-150 mm)

    I don't know how it works with the GX7.
  12. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 25, 2012
    I'd try what others have suggested, but should also temper your expectations. The long end of cheapish telephotos zooms is often least sharp part of the zoom.
  13. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    I find that the 45-150 is not a bad lens even at 150 mm.
    On tests it was one of the best compact micro four thirds telephoto zoom, and is supposed to have an "even performance across the range" (photozone).
    It's reasonabily sharp, but has a LOT of vignetting wide open.
  14. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    If you think any lens is soft, calibrate it with the body. The body can remember the adjustment needed.
  15. Halaking

    Halaking Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 17, 2012
    Los Angeles
    I never know you can calibrate lens with M43 bodies, can you tell more about it? thanks!
  16. Granolatron

    Granolatron New to Mu-43

    Oct 7, 2015
    Thanks all. I'd figured that above 1/200 I would be free from any shutter shock worries, and from my prior research it didn't seem like the 45-150mm + GX7 combo was particularly affected. But, seeing that the photos above 1/1000 are much sharper definitely suggests I should be aiming for faster shutter speeds in general. I'll also try some E-shutter vs. manual shutter at the lower speeds to see how they fare.

    Overall I've been really impressed with this small + inexpensive lens. My inconsistent results seem more of my own doing than anything wrong with the lens per se. Higher shutter speeds, shoot on clearer days, nail the focus :)
  17. mannukiddo

    mannukiddo Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 28, 2013
    I tried 2 copies of this lens but was never happy with its performance. It was OKish at the wide end but soft at the long end. I tried everything, high shutter speeds, tripod and even close distance shooting. I was just never happy with it so sold it and got a 100-300 instead.
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